PDA

View Full Version : Synchronized DB3 suddenly stops.



ziggyb63
2007-05-21, 15:22
Hi all,
Newbie to these forums, my 1st questions. Am running 6.5.2 and have synchronized one of my SB3s to another SB3, both wireless. All is good for, say 10-15 minutes, then the synchronized one suddenly stops playing. The one it was synchronized to still continues OK, but the first one appears to have stopped - I can resync again, and everything is OK for another 10-15 mins, then it stops again.

Wireless signal strenght is ~80%, I wondered if it was dropping out because it was out of range, but no.

Any suggestions?
Many thanks in advance.

ziggyb63
2007-05-21, 15:34
...just did a few searches, and noted lots of posts indicating synchronizaton is flaky. A shame.

snarlydwarf
2007-05-21, 16:15
Hrrm... it's flaky?

I'm listening to music here at work (transcoded to save bandwidth) and synced to the SB2 in the living room at home... It works fine except when Softsqueeze crashes.

What you are describing shouldn't happen.

aubuti
2007-05-21, 18:35
...just did a few searches, and noted lots of posts indicating synchronizaton is flaky. A shame.
I've posted before that I have found synchronization to be unreliable, but it has only been tracks getting out of sync by a noticeable amount. What you are describing is something else entirely, and I dare say not a common problem. You should probably try the network health tests that come with slimserver.

Club1820
2007-05-21, 20:37
I've posted before that I have found synchronization to be unreliable, but it has only been tracks getting out of sync by a noticeable amount. What you are describing is something else entirely, and I dare say not a common problem. You should probably try the network health tests that come with slimserver.

Where are these network health tests located you are referring to?

I also am having problems with sync. The same issues the original poster described. Although I am syncing the squeezebox (wireless) with a wired laptop running softsqueeze. Sync works fine for 10-15 mins, then either the laptop produces no sound and/or both dont. This is even though both players may still say that they are playing and the time duration is still moving.

In other words, everything still looks like its playing but just no sound comes out.

Also sometimes it will play about 10 secs of a song then move on to the next one. It will do this until I press stop.

I've noticed that sync. works for a longer period of time if I dont enter a command such as skip to the next song. If I do, then it goes out of wack. I thought it was because I was using softsqueeze as one player but I guess someone had the problem using two boxes.

ziggyb63
2007-05-22, 04:06
Hmm, this only happens to me when I sync the 2nd SB3 with another one - if this was a network issue, I would have expected to have these issues when playing un-synced, that is, playing normally. But I don't, I can play quite sucessfully for hours on end un-synced on this SB3 (well, both actually) with no stutters or stops.

I guess I will play with the network test plugin some more to see if it shows me anything, as well as checking out buffer fullness to see if I can figure out what's happening. I am streaming Apple lossless, so maybe I'm reaching bandwidth limits of the wireless router or something like that.

I never checked the time duration to see if it is still moving on the SB3 - I did have the VU meter screensaver on, and the needles drop to zero when my 'stop' happens, so I assumed the SB3 actually stoped playing - maybe it still thinks it's playing but as far as the time duration indicator. I will check. I do know it still thinks it's sync-ed, and unsyncing and resyncing fix things again for another 10-15 mins.

Thanks for your replies.

discocarp
2007-05-22, 05:00
Hrrm... it's flaky?

Yep. Very. I have the same problems the original poster described (although not quite as frequent) along with the typical "almost in sync but not quite" problem.

On the bright side, someone is working on improving the sync on the developers forum! Hurray!

ziggyb63
2007-05-22, 06:04
For what it's worth, using the network test plugin on the SB3 that 'stops', I can get up to 3000Kbps at an average 'quality' of 100% - it starts dropping off at higher speeds, but it's still an average of > 90% at 4000Kbps. Would have thought that was adequate.

I'm just going to wait, see what the future brings; this is a 'nice to have' for me, but not essential. Nice to see the developers working on improving sync, hopefully whatever they come up with will address my issue.

byKnight
2007-05-22, 06:13
If at all possible, run the problematic SB3 wired for a while and determine whether or not you can still reproduce the problem.

If you can't reproduce it when the SB3 is wired, that suggests you are having some kind of wireless-related issue.

JJZolx
2007-05-22, 16:01
I'm listening to music here at work (transcoded to save bandwidth) and synced to the SB2 in the living room at home... It works fine except when Softsqueeze crashes.

Why in the world would you sync a player at work with one at home?

snarlydwarf
2007-05-22, 16:09
Why in the world would you sync a player at work with one at home?

Um, so it sounds like I am home when I am not.

(And sync'd to not mess with my last.fm counts.)

And in general.. because I Can.

JJZolx
2007-05-22, 16:14
Um, so it sounds like I am home when I am not.

(And sync'd to not mess with my last.fm counts.)

And in general.. because I Can.

Ok. Three really bad reasons. I understand now.

snarlydwarf
2007-05-22, 16:18
Ok. Three really bad reasons. I understand now.

Oh, I forgot you are the wise man that can tell me how to run my own life. How dare I do what I feel like when you disapprove.

JJZolx
2007-05-22, 16:21
Oh, I forgot you are the wise man that can tell me how to run my own life. How dare I do what I feel like when you disapprove.

I was kidding. But you gotta admit, it does seem pretty silly.

snarlydwarf
2007-05-22, 16:42
Sure, and it is completely pointless... Sort of.

A couple basic assumptions:
1) I will have -something- making some noise at home -- radio, tv, etc. Radio or SB are cheaper than TV. My only radio is my receiver... which doesn't have an antenna... so SB at home will play.
2) I -love- last.fm and insist on scrobbling what I play.
3) I want music at work. Because this place is nuts enough as it is with quiet. I even put on headphones some days...
4) Last.fm whines if I submit from two players at once: since I can't really be listening to both, some of my tracks will be dropped.
5) I am lazy and hate futzing around turning scrobbling on an off. Easier to leave it on.

So...

By syncing work/home, I solve the problem: I can have last.fm be accurate, have music at home and work, and not have to remember to turn scrobbling off and on.

The only real leap is in "why have something playing at home when you arent there".. .but lots of people leave a radio or TV on all day just in case a burglar hears it and thinks someone is home.

upstatemike
2007-05-23, 13:22
If at all possible, run the problematic SB3 wired for a while and determine whether or not you can still reproduce the problem.

If you can't reproduce it when the SB3 is wired, that suggests you are having some kind of wireless-related issue.

I have reported the same problem in other threads. I only run wired players and have no problems when players are not synced. They only seem to get stuck at the beginning of a new song. The problem started with the latest release version of Slimserver.

JJZolx
2007-05-23, 14:18
I have reported the same problem in other threads. I only run wired players and have no problems when players are not synced. They only seem to get stuck at the beginning of a new song. The problem started with the latest release version of Slimserver.

More socketwrapper headaches, perhaps?

CatBus
2007-05-23, 16:03
If at all possible, run the problematic SB3 wired for a while and determine whether or not you can still reproduce the problem.

If you can't reproduce it when the SB3 is wired, that suggests you are having some kind of wireless-related issue.

Agree wholeheartedly. When you're syncing multiple players wirelessly, there are any one of a zillion things that could go wrong, most of which are easily fixed once you identify them. So remove one of the bigger variables (the wireless link). If the problem continues, great--now you know it's not the wireless. If the problem disappears, that's also good news--you know it's the wireless.

You could also remove another big variable (synchronization), by having both players play different things independently. If you still get periodic dropouts, then it's not the synchronization code doing it (it's likely the wireless).

If it's not wireless or sync, there are some other less-likely candidates like weird encoding/decoding issues, etc.

For what it's worth, except for gapless playback, synchronized playback works great for me. So it CAN work, we just need to figure out how your setup is different than mine.

It's also worth noting for troubleshooting purposes whether you're using 802.11B or G, how many total wireless devices you have on that access point, what frequency any nearby cordless phones operate at, etc, etc.

swhite58
2007-05-23, 20:11
From your subject line I thought you were having trouble with your Aston Martin! Perhaps you have an ignition problem :)

discocarp
2007-05-24, 05:25
I don't think its the wireless.

1. Multiple people with the problem
2. One of them runs only wired.
3. I run wireless, but never have this particular problem except when running synced. I mean not even once.

ziggyb63
2007-05-24, 06:44
From your subject line I thought you were having trouble with your Aston Martin! Perhaps you have an ignition problem :)

If I had an Aston Martin I'd be attempting to sync my Transporters :)

Running wired is not an option, fishing CAT5 everywhere would not go down well in the household, so even if wireless was the issue I can't do anything about it.

Like I said, running two SB3s wireless non-synced, simultaneously, gives no issues. That points me to only one conclusion....

CatBus
2007-05-24, 09:38
Like I said, running two SB3s wireless non-synced, simultaneously, gives no issues. That points me to only one conclusion....

So we've narrowed the field but have not figured out the cause.

The follow-up question is, why does sync work perfectly for everyone else and not you? I'd start with: What encoding/bitrate is your music? What did you use to encode it? Are you transcoding it at the server or using native playback on the SB3s? That sort of thing. With enough info, I'm confident your sync can work as well as everyone else's.

ziggyb63
2007-05-24, 12:18
CatBus, thanks for giving me the impetus to try to debug this issue....

Encoding is Apple Lossles, sample size 16 bit, sample rate 44.1kHz via iTunes (iPod is still used in the household), bit rate varies per track from ~200-1000kbps+ CBR, as reported by slimserver.

Various version of iTunes used to encode, over the years. Have had to tweak the COMPOSER tag to get slimserver to display properly (as per other threads in this forum) and have had to not let iTunes get it's own coverart (as those don't get diplayed propely in slimserver I have found).

AFAIK SqueezeBox can't handle ALAC so set slimserver options to transcode to FLAC. Have to admit, have not tried ALAC\MP3 or ALAC\WAV transcoding.

nptohc
2007-05-24, 12:20
I have often had this problem - basically ever since 6.5.x

The previous version seemed to be a lot better - but the issues I have had so far this year:

1) 1 Squeezebox out of the crowd that are synced up will randomly stop outputting audio (but the device and display indicate it is playing). This will ONLY happen at the start of a new song - I had wondered for a long time if it was a crossfading issue.

2) The squeezeboxes will occasionaly go out of sync (audio wise) and then when a squeezebox finishes playing the song it is on and moves onto the next one - the other squeezebox (which always seems to be the one designated as master) will change to the new song and restart both squeezeboxes off playing the same song again - it's as if the software is attempting to resync the players - however this is NOT reflected in the Web interface which is generally at this point one song behind what is ACTUALLY being played.

3) The latest issues I have been having - when playing just the one squeezebox - it will happily play non-stop for days and then all of a sudden for no apparent reason it suddenly dies and comes up with "Slim Devices" on the screen before going through the whole conneting to network process etc again. At this point the web interface will report that I have no players - and the player will say "connecting to slimserver" but never does. I have to press the power button several times on the remote and go through the "waking up slimserver" messages before it finally reconnects - and of course I then have to start my dynamic playlist all over again. The slimserver has been moved to a new computer (the old one every morning has a message on the screen saying "slim.exe this program has encountered an error and needs to close" etc.. neither of the two computers have ever had any sort of standby feature enabled - as they are often doing other things. Slimserver is now on a dedicated computer - but the computer is on 24/7 - so my dynamic playlists have a chance to play right through (so customers returning don't hear the same music that was on the day before)

Thats all for now....

Andy

EDIT:

2 out of 4 are running on a wireless network.... as to what else is running....

Router > Belkin
1 SSF PC running webserver
1 Acer T180 running email server
1 Acer T180 running CCTV
1 Acer T180 running Slimserver
1 Custom built computer
1 Acer Laptop
1 Belkin Wireless Print Server
1 Belkin Wirless Access Point connected to the router via LAN (in the house)
1 Belkin Wireless Access Point connected to the other Belkin Wireless access point via wireless (through a thick stone wall) to which Squeezebox connects
1 Squeezebox in Kitchen - wireless
1 Squeezebox in Garden (not IN the garden obviously but connected to Garden Sound System) - LAN
1 Squeezebox in Greenroom - Wireless
1 Squeezebox in Theatre - LAN
1 Panasonic BLC-10 in Greenroom - LAN
1 Panasonic BLC-10 in Foyer - LAN
1 Panasonic BLC-10 in Theatre - LAN
1 Acer T180 in Workshop running Presentation System - LAN
1 Panasonic BBHCM331 (Outdoor Camera) - LAN
1 Acer T180 running weather station - LAN

--- I think that's it for now...

Cordless Phones?

2 Dect Cordless Phone Systems

NO BLUETOOTH

Anything else?

OH - just in case it helps (though these are new and were not present during the above mentioned issues - they are 6 weeks old)

1 Belkin Range Extender connected to house network via Client Mode - provides internet access from house network to the server running free wireless.
1 FON access point - with private network broadcasting Whisher signal
1 Mercury Kob54g broadcasting free wireless signal (though huse network s broadcast on ch13 and the free network on ch6 - so no overlapping) and no - scans do not pick up the presence of other network in the other - just our 6!)

Also network test shows that up to 4000k I have roughly 90% then it starts going down... but again I would have to agree this seems reasonable - if it can happily broadcast over the internet which can only upload at 128k then im dammned sure it can survive on 4000k!

ttfn

Andy

CatBus
2007-05-24, 13:08
Transcoding to FLAC is a good thing. This means that the SB3 is always playing files that used the same encoder, and any decoding bugs are less likely due to so many users sharing the same encoder. I was thinking your bug could be caused by the SB3 not knowing how to decode for an oddball MP3 encoder--that sort of thing. Clearly that's not it. I also use transcoded-to-FLAC (with 6.5.1), so that's kinda convenient.

So it's definitely not the encoding, and it's likely not wireless (it would help to do a wired test just to put that possibility more solidly to rest though). So you're basically syncing with the exact same setup as me, but something's happening for you that isn't for me.

So let's get more details on the wireless, to get a handle on transient, non-repeatable problems:
- 802.11B or G?
- How many simultaneous clients total?
- Cordless phones using the 2.4 GHz range?
- What channel is your wireless network using? What channels are your neighbors using?

Then there's the SlimServer itself:
- What's the O/S and SlimServer version?
- Hardware specs? Is it attached via ethernet or wireless?
- Have you checked your slimserver.log for strange events around the time your sync cuts out?

I'm thinking if it truly isn't the wireless in general, then it's something inconsistent and harder to test, such as your neighbor's access point operating on an overlapping channel, or even your SlimServer doing some sort of powersaving thing when it shouldn't.

(Andy--I know you've already answered some of these. Just trying to keep all the questions consolidated)

ziggyb63
2007-05-25, 03:45
...I'm in a mixed b\g environment as I have some clients (Sony PSPs) which can handle B only - in fact I use them with the "Handheld" slimserver interface as remote controls. Any way to tell the SB3 to use g only?

Simultaneous wireless clients - probably 4 at the time of test; max wireless clients (if the kids power up all their PCs and PSPs) is 12. Then we have a whole heap of wired clients (VoIP etc.). Like I said, in the semi-controlled environment of testing, there were only 4 wireless clients, no wired ones.

Interesting, most of the cordless phones are 5.8Ghz, but there is one cordless phone close to the SB3 with the issue that is still 2.4GHz. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...\

Wireless Channel is 6. I use WEP 128bit and also have a MAC address filter set up.

OS is WinXP Pro SP2 Slimserver is Version: 6.5.2 - 12043 (Have not upgraded to the officially release 6.5.2 yet, this was one of the nighly compiles I downloaded to see if it would fix my problem)

Hardware specs - well it's an old Dell Inspiron laptop I am afraid, 2GHz 1GB connected via a wireless ethernet bridge (one of the Linksys models)

If it was the slimserver doing powersaving, wouldn't the original SB3 also cut out? The original keeps on playing, only the sync-ing SB3 cuts out. And similarly, if it was the neighbors wireless channel cutting in?

The 2.4GHZ phone is a good thought....

ziggyb63
2007-05-25, 07:35
...the thing is so old it is actually a 900Mhz phone!

CatBus
2007-05-25, 10:20
I think at some level, it's wireless for both ziggyb63 and nptohc. Just something that's irregular enough to not show up on a test reliably.

Okay, first ziggyb63:

I'm going to estimate mixed b/g real-world network speed as 9Mbps. The fact that your server is connected wirelessly is a very big deal--this will increase the number of collisions and slow everything down more than just another wireless client. G-only operation is a function of the access point. You have to cut off your PSP's, or set up a separate 802.11b WLAN, to go G-only for your SB3. 9Mbps divided by 4-12 = 750kbps - 2.2Mbps per client, if everything shared the spectrum equally and there were no collisions, which is not the way things really work. I'm not positive on SlimServer's settings, but FLAC's bitrate is in the neighborhood of 800kbps per stream. So even though the numbers are inexact, I can tell you are working with very narrow margins on your wireless network. And we don't yet know if you have interference from the neighbors.

Recommendations? Step 1: connect your server to your home network with a wired connection. Step 2: consider a second wireless access point. This second access point can be specially designated for SB3s, operate at G-only speeds, and work on a non-overlapping channel (1 or 12). To test this before laying down the cash, you should REALLY connect your server via a wired connection anyway, then turn off every wireless client in the house except the SB3's, then test sync. I would also recommend installing NetStumbler to find out what channels your neighbors may be using too. The only non-overlapping channels are 1, 6 and 12. 8 overlaps 6 and 12, etc. 6 is the default for most access points, so 1 and 12 tend to be safer. For the record, WEP and MAC filtering is trivial security (but I understand you're limited by the PSP's). If you set up this second G-only network, you should use WPA2/AES. If spending more cash is absolutely out of the question, and the server CAN'T be connected via a real ethernet cable for some reason, the next best thing is to transcode to MP3, preferably at bitrates under 200kbps.

Now for nptohc:

Wireless access points on the same network can interfere with each other just as badly as neighboring access points. The fact that your public network and your private network operate on non-overlapping channels doesn't help when multiple access points on the same network share the same channel and have overlapping ranges. In particular, I'm wondering if the two wireless routers on either side of the stone wall are clobbering each other. It's also worth checking if those cordless phones operate in the 2.4GHz spectrum.

My testing recommendation here is: Unless you verify the phones are not 2.4 GHz, unplug them and remove the batteries. Turn off every WAP on channel 13 except one. Move the squeezeboxes within range of this one WAP, and test sync. If the problem goes away, the solution is to unclutter your wireless spectrum. I'm not even sure transcoding to a low bitrate would help here, depending on how badly your two access points are clobbering each other.

Hope that helps. I could obviously be wrong, but given the information I have, I think it's a reasonable assessment.

ziggyb63
2007-05-31, 10:17
..sorry for the delayed reply. Coincindentally, have bought a laptop for one of the kids for his birthday, now I can have his desktop which I can connect using a wired connection, and test that out. It will take a few weeks, his birthday is in late June.

A second dedicated WAP is also an interesting option. Don't see why I can't try this either if the wired server connectivity does not work. Will report back in a month or so....