PDA

View Full Version : Problem connecting one Touch to the LMS/Vortexbox



donmacn
2014-05-25, 03:23
Hi folks,

I’m having issues with a problematic ‘Touch’. I don’t think it’s the device, but some sort of connectivity issue. I’ll try and explain:
I’m running a setup of 9 devices: 4 Touches (including the ‘problem’ one); 2xBooms; 2xSB3; 1 x 'softplay' or whatever. Details here -

Logitech Media Server Version: 7.8.0 - 1382588309 @ Sat Oct 26 00:04:02 EDT 2013
Hostname: vortexbox.localdomain
IP: 192.168.0.10
HTTP Port: 9000
OS: Red Hat - EN - utf8
Platform: i686-linux
Perl Version: 5.14.3 - i386-linux-thread-multi
Database Version: DBD::SQLite 1.34_01 (sqlite 3.7.7.1)
Total Players Recognized: 8

Due to wi-fi issues I’ve tried to set up proper static IP addresses (as opposed to DCHP ‘reserved’ ones). That seems to have worked OK. Due to the same wi-fi issues, I’m also connecting two players (including the ‘problem’ Touch) via powerline Ethernet.

The problem Touch connects to the router OK, but when I point it at Vortexbox it says it can’t find it...? Are there settings somewhere in the Touch menu that I’m missing , that would re-establish that connection? I get the blue circle, saying “connecting to Vortexbox” but it just doesn’t find it. However it has in the past, and the player itself is OK, because I did connect to ‘mysqueezebox.com’ by wifi yesterday and it plays OK.

The reason I’m using Powerline Ethernet is because the wi-fi down there (46% signal strength) isn’t good enough to synch with other players if I’m playing my own FLAC files.

I have no idea what options to pursue now, hence the question.

My own next steps might be to install a wi-fi ‘access point’ downstairs (in case the powerline extender is somehow faulty) – but this means re-wiring my network to include a ‘switch’ in the cellar; cutting holes in a ceiling; having to install a ‘spur’ on my electricity circuit to power the wifi AP; and running a length of ‘Cat5’ cable. So – not the easiest option. Even then, because the Touch connects to the Network OK, but just can’t connect to the Vortexbox, I wonder if this would sort it or if I’m missing something obvious??

Grateful for any thoughts or suggestions.
Ta
Donald

toby10
2014-05-25, 03:48
What is Touch's IP address using the Powerline adapters? Maybe try Touch temporarily without the Powerline adapter just to see if it then can connect to LMS.
Then you will know if the Powerline adapter is the issue.

donmacn
2014-05-25, 04:04
Hi Toby,

Thanks for the reply.

Switching to wi-fi (with DHCP enabled again on the router) I get an IP address of 192.168.0.104. Using powerline it's set to 192.168.0.025.

I tried wi-fi there, and the Touch does connect to the LMS. However, while I can select music, and it says it's playing I get no sound coming out.. (perhaps that's a separate issue, or perhaps the wifi strength isn't good enough to play FLAC files? - it's down to 40%)

When I reconnect via ethernet, it does connect to the network, but can't get through to LMS.

I should add that I'm quite sure it has worked in this location before - but it's a player that's used quite intermittently.
-------------------
Edit to add: To eliminate wi-fi and powerline ethernet issues, I've taken the Touch up next to the router & vortexbox. It now connects to wi-fi with a 100% signal, plays music via mysqueezebox.com, but still won't connect to the vortexbox.

Going to try a factory reset now in case that helps.
-----------------
Further edit: tried the factory reset. Seems to go OK, can still play via 'mysqueezebox.com'; can't connect to vortexbox.

So, did a reboot on the vortexbox (cause it seemed like something to try) and then a further factory reset on the Touch. No change - it connects to the network OK, connects to MSB (by default it seems) but can't see the Vortexbox/LMS.

Now dreading going through to the other rooms and finding the rest of the players have taken the hump.

Is this just going to be something wrong with this Touch??

I guess it must be. Just trying to re-confirm that it will play music via MSB and while the screen shows it's playing, there's no sound coming out......

Ta
Donald

garym
2014-05-25, 05:39
please clarify...

1. when connected to mysb.com will it play music (and you can hear the audio?)
2. Other players in your local network will connect to LMS on the vortexbox and play music. (If not, I suspect you've somehow got the Vortexbox on a different subnet than the players. make sure that all your IP addresses are 192.168.0.xxx and that the subnet is 255.255.255.0.

donmacn
2014-05-25, 06:02
Hi Gary,

Thanks - I was typing the message below when yours came in.

I realised I had one other option because of where the Touch was sitting – connecting it directly to the router via Ethernet.

1) disabled DHCP on the router,

2) Connected Ethernet cable to the Touch and powered it up.

3) Factory reset on the Touch;

4) Connect routine – including manually inputting IP address etc.

5) It seems to connect OK – but won’t connect to MSB.com, and once it’s stuck in the loop of trying to connect to that, it won’t let me go anywhere else.
But, if I go into the router’s admin page and look for the device as connected, it’s not showing up. 192.168.0.025 just isn’t there. Its MAC address isn’t showing up either (in case somehow it’s not picking up the IP address I thought it would be).

6) Re-enabled DCHP on the router,

7) Powered down the Touch (disconnected the AC supply; left Ethernet cable plugged in)

8) Tried the setup routine again, and the Touch says it can’t find a DCHP address. (Entered it manually – wasn’t expecting to have to do that under DHCP?)

9) Touch tried to connect to MSB.com and can’t – back stuck in the same loop as 5 above.
Touch thinks it’s connected, but the router admin still doesn’t show it.

10) (With DHCP still enabled) Connected via wifi again. This time it goes straight through and connects to the Vortexbox/LMS without any issues at all!

So – success in one respect – except that a) it’s in the wrong room and b) even if I were to hard-wire Ethernet cable down to the preferred location for the Touch, it seems questionable it would work.

I must admit I’m lost – don’t know what to do here. Any ideas where this ‘fault’ might lie?? Is it possible there’s some sort of intermittent fault with the Touch’s network card?
If you’ve waded through this, thanks very much. As always, any help appreciated.
Ta
Donald

Gary - it will play music OK. Via LMS/vortexbox. The other players (thankfully) seem to have been unaffected by all this. All players are definitely on the same subnet.

Need to go off and do 'family stuff' now - spent too long tinekering with this for the moment.

garym
2014-05-25, 06:20
with all this manual entering of network addresses, it is possible there is a conflict. You've got a lot of moving parts in your testing so far. What I'd do at this point.

1. turn off, unplug everything in my house that is connected to the internet, including modem,router
2. turn on modem and router and let fully start. Make sure that DHCP is turned to ON in your router.
3. turn on Vortexbox and let fully start and LMS start
4. plug in/turn on each network attached device (touch players, etc.) one at a time, letting each device start (and test that each device works properly before moving on to the next device).

Of course it is possible that that TOUCH has broken, but this is not the most likely problem. I suspect this is a minor network addressing type problem which is not allowing the Touch to connect to anything it seems.

p.s. sorry, but I'm still confused about what is working or not. Seems that you said it wouldn't play music vis LMS/VB, but in the above message you stated " it will play music OK. Via LMS/vortexbox." How is it playing music via LMS or vortexbox, when the Touch can't even connect to your network?

donmacn
2014-05-25, 09:44
thanks Gary,

it's no wonder there's confusion with the length of these posts! I'm trying to set out a timeline that details all the steps (on the basis of providing as much information as possible), but I'm slightly surprised anyone's trying to follow!

Point 10 above - when I tried to connect via wifi ( and via DCHP ) for a final time it just all worked - the Touch connected quickly, found the VB/LMS and plays fine. So I know the Touch can connect, and I know it can play music, I just don't understand why it seems to be inconsistent. I'm sure you're correct that it's some sort of network issue. My problem now is getting it to connect/play in the downstairs room I want it to be in.

I reckon your advice about a methodical power down/ restoration of the network is probably a good idea. But I'm just really loathe to turn of the other 7 squeezethings that are working fine, because past history tells me one or other of them will also take the hump and stop connecting. They've all been stable for weeks or even months, so I'm reluctant to upset them.

I think my house has issues with the AC ring circuits between upstairs and downstairs - they are different circuits, with the trip switch panel in between. I guess this explains with powerline ethernet works well upstairs, not so well downstairs. I also have foil-backed insulation under the upstairs floorboards, which I guess has to be upsetting my wifi signal.

So I've realised that I can install a second router downstairs as a WAP more easily than I thought. AC power is already close-by and all I really need is 10m or so of Cat5 or Cat6 cable plus some drywall cable boxes to tidy it up. I reckon I'll try this first. It might not really seem like the easiest answer - but it does to me. This also ought to improve the signal for another Touch downstairs.

I'd accept it probably doesn't get to the bottom of whatever the connectivity issue is - but all I really want to be able to do is stream music!

w3wilkes
2014-05-25, 12:08
Here's something I encounter with Ethernet over powerline at my brothers, but may be unrelated to your problem. His router was installed in his basement and he found he couldn't get a reliable connection in the upstairs (2 flights up from the router). I suggested an Ethernet over powerline extender. He got one and couldn't get the 2 pieces to connect and thought he had a defective set. I told him to take the upstairs unit down to the basement and try it. Lo and behold it connected right up. I had him switch the breaker for his upstairs to the other side of his breaker box which cured the problem. Seems that his upstairs was electrically separated from the basement and once we got his outlets upstairs on the same buss as the basement outlets he had no trouble with his Ethernet over powerline.

donmacn
2014-05-25, 12:52
Hi W3W,

I think my upstairs/downstairs issues with EoP are definitely related to this. I don't know that they are completely separate circuits, because the adapters do seem to work in some locations - though not necessarily reliably. It makes me think the connection could be there, but subject to interference or interruption. If I plug an adapter in downstairs either I don't get a 'good connection' light at all, or it takes a very long time to come through.

However I'm not sure how changing the trip switch would help? Maybe ours are different to yours? Obviously each ring main is fixed where it comes into the panel, and moving or swapping the trip switches won't bring them any closer? That said, while I've done some house wiring, I'm no 'sparky' and it's entirely possible I haven't understood?

Ta.

D

w3wilkes
2014-05-25, 13:54
I'm no sparky either. ;-) And I'm pretty sure things are wired differently in the US than the UK and Europe. Most of our stuff in the US is ~110VAC 60Hz with some 220VAC for things like stove/ovens, electric heat/boilers and electric clothes dryers. I think much of the rest of the world runs ~220VAC at 50Hz.

garym
2014-05-25, 15:06
ethernet over powerline works wonderfully when it works. But EOP working correctly is highly dependent on how the house is wired.

toby10
2014-05-26, 02:21
.... Is it possible there’s some sort of intermittent fault with the Touch’s network card?

Yes, but unlikely. Tried swapping player locations? Put the "problem" Touch where your "non-problem" player exists and works fine?

I think the fixed/static IP assignment is way over used for most home network usage where DHCP works just fine. In turn complicating basic home network usage. I have about 14 devices on my home network, a mix of wired and WiFi, plus have numerous guests connecting to my home network at various times. I've only ever used the basic DHCP assigned IP's with the sole exception being my network printer (which uses simple DHCP reservation IP). All works fine, never have a problem, Squeezebox/LMS or otherwise.

donmacn
2014-05-26, 15:26
Yes, but unlikely. Tried swapping player locations? Put the "problem" Touch where your "non-problem" player exists and works fine?

I think the fixed/static IP assignment is way over used for most home network usage where DHCP works just fine. In turn complicating basic home network usage. I have about 14 devices on my home network, a mix of wired and WiFi, plus have numerous guests connecting to my home network at various times. I've only ever used the basic DHCP assigned IP's with the sole exception being my network printer (which uses simple DHCP reservation IP). All works fine, never have a problem, Squeezebox/LMS or otherwise.

Thanks Toby,

Swapping locations? I haven't tried this yet. It's like my reply to Gary above about powering everything down. Everything else has been working so well, that I don't really want to muck about with it.

Also, as time goes by I'm just becoming increasingly convinced that the house isn't network friendly as things stand. For example, although it's on a different floor, the location where I want this 'problem' Touch to be is literally only 4 or 5 metres from the router. However, it only gets 40% signal. In between is a desk, a 'chipboard' floor with this foil insulation, and a concrete block wall. The same room also gave me problems with a Boom maybe a year or two ago.

Another Touch, also downstairs, but three or four times further away from the router gets 55% or so - but while it's longer, it's signal path is maybe a little less obstructed....

So, after months or more of considering a wireless AP downstairs, I'm going to give that a go and see what happens.

Static vs DHCP? I went 'static' for static devices, to address connectivity issues - which might be more to do with the house construction and layout than anything else. If a new AP seems to help that, I might go back to a straightforward DCHP set up, because like you guys, I suspect there's a glitch in the static IPs somewhere.

Just waiting for Amazon to deliver the Cat6 and the wallplates and I'll tackle the AP installation.

Thanks

D

toby10
2014-05-27, 02:50
Yes, but a quick and temporary "swap" of player locations would help diagnose your issue. It could confirm your issue is network/environment related and eliminate the Touch itself as a culprit.

donmacn
2014-05-28, 14:57
i appreciate the logic of switching players certainly, but I'm not sure if what comes next supports the 'move it and check' argument, or my 'try not to disturb then in case they take the huff' one...

came to bed tonight, thought I'd listen to some Radio Paradise. Using Squeezepad, I went to turn on the Touch in the bedroom, which has been stable for weeks or even months, and which I used just this morning when getting ready for work, and....... it's not showing as an option. OK. Try to turn it on manually, and it's doing the same thing as the 'downstairs' one I started this thread about. First of all it's sticky finding the network, then it defaults to MSB.com and can't see the vortexbox. To the best of my knowledge nothing has happened today while I've been out of the house.

Also, another two very stable Touches have disappeared from the Squeezeplay list of players - while two classics and two booms remain listed!!

Surely this can't just be a wifi/connectivity issue? There has to be something else 'tripping' that's causing this flaky behaviour? Why just the Touches?

It's too late to start running around the house rebooting the vortexbox and the router, and I'm unlikely to get the time until the weekend, but should I need to? Is this sort of thing really what everyone else is putting up with? Seems I might need to dust off the old CD player again...

This isn't really meant to be a rant or a whinge, just a little frustration that I just can't seem to get to the bottom of why the SP infrastructure can be so intermittently problematic.

Any suggestions gratefully received.:)

Ta

Donald

As a quick 'PS' - probably completely unrelated - my wife works for a local authority. Just recently she's started logging on to her work system more frequently from the house. She was on for a couple fo hours tonight. As a public body they have all sorts of tight security hoops to go through in setting up a secure connection between her laptop and their servers. Is there any way this could be causing problems to our router ( semi-rural location with only 1Mbps broadband) and pushing the Touches off the network?? It strikes me as unlikely, but I know nothing about the detail of how such things work.

garym
2014-05-28, 15:18
i appreciate the logic of switching players certainly, but I'm not sure if what comes next supports the 'move it and check' argument, or my 'try not to disturb then in case they take the huff' one...

came to bed tonight, thought I'd listen to some Radio Paradise. Using Squeezepad, I went to turn on the Touch in the bedroom, which has been stable for weeks or even months, and which I used just this morning when getting ready for work, and....... it's not showing as an option. OK. Try to turn it on manually, and it's doing the same thing as the 'downstairs' one I started this thread about. First of all it's sticky finding the network, then it defaults to MSB.com and can't see the vortexbox. To the best of my knowledge nothing has happened today while I've been out of the house.

Also, another two very stable Touches have disappeared from the Squeezeplay list of players - while two classics and two booms remain listed!!

Surely this can't just be a wifi/connectivity issue? There has to be something else 'tripping' that's causing this flaky behaviour? Why just the Touches?

It's too late to start running around the house rebooting the vortexbox and the router, and I'm unlikely to get the time until the weekend, but should I need to? Is this sort of thing really what everyone else is putting up with? Seems I might need to dust off the old CD player again...

This isn't really meant to be a rant or a whinge, just a little frustration that I just can't seem to get to the bottom of why the SP infrastructure can be so intermittently problematic.

Any suggestions gratefully received.:)

Ta

Donald

You shouldn't *need* to do any of this. I have a transporter, touch, radio, Boom all connected back to a Vortexbox server. I control with a CONTROLLER, Squeezepad, iPeng, and squeezeplay running on win7 laptop. I can go months and months without so much as a reboot of the vortexbox. And all players show up as connected, etc. This is true even if I have a power outage (server is on UBS, so it stays on during brief power outage). Players reconnect almost immediately.

Your problems sound network related to me. And diagnosing network problems requires some testing, with and without, moving things around, wiring things temporarily, etc. Just because you haven't changed anything on your network, doesn't mean your neighbor hasn't installed a new router, baby monitor, electric fence, special lightbulb, etc. Heck one poster here had an ongoing problem that eventually tied back to a relatively new refrigerator causing wifi interference.

I have no idea about your particular issue, but I can say that in 90%+ cases like yours I've seen discussed here over the years, the local network was ultimately the culprit and not the players, the firmware, etc. And 90% of the time the poster was sure that it couldn't possibly be the network. I can also say that a year or so ago I was having some odd intermittent connection problems and replaced the router and problems were resolved immediately. Routers, switches, cables, etc. can go from working perfectly to not working in a moment without any obvious cause.

Anyhow, this is a long way of saying that systematic testing to determine what part of the chain is working/not working is key to diagnosing things. And it's not magic (i.e., don't worry about the ghosts of squeezeboxes working against you if you dare unplug something). These things should be robust when working properly. At my weekend place I turn off everything and unplug when leaving. Upon return, I plug in modem/router, plug in vortexbox and turn on, turn on power to squeezeboxes, and all turns on and reconnects automatically, players remain synched (if synched before), etc. After simply plugging everything in, it all returns to full working state without any intervention from me (whether one week or one month has passed).

p.s. Regarding your latest issue. Be a bit careful....I've been looking at my squeezepad and thought that I'd lost all my players, etc. Turns out that I had the iPad on 3G instead of WIFI. And not being on WIFI, squeezepad and iPeng work, but can't see the local network, so don't see the vortexbox LMS server or the players connected to it. But can see mysb.com. I've started testing things, etc. only to eventually realize that 'duh' I didn't have ipad or iphone on WIFI.

toby10
2014-05-28, 15:20
Yeah, your original issue was one player in one location, where a player swap would be a good diagnostic tool. But if it is now multiple players in different locations that seems more like a general network or host computer issue.

get.amped
2014-05-28, 16:43
A properly configured wired network will typically function without issues unless a piece of hardware fails. But wireless, particularly G, is susceptible to all kinds of interference as noted by others. It's one reason why I avoid wireless whenever possible and, when I can't, will often use a separate wireless N router as a bridge instead of using the wireless G in the SB (plug the SB into the bridge with an ethernet cable, bridge connects to main wifi router).

But I've seen all kinds of bad networking practices. Poorly configured DHCP can cause lots of problems (scope too small, lease too long, static IPs assigned but not excluded from the scope). You may want to take some time and document your network configuration in some detail if you haven't already. If you would like a template, I can give you a fill in the blank of what you should know about your network. Sometimes going through the exercise will reveal a conflict or misconfiguration that will explain the anomalous behavior.

donmacn
2014-05-29, 07:14
Thanks Gents, I appreciate it.


Your problems sound network related to me……. I can say that in 90%+ cases like yours I've seen discussed here over the years, the local network was ultimately the culprit and not the players, the firmware, etc. And 90% of the time the poster was sure that it couldn't possibly be the network. I can also say that a year or so ago I was having some odd intermittent connection problems and replaced the router and problems were resolved immediately.

Actually, I do firmly believe the network is the issue here. I think all the tinkering I’ve done has been trying to work around some basic problems. This could be ‘house construction’ issues, or equipment ones. I’m sure I also agree that the players themselves are quite robust, and will do well if the supporting infrastructure is just as robust. When I’ve been loathe to move players, it’s not really because I think the players themselves will get ‘upset’, but that they will fall victim to some other glitch in the network environment.

I know for a fact that I don’t have ‘neighbour’ issues, and I can absolutely relate to the ipad 3G vs wifi thing - that’s exactly the sort of thing that would have caught me out. By default though, my 3g signal at home is really poor and always drops, so I’ve avoided that one!

I suppose it stands to reason that the more network players I have, the more important the network itself becomes, and I guess I really need to learn more about how that all hangs together and operates. In that respect, this is a little disheartening:

Routers, switches, cables, etc. can go from working perfectly to not working in a moment without any obvious cause.
Is it true that ‘you get what you pay for?’ - is commercial kit (routers etc) somehow better or more reliable than domestic stuff? I will say that my router is pretty new, and wasn’t cheap - frustrating if it breaks or becomes unreliable, but you’ve no real way of knowing?


But I've seen all kinds of bad networking practices. Poorly configured DHCP can cause lots of problems (scope too small, lease too long, static IPs assigned but not excluded from the scope). You may want to take some time and document your network configuration in some detail if you haven't already. If you would like a template, I can give you a fill in the blank of what you should know about your network. Sometimes going through the exercise will reveal a conflict or misconfiguration that will explain the anomalous behavior.
This might be a good start, thanks. I’ll send over a PM.

In terms of ‘mapping’ the network, is there a device or app that can be used to gauge wifi signal strength through the house, or an individual room? Something that would be quicker and easier than logging on a Squezzebox in umpteen different locations.

Thanks again.

D.

jimbobvfr400
2014-05-29, 07:22
Do you have an android device at all? There is an app called WiFi analyser thats good for that. I'm sure there's equivalents on iOS.



Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

donmacn
2014-05-29, 07:32
Do you have an android device at all? There is an app called WiFi analyser thats good for that. I'm sure there's equivalents on iOS.

Thanks. I don't think I have an android device (ipad and blackberry) but my daughter's new motorola probably is. I'll check that out. Ta.

get.amped
2014-05-29, 08:16
I suppose it stands to reason that the more network players I have, the more important the network itself becomes, and I guess I really need to learn more about how that all hangs together and operates.


Absolutely true. If you don't know how it works, it's unlikely you will be able to do any meaningful troubleshooting.



Is it true that ‘you get what you pay for?’ - is commercial kit (routers etc) somehow better or more reliable than domestic stuff?


The short answer is "Yes." The longer answer is that there is perfectly good, consumer grade gear that has the correct feature set to be useful. However, it will generally not be as robust as the the equivalent commercial/enterprise class equipment.

Since I make a living as an IT guy, I tend to over-engineer my home network to give me additional flexibility and capability. I'm more concerned about Internet connectivity and the speed of my internal LAN, so I put better quality devices in place for those functions. The Cisco RV042 series of broadband routers are full-featured, extremely robust, and relatively inexpensive. They also require a bit more networking knowledge to get the most out of them, but no arcane command line instructions are needed; the web interface to configure it is about as straightforward as it gets. I tend to favor "smart" HP 1810 class gigabit switches for the internal LAN. Great performance, especially with teamed NICs on my servers and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) enabled on the switch ports.

But, on the wifi side, I have minimal needs, so I use really cheap TP-Link wireless N routers as access points. For all of about $20 US I get decent N coverage for my phone, tablet and any visitors, and I they bridge well together to extend wifi as needed. I even have a portable LMS setup with a laptop, USB HDs, a SB3 and one of the TP-Link routers that I take to parties. The laptop and SB3 plug into the router's switch ports and I use it's wifi to control the playlist with my tablet or phone. The SB3 connects SPDIF out to a Cambridge Audio DACmagic and the balanced out from that plug into my soundboard that then connects to the PA.



In terms of ‘mapping’ the network, is there a device or app that can be used to gauge wifi signal strength through the house, or an individual room?


Wifi analyzer is a great tool for identifying wireless networks, what band and channel they use and their signal strength. But it won't specifically "map" your network. It may help to make a drawing of your network devices and how they are connected, just to get a handle on the scope of what to document. Here's a simple picture I made for someone a while back:

15970

I'll provide some more specifics per your PM in a bit.

donmacn
2014-05-29, 13:45
Get.amped, thanks for all that. Busy night tonight and I'm not able to do justice to all that yet. I can certainly try and draw out my network in its component parts.

I've realised something else though about my Touch connections issues: (sorry for the length of this, but I can't see any way of cutting it short and still getting all the info. across.)

Last night, when that Touch was causing problems, it was slow to connect to the network. When it did it wouldn’t see LMS/Vortexbox, but would connect to MSB.com. At this stage the router had been ‘up’ for quite a while - weeks probably.

I then re-booted the router and fired up the Touch. At this stage it connected smoothly to both the network and LMS/VB.

This player has (or should have) a static IP assigned, and even after a router re-boot, I’d have expected it to reconnect to the router using that assigned IP address. However the interesting thing to me (and the point of the post) is that it was showing up with a different IP address - one within the router’s DHCP range.

So, does this suggest there is something wrong with the router’s handling of IP assignation, or the way it’s dealing with static IP addresses.

I now have two further "lost" Touches. Both are stuck at the stage where they can't connect to the network. Perhaps a further reboot is needed. Going to try that now.

It makes me wonder, despite only being a few months old, if the DHCP server in the router is playing up?

Thanks to anyone who sticks with this.

garym
2014-05-29, 13:50
Get.amped, thanks for all that. Busy night tonight and I'm not able to do justice to all that yet. I can certainly try and draw out my network in its component parts.

I've realised something else though about my Touch connections issues: (sorry for the length of this, but I can't see any way of cutting it short and still getting all the info. across.)

Last night, when that Touch was causing problems, it was slow to connect to the network. When it did it wouldn’t see LMS/Vortexbox, but would connect to MSB.com. At this stage the router had been ‘up’ for quite a while - weeks probably.

I then re-booted the router and fired up the Touch. At this stage it connected smoothly to both the network and LMS/VB.

This player has (or should have) a static IP assigned, and even after a router re-boot, I’d have expected it to reconnect to the router using that assigned IP address. However the interesting thing to me (and the point of the post) is that it was showing up with a different IP address - one within the router’s DHCP range.

So, does this suggest there is something wrong with the router’s handling of IP assignation, or the way it’s dealing with static IP addresses.

I now have two further "lost" Touches. Both are stuck at the stage where they can't connect to the network. Perhaps a further reboot is needed. Going to try that now.

It makes me wonder, despite only being a few months old, if the DHCP server in the router is playing up?

Thanks to anyone who sticks with this.

Hmmm, if these are true static IP addresses (vs reserved IP addresses), the DCHP part of router should be irrelevant. I too use true static IP addresses (outside the DHCP range) for my players and server. Something has obviously gone wrong with your player's IP addresses in the system.... This is good news as you're starting to get closer to the source of the problem with this info.

I assume your Vortexbox server also is set with a static IP address (you can do this from the Vortexbox WebGUI). Mine is something like

IP: 192.168.1.15 (my DHCP range starts at 192.168.1.100)
Subnet: 255.255.255.0
Gateway: 192.168.1.1 (this is the IP address of my router)
DNS1: 8.8.8.8 (this is the free google DNS)
DNS2: 192.168.1.1 (this is the IP address of my router)

Also, re earlier question. I have always just used decent commercial grade routers and switches. My routers are various netgear routers (N600 and N300, gigabit WIFI routers) and I use a number of D-LINK gigabite "dumb" switches. Most of the routers are 5 years old (except one replaced last year...but also replaced the cable modem at the same time so not 100% certain the router was actually bad**). The switches are all 5 years old with no issues. I use some extra netgear routers (with DHCP turned OFF) as additional WIFI access points to extend WIFI in the house. These are wired via ethernet back to the main router. All very stable.

**I'm impatient with networks acting up (as mine is usually rock solid stable for years at a time). So if I start to see a hint of instability, I'm likely to simply immediately replace the modem and/or router. These things are usually pretty cheap (< $100) and I spend more than that every week on new CDs. ;-)

garym
2014-05-29, 14:15
I find this little windows program to be useful for seeing everything connected to my local network:

http://www.softperfect.com/products/networkscanner/?from=auto

donmacn
2014-05-29, 14:29
Hi Gary,

I'm pretty sure I did initially set up proper static IPs as per advice you'd given before, including the VB. My details are almost identical to those you've given. I think my IP was xx.xx.xx.10, and I had the DNS servers the other way round, but more or less the same.

I'm pretty sure it was all OK, because it had worked well for a couple of months or so. I'd need to check to be sure just how long.

I did reboot the router again just now. Obviously my ipad's connecting OK, and allowing me to post this, but the Touch still isn't getting through. I'll try a factory reset on the Touch next, and hope for a reconnection, but if the router's playing up, then maybe I'm coming at this from the wrong end.

Seems I just really need to nail down the network itself and be sure it's robust.

donmacn
2014-05-30, 02:33
well.. a factory reset of the Touch still didn't work.

To try and further diagnose this, I wonder, is there something intrinsically different from the Touch devices that would make them more susceptible to network issues, as opposed to other Squeezedevices?

If all's going well, I have 8 devices connected. 4 x Touch and 4 'others' - 2 Booms and 2 SB3/Classics. Throughout my router reboots etc of the last few days, the Booms and Classics have come through undisturbed. The Booms and one Classic are wi-fi connected; the other Classic is ethernet over powerline.

I now have two Touches which have managed to reconnect and find LMS; I still have two Touches which just don't seem to be able to 'break through' and find the Network - but all four Touches dropped off at the same time. Wouldn't that point to something?

Ta
D

donmacn
2014-05-30, 03:43
I've prepared a schematic of my network to try and help clarify things further. Anything with a solid line is cabled, anything with a dashed line is wireless.

While I've shown all four Touch's as connected, only two are at the moment. One of those two (top right) has two dashed lines. When it's connected, I think it goes straight to the router, but it might be going via the Powerline Ethernet access point.

Now that I've figured out how to post this, I might try and create one showing my projected new set up.

Obviously what this doesnt' show is IP addresses etc, but I can try and create a table showing those too. Just in case anyone has the patience left..?!


15972

(edit) on seeing the picture I didn't realise it wouldn't be 'zoomable'. The black box middle top is the LMS/VB.

Mnyb
2014-05-30, 22:51
Some routers have a setting to limit the amount of devices conected , check it's web-UI .

A Touch can loose its static settings if you poke around in the network settings part of the UI , can't remember what exact menu that provokes that behaviour .

donmacn
2014-05-30, 23:36
Some routers have a setting to limit the amount of devices conected , check it's web-UI .

I didn't know that. It's quite a 'high end' domestic router though, so I'd have thought this wasn't the case. I will check.


Touch can loose its static settings if you poke around in the network settings part of the UI , can't remember what exact menu that provokes that behaviour .

Obviously static IPs are set up with DHCP temporarily disabled on the router. Would it be the case that, as soon as you try to reconnect the Touch to the network when DHCP has been re-enabled, that it would default to a dynamic address?

Knowing next to nothing about how things work, if a static device had disconnected, and was being reconnected, I'd have expected the router to 'say': "OK, I know this MAC address, it should get this static IP address." That just doesn't seem to be working consistently.

In that case, I'd have thought that once a MAC/static IP address had been set up in the router, that it wouldn't matter whether you did a factory reset of the Touch?

(As a 'ps' to this. I was trying to reconect a problem Touch via wifi again yesterday. Several times, no success. There happens to be a powerline ethernet cable right next to it. Popped that in, and it was through to the network and LMS like greased lightning. )

Mnyb
2014-05-30, 23:53
I didn't know that. It's quite a 'high end' domestic router though, so I'd have thought this wasn't the case. I will check.



Obviously static IPs are set up with DHCP temporarily disabled on the router. Would it be the case that, as soon as you try to reconnect the Touch to the network when DHCP has been re-enabled, that it would default to a dynamic address?

Knowing next to nothing about how things work, if a static device had disconnected, and was being reconnected, I'd have expected the router to 'say': "OK, I know this MAC address, it should get this static IP address." That just doesn't seem to be working consistently.

In that case, I'd have thought that once a MAC/static IP address had been set up in the router, that it wouldn't matter whether you did a factory reset of the Touch?

(As a 'ps' to this. I was trying to reconect a problem Touch via wifi again yesterday. Several times, no success. There happens to be a powerline ethernet cable right next to it. Popped that in, and it was through to the network and LMS like greased lightning. )

No static should stick I have no problems with that , on the other hand I have edited the files manually on my Touches via SSH rather than using the setup .
However you should setup the DHCP range on your router to not include these static adresses so that the DHCP won't dole out an used address to something else .

What settings did you put in your static setup exactly . the Touch can also tell you it's current settings somewhere in the network menus .

Mnyb
2014-05-30, 23:59
Hmm trying to see your picture . Your network has more than one wifi ap ?

Is your network really one network , if have done the mistake of setting up my router to an Adsl "modem" ( really a router ) in series so that it DHCP my router rather than my ISP doing it meaning I got two network in series :) meaning that one of my routers really was a client on the other router and thus having it's own little network .
There can be completely legit and good reasons to have several networks but if do this unitentionally you rarely know what's going on .

Julf
2014-05-31, 03:46
Obviously static IPs are set up with DHCP temporarily disabled on the router. Would it be the case that, as soon as you try to reconnect the Touch to the network when DHCP has been re-enabled, that it would default to a dynamic address?

Knowing next to nothing about how things work, if a static device had disconnected, and was being reconnected, I'd have expected the router to 'say': "OK, I know this MAC address, it should get this static IP address." That just doesn't seem to be working consistently.

In that case, I'd have thought that once a MAC/static IP address had been set up in the router, that it wouldn't matter whether you did a factory reset of the Touch?

There are two ways of setting up a "static" address. The first one involves configuring the Touch with a fixed address (this gives you a real static address), but you must not re-enable DHCP on the Touch, and you must select an addres that is not part of the router DHCP pool, but still part of the address space the router lets through and routes. The other way involves using DHCP, but configuring the router to always give out the same address. In this method, the Touch gets a dynamic address, but the router ensures it is always the same one.

The router does not listen to all network traffic to keep track of which addresses are in use unless it is addresses it itself has given out using DHCP.

get.amped
2014-05-31, 06:56
Maybe a quick IP and DHCP primer is needed. I'll make it the simplified version appropriate to most home networks.

Every device ("host" in traditional TCP/IP speak) on your network has a unique 48 bit Media Access Control (MAC) address, usually described as six groups of hexadecimal bytes, e.g. 00:11:22:33:44:55 with the first part of the address representing the manufacturer of the device and the latter part assigned to individual devices. MAC addresses do not provide any information about what network segment a device is on. It's worth noting that many (most?) devices allow their MAC address to be manually configured, in effect appearing on the network as a different device which can present some considerable security and management concerns.

An IP address (version 4, unicast, what you are likely still using) is a 32 bit number generally described as a dotted group of 4 octets, e.g. 192.168.1.1 which, in the context of a subnet mask, provides the location of a device on a specific network segment. Most home networks use a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 which indicates that the first 3 octets identify the network segment and the last octet identifies individual hosts on that segment (up to 254). Your home network is a private network that uses IP numbering not routed on the public Internet. Instead, your "router" performs a trick called Network Address Translation (NAT) to manage communications between Internet hosts and the devices on your network. How NAT works is not relevant to this discussion but it turns out that very few home routers actually do any routing as they only handle communications between a single internal, private network segment and the Internet.

IP networking has to be configured properly for all hosts to communicate with each other. By far the most important rule is each IP address is uniquely assigned to one host. A host can have multiple IP addresses, but no hosts can be assigned the same IP address (we aren't going to go into the configuration of fault-tolerant clusters which share a virtual IP address).

All hosts on the same network segment should have the same subnet mask, gateway address (typically the router's internal IP address) and DNS servers (typically those provided by your ISP and/or your router's internal IP address). The gateway is the IP address of the device that should receive data for hosts not on the local network segment, i.e. anything that doesn't start with 192.168.1. Domain Name System (DNS) servers are hosts which provide name resolution to allow us to use human-friendly names for hosts instead of numbers. That's why you can get here using forums.slimdevices.com instead of 107.21.6.57. Unless you have a computer on your internal network running DNS, you will only use it to resolve public Internet names.

As the network administrator, you are responsible for planning and configuring your network. You will decide what network addressing to use and will assign individual IP addresses to hosts with the appropriate subnet mask, gateway and DNS entries. You have options as to how to accomplish this.

You could assign manually IP addresses to all devices on your network and maintain a list of them. These are static addresses and the configuration for each is stored on the individual devices. New devices have to be manually configured as needed. If you assign the same address to more than one device they will not function properly. If you mistype any of the configuration entries the device will not function properly. For small networks that rarely change, assigning static IPs may be tolerable but for most people it quickly becomes unmanageable.

So you can use a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server to manage the configuration for you. In this scenario you still need to have one static IP address (typically your router which is also the DHCP server), and you configure DHCP to assign IP addresses to devices configured to use DHCP. When those devices initialize their network interface, they broadcast a DHCP request and negotiate an IP address with the DHCP server that responds. The DHCP server provides the IP address, subnet mask, gateway, DNS and a lease duration (and potentially other configuration options not generally found on a home router). Unfortunately, most of these items are not configurable on most home routers (including yours). You will only be able to assign a range of IP addresses to use (the scope). The other information is based on the configuration of the router. Your router does not allow you to exclude IP addresses from the scope, so make sure you do not use the whole range (2 - 254) if you want to assign any other static IPs.

Of particular interest is the lease duration, an important DHCP feature that is rarely addressed specifically by home routers. In the negotiation between the DHCP server and the network device, the server only provides an IP address that it considered available within its scope; one that does not have a current lease, reservation or exclusion). When it provides it do the network device it does so only for a specific length of time which could be as little as minutes or hours or as long as days. If the device does not renew its lease, the DHCP server will make it available within the scope to assign to another device. So it's important that the DHCP server and the devices that use it are kept in sync. If the DHCP server is reset, it may consider all addresses in the scope to be available which could lead to it handing out leases for IP addresses already in use by devices on the network.

One way to mitigate DHCP issues is to assign a reservation for devices which are typically on your network (your router has this feature). By entering the MAC address of the device and assigning an IP address from the DHCP server's scope, no other device will be assigned that IP address and that device will always be assigned that IP address when it makes a DHCP request. You can make reservations for wired and wireless devices. The other IP addresses in the scope will be used for transient devices, presumably your guests' laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc.

I hope this was helpful. It doesn't address wireless issues but we can examine that later.

garym
2014-05-31, 11:29
I'm not 100% certain about this, but I vaguely recall that the WIFI and ethernet connections of the TOUCH would have separate IP addresses, etc. So if doing static IP, one would set this up for the TOUCH for ethernet network connection and also setup for WIFI connection. (I could be entirely wrong about this as I haven't setup networks on my players in years).

I think its been mentioned already, but worth noting that some folks get sideways with their networks when all of a sudden their player is on one local network (e.g., the WIFI "guest" network) and the server is on the regular network. And these two don't talk to each other. That sort of thing is worth checking out.

get.amped
2014-05-31, 12:16
I'm not 100% certain about this, but I vaguely recall that the WIFI and ethernet connections of the TOUCH would have separate IP addresses, etc. So if doing static IP, one would set this up for the TOUCH for ethernet network connection and also setup for WIFI connection. (I could be entirely wrong about this as I haven't setup networks on my players in years).

I think its been mentioned already, but worth noting that some folks get sideways with their networks when all of a sudden their player is on one local network (e.g., the WIFI "guest" network) and the server is on the regular network. And these two don't talk to each other. That sort of thing is worth checking out.

The Wifi and ethernet connections have distinct MAC addresses. As long as only one interface is connected, a single static IP address can be assigned for the device. However, if you are creating reservations in the DHCP server, each MAC address should get its own entry and separate IP address. Unless you are really only going to ever use just one interface or the other. In which case the reservation should be for the MAC address of interface you are going to use. Considering how many IPs are available, it certainly wouldn't hurt to create both reservations to make it easier to move things around.

On Don's router, both the primary and guest wifi networks can be configured to not communicate with the switch ports on the router (wireless isolation). It has the additional little gotcha that there's a setting to schedule when to turn the wireless radio on and off. Enabling wireless isolation and/or scheduling the wireless to turn off would certainly wreak havoc with connectivity.

donmacn
2014-05-31, 12:39
Guys,
Too long! Too long a post, but I am really keen to acknowledge the suggestions I’ve received, and I very much appreciate the continued interest and suggestions.

In ‘real life’ I’m a member of a Pipe Band (Scottish bagpipes). We’re not exactly renowned for our sobriety,:o and the band were playing at a wedding today. In that respect I’m a little’ below par’, but I did want to come back and reply to the latest posts rather than leave too much of a gap.


However you should setup the DHCP range on your router to not include these static adresses so that the DHCP won't dole out an used address to something else.What I did, following advice received here (and absolutely no question of any criticism being implied or inferred) was to set the DHCP range on the router to 192.168.0.100 and upwards – i.e. xx.101; 102. etc. This leaves 192.168.0.000 to 099 for ‘static’ addresses. I did set this up in the router admin settings. I’m happy this has ‘stuck’ as it shows up on the router’s admin pages – whether the router is actually implementing this is something else.


Your network has more than one wifi ap ?

I don’t think so. Currently the router is the only real WAP. There is a powerline WAP, but it was set to the same SSID and password as the main router. I do wonder if this is a weakness, but I suspect this only potentially affected one device (a Touch) and I also suspect this Touch was bypassing this WAP anyway and looking directly at the main router/WAP.

My network is currently built around one device, Netgear D6200, performing the function of ADSL modem; router; and WAP.


There are two ways of setting up a "static" address. The first one involves configuring the Touch with a fixed address (this gives you a real static address), but you must not re-enable DHCP on the Touch, and you must select an addres that is not part of the router DHCP pool, but still part of the address space the router lets through and routes. I’m not sure I’m following this precisely.
As above, using the router’s admin pages I did set it to a DHCP range beyond xx.xx.xx.100. I then disabled DHCP on the router, and went around all the devices, one by one, setting up ‘static’ IP addresses in the sub-100 range. When this process was complete, I re-enabled DHCP on the router. My understanding is that this then allocates IP addresses above xx.xx.xx.100 on a DHCP basis, but keeps the addresses ‘below’ that for specified static routes?
I thought DHCP was ‘enabled’ by both the device (asking for a specific address) and the router (being unable to allocate a dynamic address in a specified range?). I didn’t think I could disable DHCP on the Touch alone?


The other way involves using DHCP, but configuring the router to always give out the same address. In this method, the Touch gets a dynamic address, but the router ensures it is always the same one.
This is ‘reserved’ DHCP addresses? I think I did try that first, then went to ‘proper’ static addresses as above. But I’m just not sure the router is managing this correctly, or might be faulty.


I hope this was helpful.
Definitely! As I’ve said, I’m not at my best, but I sincerely appreciate this. I’ll just select specific bits at the moment, but I will use the totality to develop my understanding.


IP networking has to be configured properly for all hosts to communicate with each other. By far the most important rule is each IP address is uniquely assigned to one host. .....
All hosts on the same network segment should have the same subnet mask, gateway address (typically the router's internal IP address) and DNS servers (typically those provided by your ISP and/or your router's internal IP address). The gateway is the IP address of the device that should receive data for hosts not on the local network segment, i.e. anything that doesn't start with 192.168.1.

I’m quite sure that I have got this set up right – that the subnet mask is the same, the gateway address in each case is the router’s internal IP address, and my DNS server setting is 1) the router’s internal IP address – 192.168.0.1 or 2) the ‘google’ one of 8.8.8.8


As the network administrator, you are responsible for planning and configuring your network........
You could assign manually IP addresses to all devices on your network and maintain a list of them. These are static addresses and the configuration for each is stored on the individual devices. New devices have to be manually configured as needed.... For small networks that rarely change, assigning static IPs may be tolerable but for most people it quickly becomes unmanageable.

As above, I really think I did set this up properly – and it did work for a significant length of time – several weeks. ....


Of particular interest is the lease duration, an important DHCP feature that is rarely addressed specifically by home routers. In the negotiation between the DHCP server and the network device, the server only provides an IP address that it considered available within its scope; one that does not have a current lease, reservation or exclusion). When it provides it do the network device it does so only for a specific length of time which could be as little as minutes or hours or as long as days. If the device does not renew its lease, the DHCP server will make it available within the scope to assign to another device. So it's important that the DHCP server and the devices that use it are kept in sync. If the DHCP server is reset, it may consider all addresses in the scope to be available which could lead to it handing out leases for IP addresses already in use by devices on the network.
I’m wondering if this isn’t part of my problem. It’s possible that one or other of my squeezedevices won’t get used for several weeks. Then I get a day when I’m working around the house and trying to sync them all. Maybe the leases are expiring?
One way to mitigate DHCP issues is to assign a reservation for devices which are typically on your network (your router has this feature). By entering the MAC address of the device and assigning an IP address from the DHCP server's scope, no other device will be assigned that IP address and that device will always be assigned that IP address when it makes a DHCP request. You can make reservations for wired and wireless devices. The other IP addresses in the scope will be used for transient devices, presumably your guests' laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc. [/QUOTE]
‘Reserved’ DHCP addresses? I did try this, and can’t remember why I tried to move to proper static addresses. Probably because I was still getting unstable behaviour.


I hope this was helpful. It doesn't address wireless issues but we can examine that later. As above – definitely helpful.
As mentioned in my earlier posts in this thread, I do think I have wireless issues. They’re forecasting rain later tomorrow. I think I’ll do a factory reset on the router (to clear the slate of any static vs DHCP conflicts) and then install a second WAP to try and address wireless issues. If that seems to go OK, I can try rebuilding my ‘squeezenetwork’ one player at a time.

donmacn
2014-05-31, 12:45
The Wifi and ethernet connections have distinct MAC addresses. As long as only one interface is connected, a single static IP address can be assigned for the device. However, if you are creating reservations in the DHCP server, each MAC address should get its own entry and separate IP address. Unless you are really only going to ever use just one interface or the other. In which case the reservation should be for the MAC address of interface you are going to use. Considering how many IPs are available, it certainly wouldn't hurt to create both reservations to make it easier to move things around.

On Don's router, both the primary and guest wifi networks can be configured to not communicate with the switch ports on the router (wireless isolation). It has the additional little gotcha that there's a setting to schedule when to turn the wireless radio on and off. Enabling wireless isolation and/or scheduling the wireless to turn off would certainly wreak havoc with connectivity.

Wireless isolation is definitely 'off'. I did come across this issue previously. My 'guest' network is also switched off - no need to have it available.

However I hadn't considered the different MAC addresses for wi-fi or ethernet connections. Given that the Touch which was failing to connect via wi-fi went straight through on ethernet, I'm wondering if the fault here isn't in the allocation of IP addresses for wireless clients/hosts? That's why I'm considering a factory reset of the router - to try and wipe away any conflicting settings.

get.amped
2014-06-01, 05:47
Every person you ask will give you a different bit of advise when it comes to network configuration. My own network is considerably more complex than yours, but I have specific requirements related to my profession. That said, I do advocate following certain basic principles:

1) Use static (device configured) IP addresses only when necessary. On my network I do so only for routers, switches, wireless access points and servers. I maintain a spreadsheet of all my devices with headings of Device name, Device type, MAC address, IP address, Manufacturer, Model, Management URL.

2) Reserve IP addresses for other permanent devices. These are all the computers and other networked devices that you own and will likely connect to your network on a daily basis.

3) Configure the DHCP scope appropriately. If you only have a couple of static IP addresses, there is no reason to exclude 100 of them from the DHCP scope. I configure my primary subnet with 1-50 for static physical devices as above, 51-150 for DHCP (including reservations), and 151-254 for static virtual devices (primarily VMware virtual devices).

TheLastMan
2014-06-02, 11:06
True static IP addresses are set on the device, not on the router. These must not be set with IPs that are inside the router's DHCP pool.

IP addresses attributed to particular devices on the router are "reserved" out of the DHCP pool and will not be allocated to any other device. It is really just a way of making sure a device gets a particular IP address each time it connects rather than getting the next one available and it is also a good way of avoiding IP address conflicts.

Like GetAmped I keep a spreadsheet of all my devices and the IP addresses, MACs etc. I find it invaluable. It always amazes me when I actually write down how many networked devices I have in my house.

However, I differ from him slightly in that I give every fixed / permanent device on my network a fixed IP address. So that is all PCs, Squeezeboxes, NAS, routers, WAPs printers etc. Only portable devices that are likely to be used on several networks get addresses by DHCP, that is usually just smart phones, tablets and laptops.

Setting static IPs on the Duet (Receiver + Controller) is particularly painful but I have found their stability massively improved if I do this. I can happily power them on and off and they always reconnect faultlessly. In fact if the router or WAP is playing up they are often the only things that continue to work when everything else is having problems. Using DHCP, even with reserved addresses, is always a bit hit and miss with the Duet. The Touch is probably better in this respect.

I would be completely lost if I did not use fixed IPs and my spreadsheet!

donmacn
2014-06-02, 13:41
thanks guys,

I have a spreadsheet too - with all the MAC addresses, IP addresses, device names and so on - it's not that I'm hopelessly disorganised!:D

Just to recap though on some things above. I did set the router DHCP and static ranges to avoid conflicts, but I'm increasingly convinced that some construction issues are disrupting the wifi network. Perhaps if I'd addressed this first I wouldn't have had so many issues. I'm struggling for time to install a second WAP for the next few weeks, but when I do, I'm hoping it will make a significant improvement.

After that I'll probably try what get.amped has suggested - a smaller range of static addresses, and then reserved DHCP. Watch this space.

Thanks

TheLastMan
2014-06-03, 02:06
thanks guys,

I have a spreadsheet too - with all the MAC addresses, IP addresses, device names and so on - it's not that I'm hopelessly disorganised!:D

Just to recap though on some things above. I did set the router DHCP and static ranges to avoid conflicts, but I'm increasingly convinced that some construction issues are disrupting the wifi network. Perhaps if I'd addressed this first I wouldn't have had so many issues. I'm struggling for time to install a second WAP for the next few weeks, but when I do, I'm hoping it will make a significant improvement.

After that I'll probably try what get.amped has suggested - a smaller range of static addresses, and then reserved DHCP. Watch this space.

Thanks
I have two WAPs in my house as the front and rear halves of the building are separated by a thick, solid, brick wall top to bottom (with doors between of course!) but luckily not in the loft. I have given them different SSIDs as I could never get the system to work properly with just the one. The main one is perched in the loft above the wall which gives a good signal upstairs and on the rear ground floor, but only a just acceptable signal on the ground floor front. This is enough to serve the internet to mobile devices at the front of the house but not reliable enough for devices like the Receiver. The second (actually my Router) serves just the front of the house and gives an acceptable signal for the Receiver and internet connected TV in my living room. I have "hidden" the SSID of this WAP so all visiting devices connect to the main one by default.

I have powerline networking to the one static PC on the ground floor where the extra bandwidth is useful when copying photos and other large files back and forth to my NAS.