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View Full Version : New Device - Headless SB & Remote Display/Control



Kane
2007-06-16, 09:38
I am putting together a couple of new speaker setups, with their amp in another room, far from the listening area. The remote amp will be fed via a squeezebox, but since this is far from the human eye, what I really need is a new product:

A combination of a headless SLIMP3/SB/Transporter player with wired (1G) and wireless 802.11n networking AND one or more display units that respond to the IR remote and also have 802.11n and wired connections.

This would allow a user in the upstairs location to see the SB, change the source, etc, but have the A/D converter in the remote location.

I know I can remotely control the devices right now via a computer interface, but what most users want is the standard Squeezebox with it's fluorescent display, and remote control.

What do you think?

Jeffrey

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-16, 09:46
Why do you need gigabit and 802.11n? Even a 24/96 WAV is only 4608 kbps - it can be handled by lowly 802.11b.

Gigabit is massive overkill. 802.11n is as well although it offers some throughput vs. distance benefits, which can be matched with 802.11g MIMO.

DrNic
2007-06-16, 10:57
Hi
Gigabit might be overkill if it is just for the one SB - but we don't know what else might be on the network.
I have just wired my house with gigabit - namely because I have 3 SB3's all potentially streaming FLAC, plus a streamed video library (with ever increasing HD content!) and I move large files around from server to machines etc. And don't forget - to future proof makes good sense.
Just a thought

Nic

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-16, 11:04
Gigabit might be overkill if it is just for the one SB - but we don't know what else might be on the network.

Sure, but gigabit at the server and router. The client (SB) doesn't need to be gigabit since it can only receive one stream at a time.

Perhaps if you were using it as a bridge though...

dwilliams01
2007-06-16, 15:14
From a speed point of view, 11n might not be needed but from a compatibility point of view it is. At least I setup my "pre-n" network to use security not available in b or g so they aren't compatible. I wouldn't want to add another wireless hub with a lower level of security and it would be a pain to create stuff like an untrusted subnet, etc.

I'd even use it in the "same" room as the sb because its display can't be read from very far away.

If it had a big enough display it would be very useful for picking albums to play and other functions that you now tend to turn on a computer for.

It should have a screen that can be read outside in bright sunlight as well...

I guess I'm thinking of more of a "hand-held" type of device so it wouldn't have to respond to the remote control.

Thanks.

snarlydwarf
2007-06-16, 15:29
At least I setup my "pre-n" network to use security not available in b or g so they aren't compatible. I wouldn't want to add another wireless hub with a lower level of security and it would be a pain to create stuff like an untrusted subnet, etc.

What security is that?

Kane
2007-06-17, 07:58
The reason to get the speed up to modern standards is two fold, The first is general network speed. Once you have either a mixed wireless network, or with many wired switches/routers, the entire network takes perfomance a hit.

The second component also has to do with latency when you are trying to synchronize streams.

With video streams and large files bouncing around the house it makes sense to bring everything "up to speed" when adding new equipment. The price of 1000 Mb/s chips have come down considerably in the past few years

seanadams
2007-06-17, 08:28
With video streams and large files bouncing around the house it makes sense to bring everything "up to speed" when adding new equipment.

No it doesn't... switches operate each port separately at whatever speed the endpoint uses. There is absolutely zero slowdown to the network caused by connecting a 10 or 100 Mbps device to a gig network. And the fastest data rate we support is 24/96 uncompressed, which is equal to 4.6Mbps, so what will your Squeezebox use the remaining 995.4 Mbps for?

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-17, 08:55
Once you have either a mixed wireless network, or with many wired switches/routers, the entire network takes perfomance a hit.

This was the case with 802.11b and 802.11g, but has this been shown to be the case with 802.11n and 802.11g? I don't believe it has. If I am mistaken, please post links.

Also, again, for wired networks, the SB is an endpoint client that can only use one audio stream. It uses the bandwidth it requires - only a fraction of even a 10 Mbps connection. The rest is unnecessary.

Gigabit networking will help between the server and the router if you are running many (many, many!) Squeezebox clients and it's also useful for very large file transfers. But in an end client that maxes out at 4608 kbps, why?


The second, as mentioned is security within the network.

snarlydwarf has already asked without response - what security would that be? Better than WPA2/AES? If so, it's non-standard as defined by the IEEE.

Kane
2007-06-17, 11:45
No it doesn't... switches operate each port separately


Yes but simple router's don't. In any case, the wireless portion is more important as using a mixed wireless network ABSOLUTELY slows down the nodes

Of course the main point my brining this up is the idea of a hardware base unit with one (or more) display unit(s) and controler(s) in a remote location. What do ya'll think?

Jeffrey

seanadams
2007-06-17, 13:21
Yes but simple router's don't.

Sorry, but you're completely wrong. You may be thinking of a hub, which for practical purposes don't exist any more, and have never existed at all as far as gigabit ethernet is concerned.


In any case, the wireless portion is more important as using a mixed wireless network ABSOLUTELY slows down the nodes

That was indeed true of 802.11b used in an 802.11g environment, but I haven't seen any indications that this is a real problem for 802.11g vs 802.11n. Again your information is way out of date!


What do ya'll think?

It's hard to discuss the important features if you won't get past the idea that the thing needs more bandwidth.

bpa
2007-06-17, 13:31
Use can use Shadowplay plugin and another SB3 to control your Sb3 remotely rather than wait for new product.

Kane
2007-06-17, 13:32
I absolutely admit you are correct when it comes to wired switches (and your right, it was hubs that I was thinking about). OK, let's keep the unit at 10 Mps for the wired eithernet.

As far as the problem mixing wireless a/b/g/n numerous people are having problems with wireless networks (mostly with streaming video) slowing down when you have legacy equipment, instead of a separate "pure n" network (which you can do -- just set up two networks, one for b/g, and one for n -- it just creates redundancy). Apple-TV suffers from this in mixed networks

for example:
<http://www.macworld.com/2007/06/secrets/july07mobilemac/index.php>

In any case, what I --really-- want to talk about is the basic concept of this setup (more than the network speed :-)

Jeffrey

pfarrell
2007-06-17, 13:59
Kane wrote:
> As far as the problem mixing wireless a/b/g/n numerous people are
> having problems with wireless networks (mostly with streaming video)

And how is streaming video, which takes megabytes per second, related to
streaming audio, which takes no more than 1.5 mega bits per second even
as wave files? With Flac, you are talking 700kB/s worst case. You can
almost do that with tin can and string.

> In any case, what I --really-- want to talk about is the basic concept
> of this setup (more than the network speed :-)

Then what are you doing with all this irrelevant stuff.
What do you want to talk about?

Even if you wanted album art to be displayed on the remote, it simply is
not much data and not worth worrying about.

I don't understand what a "headless SB" would be, the display has been
attributed as the most expensive part by folks who know, and without a
display, I don't see much advantage over an Apple AirPort or even a USB
dongle sound card.

For years, I used my SqueezeBox's display just for a convenience
reference. I do not use the remote control. I use a laptop. Actually a
string of laptops, none of which cost me more than $200.

If you don't care about the display, why not just buy a used SqueezeBox
model 1?


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

Kane
2007-06-17, 15:15
Kane wrote:
> As far as the problem mixing wireless a/b/g/n numerous people are
> having problems with wireless networks (mostly with streaming video)

And how is streaming video, which takes megabytes per second, related to
streaming audio, ...

It you have multiple, constant video files streaming about (along with other traffic such as these smaller audio streams), then entire network is slower if you don't have pure n wireless network. My wireless network is VERY busy. It all depends on how much you really use your bandwidth. I actually use a great deal of mine now.




> In any case, what I --really-- want to talk about is the basic concept
> of this setup (more than the network speed :-)

Then what are you doing with all this irrelevant stuff.
What do you want to talk about?


Because everyone else keep asking me questions about the networking part :-)




I don't understand what a "headless SB" would be, the display has been
attributed as the most expensive part by folks who know, and without a
display, I don't see much advantage over an Apple AirPort or even a USB
dongle sound card.

Pat, I appreciate your thoughts.
I had said in my original posts that I know I can use a computer to control the SB. This is in a finished room without room for computers (or the amplifiers), and the interface would be used as an audio appliance by others.

If it's not economically feasible to break out the D/A converter and decoder processors, then this isn't a viable idea.

What this allows is for people to install SBs remotely and have it work and look like a finished installation, instead of a computer hack. It may be economically viable if you need multiple remotes to control a single decoder & D/A unit.

For my single application, you are correct, I could use an SB (even an older one if I can get one on ebay) for controlling another SB remotely, but I was proposing a scalable product line that installers & users might be interested in.

Jeffrey

pfarrell
2007-06-17, 15:58
Kane wrote:
> If it's not economically feasible to break out the D/A converter and
> decoder processors, then this isn't a viable idea.

Well, I don't work for SD or Logitech, I just buy their stuff.

But the economics of consumer electronics are completely against you.
Recently SD stopped offering the wired-only SqueezeBox. It had a $50
lower MSRP, and obviously allowed them to not buy the WiFi card.

No reason was given, but a betting man would bet that there was actually
very little cost savings to SD in offering two products with such
similar features and prices. Consider for a minute that they have to
have two SKUs, two ways to order it, two stacks of boxes in the factory
and in the shipping dock. When there are problems, they have to have two
sets in the RMA department.

I bet that the real cost of keeping two products instead of one raised
the cost of the wired-only one to nearly the same as the wireless one.

What you are suggesting is far more radical. And while it will serve
your special case, you are probably under one percent of the buyer
population. The economics just don't work.

You could get a normal SqueezeBox and bury it into the wall, wallpaper
over it, etc.


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

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-17, 16:24
It you have multiple, constant video files streaming about (along with other traffic such as these smaller audio streams), then entire network is slower if you don't have pure n wireless network. My wireless network is VERY busy. It all depends on how much you really use your bandwidth. I actually use a great deal of mine now.

There's not even such a thing as pure n yet. There's draft n (Draft 2.0 at this point), but 802.11n isn't even final yet! The current proposal date is September 2008.

But - can you prove that not having every device "pure n" (actually pre-n/draft-n as I pointed out) actually slows down an entire network? Please post links. Also please post links to this new security protocol.


Because everyone else keep asking me questions about the networking part :-)

That's because you keep making stuff up!

We try not to be hard on new posters (or at least I do) but...

I just hope this isn't all for the old "mine's bigger than yours" thing, i.e. having it just for the point of having it, bigger must be better. BTW the only reason the SB2/3 is 100 Mbps is that 10 Mbps chips aren't available anymore - if they were, that would be all that's required. If 100 Mbps chips get scarce then you could get your wish, but if this happens it sure won't be for bandwidth requirements.

Now as for the rest of your request (headless SB3), it has been asked before but it didn't amount to much - your best bet is an SB3 and the ShadowPlay plugin.

Kane
2007-06-17, 18:11
it has been asked before but it didn't amount to much - your best bet is an SB3 and the ShadowPlay plugin

Then that's the end of this thread.





That's because you keep making stuff up!


By "pure n" all I meant was that all the devices are n protocol.
A reference was already posted above. You can do more research if you want, or not. I'm done.

seanadams
2007-06-17, 21:35
A reference was already posted above. You can do more research if you want, or not.

I would love to. However, MacWorld isn't exactly an authoritative expert on the subject, and the article you referenced only makes passing mention of the supposed phenomenon. I googled for a good 15 minutes and could not find any real data either way. So I suggest the onus is on you to do this research if you want to claim that it's a problem when nobody else seems to be having an issue with it. Maybe you should just try it on your own network - since you are already streaming wireless video to multiple rooms in a real environment it seems like a great test bed. Sorry to be a pest but I'm a stickler for evidence... kind of got that way hanging around the audiophile forum. :)

dwilliams01
2007-06-18, 20:15
Been away for a few days - sorry for the delay in responding.

It was a few years ago when Belkin first came out with mimo-style "pre-n", not the current draft n. It had security options that my old G hub didn't support. My laptop with built-in b didn't support it either. They probalby do now, I've no idea and no real interest in it either. There is no point in designing a new device using old standards - as people have pointed out there probably isn't much in the way of a signifant price difference, just a simplicity/efficiency one.

My pre-n certainly appears to me to have much better range and reliability than my old G hub. Not a scientific test, but it has been confirmed with multiple devices (using the belkin pre-n cards and hub) vs the old G hub that I had for a while. It went through walls much better, no dead spots and null zones in the house and even work further out into the yard. So speed isn't the only thing to consider.

SuperQ
2007-06-18, 22:38
Sorry, but you're completely wrong. You may be thinking of a hub, which for practical purposes don't exist any more, and have never existed at all as far as gigabit ethernet is concerned.

To be fair, there are a few really REALLY low-end gige hubs out there, thankfully they've just about all died off. I use switched gige between my server and my linux desktop. I have my 11g AP connected to the same switch, and there are no performance problems or even noticeable changes when playing both 2 squeezeboxes over wifi, and doing NFS file transfers, and playing video over sshfs on my laptop over the same 11g AP.

802.11n is a mixed 5.8ghz/2.4ghz spec. Backwards compatibility is better because 11n devices can operate on a different frequency.

seanadams
2007-06-18, 23:17
there are a few really REALLY low-end gige hubs out there

I'm not real good with networking so I could be wrong about all this, but I really don't think they exist. I would be very interested to see such a beast if you can provide a link to one. Switching technology was mature and cheap by the time gigE came along, and although CSMA/CD is specified for gigE, to my knowledge it has never been done. Not only would there be insignificant cost savings compared to a switch, but you have the whole problem of how to connect it to your legacy LAN - that's largely why 100M hubs were so short lived. Also gigE is so fast that in order to do collision detection you would need a ridiculous amount of frame padding. That would effectively turn a bunch of little chatty connections into a huge amount of link usage, thus tons of collisions. You'd be better off with a 100Mbps switch!

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-19, 05:44
It had security options that my old G hub didn't support. My laptop with built-in b didn't support it either.

You're most likely talking about WPA - which 802.11b never supported. 802.11g has supported it from the beginning, but not all 802.11g chipsets supported it. Those that don't are no longer in production.


There is no point in designing a new device using old standards - as people have pointed out there probably isn't much in the way of a signifant price difference, just a simplicity/efficiency one.

If you're talking about WEP, certainly, that was broken long ago. Dropping support for it in 802.11n would be a great idea so people won't accidentally use it. Several on this thread have requested to see what "new" security you're talking about and never received the answer. It's WPA/PSK or WPA2/AES or some non-standard manufacturer-specific thing that won't interoperate with equipment from other manufacturers. These are "old" standards in that they're over five years old (gasp!) There's nothing wrong with them provided you aren't stupid about the passphrase - to perform a brute-force attack on these would take on the order of thousands of years...


My pre-n certainly appears to me to have much better range and reliability than my old G hub. Not a scientific test, but it has been confirmed with multiple devices (using the belkin pre-n cards and hub) vs the old G hub that I had for a while. It went through walls much better, no dead spots and null zones in the house and even work further out into the yard. So speed isn't the only thing to consider.

True, but in order to take advantage of this you only need it in the router/AP - and you can do this with an 802.11g MIMO router. You don't need this technology in a low-bandwidth end client like the SB.

Kane
2007-06-22, 20:56
Sean -- see your private inbox for info

amcluesent
2007-06-22, 23:08
>What do you think?<

We're all assuming that Logitech will use the Jive platform to knock-up a Harmony-based remote with album art etc. to feature match Sonos. If Slimdevices is true to its original ethos this could be used to control SB3 etc. and won't be marketing-engineered to only work with the mooted SB4 and Transporter.

Kane
2008-02-11, 08:02
I just want to thank the slimdevices team for the new duet product. It seems this is pretty much what I had asked for in this forum section. I can now place the amp in a remote location and with multiple controls, it can be manuipulated from anywhere in the house.