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wickedbob
2006-04-19, 19:35
Does anyone know of the best wireless router to use with a Squeezebox3?

At the moment, I run a netgear dg834 ADSL Modem/Router that cannot handle the sheer volume of data being pushed backwards and forwards through my wifi network.

I experience this as consistent audio dropouts when playing back any FLAC or MP3 file locally. I'm guessing its low wireless throughput is contributing to this (http://www.adslguide.org.uk/hardware/reviews/2004/q3/netgear-dg834g.asp).

I thought the squeezebox could be used with any wireless router, but I can say from experience that this appears to not be the case. I am currently looking for another model of wireless router to upgrade to.

Do you have a squeezebox working flawlessly in your house?
What type of wireless router do you use?

dwc
2006-04-19, 20:56
Check the sweet router page on the wiki:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?RouterStatus

Michaelwagner
2006-04-19, 21:35
The best solution to this is always CAT5 (or better) copper.

If you aren't a DIYer, an electrician can install CAT5 for like $50 a run. If you only have to cover a few rooms, it's probably cheaper than the router, and it'll surely take less time to get working. No WEP, no WAP, no WSAP, no SSID, no worrying about wardrivers, your results won't change tomorrow when the new guys move in next door or your partner makes popcorn in the microwave.

wickedbob
2006-04-19, 21:48
Check the sweet router page on the wiki:

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cgi?RouterStatus

Yes that page is not very helpful.
There is limited information on the page and no indication of the ratio of users with problems and without problems.

Also my router is listed there with no apparent problems.
I beg to differ.

MrC
2006-04-19, 21:51
Yes that page is not very helpful.
There is limited information on the page and no indication of the ratio of users with problems and without problems.

Also my router is listed there with no apparent problems.
I beg to differ.

Well, then, add your issues !

wickedbob
2006-04-19, 21:53
The best solution to this is always CAT5 (or better) copper.

If you aren't a DIYer, an electrician can install CAT5 for like $50 a run. If you only have to cover a few rooms, it's probably cheaper than the router, and it'll surely take less time to get working. No WEP, no WAP, no WSAP, no SSID, no worrying about wardrivers, your results won't change tomorrow when the new guys move in next door or your partner makes popcorn in the microwave.

Yes.. nothing like having a cable attached directly from one device to another. In all honesty, I would have saved myself $600 and stayed with the rca stereo out cable that I was using to my stereo if I had known that the squeezebox would not work reliably.

I had purchased the squeezebox as a wireless solution to my music needs.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

wickedbob
2006-04-19, 22:00
Well, then, add your issues !

Done.

Hasn't done much about my problem though.

wickedbob
2006-04-19, 22:35
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=22736

scalesr1
2006-04-19, 22:50
I wired the 'whole' house as it was being built but once we were in I
realized that I had not thought things through quite enough and I needed to
put a WiFi solution in for an SB1 in the kitchen.

Because I already had an ADSL router installed I decided to simply add a
wireless access point in a convenient location. I used a Dlink DWL-2000AP+
which worked faultlessly out of the box, (I use WEP here).

Upgrading to an SB2 wireless fixed any dropout issues (I found that keeping
everything 'G' worked best) and now we use a Laptop and the SB2 - no
problems. I even use an old PDA with a 'b' wifi card for slimserver control
(handheld skin) and that works fine too.

I recently set up an SB3 wireless for a colleague who already had a Dlink
DSL-G604T ADSL router with WiFi - had loads of trouble getting it to work
with any encryption - replaced it with standard ADSL router and put in a
more recent Dlink WAP - no problems at all.

Another colleague has a newly built office outside his house which runs a
small MAC network connected to ADSL via an old Dlink DSL-504 router - adding
a Dlink WAP there failed initially. No Signal in the house at all. I
suggested that it seemed like the whole office was behaving like a 'Faraday
cage' - my colleague replied - 'it is! - the whole building was insulated
using foil coated 'cellotex' which is an insulation material clad in
aluminum! - we poked the WAP outside a window and it worked fine. The
eventual solution was to run Cat5 from the office to the house and then
install the Dlink WAP. SB3 and powerbook work well all over the house.

The net result of all of this seems to be that I have had total repeatable
success with WAP's and have avoided the WiFi router issues (which I only
experienced once and swiftly resolved using the WAP).

Does that help?

Richard

-----Original Message-----
From: wickedbob
[mailto:wickedbob.26jkgn1145500801 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com]
Sent: 20 April 2006 03:35
To: discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
Subject: [slim] Best wireless router for Squeezebox?


Does anyone know of the best wireless router to use with a Squeezebox3?

At the moment, I run a netgear dg834 ADSL Modem/Router that cannot
handle the sheer volume of data being pushed backwards and forwards
through my wifi network.

I experience this as consistent audio dropouts when playing back any
FLAC or MP3 file locally. I'm guessing its low wireless throughput is
contributing to this
(http://www.adslguide.org.uk/hardware/reviews/2004/q3/netgear-dg834g.asp).

I thought the squeezebox could be used with any wireless router, but I
can say from experience that this appears to not be the case. I am
currently looking for another model of wireless router to upgrade to.

Do you have a squeezebox working flawlessly in your house?
What type of wireless router do you use?


--
wickedbob
------------------------------------------------------------------------
wickedbob's Profile: http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=3739
View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=23134

Cubed
2006-04-20, 00:30
I too have a Netgear DG834, though mine is the 'GT' model which supposedly has a 108Mbps option. I too have been experiencing constant stuttering and dropouts with the SB3.

I've just loaded Firmware 41 and the latest 6.5 beta of slimserver and it seems to have temporarily at least solved the low buffer issue.

The whole thing has been most unsatisfactory as I expected wireless music from the off and have had many people on this forum suggest I hardwire my unit. Why for heavens sake? If I wanted to do that I wouldn't have bought a wireless music solution would I. Doh!

peter
2006-04-20, 00:43
On Thu, 20 Apr 2006 00:30:17 -0700, "Cubed"
<Cubed.26jy4b1145518501 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> I too have a Netgear DG834, though mine is the 'GT' model which
> supposedly has a 108Mbps option. I too have been experiencing constant
> stuttering and dropouts with the SB3.
>
> I've just loaded Firmware 41 and the latest 6.5 beta of slimserver and
> it seems to have temporarily at least solved the low buffer issue.
>
> The whole thing has been most unsatisfactory as I expected wireless
> music from the off and have had many people on this forum suggest I
> hardwire my unit. Why for heavens sake? If I wanted to do that I
> wouldn't have bought a wireless music solution would I. Doh!

I feel your pain, but it would be unfair to blame this on the SB3. I
have 4 wireless SB3's and 3 of them work perfectly over Wifi so far (I
have an Asus WL300G). The 4th is just one concrete floor too far and
runs, just as well, over wired ethernet. The wireless one in the kitchen
even keeps playing when the microwave oven is on. Before the SB3's I
owned an SB1 wireless which also worked flawlessly.

The problems you are experiencing are due either to the routers you're
using or to the wireless conditions in your house. Wireless isn't
perfect and nobody's claiming that, but that's not the fault of the SB3.
SD can't very well take responsibility for where you live or what other
equipment you own.

Regards,
Peter

oreillymj
2006-04-20, 00:51
Replying to the original question posted, I have a Belkin 802.11G router and have had a very solid experience with it. From day1 it's worked flawlessly.

However there are few other Wirless networks in my area. My experience may not correspond with yours.

How many WLAN are visible in something like Netstumbler?

hifisteve
2006-04-20, 00:55
Although I've had numerious problems since getting my SB they were entirely due to either Windoze's view of how to manage my wireless network or my decision to build a new uber PC to run house my music collection.

I now have a wireless setup which seems 100% reliable when streaming Apple Lossless files diagonally from front room downstairs to back room upstairs in a brick built Victorian house.

I can use the network for other 'stuff' at the same time without issues and always seem to have 97-100% signal strength.

The wireless bits I use are Belkin F5D7231UK4 router and a Belkin F5D7000UK PCI adapter card.

For me the key to getting this working (hopefully) perfectly has been:

1. Use the Belkin software to manage the network. DO NOT USE WINDOWS!

2. Change the router channel away from the default channel (which is 11 in the UK) to avoid other network interferance. I use channel 6.

3. As suggested by someone on this forum, diable the 'Microsoft Wireless Zero Configuration Service' in XP so that it doesn't try to 'help' and conflict with the Belkin utility.

Since I did the above, the network has been rock solid, doesn't drop the connection and connects up far faster when I turn the PC on.

peter
2006-04-20, 01:21
On Thu, 20 Apr 2006 00:55:46 -0700, "hifisteve"
<hifisteve.26jz9z1145520001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Although I've had numerious problems since getting my SB they were
> entirely due to either Windoze's view of how to manage my wireless
> network or my decision to build a new uber PC to run house my music
> collection.

There's another important issue here. It is unwise to let both the SB
and the PC that runs slimserver connect to the AP wirelessly. The server
should be connected (optionally by a switch) to the wired port of the
access point. If both the server and the client connect wirelessly, the
traffic over the wireless link is effectively doubled, which, will also
double your chances or trouble.

I have both a wireless and a wired network. The wired network contains
my server and desktop machines, while the wireless network contains my
laptops and most of my SB's. The AP bridges both networks. My DSL router
is seperate, but only because that allows me to place the AP in a better
central location in the house.

Regards,
Peter

Cubed
2006-04-20, 01:51
Peter, I disagree.

My router works perfectly with other music streaming devices (Airport express,Roku) not to mention laptops and desktops. It may well be at the bottom of the table when it comes to throughput but this only seems to affect the SB3 which would lead me to assume it is at least partly at fault.

I live in a remote area of the UK and there are NO other wireless networks in my area so overlapping bandwidth is not an issue. If it was a microwave, cordless phone etc then the problem would only occur at certain times not all the time so the culprit again seems to be the SB3/Slimserver.

To me the SB3 seems unduly sensitive to bandwidth constraints and in the time I've had mine which is about three months, we've gone from Firmware 28 to 41! At the same time my router has had one firmware upgrade.

Make of this what you will but in my next house I'm going for a Sonos

Cubed
2006-04-20, 01:56
"There's another important issue here. It is unwise to let both the SB
and the PC that runs slimserver connect to the AP wirelessly. The server
should be connected (optionally by a switch) to the wired port of the
access point. If both the server and the client connect wirelessly, the
traffic over the wireless link is effectively doubled, which, will also
double your chances or trouble."


I'm sorry, I didn't see this written on the box, in the manual or anywhere else for that matter. Obviously it doubles the throughput but then that should be no problem when streaming mp3's at 250ish VBR

Michaelwagner
2006-04-20, 05:05
I'm not sure why people think wireless is a panacea. It's not. It's a technology in it's infancy.

I run wireless in my home because I don't own the walls (I'm renting). I also run wireless at my work location and at my girlfriends work location. So I have some small experience with this.

We use the wireless so we can walk around with our laptops.

Up until Windows XP SP2, wireless was a zoo. with SP2 it's a bit better. We were able to use our laptops this weekend at my cousin's house in Chicago, using her wireless. Only took 15 minutes or so to configure - that was easy. Not.

Wireless at this point is a soup of conflicting non-standards. In another thread, a person reported that, travelling for business to wireless hotspots at hotels, every day was a different adventure, no two connections worked the same, sometimes they just plain didn't work at all.

Anyone who tries to make this Slim's fault is making about as much sense as blaming his Firestones for the potholes in the road.

Wireless is still very bleeding edge. There are 4 access points in my range this week. Last week there were only 3. Last week 2 were unencryped. This week the 2 wised up and are encrypted.

I already had to move my channel once because someone showed up who was bigger and stronger than me and overwealmed my connection - to the bedroom through 2 walls and maybe 20 feet. Someone else in another apartment, perhaps 100 feet away, is overpowering my 20 foot connection. Think about that.

I live near a community college. New students move in and out of the area weekly. Next week I may have no wireless at all, because the guy next door or across the street put in something on the same channel with me.

In this "soup", I operate a wireless SB1. Small buffer, less tolerant of interference before dropping out. It works like a charm. For now. If I had a choice, I would have hard-wired it. I'm about to put it on a home-plug network to get away from the potential interference problems. I tried this out before at my girlfriend's work, and now I'm installing it at home. I have the units, just haven't found the time to install them yet.

I share a transformer with *way* fewer people than I share air for 200 feet in each direction.

Conclusion: wireless is still an immature technology. If computer and technology stores were responsible, they'd post a sign over the wireless section "Here lie dragons". But of course they're not.

Instead, they have 50 different and mutually incompatable systems from 20 different manufacturers, all fighting for your dollar and all not telling you they worked hard at ripping the standards to shreds for a miniscule, furtive marketting advantage, letting your interoperability and connectivity suffer as a result.

Now for some recommendations. These are posting in innumerable threads on this forum, and are not due to me nor can I take any credit.

1. Turn off all forms of non-standard accelleration. These are variously called "Boost", "Turbo" or "108". There may be other names. Basically anything that claims speeds over 54MHz is non-standard, since the standard (802.11G) only defines operating modes up to 54MHz. It is supposed to be possible with these things for the SB to negotiate full-standard operation, but some of the recent revisions of the firmware are to try to guess how to make the non-standard units work according to standards and the manufacturers aren't letting on.

2. Turn off all attempts to splice or join adjacent channels. This is the same nonsense.

3. 802.11N, also sometimes called MIMO, is different and likely can be left on. MIMO is an antenna protocol - in an array of several antennas, the back ones are used as reflectors for the front one, and the arrangement switches with each client, so effectively you get a directional antenna which switches directions to the one it remembers as being the right direction for each client. Lord knows what they do if you walk around the room with your laptop, but since Slims aren't really wireless, they're only one-wire-less, they probably aren't moving around the room dynamically. But you need to be careful. 802.11N is not a finished standard yet, and the routers out so far are properly pre-n routers, because they encapsulate a standard that has not been finalized yet and might change in some implementation details after you buy the router.

4. Use the router list in the wiki. The router list is anecdotal - it's who had which problem with which firmware level. Your milage may vary. If it does, contribute to the page.

5. Switch to using encryption protocols once you have the basic wireless working with your slim (and not before - the risk is slight if you operate for half an hour without encryption, and the risk is far greater that you won't get it working properly if you turn encryption on from the beginning).

6. Use the best encryption you can. WEP is weaker than WPA, but WPA is not supported by 802.11b devices, so not supported with SB1s, for example. SB2s and 3s suppport 802.11g, so support WPA. But some WAPS and routers don't - check the list.

7. Don't bother with hiding your SSID. It makes it harder for the Slim to find the WAP initially, and offers essentially no additional security. Anyone with a copy of netstumbler (don't have it - get it. It's an education) can find out your SSID anyways. Mark pointed out in another thread that turning off SSID advertising only removes one of 5 packet types that display your SSID to the world.

8. Consider MAC address filtering. It's not perfect, because anyone with a little programming skill (or a program) can put a wireless card into promiscuous mode, watch your packets go by, find out your MAC address, and then forge packets as coming from your address. But it'll keep out the riff-raff. For a while.

9. Unless you build a separate network for your Slims alone, there's more than music flowing out that wireless connection. If you are sharing printers, or networked disks, anyone who can see and forge your packets can see and rewrite your data, print on your printer, etc. Did I mention that you should turn on encryption?

10. Published reports say WEP encryption is crackable. I don't know how much power that needs, but what used to take a Cray can now be done on a laptop. If you were a determined hacker, you could stuff the back of a station wagon or a van with enough modern dual-processor boxes and memory networked together and running off the car ignition networked to a laptop with a wireless card and rival what took a roomfull of supercomputers ten years ago. It's unlikely that someone would muster that much power to break into your network or mine, because we (well, I anyways) am not that high profile, so anonymity is our biggest asset. But that's not to say it can't happen.

11. WPA is less crackable, but I don't know if it's been proven theoretically that it can't be cracked.

12. Use strong passwords. If it's your neighbour trying to get in, or the kid down the block, he already knows your wife's name and the name of the dog. Be more creative. A lot more.

13. Most password schemes slow down to a crawl after a few wrong guesses, to time penalize password guessers and make bulk password guessing impossibly slow and unprofitable. The password schemes in WAPs mostly can't do this. At best, they could shut down the entire WAP in the face of a password guesser (but I doubt they do).

14. If you also have mac filtering turned on, the password guesser would have to be using the same (or a small number of) MACs for each guess, and then the WAP could (theoretically) time penalize all traffic from the MAC doing the guessing. This would penalize the true hardware with that MAC, but keep the WAP alive and more effectively repel the attack. This is theoretical. I have no idea if they really do this, but they could. Personally, I doubt they do.

15. Are you really sure you want to be doing this? It's not quite like leaving the keys to the car in the car - it's more like leaving the keys to the car hanging on a peg in the kitchen, and leaving the front door unlocked. Still not a great idea if you have another choice.

Finally, some comments to the OP.

1. How is this Slim's fault? They didn't create the swamp, they just gave you the option of running your product in the swamp.

2. Slim has had a dozen firmware releases to try to deal with these issues. In the same time the router you use has had one firmware release. This shows that the router people have lousy customer service and Slim has better service. Slim clearly doesn't have the problem licked yet, but they are persuing it aggresively, unlike other vendors. The major router vendors, if you check out forums about their products, fix things 6 months to a year after a complaint. Slim hustles a fix out in days. This reflects well on Slim. Shame on the router vendors. They created the swamp and are slow to drain it.

3. If you think Sonos (or any one manufacturer) can fix the swamp, more power to you. Good luck with that. Nothing will fix the swamp until consumers stop buying non-standard hardware and the incentive for the vendors to manufacture smoke and mirrors goes away.

In the mean time, cat 5 or 6 copper fixes the swamp.

The best strategy for negotiating the swamp is to avoid it.

Michaelwagner
2006-04-20, 05:34
Oh, and I should have pointed out that, when entering a password for WEP or WPA, watch out for trailing spaces. They're next to impossible to spot, but they matter and screw things up.

BeerCan
2006-04-20, 05:42
In 2 seperate locations I use a Linksys WRT54G or WRT54GS. I have replaced the firmware with sveasoft.com tailsman. I have had zero problems with the wireless on my SB(es). I play mostly flac and have been very happy.

Well actually I do have one problem. My microwave totally ruins the connection to the SB when I am using it. Make me wonder if it might be "leaking"

Marc Sherman
2006-04-20, 05:53
wickedbob wrote:
>
> Hasn't done much about my problem though.

Neither does complaining. Have you contacted support?

- Marc

Cubed
2006-04-20, 06:14
Bravo MichaelWagner for a well constructed post containing much useful information to someone new to wireless networking. It must have taken you a while and I hope it solves somebodies problem somewhere.

It however convieniently skirts the issues raised by my post, namely that the SB3 seems to be unduly sensitive to certain routers when everything else on the network works. I'm not an expert on wireless systems but I have managed to set up my wife's office and my home using my common sense and carefully chosen equipment. A few firmware tweaks here, a misstyped hex key there but after a short while it all worked and kept on working.

All except the SB3 - which has been a bit of a hit and miss affair really.

Anyway, I don't want to get into an argument and I love the SB3 when its working, infact its because I love it so much that I've kept trying new firmwares etc and not just sent it straight back. I also appreciate the people behind the product working so hard to fix things.

Des
2006-04-20, 06:15
Oh, and I should have pointed out that, when entering a password for WEP or WPA, watch out for trailing spaces. They're next to impossible to spot, but they matter and screw things up.
I think I have indadvertently added a space to the end of my WPA password in SB3, but can't figure out how to delete it (or any other character position, for that matter) using the remote. Any tips?

Good overview of the swamp, Michael. Made possible by the curse/blessing that is 'firmware'.

Michaelwagner
2006-04-20, 06:48
It however convieniently skirts the issues raised by my post, namely that the SB3 seems to be unduly sensitive to certain routers when everything else on the network works.
It wasn't meant to skirt but to educate.

It's a difficult swamp to negotiate, and the territory keeps changing.

It's true, I can't claim otherwise, Slim isn't doing a good job negotiating the swamp right now.

My personal solution was to buy a wireless SB1 for the one situation where I absolutely have to have wireless, and to buy wired ones for all the other locations.

Most people don't realize how easy and cheap wiring your rooms can be, either the DIY route or the hire-an-electrician route, and don't realize the mountain of trouble they're getting into by getting "cheap and easy wireless" which, like the moral majority, is neither.


I'm not an expert on wireless systems but I have managed to set up my wife's office and my home using my common sense and carefully chosen equipment.
And I'm not a cajun and I didn't grow up in a swamp, but I have walked across a few once or twice without drowning. However, I would still walk around them when I have a choice.

Just because I've never yet run into quicksand doesn't mean it doesn't exist and I won't hit some on my next trip through the swamp. So I tend to stay away.

I am a skier. I've never been avalanched. But when I go where they have them, I know about avalanche peepers and I'd wear one if I had no choice. My choice, if I had one, would still be to ski on the other face that day. Or take a snow day and go shopping.

I've set up 3 wireless networks. After a fashion, they work. That doesn't make me an expert on wireless and even less on diagnosing, with any authority, which is the malfunctioning component in a malfunctioning wireless network situation. You need packet sniffers and all sorts of stuff I don't have, and I suspect you don't either.

The argument that, in this case, everything works but the SB so it must be Slim's fault is specious.

It is correct that Slim has not navigated the swamp well (or mine field, if you want to switch analogies). They could do better. Probably much better. They just hired someone with the express purpose of putting more manpower into this specific problem area. So they know there's a problem.

But in IT work, we do what's called problem source determination. I suspect if you did it here, you'd find that the source of the problem is non-standard packets on the network put there by the other hardware, not the Slim Devices product. This is based on a track record of 6 months or so here on the forum watching and in some cases assisting with wireless problems. It's almost always been the other hardware malfunctioning. Everything worked fine after it was switched out. The few times it was the Slim box, it was because the slim box didn't know how to handshake the non-standard box to use the proper standards.

I'm not a slim employee nor do I have any other financial or other arrangement with them, other than as a customer. But I do think they shouldn't be blamed for things or situations they didn't do or create.

I'm prepared to be proven wrong, that in your case the Slim box is malfunctioning, but you need to show me your packets before I'll believe it. And if you can show me, you can show Slim, and I'd bet good money they'll respond faster than Linksys or Belkin or D-Link or any of those guys.


I don't want to get into an argument and I love the SB3 when its working, infact its because I love it so much that I've kept trying new firmwares etc and not just sent it straight back. I also appreciate the people behind the product working so hard to fix things.

Me too. Same for most people here.

I don't feel this is an argument. Just trying to keep you and others aware of the tradeoffs you're making going to wireless. I do it. Others do too. But really, get a copy of netstumbler. It's free (or cheap, can't remember now). Watch how much you're broadcasting to every kid with a '92 Camero and a laptop that drives by your place. Tends to give you sober second thoughts.

Mark Lanctot
2006-04-20, 07:22
Yes that page is not very helpful.
There is limited information on the page and no indication of the ratio of users with problems and without problems.

Also my router is listed there with no apparent problems.
I beg to differ.

It's hard to say what will work for you and what won't, given the infinite variability in home construction, SB3 and router placement, competing networks, cordless phones, microwaves, etc. As Michael aptly describes it, it's a swamp or a soup.

What worked for the original person who posted in the router status wiki doesn't work for you. With wireless technology, this is more or less par for the course. It's a crapshoot.

However, that review you posted is a bit troubling with the low throughput. But on the other hand, signal through obstacles seems good, although they didn't state what throughput they got at each location, which would be more enlightening.

When I was out shopping for routers, I wanted one with good throughput at long ranges. I didn't care if there was high throughput at close range - I'd wire it right up to the router for that.

So based on the recommendations at http://www.tomsnetworking.com I bought an SMC2804WBRP-G router. The Intersil PRISM chipset reportedly had average close range throughput and good long-range throughput.

This had good throughput even two floors away. I was impressed. See my review here:

http://www.abxzone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92337

However it didn't work with the SB2/3 due to the interoperability issues Michael discussed. (It works since SB3 firmware 37, so there is definite progress on Slim's part.)

I wanted a router that would work with my new toy, so I did some investigation. The Linksys WRT54G is one of the most popular routers of all time. I passed over it reading the Tom's Networking review of it - the Broadcom chipset has excellent throughput at close range but poor throughput at long range. However I picked one up, supposing it would work due to the sheer number of them out there and due to the fact that you could install 3rd party firmware on it which would allow you to boost transmit power.

Throughput ended up being about the same. It appears I'm limited to 13-15 Mbps real speed by wireless conditions in my area - near 8-12 wireless networks and less than 1 km from a 500 kW radio transmitter that's so strong my corded phones, computer speakers and subwoofer pick it up when they're off!

I'm sticking with the WRT54G even though the SMC unit works again now simply because the WRT54G supports WPA2 (also working with firmware 37+) and the SMC never will.

Incidentally, I ended up using DD-WRT 3rd party firmware, works great. Note newer WRT54Gs, version 5, do not run Linux and can't use 3rd party firmware, although they work fine with the SB3 as long as the router has its latest firmware. The first v5 firmware was a mess and hardly worked with anything. If you want to be able to use 3rd party firmware, you need to find a v1-v4 unit or get a "WRT54GL" - L for Linux.

Mark Lanctot
2006-04-20, 07:34
Excellent post Michael, I just wanted to add to it.


10. Published reports say WEP encryption is crackable. I don't know how much power that needs, but what used to take a Cray can now be done on a laptop. If you were a determined hacker, you could stuff the back of a station wagon or a van with enough modern dual-processor boxes and memory networked together and running off the car ignition networked to a laptop with a wireless card and rival what took a roomfull of supercomputers ten years ago. It's unlikely that someone would muster that much power to break into your network or mine, because we (well, I anyways) am not that high profile, so anonymity is our biggest asset. But that's not to say it can't happen.

http://freshmeat.net/projects/aircrack/ can crack WEP in as little as 2 seconds.

Doesn't require anything more sophisticated than a laptop.

WEP was always a workaround cludge, it was never intended for long-term use but as a stopgap until something more sophisticated came along - WPA.



11. WPA is less crackable, but I don't know if it's been proven theoretically that it can't be cracked.

The encryption cannot be cracked by brute force, it's far too strong for that. You'd need a bank of Sun workstations crunching at it around the clock for months. Instead, the standard attack is a "dictionary attack", which searches through all the words in a dictionary for passwords. So don't use a word you'd find in a dictionary. Use a long phrase made up of several words. Misspell. Capitalize in strange places. Use numbers and punctuation.

Bottom line: use WPA where you can. TKIP encryption is very strong and can't be broken by brute force yet. WPA2-AES is even stronger than TKIP and should remain unbreakable for a considerable time even after WPA-TKIP is compromised, if that ever happens.

Here's a link to NetStumbler, which is free:

http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/

and a link to Ethereal, a packet sniffer, also free:

http://www.ethereal.com/download.html

Mark Lanctot
2006-04-20, 07:46
I'm sorry, I didn't see this written on the box, in the manual or anywhere else for that matter. Obviously it doubles the throughput but then that should be no problem when streaming mp3's at 250ish VBR

It's not merely the drop in throughput, it's the fact that it has to go through 2 wireless hops.

The router must receive the SlimServer packet then retransmit it for the SB3 to pick up.

In excellent wireless conditions for BOTH hops, this should work OK. If either hop is over a poor wireless environment, there may be trouble, and if both hops are through poor environments, there will definitely be problems, maybe even at 250 kbps.

A device with a small buffer like the SB1 or a SLIMP3 (wired to a WAP) will make this worse.

The SlimServer, as the name implies, is a server. Anyone in IT will tell you that servers should never connected wirelessly - in fact many of them use gigabit wired connections. Since SlimServer is a light-duty server designed for home use, wiring it isn't a requirement and some can get it working wirelessly just fine, but that still doesn't make it a good idea. If it works wirelessly, fine, more power to you, but you're exposing yourself to some risk doing this. If you encounter wireless throughput issues, this should be the very first thing you should address.

Cubed
2006-04-20, 08:11
Mark, I obviously tried hardwiring the server as a test - at least I thought that might isolate the problem but it made no difference. Even with the server hardwired I couldn't stream internet radio or low bit rate MP3's (I do have a few!) let alone anything approaching lossless.
As I said, Firmware 41 seems to have done the job.

Michaelwagner
2006-04-20, 09:32
http://freshmeat.net/projects/aircrack/ can crack WEP in as little as 2 seconds.

Doesn't require anything more sophisticated than a laptop.
That's sobering ...

wickedbob
2006-04-20, 16:23
Thanks to everybody who has placed feedback about your setups that work seamlessly. This is incredibly useful for me and I hope for other newbies pulling their hair out with poor performance from their squeezeboxes and wireless networks.

I have setup a test system with an old mac mini running slimserver wired straight into the router and my sb3 wired as well - thereby eliminating the wireless throughput limitations of my router.
I plan to test this over the next few weeks.

I'm disappointed that the squeezebox can't perform in a variety of different real-world wireless conditions and I can see that the responsibility of this doesn't rest solely with slimdevices.
As a squeezebox newbie, I would have appreciated a large disclaimer on the slimdevices website stating that the wireless version may not work correctly in some setups, as I remember not being sure which version to buy.
In retrospect I would have saved myself $100 and just got the wired version.

Also the 30-day money back guarantee is too short to be useful. I have spent months trying different things with technical support with no success. Since I enquired about a refund, I have not heard back from slimdevices, even after several attempts to contact them. Can't help but feel that now the problem is 'too hard' to fix, I have been left out in the cold.

Thanks again to those who contributed to this forum thread with their personal experiences and setups regarding wireless performance and their squeezeboxes.

Michaelwagner
2006-04-20, 17:10
As a squeezebox newbie, I would have appreciated a large disclaimer on the slimdevices website stating that the wireless version may not work correctly in some setups, as I remember not being sure which version to buy.
In retrospect I would have saved myself $100 and just got the wired version.
But it works for 90+% of the people who buy it.

People get into car accidents because the roads are awful and full of impatient people with road rage. Seen a car recently that says "may not protect you against road rage"?

I haven't seen anyone put disclaimers about wireless performance on any wireless gear. Yet problems abound. In every forum that touches on it.


the 30-day money back guarantee is too short to be useful.
You may have a point there. The box is complex and hard to evaluate quickly.

But I don't set Slim Devices marketting policies ... :-)


Can't help but feel that now the problem is 'too hard' to fix, I have been left out in the cold.
My experience with them has been quite the contrary, very attentive.

One thing that comes up from time to time is either lost email or spam filters. If you have that ability, check your spam filters for mis-classified email.

Where are you located geographically, Bob? Approximately, like continent will do.

jhonsberger@msn.com
2006-04-22, 09:01
i purchased a netgear 824 rangemax based on its claim for 1000%
better covearge than regular g routers. what a joke. my current belkin wireless g router had better range and i bought this router about 2 years ago.my home comprises about 3000 sq feet . on top of
not better range ,in a mixed g and b devices environment performance is very poor,slow. it may be fine a a g only environment but that is not my setup.in fact cnet reviewed this device and indicated there was a significant dropoff in performance
in a mixed b and g setting.

firmware is also very buggy as is the routers web site.i returned mine and will wait for n routers to show up

Michaelwagner
2006-04-22, 10:28
Reports from early adopters of pre-n routers like the Belkin are positive.

The basic idea of using antenna arrays to form directional antennas is not new - we had them back in CB days, and we didn't even have a sophisticated base unit, just a garden variety cottage setup for emergencies (back when you couldn't get phone service at our cottage). At that time, I think there was a gang switch that set direction, so it was definitely manual.

I think back in the earlier days of short wave radio, a lot of broadcasters used antenna arrays to beam their signal to a specific country (no point in sending an italian language broadcast somewhere where they don't speak italian) but that was probably manual too.

So the underlying principals are well-known and well understood.

The nice thing about antenna array technology is that there is already an improvement if only one end uses it. Both ends are nicer, of course, but it's hard to imagine an antenna array perched behind your laptop.

The router can memorize where each MAC is geographically and set the antenna array up for each send to that MAC. I don't know what it could do about receive, though, other than measuring the direction for the next send. There isn't much time once you see the packet is coming to reset the antenna configuration. And if you miss the header because you were listening in the wrong direction, it's gone.

Here's an interesting wiki article on 802.11n
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11#802.11n
I'm not sure about some of the dates, though.

For an interesting description of building a WEP-attacking tool and the research they did, see:
http://ftp.die.net/mirror/papers/802.11/wep_attack.pdf

It's light on crytanalysis compared to the theoretical paper it references, but it's still not the easiest read. Basically, there is enough regularity in the first few bytes of most network traffic that a moderately sophisticated guesser program can guess the WEP encryption keys, work backwards and read your traffic.

Additionally, given 2 implementation flaws that many WEP implementations have, both related to key choice, the guessing time can be quite short. These are implementation errors, not errors in the standard, but even without them, WEP is breakable.

An average of 4 million transactions would be needed, in theory to break any encryption key. It sounds like a big number, but if I didn't mess up the math, it's something like 300 songs played on your squeezebox.

The paper recommends putting your WAP outside your firewall, something I'm strongly considering.

shaboyi
2006-04-23, 09:04
I have installed a bunch of Linksys routers and Access Points with the SB
(20+) -- few of which have any problems. Of course, wired is always the
best.

Some tips:

- Try 'B' only. G is really not necessary for streaming audio if wireless
connection is good. B has better range than G, often resulting in a better
connection that often solves problems. B is also more than sufficient for
web surfing, print sharing. File sharing with large files suffers.

- Never double hop. It works like hell and is nothing but trouble. (Double
hop: Wireless to Slimserver machine AND Wireless to SB). It just won't
work consistently. One leg must be wired.

- Don't use the Linksys A/G models. The signal strength is poor.

- Scan the environment and select a channel with least congestion - Pretty
much never use ch. 6 unless there is no congestion and then this is a good
choice - the SB seems to like it.

- In a multiple AP environment, I have seen the SB home on the wrong AP
(that is an AP with a weaker signal that is further from it than a closer
AP). Resolve this by disconnecting the APs other than the one you want the
SB to home to. Set up that connection. Then reconnect the other APs. If
littel congestion on Ch. 6, use it for the AP you want the SB to home to.

- Interference issues - If you have 2.4 Ghz cordless phones, see if you can
change the channel. if not, dump it and get a 900 Mhz, or other outside the
2.4 range. Old microwaves will blast out your signal. Get another one or
just live with it.

- If a particular Linksys Router/AP has any weird things going on, install
latest firmware, hard reset, then re-configure. If this does not help any
strange behaviours (like failing DHCP, poor signal, etc.) return it or just
get a new one - the $ are not worth the headache). Having installed over
100 of these routers/APs, bad ones account for somewhere around 5% or more.
So dump them if problems occur.

- Encryption. I always use WEP 128. Do not see any reason to use
stronger/better encryption in a residential environment - Who on earth would
go through the trouble of hacking these home networks? -- especially since
so many networks are wide open (at least in metro NY).

Charles

shaboyi
2006-04-23, 09:27
One more tip:

- The location/position of the router/AP can be incredibly importantt.
Moiving it just a couple of feet in some cases can improve signal by 25 -
40%. Use a long Ethernet cable, and try it at a higher elevation in the
room (like on top of a bookcase, or mounted on a ceiling). The signal
propagates down well, but laterally quite poor. Example: Lets say you have
the SB on the second floor and can put the router/AP in that room or the
room above. If the router/AP is across the room from the SB, it is
possible to get a better signal putting the router/AP on the floor above,
especially if it is directly above the SB. Experiment with various
locations, but again, always try the router/AP at a higher elevation.


On 4/23/06, Charles Stanton <shaboyi (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
>
> I have installed a bunch of Linksys routers and Access Points with the SB
> (20+) -- few of which have any problems. Of course, wired is always the
> best.
>
> Some tips:
>
> - Try 'B' only. G is really not necessary for streaming audio if wireless
> connection is good. B has better range than G, often resulting in a better
> connection that often solves problems. B is also more than sufficient for
> web surfing, print sharing. File sharing with large files suffers.
>
> - Never double hop. It works like hell and is nothing but trouble.
> (Double hop: Wireless to Slimserver machine AND Wireless to SB). It just
> won't work consistently. One leg must be wired.
>
> - Don't use the Linksys A/G models. The signal strength is poor.
>
> - Scan the environment and select a channel with least congestion -
> Pretty much never use ch. 6 unless there is no congestion and then this is a
> good choice - the SB seems to like it.
>
> - In a multiple AP environment, I have seen the SB home on the wrong AP
> (that is an AP with a weaker signal that is further from it than a closer
> AP). Resolve this by disconnecting the APs other than the one you want the
> SB to home to. Set up that connection. Then reconnect the other APs. If
> littel congestion on Ch. 6, use it for the AP you want the SB to home to.
>
> - Interference issues - If you have 2.4 Ghz cordless phones, see if you
> can change the channel. if not, dump it and get a 900 Mhz, or other outside
> the 2.4 range. Old microwaves will blast out your signal. Get another
> one or just live with it.
>
> - If a particular Linksys Router/AP has any weird things going on,
> install latest firmware, hard reset, then re-configure. If this does not
> help any strange behaviours (like failing DHCP, poor signal, etc.) return it
> or just get a new one - the $ are not worth the headache). Having installed
> over 100 of these routers/APs, bad ones account for somewhere around 5% or
> more. So dump them if problems occur.
>
> - Encryption. I always use WEP 128. Do not see any reason to use
> stronger/better encryption in a residential environment - Who on earth would
> go through the trouble of hacking these home networks? -- especially since
> so many networks are wide open (at least in metro NY).
>
> Charles
>
>
>

Pale Blue Ego
2006-04-23, 14:22
I'll add another vote for Wall-plugged (powerline) networking. All my SBs have been wired-only units and I took the $50 I saved on each SB and spent it on A) having Cat-5 strung to 3 locations and B) deploying Netgear XE102 wall-plugged units to 2 locations.

The wall-plugged solution is an excellent compromise. Unlike dedicated runs of Cat-5, you can move the network to any AC plug in the house (or grounds). You can use it in an apartment, and take it with you when you move out. No networking experience needed, zero configuration, no dropouts or bandwidth issues. Plug 'em in and they just work. Run the little Netgear app that encrypts the whole powerline network if you're worried about security. Done.

Wireless is a nifty idea, but most SB owners would rather listen to music than become networking gurus. Wall-plugged facilitates that, and pays for itself by letting you buy the cheaper, wired SBs.

wickedbob
2006-04-23, 21:47
Well I have had NO problems with my Squeezebox wired to the router and running slimserver on a wired mac mini. All my audio dropouts have disappeared and even internet streaming works alot better.
This is great news as I have never been able to get squeezenetworks to work with my squeezebox, so this is a more than suitable alternative.

Malor
2006-04-24, 04:14
I tried the wallplugging idea a couple of years ago. It worked reasonably well, but it always dropped the link after a day or two, requiring that I manually reset one or both of the bridges. (these were Linksys Powerline bridges.) So it was no good for what I really wanted it for.

In a good wireless environment, double-hopping in G mode is no big deal. Definitely better to do a single hop if your installation allows, but double-hopping will work in reasonably good conditions. However, even if it works at first, your neighbor may decide to install something that interferes.

With units that use two antennas, I've had good luck orienting one horizontally and one vertically. I think this has something to do with signal polarization, but I'm not up enough on antennas to be certain. A wise friend told me to do so, and it's worked well for me, so I've stuck with it.

The Linksys WRT54GL is a good AP. The ASUS WL-500G Deluxe is based on the same chipset, will use the open firmware, and has a couple of USB ports as well. If you can find one, it's probably a little better.

Edit: fixed a typo. I said 300G, it's actually 500g. Sorry!

Khuli
2006-04-24, 06:16
The signal propagates down well, but laterally quite poor. Example: Lets say you have the SB on the second floor and can put the router/AP in that room or the room above. If the router/AP is across the room from the SB, it is possible to get a better signal putting the router/AP on the floor above, especially if it is directly above the SB. Experiment with various locations, but again, always try the router/AP at a higher elevation.


That would depend on the the orientation of the AP antenna. The signal strength is weakest along the axis of the (standard dipole) antenna, so if this is vertical, the signal strength will be at a minimum above/below.