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jdg
2006-02-18, 10:06
An audiophile friend of mine in Seattle persuaded me to move from a 200-CD player to a laptop (.99GB RAM, 2 GHz processor)-with-external-hard-drive-wireless-Squeezebox setup. He further twisted my mind by having me rip the songs using Exact Audio Copy with a .flac extension using Lame (for compression?). He was right--the system is fantastic--with one exception: for no reason that I or the Squeezebox folks can determine, the music stops playing in the middle of songs and does not restart unless I press "play" again. Sometimes it goes for a couple of hours without this happening; but much more often it happens after only a few minutes. It doesn't appear to be the wireless connection (connection strength always 97% to 100% percent), or computer going to sleep (it happens when the computer is clearly on and working), or too much activity on the computer (happens with virtually no activity). The only clues I have (and this posting probably shows I have very little clue about anything) are: (1) the debugging source report shows "decoder underrun while in this mode" with a response "play" just before this happens; other times when the report shows "decoder underrun while in this mode" the response is "playout-play" and it does not stop (when it stops, the squeezebox display and laptop still show the system running in play mode) and (2) sometimes (when not in play mode) the Squeezebox display shows "cannot connect to server". Thanks for any help any of you might provide.

Mark Lanctot
2006-02-20, 08:04
Sounds like a buffer underrun. As many have indicated, signal strength is not the whole picture.

You can enable the buffer fullness indicator by going to SlimServer Player Settings - Now Playing Information - Include buffer fullness in Playing Display Mode list: Enabled. Press NOW PLAYING on the remote until you get a percentage on the top line of the display. I bet it drops to 0 when the song stops.

As for what's causing it, that's much more complicated. Since you have 97%-100% signal strength, you're probably close to your wireless router. However something is interrupting the data stream. You have SlimServer on a laptop - is the laptop connected wirelessly? This usually does not work well because your wireless data is going over 2 hops (laptop - router, router - SB). The router - SB connection appears fine, the laptop-router one may not be.

Try the Network Test (http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?PluginDiagnostics) plugin. To play back FLAC, you should be getting at least 1500 kbps at 100%, although 2000 kbps would be better. Try Bitrate Limiting, Player Settings - Audio - Bitrate Limiting, to reduce the bandwidth required.

However, bitrate limiting makes your FLAC rips rather pointless, so you should do some wireless network diagnostics. Look for interference sources - do you or your neighbors use 2.4 GHz cordless phones? Any microwaves in operation? Download NetStumbler (http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/) and see how many competing wireless networks are operating in your area. Also graph your own wireless connection and check signal strength as you switch channels on the router. Try 1, 6 and 11 as the others will overlap with other channels.

But most importantly, hardwire SlimServer to your router.

abdomen
2006-02-20, 08:27
Also, try turning off any other computers/devices you may have on the network. This would rule out a potential bandwidth competitor, or even a device with a manually-assigned IP address conflicting with the address of your Squeezebox. Not that I've ever been silly enough to let that happen on my network. ;)