View Full Version : Diagnosing drop-outs

James Dunn
2004-01-09, 14:42

Using a dedicated P3 1GHz server with 384MB memory with about 4800 tracks
and 6 original slimp3s connected I suffered the occasional dropout. I never
investigated the causes but as I had a switched 100Mbps network I couldn't
see it being network related. I just raised the priority on my server. I've
suffered no-dropouts since.



-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com] On Behalf Of Christopher
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 9:12 PM
To: discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
Subject: [slim] Diagnosing drop-outs

I am a new owner of a squeezebox. I am very happy with it so far.

I *only* listen to uncompressed streams (never tried an MP3, actually).
I get occasional drop-outs. Nothing severe, but maybe 1-2 per hour.

I use WiFi (DLink 2.4 GHz Access Point, 128 bit WEP). The squeezebox
reports a signal strength of 65-70%.

My server is running on a Gentoo Linux box (900 MHz C3 processor,
256 Megs of RAM, one single 7200 RPM ATA-100 HD). The machine is
not (yet) a dedicated server, and sometimes there is some other disk
activity and swapping going on.

I am using the coax digital out of the squeezebox, and feeding it into a
DA converter.

Are there any tools (or tricks) to diagnose the cause of the
drop-outs? For example, it would be nice if the squeezebox could
log a buffer underrun, or if the server had some information on its
performance. Or perhaps my wireless signal strength is not good
enough to listen to PCM audio. Or maybe some device in my house is
causing intermittent RF interference (it'd be nice if the squeezebox
could log its signal strength during a dropout). I've also wondered
if the digital out of the squeezebox has a lot of jitter, or if my
coax cable is bad. During the dropouts, the DA converter totally
loses the signal, which I assume is normal...

I have several computers, and I ran the slimserver with some
additional RAM --- 512 MB. This improved the situation, but I
still got a dropout during several hours of listening. There was
minimal (but not 0) swap being used when I checked the server.

My best guess is that some high priority program is forcing the
slimserver to wait for an excessive period of time. I have never
tried running the slimserver at a very high priority, but that's
something I may do if this continues...

My server is built primarily for low power consumption and quietness.
It's a MiniITX motherboard, which has a C3 CPU (only 64 KB of onboard
cache). It's no Athlon, but I can't imagine this machine is
too slow to run a slimserver.

Is my goal of zero dropouts realistic over WiFi? I'm going to start
building a dedicated server with multiple hard drives (one for music and
one for the OS/swap), but it seems like I should be able to achieve
high performance even on my current setup.

Christopher Farley