View Full Version : Network Configuration Advice

2008-02-02, 00:40
I'm thinking about enhancing my network and my SB is a key consideration, so I was wondering whether anyone had some tips, suggestions or experiences to share.

This is my current set-up:

* Cable Modem
* Wireless Router (Netgear RangeMax WPN824)
* Ubuntu machine running SC7
* Thecus with music library (not running SS!)

* SB3
* Jive Remote
* Notebooks

The wireless reception downstairs where the SB resides is pretty good (at least became that way after switching routers to the RangeMax), but it deteriorates pretty quickly further towards the back of the house. Now, I have big plans to set up outdoor speakers with a new amp and a new SB Receiver in a cupboard in the kitchen (convenient for drilling a hole to outside). I'm a bit concerned that the wireless reception there may be a little flaky for the SBR and the SB Remote (i.e. Jive) definitely will not work outside. So, I need to improve my wireless reception. The possibilities I am considering are as follows:

* Get a wireless repeater downstairs (although I've heard they are not great).
* Put a cable in from upstairs to downstairs (near the current SB) and stick in a new wireless router there.

Any other ideas? Has anyone had any experience with meraki's? They are one possible form of repeater I've considered, although I'll need two as they won't join an existing network. If I do go for the second router approach I would set it up as follows:

(LAN) [Downstairs Router] (WAN) -> (LAN) [Upstairs Router] (WAN) -> Modem -> Internet

Will the SB/SBR have any trouble seeing the SC on my upstairs server this way as it will be on a different subnet?

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

2008-02-02, 01:52

I've found that wireless in my ktchen isn't reliable enough for an SB3. I think it is due to all the metalwear about including copper water pipes, and a refridgerator. I've tried a wireless extender and that also doesn't work with the SB3 as it struggles to pickup an address. I've stayed with wire.


Phil Leigh
2008-02-02, 02:47
Have you tried Homeplugs?

2008-02-02, 03:18
wired is certainly more reliable wireless and if its convenient, the way to go.
as for wireless, i've found sb to be fairly consistent with it 99% of the time.
if you are going to use repeaters, you have to make sure they are set correctly. commonly, people just plug them in and go. a big mistake! signals should overlap as little as possible (you can adjust power for this) and overlapping channels should alternate eg 6, then 7, then 6, then 7 etc etc
its worth checking what other buildings around you are chucking out.

2008-02-02, 05:35
Have you tried Homeplugs?
Hadn't thought of that. How well do they work? Are there any factors to take into consideration in terms of the house electrical wiring?

Phil Leigh
2008-02-02, 11:30
Hadn't thought of that. How well do they work? Are there any factors to take into consideration in terms of the house electrical wiring?

Mine work great - but they don't like some circuit breakers or RCD's. This isn't a problem for most people though. Worth a shot I'd say. Certainly I don't get the occasional problems I used to gt with wireless and interference from other appliances.

2008-02-02, 14:25
You can also use Homeplug in conjunction wireless - for example use Homeplug to enable an second AP (doesn't have to be a repeater) to be installed to service outside or just to provide better coverage for Jive.

2008-02-02, 15:00
You can also use Homeplug in conjunction wireless - for example use Homeplug to enable an second AP (doesn't have to be a repeater) to be installed to service outside or just to provide better coverage for Jive.This sounds appealing. If I just used a second wireless AP rather than a second wireless router, it would obviously have a different SSID, but would it be on the same sub-net as the primary router?

I'm assuming this is the set-up:

PCs, Homeplug1 -> (LAN) [Wireless Router] (WAN) -> Modem


Homeplug2 <- Wireless AP

2008-02-02, 15:54
The home plug is a good idea instead of running cat5. Try and make sure that you get one that supports 100Mbps in both directions, these are sometimes labled as 200Mbps. The may cost a little more but will help reduce throughput problems especially if the mains is a little noisy. I think it has already been mentioned but also avoid plugging them into those filtered extensions you can buy to protect against lightning and surges as they also filter out the home plug signals.

Use either a straight AP or a wireless router, either will do the job. Most home grade wireless routers don't really act as full subnet routers anyway, just routing between their WAN port and the LAN/Wireless. Wireless to LAN is almost certainly just bridging, you'll notice that the squeezebox or other device gets the same address range as your LAN devices.

The main difficulty would be to ensure that, if you use it, DHCP operates correctly. Ideally make sure that only the primary router (or your own DHCP server) is giving out addresses. If the additional AP/router insists on doing DHCP make sure you have it use an address range in the same subnet but one which doesn't conflict with the primary unit. The trick though here, and it is the key element, is to ensure that the router address that it gives out as part of the DHCP lease is that of the primary device otherwise they'll have problems accessing the internet.

From memory I don't think that there is any problem with both wireless devices having the same SSID and keys since they are both on the same network. That way the SB will connect to which ever it sees as the strongest signal. Just make sure they are on different channels and don't interfer with each other.

2008-02-02, 16:57
Excellent. Thanks for the tips.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-02-02, 16:59
On the other hand, since the SBR in the kitchen cupboard is going to be a permanent or semi-permanent installation, it might be worthwhile to run cat-5 (or pay somebody to do it). It's a good feeling to be able to eliminate all potential network problems and just enjoy the music.

2008-02-03, 02:04
This would be the ideal solution, unfortunately the layout of our house makes this pretty tricky. The best I can probably manage in terms of cat5 is to cable from upstairs (study with computers, router, cable modem) to downstairs in the lounge room near the stereo and SB3. Then the kitchen (for better Jive and SBR reception) will probably have to be Homeplug or wireless with a new router/AP near the SB3.

Thanks again for the feedback everyone!

2008-02-03, 12:01
my house is approx. 3200sf with an upstairs and huge backyard.
My wireless strength varies depending on my location in my house.
This used to be an issue until I kept a wired connection between the pc that runs SS and my router while the SB2 is wireless.

There are three other pcs that use the wireless for internet browsing without a issue and can access the music library without a problem.
The music plays flawlessly, no dropouts, no stuttering its perfect.

Hopefully the above helps, if not ohh well..

Go Pats!!

2008-02-03, 13:48
At the moment SqueezeCenter is on a pc wired to the router and the SB3 has a wireless connection to that router. Performance is flawless. Once I move out to the kitchen/backyard, wireless strength deteriorates significantly and I don't expect performance to be so good there. The replies here have given me a few options to try. I'll report back once I get something set up.

2008-02-03, 21:36
If you decide to use a repeater, have a look at the Linksys WRT54GL. There's open firmware for it that lets you put it in repeater mode, and lets you adjust a number of other things (like which antenna is used for what function, and radio power).
They were about $50 the last time I looked, the open firmware being free, of course...

2008-02-03, 21:52
bobkoure wrote:
> If you decide to use a repeater, have a look at the Linksys WRT54GL.

Yes, I recommend it as well.
Please note that the model ends in "GL" with the "L" part being
critical. Linksys has two nearly identical models, the
WRT54G and WRT54GL. You want the "GL" model to be able to do great stuff
with firmware. It adds maybe $10 to the cost over the more common
"L-less" model

Pat Farrell

2008-02-04, 05:33
It's a little complicated as there actually is firmware available for the non-L version 5 and upwards - but I don't know if it includes the repeater code, and it's probably not worth $10 to figure that out.
Also, if you can find an older WRT54G (model 4 or earlier), the firmware will be fully functional. Maybe a friend upgraded to 'n' and has one of these gathering dust...

There's lots of info on this, just web-search for WRT54G and "firmware".

2008-02-04, 14:36
Thanks for the suggestions. I will give the Linksys a try. I had a read of the specs on the repeater function and is appears to effectively share the wifi bandwidth between incoming (devices to 2nd router) and outgoing (2nd router to original router) which results in lower bandwidth. So, although it's an attractive feature, I'm leaning towards cabling to somewhere downstairs (the layout of the house means that cabling all the way to the kitchen would be pretty hard) and then putting a Linksys there, which should provide coverage for the downstairs area.

I am also intrigued by the homeplug solution, but they seem pretty expensive here in Australia (over $300). I don't know how the homeplugs work technically: are the likely to differ from one country to another based on the different voltage/phasing (you can tell I don't know what I'm talking about!) of the power supply in each country? I suppose what I'm asking is, would a cheaper set bought online work in Australia?

2008-02-04, 15:28
What home plugs are are modems that operate over the power lines rather than comms lines. Similar in many ways to Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology.

Since there are various standards employed in different countries both for main electricity but also electrical safety you would want to satisfy yourself that any you get from elsewhere are certified as safe for your supply. Getting it wrong may cause a fire hazard.

But where they are certified they work great, I use a pair myself for exactly the same reason, cabling to downstairs is difficult.