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View Full Version : Okay! A seemingly semi-reliable solution - SB3 Wireless



jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 06:28
Okay,

Having tried lots and lot of permutations, which almost included chucking the damned SB3 under a bus, I seem to have found a reliable solution.

My hardware: SB3 Wireless (even though Information->Player says it's a Sqeeezebox2); NetGear WG602 V2 Access Point; WPA-PSK (TKIP).

Here's the procedure for making it work:

1) Switch off SB3, and leave it switched off for 20 minutes.
2) Switch it on.
3) Choose to setup a wireless network.
4) Ignore the offered SSID (HomeLAN), and instead choose to key your own SSID.
5) Key EXACTLY THE SAME value for the SSID as was previously offered - in my case HomeLAN
6) Enter your key. In my case a 12-character key works; a 17-character key did not.
7) Cross your fingers whilst it connects. Usually with either 2 or 1 seconds remaining on the countdown. (The SB1 used to connect at 17 seconds remaining)
8) Cross your fingers again whilst it gets an IP from DHCP. Hopefully before the countdown finishes, and hopefully not a 169.x address.
9) Check your wireless signal strength. In my case it's always 88% or above.
10) Listen to your music!

For the above to work I have to have SSID Broadcast switched on, and I then have to IGNORE the offered SSID, and instead type it manually. Also note that my NetGear WG602 is 54Mbps, and doesn't have any turbo mode or anything fancy. ALSO NOTE THAT EVERYTHING WORKED FLAWLESSLY WITH MY SB1!!!!!!!

Yes, it does all sound a bit of a fairly-tale doesn't it. But it's not. I have to tie my granny to a tree and dance around it before the SB3 will reliably connect to my proven rock-solid WLAN.

I'm not going to sell my SB1 just yet, as I have a feeling it will be back in the lounge before the week is out. I've just spent a shedload of money on an SB3, and will probably end up returning it for a refund and sticking to my SB1. I don't really have the option of getting a new WAP either, as I'm using the NetGear external antenna option for extra signal strength. Mind you, from reading other posts here (and there's LOTS OF THEM) I'm not the only one with wireless SB3 issues.

Comments please, especially from Slim. I'm a big fan of SlimDevices, ahving had two trouble-free years with my SB1. But my experience this morning with the SB3 has beena total nightmare!


Jim Willsher

DrNic
2005-12-19, 08:38
OK this is probably going to sound like a moan/whinge whatever...
But as a long term user of the SBG (ie SB1), and a soon to be owner of an SB3 (if multitask ever get any stock in!) I am concerned.
But I think it is with good reason.
Having been on these forums (and before their inception on the mailing lists) it is OBVIOUS that something is not *quite* right with the wireless implementation on the new SB3's.
Compare this period post SB3 release to the same time scale post SB2 release...
There are far too many wireless connection problems occuring to be put down to stupidity of the user.
I know there are many for whom this device will just work - and I pray to God that is the case for me too.
So I will wait and see how I fair in this wireless connection lottery, and will certainly post back here either way!
Why did I write this seemingly useless drivel?
Honestly I'm not sure (!) but I want Slim to make this a flawless product (my neck is on the block now with so many recommendations!). One that behaves like my original out of the box - perfectly.

Sean/Dean - is there a wireless problem? Or do you feel that this surge of issues is related to the wider audience that SB3 is receiving, and just forms the statistical spike of problems seen in all high volume sales?

Nic

Heuer
2005-12-19, 09:10
I got my SB3 WiFi working within 5 minutes of getting it out of the box and I have never had experience of a previous generation model. I went for a fixed IP address because it seems to work better with my laptops and I have no need for 250+ connections. Router is a Linksys WRT54g Channel 1.

A problem with getting a decent WiFi signal, because of the location of the SB3 (stuttering on some tracks), meant I then used Develo 85Mbit dLAN Homeplugs and they also worked first time giving me a minimum 40Mbit link and usually better.

My business partner just got his two SB3's and he too had them working wirelessly within minutes. He also uses Linksys WRT54g.

Try a fixed IP.

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 09:17
Hi,

I've got it working with a fixed IP. But that doesn't explain why it was getting a 169.254 address?

Somethis is "definitely" not right with this implementation. Why would an SB1 work out of he box, flawlessly, for 2 years, but the SB3 is riddled with issues? Perhaps I've got a "friday model"? I'm inclined to return it for an exchange (or a refund?) anyway, just in case.



Jim

DrNic
2005-12-19, 09:20
I got my SB3 WiFi working within 5 minutes of getting it out of the box and I have never had experience of a previous generation model. I went for a fixed IP address because it seems to work better with my laptops and I have no need for 250+ connections. Router is a Linksys WRT54g Channel 1.

A problem with getting a decent WiFi signal, because of the location of the SB3 (stuttering on some tracks), meant I then used Develo 85Mbit dLAN Homeplugs and they also worked first time giving me a minimum 40Mbit link and usually better.

My business partner just got his two SB3's and he too had them working wirelessly within minutes. He also uses Linksys WRT54g.

Try a fixed IP.

Heuer

Glad you found a solution to the Wi-Fi black spots. Wi-Fi really has some issues - the choice of 2.4gHz always baffled me (I know about the 5gig "a" standard), what with just about everything using this frequency (phones, wireless desktop suites, microwave radiation etc)!!
Enjoy

Nic

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 09:26
I too have been looking at these 85Mbit plugs (sold by SolWise in the UK). But I have to keep asking myself:

Perfectly good, working SB1
--or--
Very flakey SB3 wireless, and spending another 100 on getting powerline NIC units?


Hmmm......



Jim

mecouc
2005-12-19, 09:33
I run a squeezebox 1 over 14MB homeplug (from Solwise) which works fine. I don't think you need 85MB.. unless you're streaming FLAC to several SBs, which perhaps you are. My wireless signal dropped completely whenever the microwave was turned on.

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 09:37
Yes, I could probably get away with the 14Mb ones. After all, SB1 is only 802.11b (11Mb) and I never had any loss of streaming (all my stuff is MP3).

Still hurts though, having to look at a hardwired solution because the SB3 Wireless is so flakey!

Jim

fuzzyT
2005-12-19, 09:53
jimwillsher wrote:

> Still hurts though, having to look at a hardwired solution because the
> SB3 Wireless is so flakey!

Didn't you just say that you have it working with a fixed IP?

Wireless configs are tricky and interoperablility issues can make you
crazy, but it appears that you've found a stable config.

By the time your config needs to change, you'll likely be using a new
generation of wireless router/AP and the SB3 will be running a revised
firmware.

Why not use it, enjoy your SB3 and leave all of this behind?

--rt

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 10:04
I'm just a bit nervous that's all! I've found the latest builds of Slimserver to be a bit erratic. 6.1 was great, but 6.2 often stops responding, or dies altogether (running on RedHat Enterprise Linux). When this happens my SB1 used to say "cannot connect, press right to try again" etc.

I'm waiting for the day when this happens, and I then have to jump through the same hoops again to get it to work.

Touch wood, it has worked fine for the last three hours.Bt there's still lots of unanswered questions:

1) Why does it allocate itself a 169.254 address?
2) Why does the Player Info option on the player show Squeezebox2?
3) Why won't it work when I choose the "offered" SSID? I have to manually keye the SSID myself (the same as was offered).
4) Why won't it work with SSID broadcast off?
5) Why does it take 19 seconds to connect to Slimserver, when SB1 took a maximum of 3 seconds?

etc. etc.

Definitely a downturn in quality from Slim, in my humble opinion. SB1 was rock solid and very stable, and I thought I'd treat myself to a shiny new SB3. Big mistake.

I'll levae it all running overnight and see if it's still playing in the morning!



Jim

kdf
2005-12-19, 10:20
On 19-Dec-05, at 9:04 AM, jimwillsher wrote:
>
> Touch wood, it has worked fine for the last three hours.Bt there's
> still lots of unanswered questions:
>
> 1) Why does it allocate itself a 169.254 address?
>
This is a networking thing. That address is a fallback when dhcp isn't
found. the idea being that you can still connect to other devices that
have also fallen back to this address. It means your dhcp assignment
failed.


> 2) Why does the Player Info option on the player show Squeezebox2?

They are the same players as far as the server is concerned. The server
has no clue what a Squeezebox3 is. There is a bug report and a patch
submitted:
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2629

> 3) Why won't it work when I choose the "offered" SSID? I have to
> manually keye the SSID myself (the same as was offered).

perhaps you had blanks after the end of the key first time? There is
an enhancement request to have tailing spaces removed automatically:
http://bugs.slimdevices.com/show_bug.cgi?id=2695


> 4) Why won't it work with SSID broadcast off?

no idea, I've never had this problem

> 5) Why does it take 19 seconds to connect to Slimserver, when SB1 took
> a maximum of 3 seconds?
>
if there are any difficulties connecting, then it takes longer. see
above.

-kdf

radish
2005-12-19, 10:27
1) Why does it allocate itself a 169.254 address?

Because it can't get a response from the DHCP server. Why not I don't know, but whenever it has happened to me rebooting the router has fixed it.


2) Why does the Player Info option on the player show Squeezebox2?

Because they are identical internally and run the same firmware.


3) Why won't it work when I choose the "offered" SSID? I have to manually keye the SSID myself (the same as was offered).

No idea - you're the first person I'm aware of who's had this problem. I recommend you raise a bug report.


4) Why won't it work with SSID broadcast off?

I think, in general, it does - others have working configs with SSID disabled. Personally, seeing as there's no reason to disable the SSID broadcast I don't bother.


5) Why does it take 19 seconds to connect to Slimserver, when SB1 took a maximum of 3 seconds?

My guess would be it's got a weaker/noisier signal. Mine connects almost instantly, if you think you have a defective unit (a few of your symptoms could be caused by hardware problems) you should call support and get it swapped.

MrC
2005-12-19, 10:28
1) Why does it allocate itself a 169.254 address?
2) Why does the Player Info option on the player show Squeezebox2?
3) Why won't it work when I choose the "offered" SSID? I have to manually keye the SSID myself (the same as was offered).
4) Why won't it work with SSID broadcast off?
5) Why does it take 19 seconds to connect to Slimserver, when SB1 took a maximum of 3 seconds?


Here are some answers to your questions:

1) There are couple bugs in the current DHCP implementation.
2) The SB3 is really a SqueezeBox2, third generation.
3) Don't know. Could be as simple as some corruption in the initial SSID string presented (like a trailing space?) and that by cycling though the SSIDs, this is cleared.
4) This occurs with some other qualified products as well, not just SB2/3. My wife's IBM ThinkPad had trouble with SSID disabled as well. It seems pretty clear the Association process for the SB2/3 wiresless implementation could try harder.
5) Hard to say - this could be router independent, and/or could be related to the above. It takes 3-4 for mine.

Victor Brilon
2005-12-19, 10:33
On Dec 19, 2005, at 11:04 AM, jimwillsher wrote:

>
> Touch wood, it has worked fine for the last three hours.Bt there's
> still lots of unanswered questions:
>
> 1) Why does it allocate itself a 169.254 address?

A clear indication that it's not communicating with the DHCP server.
You should diagnose this network problem before doing anything else
with it.

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 10:35
Thanks everyone fr the feedback and info. A few notes:

Definitely no trailing spaces on the SSID. And besides, it works when I manually key the SSID, but it doesn't work if I try to choose the "broadcast" SSID. So eevn if there were trailing spaces, it would still match with the broadcast.

I'll see if I can narrow down the symptoms.



For what it's worth, I'd personally like an SB3 but with the wireless hardware from the SB1! I don't need 54Mbps, and would far rather have 11Mbps if it meant stability.


Jim

Heuer
2005-12-19, 12:08
Just a thought but there are two elements to WiFi reception - signal strength and signal quality. The SB3 along with many other devices just measures the former but if there is interference (DECT phones, microwave, neighbours WiFi, reflections from steel structures) the signal quality will be poor. This means corruption and the device will have to constantly request the packet to be sent again, slowing responses. I have seen 80% strength and 25% quality. Maybe the orientation of your SB3 makes it more susceptible to noise than the SB1 - try rotating it. Also with WiFi becoming ubiquitous it is likely others around you are enjoying (?) the technology. At a friends house down the road there are 7 networks available (most unsecured!) yet at my house there is only mine.

Also try placing the SB3 right next to the WiFi router and see how quickly it connects. Have you tried a different channel? There are 11 to choose from and after much experimentation I found Ch1 gave me the best results. Default is Ch6.

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 12:11
I had the SB3 beside the WAP and still had no better results.

There's no other networks around me......as there's no other houses around me :-)


Not sure about channels. I've chosen "Europe" as the region, and I think that locks it?


Jim

DrNic
2005-12-19, 12:15
Just a thought but there are two elements to WiFi reception - signal strength and signal quality. The SB3 along with many other devices just measures the former but if there is interference (DECT phones, microwave, neighbours WiFi, reflections from steel structures) the signal quality will be poor. This means corruption and the device will have to constantly request the packet to be sent again, slowing responses. I have seen 80% strength and 25% quality. Maybe the orientation of your SB3 makes it more susceptible to noise than the SB1 - try rotating it. Also with WiFi becoming ubiquitous it is likely others around you are enjoying (?) the technology. At a friends house down the road there are 7 networks available (most unsecured!) yet at my house there is only mine.

Also try placing the SB3 right next to the WiFi router and see how quickly it connects. Have you tried a different channel? There are 11 to choose from and after much experimentation I found Ch1 gave me the best results. Default is Ch6.


Heuer,
whilst your advice is excellent and pertinent to those setting up a new wireless network, there are elements that just aren't relevant to the OP's problem.
Re: signal quality - OP had the SB1 working fine, so you can presume that the quality is there
Re: Orientation - if the change to total internal antennae makes the device this particular about orientation then it was firstly a bad design choice and secondly not tested thoroughly
Re: Channel - see first point (working SB1)

Not whole picking or flaming you in any sense. Just trying to focus the problem here!!!

Cheers

Nic

DrNic
2005-12-19, 12:17
I had the SB3 beside the WAP and still had no better results.

There's no other networks around me......as there's no other houses around me :-)


Not sure about channels. I've chosen "Europe" as the region, and I think that locks it?


Jim

Jim
I think Heuer was pointing to individual channel choice.
Rather than Channel set that I think you are referring to.
Europe (well at least the UK) has the option of 13 channels, US are restricted to 11, AFAIK!

Nic

jimwillsher
2005-12-19, 12:19
Update: It's still running reliably. I did lockup the unit by choosing to Connect SqueezeNetwork (I was playing!) and had to power-cycle to unlock it (have raised bug). When this happened I had to play the game again, not chooing the broadcast SSID etc. Also, it took two attempts, as the first gave me a 169.x.x.x address.

So, the status is this: When it runs, it runs well. The battle is getting it to run :-)

Will continue trying to narrow it down, and wil lreport back here if I find anything useful.

Jim

Heuer
2005-12-19, 12:29
Actually the internal antenna of the SB3 does seem to be directional. I know the literature suggests it uses diversity antennae but having spent many hours trying to get a good signal to mine I can say, with the benefit of experience, rotating it through 90deg makes a big difference. The new design is very wife friendly but the internal jobbies are nowhere near as versatile as having an external one. If there is a criticsm of the SB3 design is it is placement sensitive with regards to Wi-Fi and an external antenna connector would be a valuable asset.

So I think my comments still stand - the SB1 and the SB3 do not necessarily bear comparison in some areas. Worth playing with orientation and Channel number (in the WiFi Router - 13 to choose from as you say and there for a reason) IMHO.

Mark Lanctot
2005-12-19, 15:55
A few thoughts:

1. Yes, SSID broadcast/disable is kinda touchy on
the SB2/3. I first got it to work by:

- enabling SSID
- finding, connecting
- disabling SSID but keeping the name the same

Worked fine for a while, but I reworked my setup
and couldn't get it working again. So I kept it
with SSID enbabled. Its security benefits are
highly overrated anyway.

2. Finding the right channel can have a benefit.
It's essential where I am - there are 7-12
wireless networks in range! There are optimal
channels and channels that just have too much
overlap - see
http://www.tomsnetworking.com/Sections-article75-page3.php

Executive summary: try channels 1, 6 and 11. I
read further and looked at their tip, trying 1, 4,
8 and 11. 8 gave the greatest S/N reading using
NetStumbler on a laptop, http://www.netstumbler.com/

3. I'm afraid I have to agree with the comments
about the SB3's wireless performance. In the
exact same position as an SB2, the SB3 reports 65
- 71% signal strength while the SB2 reports 80 -
85%. The SB3 still tests fine at 3000 kbps using
the Network Test plugin, and there are no
dropouts. It does take longer to connect to
SlimServer and SqueezeNetwork though.

4. Use a static IP system if you can. There are
so many benefits: ease of setting up firewalls,
decreased load on the router, slightly increased
security by forcing an intruder to determine your
IP address range and clone it, ease of file
sharing, no more "musical IP addresses" based on
the order devices connect, etc. There's just one
extra step in the SB setup and you never have to
worry about DHCP or getting the dreaded 169.X.X.X
address.

5. For both the SB2 and SB3, there are simply
some routers that won't work with them. This is
coming from someone who spent 5-6 hours trying
unsuccessfully to get an SMC2804WBRP-G working
with it, then having a Linksys WRT54G work with it
in under 5 minutes. It's unfortunate. 802.11g is
a STANDARD, and you'd think all manufacturer's
equipment would work with it. (In this respect,
don't think of the SB as something from Slim
Devices, think of it as an Atheros 802.11g
mini-PCI card, because that's what it is to the
wireless network.) But sadly not all routers seem
to work well wirelessly with these devices.
Wireless networking is still rather touchy.
There's an awful lot that can go wrong - and does!
A quick check of the various wireless networking
forums will have you believe that wireless
networking is still not ready for prime time,
which is true in some respects.

Speaking of manufacturers, the Linksys WRT54G
seems to be very "SB friendly", although there are
some grumblings about the new "version 5".
Interestingly, Linksys uses a Broadcom chipset.
The NETGEAR routers use Atheros chipsets, and
what's weird is that there are reports of problems
with these and the SB3. Go figure, but based on
my previous experience with NETGEAR products, that
doesn't surprise me.

Take a poke around tomsnetworking.com and read
some of their articles,
http://www.tomsnetworking.com/Sections11.php.
Wireless networking is VERY COMPLICATED* under the
surface. It's amazing it works at all, frankly.

* if you don't agree, read this:
http://www.cirond.com/White_Papers/FourPoint.pdf.
Unless you're a mathematician or an electrical
engineer, you will get an understanding of just
how complicated 802.11b is, let alone 802.11g.

Heuer wrote:
> Actually the internal antenna of the SB3 does seem
to be directional. I
> know the literature suggests it uses diversity
antennae but having
> spent many hours trying to get a good signal to mine
I can say, with
> the benefit of experience, rotating it through 90deg
makes a big
> difference. The new design is very wife friendly but
the internal
> jobbies are nowhere near as versatile as having an
external one. If
> there is a criticsm of the SB3 design is it is
placement sensitive with
> regards to Wi-Fi and an external antenna connector
would be a valuable
> asset.
>
> So I think my comments still stand - the SB1 and the
SB3 do not
> necessarily bear comparison in some areas. Worth
playing with
> orientation and Channel number (in the WiFi Router -
13 to choose from
> as you say and there for a reason) IMHO.
>
>

--
___________________________________


Mark Lanctot
___________________________________