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gian
2006-08-07, 12:29
Hallo, All,

I love my SB2, and works fine with SS6.3.1 onto an Ubuntu Dapper box.

My only concern is the signal strenght.
The SB is 10 away from the AP, with a thin wood and glass door in between, and I get:

Player Firmware Version: 55
The IP address for this player is: 192.168.1.5:23917
The ethernet MAC address for this player is: 00:04:20:05:b8:5c
Wireless Signal Strength: 33%

Placed in the current location, the music stream has no hiccups, but if I move the player in my room, it won't hear the AP, won't show even the SSID. My notebook still shows 4 bars out of five, there.

I so wanted to buy a second one for my bedroom...

cheers,
-GianLuca

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-07, 14:39
Consider relocating the AP. Put it so that it's up high like a broadcast antenna.

Don't put it next to anything metal like a PC case because that will block the signal.

Do you have metal mesh lath in your walls?

gian
2006-08-08, 00:02
Mark,
thanks for your kind reply.
The access point cannot be relocated because of the phone socket... and, no, we don't have any metal object in walls or close to the AP or SB...

neilcoburn
2006-08-08, 02:01
You might want to consider Homeplug powerline transceivers. I use Devolo. They work perfectly, and if you're considering an extra Squeezebox the cost of them will be partially offset by the fact you can use them with a wired Squeezebox. http://www.devolo.com/co_EN/index.html

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 05:56
Might want to consider a high-gain antenna.

Kind of a head-scratcher that one would be required though because my SB3 works at 60-70% signal strength a floor below. Plus I have a 500 kW radio transmitter less than 1 km away.

You may have interference - do you or your neighbours have a 2.4 GHz cordless phone? Have you checked for competing networks on the same channel using these instructions:

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

(solution: change channels)

gian
2006-08-08, 07:06
neilcoburn,
thanks, that's something I would try, although our country home has a very old wiring.

Mark,
we have no neighbors... I mean, we have a 17 acres garden on the back, and our home is lake front. We do have a cordless phone, but that does not seem to hurt the PC connection to the AP. The AP, that's the only one we have.
Thanks for the link. It's most interesting.

ciao,
-Gian

gian
2006-08-08, 07:23
following Mark suggestion, here is the report:
192.168.1.5

Please queue up several tracks to play on this player and start them playing. Then press the Reset Counters link above to clear the statistics and update this display.
Summary

Control Connection : OK
Streaming Connection : OK
Player Signal Strength : Poor
Buffer Fullness : Low
Server Response Time : OK

Warnings

The signal strength received by this player is poor for significant periods, please check your wireless network.

The playback buffer for this player is occasionally falling lower than ideal. This is a Squeezebox2 and so the buffer fullness is expected to drop at the end of each track. You may see this warning if you are playing lots of short tracks. If you are hearing audio dropouts, please check our network signal strength.
Player Performance : 192.168.1.5

The graphs shown here record the long term trend for each of the player performance measurements below. They display the number and percentage of measurements which fall within each measurement band.

It is imporant to leave the player playing for a while and then assess the graphs.

Player Signal Strength
This graph shows the strength of the wireless signal received by your player. Higher signal strength is better. The player reports signal strength while it is playing.

< 10 : 0 : 0%
< 20 : 0 : 0%
< 30 : 8 : 5% ##
< 40 : 123 : 80% ########################################
< 50 : 22 : 14% #######
< 60 : 0 : 0%
< 70 : 0 : 0%
< 80 : 0 : 0%
< 90 : 0 : 0%
< 100 : 0 : 0%
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 44.000000
min : 25.000000
avg : 35.718954

Buffer Fullness
This graph shows the fill of the player's buffer. Higher buffer fullness is better. Note the buffer is only filled while the player is playing tracks.

Squeezebox1 uses a small buffer and it is expected to stay full while playing. If this value drops to 0 it will result in audio dropouts. This is likely to be due to network problems.

Squeezebox2 uses a large buffer. This drains to 0 at the end of each track and then refills for the next track. You should only be concerned if the buffer fill is not high for the majority of the time a track is playing.

Playing remote streams can lead to low buffer fill as the player needs to wait for data from the remote server. This is not a cause for concern.

< 10 : 153 :100% ##################################################
< 20 : 0 : 0%
< 30 : 0 : 0%
< 40 : 0 : 0%
< 50 : 0 : 0%
< 60 : 0 : 0%
< 70 : 0 : 0%
< 80 : 0 : 0%
< 90 : 0 : 0%
< 100 : 0 : 0%
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.078328
min : 0.000032
avg : 0.046147

Control Connection
This graph shows the number of messages queued up to send to the player over the control connection. A measurement is taken every time a new message is sent to the player. Values above 1-2 indicate potential network congestion or that the player has become disconnected.

< 1 : 1 :100% ##################################################
< 2 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 0 : 0%
< 10 : 0 : 0%
< 20 : 0 : 0%
>=20 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.000000
min : 0.000000
avg : 0.000000

Server Performance
The graphs shown here record the long term trend for each of the server performance measurements below. They display the number and percentage of measurements which fall within each measurement band.
Server Response Time
This graph shows the length of time between slimserver responding to requests from any player. It is measured in seconds. Lower numbers are better. If you notice response times of over 1 second this could lead to problems with audio performance.

The cause of long response times could be either other programs running on the server or slimserver processing a complex task.

< 0.002 : 9821 : 97% ################################################
< 0.005 : 193 : 2%
< 0.01 : 36 : 0%
< 0.015 : 20 : 0%
< 0.025 : 26 : 0%
< 0.05 : 36 : 0%
< 0.1 : 20 : 0%
< 0.5 : 0 : 0%
< 1 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 0 : 0%
>=5 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.078082
min : 0.000099
avg : 0.000952

Timer Accuracy
Slimserver uses a timer mechanism to trigger events such as updating the user interface. This graph shows how accurately each timer task is run relative to the time it was intended to be run. It is measured in seconds.

Timer tasks are scheduled by the server to run at some point in the future. As only one timer task can run at once and the server may also be performing other activity, timer tasks always run slightly after the time they are scheduled for. However if timer tasks run significantly after they are scheduled this can become noticable through delay in the user interface.

< 0.002 : 1389 : 45% ######################
< 0.005 : 1684 : 55% ###########################
< 0.01 : 1 : 0%
< 0.015 : 0 : 0%
< 0.025 : 0 : 0%
< 0.05 : 0 : 0%
< 0.1 : 0 : 0%
< 0.5 : 0 : 0%
< 1 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 0 : 0%
>=5 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.007703
min : 0.000000
avg : 0.002233

Timer Task Duration
This graph shows how long each timer task runs for. It is measured in seconds. If any timer task takes more than 0.5 seconds this is likely to impact the user interface.

< 0.002 : 2921 : 95% ###############################################
< 0.005 : 153 : 5% ##
< 0.01 : 0 : 0%
< 0.015 : 0 : 0%
< 0.025 : 0 : 0%
< 0.05 : 0 : 0%
< 0.1 : 0 : 0%
< 0.5 : 0 : 0%
< 1 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 0 : 0%
>=5 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.002467
min : 0.000107
avg : 0.000366

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 07:58
Mark,
we have no neighbors... I mean, we have a 17 acres garden on the back, and our home is lake front. We do have a cordless phone, but that does not seem to hurt the PC connection to the AP.

Hmm. Yeah, I think it's safe to say you have no outside interference.

Regarding the cordless phone, the 2.4 GHz models can and do impact wireless performance. Remember, a PC isn't doing what a Squeezebox is doing. A PC will hit the Internet for some data, then pause, then hit it again, then pause. Even LAN performance is much the same. Buffering and the inevitable pauses take care of any wireless shortcomings.

With SlimServer/Squeezebox you need a constant stream, which can be very high bandwidth if you're using lossless formats. The SB3 buffer does what it can but you will notice any shortcomings very quickly.

Regarding what laptops report in terms of signal strength, keep in mind they use different performance criteria, different methods of measurement and a different OS. I find they're usually overly-optimistic.

Thanks for the network test report. It's telling us your server is fine, it's the wireless connection that's the problem. A signal strength of 40-50% is so-so, but a buffer fullness of less than 10%, 100% of the time is unworkable.

So some suggestions:

- is this network report with a cordless phone active? If not, does it get even worse with the phone active?

- you indicate your phone line isn't long enough to relocate the AP to a higher location. Do you have a longer phone cord? Is the AP near your computer desk? Could you put the AP on the top shelf?

- try changing wireless channels to 1 or 11, 13 for the UK. You indicate you have a laptop, install NetStumbler and graph signal strength as you change channels. You'll find some channels better than others.

- does the AP have antennas you can reorient? Radio waves will propagate horizontally from the antennas, so if your Squeezebox is on the same level, keep the antennas vertical. If your Squeezebox is on another level, reorient one or both antennas horizontally. Experiment with various angles of each antenna and graph the signal strength with NetStumbler. I find it's easiest to "punctuate" the graph by grasping onto the antenna with your hand for a second or two just before you make a change. This will drop the strength down quite a bit and make a gap in your graph which makes it easy to spot before-and-after differences.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 08:01
thanks, that's something I would try, although our country home has a very old wiring.

How old is the home? How thick are the walls and what are they made of?

The denser and thicker the walls, the harder it will be for radio waves to go through them.

Wireless networking equipment is designed for modern home construction with wood frame walls and drywall surfacing. If you have concrete walls or older thick wood panelling with plaster overlay, your performance will be reduced.

gian
2006-08-08, 08:34
Mark,

thanks for your advice.

I disconnected the cordless phone, even removed batteries from the handset. This is what I get:

192.168.1.5

...

Summary

Control Connection : OK
Streaming Connection : OK
Player Signal Strength : Bad
Buffer Fullness : Low
Server Response Time : OK

Warnings

...
Player Performance : 192.168.1.5
....
Player Signal Strength
This graph shows the strength of the wireless signal received by your player. Higher signal strength is better. The player reports signal strength while it is playing.

< 10 : 0 : 0%
< 20 : 10 : 1%
< 30 : 402 : 36% #################
< 40 : 702 : 63% ###############################
< 50 : 5 : 0%
< 60 : 0 : 0%
< 70 : 0 : 0%
< 80 : 0 : 0%
< 90 : 0 : 0%
< 100 : 0 : 0%
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 44.000000
min : 19.000000
avg : 30.544236

Buffer Fullness
...

< 10 : 1119 :100% ##################################################
< 20 : 0 : 0%
< 30 : 0 : 0%
< 40 : 0 : 0%
< 50 : 0 : 0%
< 60 : 0 : 0%
< 70 : 0 : 0%
< 80 : 0 : 0%
< 90 : 0 : 0%
< 100 : 0 : 0%
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.321865
min : 0.000000
avg : 0.012810


I would say that the cordless phone does not interfere with SB.

Also, please not that these reports relate to a fully functional setup, that is, I can stream radio and ripped music without hiccups, provided the AP and SB are no more than 10 meters apart, and with nothing in between.

The fact that even in ideal conditions I only get 40% of signal, explains why the SB won't hear the AP when moved upstairs.

About the house, it has 2 feet thick granite walls, and the staircase is made of marble... but I am prepared to trade it au pair for an african hut, if that's the only way I can see 100% signal strenght on my SB... ;-)

fuzzyT
2006-08-08, 09:46
you may want to check the antenna connection on the SB2. just detach
and reattach.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 10:20
About the house, it has 2 feet thick granite walls, and the staircase is made of marble... but I am prepared to trade it au pair for an african hut, if that's the only way I can see 100% signal strenght on my SB... ;-)

You're kidding, right? 'Cause that would certainly explain it! :-O

Do some investigation with NetStumbler, changing the channels and reorienting the antenna. Also consider a high-gain antenna.

But if you're serious about your home construction being like that, there's not much you can do. Look at the Ethernet-over-power adapters neilcoburn recommended, because you'll have to get some sort of wired connection. Obviously Ethernet would be better, but trying to install Ethernet in walls like that would be difficult and expensive.

Oh and best not switch to an SB3. It gets about 10% less signal in any given location than my SB2. In fact my SB2 gets a little MORE signal when I detach the external antenna and just use the secondary internal antenna! (Still scratching my head on that one).

gian
2006-08-08, 10:27
thanks for your advice...
I tried, but no gain...

FYI, I tried the following:
SB @ 2 meters from AP = 88% (optical contact)
SB @ 6 meters from AP = 60% (optical contact)
SB @ 10 meters from AP = 58% (optical contact)
SB @ 10 meters from AP = 38% (partly hidden by wall)*

* this is the current placement of the stereo system

It would be nice to know if most of you have approx the same values.

-Gian

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 10:33
It would be nice to know if most of you have approx the same values.

No. That reduction through the wall is a killer.

My SB2 is about 15' horizontally away from my router. There are two wood frame/drywall walls in between. It gets 85-90% signal, 95% if I remove the external antenna as I indicated in the edit to my last post.

My SB3 is one level down. I'd guess it's 30' away, with a floor/ceiling and one wood frame/drywall wall in between. Signal strength is 65-75%. As I indicated, the SB3 has poorer reception in any location compared to an SB2. My SB2 was 75-80% in that location.

You should really look at some sort of hard-wiring arrangement or take a look at a wireless repeater. Hard-wiring would be better though.

ModelCitizen
2006-08-08, 12:35
thanks for your advice...
I tried, but no gain...
FYI, I tried the following:
SB @ 2 meters from AP = 88% (optical contact)
SB @ 6 meters from AP = 60% (optical contact)
SB @ 10 meters from AP = 58% (optical contact)
SB @ 10 meters from AP = 38% (partly hidden by wall)*
* this is the current placement of the stereo system
It would be nice to know if most of you have approx the same values.-Gian
Yup, two foot thick granite walls appear to be a bit of a no-goer. Granite is dense. My SB2 connects to my router through a 120mm inch cement block wall. The distance between them is 3 metres and I get 95% signal strength.

MC

gian
2006-08-08, 13:29
No, Mark, I'm not kidding about my home construction... I'm kidding that I would trade it for an african hut...
It's a pity that SB3 is even deafer... and you cannot upgrade the antenna ! Hey Slimdevices, listen here !
I tried removing the antenna, but it got worse, as one might assume.
So I'll go shopping for an antenna upgrade for the SB, because the ones on the AP are not removable.
Should I go for a larger rubber duck, or something like an USR 5482 patch antenna ? Am I right that the connector should be SMA reverse plug ?
If SlimDevices will issue an SB4 with improved wireless connection, I'll add it to my bedroom, I guess.

gian
2006-08-08, 13:39
MC,
I understand the physical restraints of my situation, but please note that the figures I posted are related to an open space install.
So my SB is plain deaf. And that's why in a more difficult setup, blocked by a staircase and a wall, it doesn't work.
Kudos to Fujitsu that survives such a tough environment without showing any effort.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 13:45
MC,
I understand the physical restraints of my situation, but please note that the figures I posted are related to an open space install.

In the same room with your AP, you should be no lower than ~90% signal provided the room isn't abnormally large. However 10 metres is a lot - is it the same room?

Still, 2' thick granite walls will block everything: sound, radio waves, 18-wheeler trucks out of control, etc. It's amazing anything wireless is working at all.

seanadams
2006-08-08, 13:46
No, Mark, I'm not kidding about my home construction... I'm kidding that I would trade it for an african hut...
It's a pity that SB3 is even deafer... and you cannot upgrade the antenna ! Hey Slimdevices, listen here !
I tried removing the antenna, but it got worse, as one might assume.
So I'll go shopping for an antenna upgrade for the SB, because the ones on the AP are not removable.
Should I go for a larger rubber duck, or something like an USR 5482 patch antenna ? Am I right that the connector should be SMA reverse plug ?
If SlimDevices will issue an SB4 with improved wireless connection, I'll add it to my bedroom, I guess.

Sorry, it's not going to work through two feet of rock.

Your best bet is going to be some alternate technology such as powerline networking or HPNA.

Where wireless fails, many people have had good look with Netgear powerline ethernet adaptors.

gian
2006-08-08, 14:25
seanadams,

thanks for your remarks, but I feel - blame it on my poor English - I did not make myself understand.
Granted that wireless cannot drill granite walls, I am saying here that in open space, MY SqueezeBox2 only has 58% signal strength at 10.5 meters from AP, with nothing in between.
Seems a bit deaf... or is it normal ?
Anyway, I'll try an antenna upgrade, which is a nice feature my SB2 has, and was not carried on with SB3.

-GianLuca
[currently tuned on KFOG FM | classic rock]

gian
2006-08-08, 14:37
Mark,
this thread is getting interesting, I never had a chance to measure such vital information about my home... ;-)
The sitting room is 9 by 12 meters, with a thin wood and glass door 3.7 meters high, 2.5 meters wide.
The AP is just outside this door.
58% is measured when the AP is in straigh, unobstructed view of the SB, at 10.5 meters.
Don't think that, in this situation, outside walls, be it paper or granite, can matter at all.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-08, 14:42
Don't think that, in this situation, outside walls, be it paper or granite, can matter at all.

Oh so only the exterior walls are granite?

Do you know what the interior walls would be then? If they are conventional wood frame + drywall then yes, there's something wrong.

I would contact the place where you bought the SB2. It may be a hardware problem.

Your wireless signal should easily go 10.5 metres in thin air provided you don't have massive interference, and you don't seem to.

gian
2006-08-08, 14:55
Mark,

I bought it direct from Slim, but I'm pretty sure that warranty is expired...I had to wait summer holidays to find two full days to setup the whole thing... I am not a linux guru, so that's what it took, but I'm glad it works, at least here where the stereo system is.

gian
2006-08-09, 01:00
Mark,
I've been fiddling with Netstumbler but:
- can only use NDIS mode, so as far as I know, the card in not fully supported (only signal strenght but no noise).
- I am able to see just one device, which I believe is the AP. There is no trace of my SB2. Is this correct ?

niko
2006-08-09, 01:25
Hi,

Have you tried to switch off encryption and all vendor specific connection speed up methods (Super G, Turbo, etc)? I think encryption slows down connection speed with poor signal strength, so that may cause some problems.

I wasn't able to connect my SB3 to my 3com router before I turned off 3com specific connection speed up option.

Does anyone know how good signal strength SB3 needs to play music without dropouts? My signal strength was about 30-40% and it caused lot of drop outs. After moving my router about 1 meter singal strength changed to 50-60% and it seems to work ok. So the answer to my question is about 40-50%? Or does someone have SB working ok with lower signal strength?

Br, Niko

gian
2006-08-09, 04:31
Niko,
one of the strong points of SB2 was WPA security... I would not remove it, although chances of being hacked are thin.
As far as your question, my SB2 is streaming radio without hiccups and the signal is 33-36%.
-Gian

niko
2006-08-09, 04:41
Niko,
one of the strong points of SB2 was WPA security... I would not remove it, although chances of being hacked are thin.


Yep, that's true. I was thinking, if you don't have neighbours living close to you, using SB without encryption could be an option. But I'm not sure if that would solve your problem anyway.

I'm using my wireless connection only for SB3, so I'm not so worried about someone hacking my flac streams.

Mark Lanctot
2006-08-09, 05:46
Mark,
I've been fiddling with Netstumbler but:
- can only use NDIS mode, so as far as I know, the card in not fully supported (only signal strenght but no noise).

Quite common. All you need is strength anyway - you just want to find a channel, antenna orientation and AP placement that give you highest strength.


- I am able to see just one device, which I believe is the AP. There is no trace of my SB2. Is this correct ?

Yes. The Squeezebox is only a wireless client. It won't be transmitting anything NetStumber will see.

oreillymj
2006-08-09, 06:52
Can you tell us what type of wireless router/ap you are using. You haven't mentioned it so far.
It wouldn't be a Draytek by any chance?

gian
2006-08-09, 08:01
oh yes, it's a 3Com OfficeConnect ADSL Wireless 11g Firewall Router 3CRWDR100A-72