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mwoodroof
2006-03-07, 10:42
Hi, I have just started trying to use FLAC files as I think this is the best option for ripping my CD collection at Hi Fi quality. However I have hit a problem. To be fair I think the problem is with my wireless router (a Belkin F5D6230-3), not my SB3, but I thought that everyone on this forum is so helpful this would be a good starting point!

Basically, when I play MP3s, the system works fine, have played for a 3+ hours with no problem.

However, now I started using FLACs, after about half an hour or so of playing, the connection to the SB3 is dropped as my router fails (the router totally hangs - the internet connection fails too). A simple power cycle of the router gets everything up and running again, but obviously this is a major pain!

I am guessing this is something to do with the large FLAC file size, and that once the router has streamed over a certain amount of data it is failing - that would explain why MP3s will play for a long time but FLACs always hang the network quite soon.

I have looked at a few forums and tried changing the wireless network channel - it was originally on ch11, I have now tried ch1 and ch6 as I understand these are "non-overlapping" (or something similar!) and the best to try, but this has not made any difference.

For information I am using 64 bit WEP encryption.

Does anyone have any ideas what might be causing this and suggestions as to what I should try next?

Maybe this is a better question for a wireless networking forum - can anyone point me at a good one?

Thanks in advance for any help with this!!

mageeol
2006-03-07, 12:33
This same sort of thing happened to me when attempting to use the Zyxel P-330W as my wireless router. I was actually using 3 of them--2 as wireless Ethernet bridges (for a couple of wired-only SB2s and some other devices) and 1 as a wireless router. The ones that I used as bridges worked flawlessly, but the wireless router would reboot every time I tried to stream music to the SB2 that was more than about 192kbps (including, of course, FLACs). I was sure that the router was rebooting, too--I checked the logs on the unit to confirm.

I concluded that the P-330W was unstable under load as a wireless router, so I replaced it with a Linksys WRT54G v5, which has worked great. Since making that change a couple months ago, I haven't had a single wireless network instability with the WRT54G or either of the P-330W units.

So...you're probably right. This is more of a wireless network under load issue. Your Belkin unit likely isn't stable (for whatever reason) when under significant load. Good luck resolving it--I decided to throw money at the problem to make it go away.

Owen

mwoodroof
2006-03-07, 12:41
Thanks for the thoughts. I admit I have been thinking the same myself. I would like to fix the Belkin though!!

Another general question then - can I have some opinions on what is the best wireless router to go for? I know this is a very general question but I don't want to get something too cheap and end up having the same problem!! I guess I would probably with DSL modem built in for ease of setup - I have an old D Link ethernet modem which does work fine, but guess it is better to have it all in one box these days?

shinyspoon
2006-03-07, 13:09
I've had problems with two wireless "all in one boxes":

The LINKSYS WAG354G would not complete VPN negotiation using AT&T Global Network Client to my place of work. Never tried it with SB3.

My current NETGEAR 108 Mbps RangeMax ADSL Modem Wireless Router odel DG834PN will not connect via WPA-PSK to the SB3.

WEP-128 appears to work, but I've only just got my SB3 and I haven't really used it.

A colleague is successfully running SB3, using WPA-PSK, via a NETGEAR WGT634U - 108 Mbps Wireless Storage Router.

Goldnet responded to my post "I've had the same problems - see my thread "Recommended UK wireless ADSL routers?"

Hope this helps.

mwoodroof
2006-03-07, 13:36
Thanks, will check that thread out...

Ben Sandee
2006-03-07, 13:55
On 3/7/06, mwoodroof <
mwoodroof.24bel01141760702 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> Thanks for the thoughts. I admit I have been thinking the same myself. I
> would like to fix the Belkin though!!


If you haven't done so already, you should at least try the newest SB2/3
firmware 35 to see if maybe a fix went in to the SB that just happens to
address the router problems for you. I've seen stranger things. As far as
I'm concerned, there's no excuse for a router crashing and the fault by
definition lies with the router vendor. However, it could be something that
the SB2/3 is doing (beyond simple load) that is triggering the failure so
it's worth a shot (again, it's still wouldn't be the SB's fault...).

Ben

cjhabs
2006-03-07, 14:42
I would also upgrade the router to the latest firmware to make sure you're taking advantage of any bug fixes.

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 07:15
Thanks for the ideas guys.

Ben Sandee - When you suggest upgrading to the latest SB firmware, can you clarify that? When I got my SB3 and set it up, it did an auto upgrade, and reports using firmware version 28. Surely this is the latest version? You mention version 35 - is that a pre-release or something? If so, how do I get it?

To be honest, not sure I want to go to pre release software though really - I want a stable system!!

cjhabs - regards the router firmware, I have recently upgraded that to the latest version, and clearly that has not solved the problem. Thanks for the idea though!

To anyone else reading this - any other ideas on what might be making my router do this, much appreciated...

aubuti
2006-03-08, 07:37
If you install the latest nightly release of slimserver, the SB will upgrade the firmware to v35. You can go for 6.2.2, which is a maintenance release, rather than going for the 6.5 beta. If it doesn't work out you can rollback your slimserver to the current version, and I'm pretty sure the firmware will rollback as well.

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 08:01
Aaahh, I see. Thanks for explaining that. Might give it a go if I can summon the courage.

This digital music malarkey certainly isn't straightforward, is it?!!

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 09:24
Still not quite resorted to going pre release, will only do so as a last resort. I don't think it will help to be honest - I am getting more and more convinced that this is a problem with the router.

I have just done another test - tried to copy a large (600Mb) folder of MP3s over the wireless network to my wife's laptop. It worked fine for about 10 minutes, and then, after copying about 208Mb, it stopped, with a Windows error message saying "network name no longer available". Once this had happened, I could no longer access the folders on my desktop over the wireless network. However, the router had not totally hung (like the it does with the SB3), it just seems to be Windows Networking that has gone wrong.

Stranger and stranger.

Does this info give anyone any other ideas of what the problem might be?

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-08, 09:27
Still not quite resorted to going pre release, will only do so as a last resort. I don't think it will help to be honest - I am getting more and more convinced that this is a problem with the router.

I have just done another test - tried to copy a large (600Mb) folder of MP3s over the wireless network to my wife's laptop. It worked fine for about 10 minutes, and then, after copying about 208Mb, it stopped, with a Windows error message saying "network name no longer available". Once this had happened, I could no longer access the folders on my desktop over the wireless network. However, the router had not totally hung (like the it does with the SB3), it just seems to be Windows Networking that has gone wrong.

Stranger and stranger.

Does this info give anyone any other ideas of what the problem might be?

You seem to be on the right track. If it can't handle extended transfers of large files, it can't handle high-bandwidth streaming.

Since I don't know much about the router, I don't know what the problem could be. In fact if it happened in my own router I wouldn't know where to look. A router is a special-purpose computer: it has a CPU, RAM and ROM and runs an operating system. In fact mine (Linksys WRT54G v4) runs Linux - yours probably runs a specialized OS like VxWorks.

I would suspect that there's some sort of log or cacheing going on in the router, and at a certain point the router gets jammed up - either out of memory or the CPU chokes. There isn't really much the user can do about it, it needs to be addressed by the router vendor with a firmware fix.

You'd think transferring more than ~200 MB at a time would fall under "basic functionality", and if every user encountered this, the manufacturer would be swamped, so it could be there's some sort of logging or cacheing setting you can disable.

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 09:54
Hmmmm. Thanks for the thoughts, sounds reasonable to me.

I have just emailed Belkin with details of the problem, so we will see if they have good customer service and manage to help me out with it!

Will keep you posted...

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-08, 10:01
Sounds like the e-mail has already been sent, but if it hasn't, indicate the problem is transferring more than ~200 MB of files. If you indicate the problem is with streaming, they'll likely point the finger at Slim and wash their hands of any responsibility.

In this case, it seems to be their responsibility because you can't transfer more than 200 MB using normal networking transfer methods.

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 10:03
Yup email is sent! Did mention that one problem was in a streaming application but also said that the Windows networking file transfer was not working and did highlight the apparent 200Mb "limit".

Hope they reply. Have a feeling they won't. Forums are much better for getting help from than big companies!!!

MrC
2006-03-08, 12:27
To be honest, not sure I want to go to pre release software though really - I want a stable system!!

Interesting.... is your system "stable" now with a sanctioned release?

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 14:31
Well apart from the problem I am having with my router it is!

Not sure why you ask? What I was trying to say is that, computer fan that I am, I am not sure I want to get any more "bleeding edge" than I already am! I know that pre release software is more likely to cause problems than released software, and I am already have enough of a learning curve as it is! That was all. If I cannot solve this problem after exhausting all router investigations then I guess I will try the 6.2.2 server, but I really doubt it will solve the problem (as it must be the router) and I fear it may cause other problems!

Hope this makes sense!

And maybe someone can summarise what the main benefits of 6.2.2 (or 6.5 for that matter) are for me? If my setup was working as it is now I would be MORE than happy with the functionality, stability and performance of it all - it is fantastic when it works!

Mark Lanctot
2006-03-08, 15:32
And maybe someone can summarise what the main benefits of 6.2.2 (or 6.5 for that matter) are for me? If my setup was working as it is now I would be MORE than happy with the functionality, stability and performance of it all - it is fantastic when it works!

6.2.2 is merely a bugfix of 6.2.1. It offers no new features. It's the firmware that's the big difference, but even that offers no new user-accessible features (lots of wireless fixes though).

6.5 should really be considered the preproduction beta. Lots of new features, not all are entirely sorted out by all accounts. However many run 6.5 without problems apparently.

mwoodroof
2006-03-08, 15:33
Hmmm. Sounds like I should try 6.2.2 then!

May take a brave pill at the weekend...

cjhabs
2006-03-08, 15:38
6.2.2 is merely a bugfix of 6.2.1. It offers no new features. It's the firmware that's the big difference, but even that offers no new user-accessible features (lots of wireless fixes though).


I upgraded from 6.2.1 to 6.2.2 to resolve a problem where I would lose my wireless network configuration after the SB was powered off for a while. Each time I powered back up I had to go through the whole Network settings menus again. 6.2.2 fixed that.

I run Slimserver under XP and the upgrade is completely painless, including the firmware upgrade for the SB.

Habs

mwoodroof
2006-03-09, 11:58
OK, that does sound promising.

I still can't really believe it will solve my problem though - bearing in mind I also have problems with copying large files over the network.

Only one way to find out though...

Thanks for the info and the reassurance that it is an easy upgrade!

eCo
2006-03-09, 19:51
I scanned all the messages, but don't think anyone has mentioned heat might be the culprit. I know some folk have said that has been an issue with their particular router, but don't know about the Belkin. A good place to check would be the forums at http://www.dlsreports.com in their hardware forums.

If it is heat, perhaps you can position the router so it can exchange heat more efficiently...e.g. keep it out of any enclosures or position it so it stands up vertically instead of horizontal.

If there's not much opportunity for better cooling and heat is the issue, then you prolly need a new router.

Good luck,
eCo

timmorris
2006-03-10, 01:18
FLAC shouldn't put your router under particular strain - I'm listening to the excellent new David Gilmour album which I FLAC encoded last night (in fact I used EAC & Mareo to encode it using FLAC and the highest bitrate CBR and VBR options for comparison purposes) No-one else is streaming anything of any consequence off my server (where all the shared music files reside) and the network connection (100Mbps it goes up into a switch in the loft which feeds 3 access points, we have a big house) is showing less than 1% utilisation, so with WPA and TCP/IP overhead taken into account worst case you are only looking at using 5% of the Access Point's capacity. I use Linksys WAP54s (I use Linksys wireless kit exclusively with a Thomson multimedia router, as I wouldn't touch a WAG54 in the UK where we use PPPoA, even the Cisco guys won't buy them through the staff shop as they are so bad!) It is worth replacing the stock antennae with the High gain replacements (HGA7T from memory).

I'm not a Squeezebox expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've been playing with wireless networks since the days when PCI cards cost 100 quid a piece!

Tim