PDA

View Full Version : Help needed with dropours and "Server & Network Help"



ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 10:27
Hello all.
Since installing 6.3.* I have spent quite a bit of time trying to get my system stable again. I thought I'd got it sussed and then, for no apparent reason I started to suffer from drop outs, something I'd not experienced for a long time.

I'm running XP Home on a 500mhz PII Dell Latitude laptop with 192m RAM. Before anyone says... well that obviously won't work.. I have to point out that it has worked pretty flawlessly for the last year. I've only experienced problems recently, and they started some time after installing 6.3.1, i.e. 6.3.1 worked fine for a while. The laptop is running a very "slim" version of Windows. The only other thing it runs is SlimServer.
I get signal strength of over 90% on my Squeezebox 2. The Squeezebox is wireless, all other stuff is wired. I use Flacs.

I'm not too sure how to go about working out what the problem is.
I've started "Server and Network Health" and it does indicate a problem, but I'm just not sure what to do next. I'd appreciate it if someone could point me in a sensible direction.
I would run the debug stuff, but I am not sure which options to use. Any help appreciated.

My "Server and Network Help" output is below. I have been pinging the machine hosting SlimServer from my main machine whilst drop outs have been occuring and all seems fine (i.e. all pings less than 1ms and no lost packets), so the machine is not dropping off the network. The event viewer shows nothing.

MC

Squeezebox2

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 : OK
Buffer Fullness : OK
Server Response Time : Occasional Poor Response

Warnings

Your server response time is occasionally longer than desired. This may cause audio dropouts, especially on Slimp3 and Squeezebox1 players. It may be due to background load on your server or a slimserver task taking longer than normal.
Player Performance : Squeezebox2

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 : 0 : 0%
< 40 : 0 : 0%
< 50 : 0 : 0%
< 60 : 0 : 0%
< 70 : 0 : 0%
< 80 : 3 : 0%
< 90 : 3669 : 58% ############################
< 100 : 2708 : 42% #####################
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 97.000000
min : 78.000000
avg : 88.246238

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 : 579 : 11% #####
< 20 : 30 : 1%
< 30 : 37 : 1%
< 40 : 45 : 1%
< 50 : 45 : 1%
< 60 : 56 : 1%
< 70 : 50 : 1%
< 80 : 69 : 1%
< 90 : 100 : 2%
< 100 : 4285 : 81% ########################################
>=100 : 0 : 0%
max : 99.999936
min : 0.000000
avg : 85.509031

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 : 121 :100% ##################################################
< 2 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 0 : 0%
< 10 : 0 : 0%
< 20 : 0 : 0%
>=20 : 0 : 0%
max : 0.000000
min : -1.000000
avg : -0.016529

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 : 138036 : 81% ########################################
< 0.005 : 18602 : 11% #####
< 0.01 : 4165 : 2% #
< 0.015 : 1120 : 1%
< 0.025 : 7248 : 4% ##
< 0.05 : 688 : 0%
< 0.1 : 364 : 0%
< 0.5 : 385 : 0%
< 1 : 36 : 0%
< 5 : 38 : 0%
>=5 : 45 : 0%
max : 56.367177
min : -0.008761
avg : 0.007770

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 : 6139 : 47% #######################
< 0.005 : 2873 : 22% ###########
< 0.01 : 3224 : 25% ############
< 0.015 : 168 : 1%
< 0.025 : 67 : 1%
< 0.05 : 58 : 0%
< 0.1 : 81 : 1%
< 0.5 : 121 : 1%
< 1 : 37 : 0%
< 5 : 90 : 1%
>=5 : 145 : 1%
max : 55.997836
min : 0.000000
avg : 0.210063

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 : 6964 : 54% ##########################
< 0.005 : 42 : 0%
< 0.01 : 569 : 4% ##
< 0.015 : 1217 : 9% ####
< 0.025 : 4113 : 32% ###############
< 0.05 : 53 : 0%
< 0.1 : 20 : 0%
< 0.5 : 24 : 0%
< 1 : 0 : 0%
< 5 : 1 : 0%
>=5 : 0 : 0%
max : 1.012572
min : 0.000203
avg : 0.007812

Triode
2006-08-19, 11:29
6.5 has actually had a lot more tuning to improve performance, but it possibly requires a bit more memory. I would recommend trying 6.5 rather than hunting for the cause of delays with 6.31.

It is nearing the end of development and so either wait a few more weeks or try one of the nightly builds now as they are reasonably stable [but bear in mind it is not at release status yet].

One of the reasons for recommending 6.5 is that it includes some additional debugging to help find out what is causing long server responses times. This has enabled several causes of long response times to be removed, but helps find any that remain (often caused by plugins...)

ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 11:37
Cheers Triode. I was nearly at this point anyway. I've installed it on my main machine and will try it. I hope it will run on my underpowered dedicated laptop but do not hold out much hope. Maybe it's time to trash it.
I've spent so many hours getting 6.3.* to work correctly that I'll be glad to see the back of it.
MC

pfarrell
2006-08-19, 11:48
ModelCitizen wrote:
> Cheers Triode. I was nearly at this point anyway.
> I've spent so many hours getting 6.3.* to work correctly that I'll be
> glad to see the back of it.

I've been running the beta 6.5 for a while, and Triode and others have
made great strides at fixing the dropouts in my system.

Its not yet perfect, but it is a lot better (went from 30 minutes
between dropouts to tens of hours).

Clearly, it is still beta, but more testers is always good.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Triode
2006-08-19, 12:53
One thing to point out. 6.5 includes additional features to reduce dropouts on linux if they occur when you are viewing web pages. Pat is running this and it may be an option for your laptop (if you are linux litterate - its probably too big a step otherwise)

ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 13:09
Cheers but I tried Linux. "Panic, Panic cannot mount root". I tried your (?) Slimserver CD. I couldn't get this to work either. I tried another four versions of Linux... within the time I had to get it right I had no joy.
I am sticking with Windows. I do not want to spend time learning new Os's. I would prefer to spend as little time on my computer as pssible (it's unhealthy!). Unfortunately SlimServer seems inclined to make me spend a lot more time fussing about with the damn things.

My next post vents some of my frustration.

MC

ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 13:10
Groooooaaann.....
I tried to get my Squeezebox to connect to my alternative 6.5 version of SlimServer and the box froze at "Press Right now to use SlimServer". I've had to power off to recover.

I am now trying to balance out the time I take to put CDs in the CDX (and lack of playlists, internet radio etc) against all the time (over two or three years) I have spent trying to get the SlimServer software working properly. It's not looking good for SlimServer. However AlienBBC (and other convenient stuff) is so huge in my life that I have no choice but to continue.

But I am really pissed (and not American). I just want some stable software that I do not have to spend hours getting to work correctly (I'd rather be fishing.. screwing about with computers became tedious a long, long time ago).

I recently asked on this forum about the percentage of Mac/Windows/Linux downloads for Slimserver. SlimDevices chose not to publish the figures (or didn't see the post, but I think that's unlikely).
But, if my hunch is correct and the vast majority of downloads are Windows I think SlimDevices ought to consider making a cut down Windows only version of the software that just works (and takes advanyage of Windows features/bugs like being able to add multiple directories for your Music Directory, scanning progress bars, the thing that makes indexing files so much faster... this one is really important... so I (and I'm hoping I am right to assume) many others can just listen to music and not have to keep f***** around with the software and configuration to get the damn thing to work.

I'm hoping that the Transporter might well make this a necesssity anyway (I often wonder if Sean is stuck between a rock and a hard place). I imagine most of the people who'll pay $2k for a SB3 plus are older and most likely Windows based. If you pay $2k for a box you are not going to put up with flaky software.

Sorry for the whine. It's saturday night, I'm stuck inside baby sitting my kid.. and I can't even listen to music the way I want to!

Triode
2006-08-19, 13:19
It should work just the same on window as liunx minus the one feature I mentioned. Post here and we can help you get it up and running.
- do you have a firewall on the new machine?
- can you get softsqueeze to work with the new server

ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 13:20
Rebooted Squeezebox. Asks me to update firmware (why didn't it do this first time around?... yes I know, it's beta). Did that and get some message like "bad state" or something.

I can hear the owls outside now. It's probably a better bet to listen to them for an hour or two. :-)

MC

ModelCitizen
2006-08-19, 13:32
The owls have gone to bed.
Squeezebox is now pretty much dead.
I did, after rebooting three times get a request to update the firmware again. I did this. And now, after going through the network connection stuff again I get "Connecting To SlimServer" and then a black screen. Can only reboot.
I'm going to get the latest 6.5 nightly.
MC

Triode
2006-08-19, 13:36
When you have a blank screen does the server think ther is a player connected?

Which 6.5 nightly are you using?

Robin Bowes
2006-08-19, 15:47
ModelCitizen wrote:
> Rebooted Squeezebox. Asks me to update firmware (why didn't it do this
> first time around?... yes I know, it's beta). Did that and get some
> message like "bad state" or something.

There was a bug (in slimserver, I believe) that caused the wireless
connection to time out before the firmware update had applied.

The fix is, either use a wire and do the update, or get a version of
slimserver with that fix applied. The most recent 6.5 will have it.

R.

Robin Bowes
2006-08-19, 15:48
ModelCitizen wrote:
> Cheers but I tried Linux.

I hope it was more thorough than when you brought that Pentium 166 with
96MB of RAM round to my place and wanted to install Linux on it :)

R.

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 02:16
I hope it was more thorough than when you brought that Pentium 166 with
96MB of RAM round to my place and wanted to install Linux on it :)
R.
Yeah, thanks for reminding me of that Robin! :-)
At the time my company were running two FreeBSD based nameservers on 486s with 64mb RAM each so thought it would be OK. I didn't realise that all the Linux graphical stuff would cause such an overhead.
When I commissioned my present music server laptop (P500, 192mhz PII) I tried about four different Linux/FreeBSD installs. I had no luck with any of them so installed XP Home.
MC

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 03:02
When the firmware installed correctly I found that SlimServer 6.5 could not access my music. It looks like an old bug may have resurfaced. The only account I seem to be able to run SlimServer on so that it has permission to access my music files across the network (to a Windows Home machine) is my own administrator account, so this is what I run it under. Installing the latest 6.5 executable over my existing 6.5 installation caused the SlimServer account to be set back to local system account.
I've reopened the old bug.
Otherwise it is looking promising. I am now uninstalling 6.3.1 from my underpowered music server latop and installing 6.5. I'm keeping my figers crossed that I'll have enoough horses to run it.
Cheers
MC

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 03:10
When you have a blank screen does the server think ther is a player connected?
Which 6.5 nightly are you using?

SlimServer had died. I restarted it.
I was using the nightly I downloaded last night.
So far it appears to be running well, but this is on my main PC that has a reasonable amount of oomph.
MC

Triode
2006-08-20, 03:37
Otherwise it is looking promising. I am now uninstalling 6.3.1 from my underpowered music server latop and installing 6.5. I'm keeping my figers crossed that I'll have enoough horses to run it.
Cheers
MC

Sounds promising - let us know how you get on..

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 03:42
Thanks. Will do.
I need to delete the 6.5 database from my music server as I have installed 6.5 on it and copied across the SlimServer Program Files from my main machine (so I don't have to set up all the codecs, plugins and config again).
Could you possible tell me where it is (on Windows)? I've searched the forums but cannot find the answer.
MC

Triode
2006-08-20, 03:44
I think it is the same as on linux - in the Cache dir at the top level of the server along with other caches. You should be able to delete all of the content of Cache without impact.

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 03:57
Cheers. I have deleted contents of SlimServer directory and restarted SlimServer. It seems to be recreating the stuff now.
MC

ModelCitizen
2006-08-20, 06:40
As I am now reporting back on my experience of installing 6.5 I've continued in the beta forum:
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=26561
MC