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sam001
2008-12-09, 06:30
Hi,
Im fairly new to this and not very techie - but I love my squeezebox.... I have succesfully installed 2 squeezeboxes in my house. However, when running both, they start to judder and drop, and become unuseable (either radio OR my music). Switching either off restores the remaining. My house has very thick walls and Im wondering if this is affecting them. Would purchasing a more powerful router resolve this problem.
I am using a Livebox router currently, and my music is in apple lossless format. I would rather not downgrade the quality of the songs but wondered if this may also be an issue. Or do I need more processing power. Any advice/guidance would be appreciated before I have to pass on my second SB3! Thanks

Dogberry2
2008-12-09, 08:01
When you're using both SBs, are you playing them synchronized (i.e. playing the same thing on both), or are you playing different music on each? Stuttering and track restarts are usually caused by network problems, either poor connectivity or lack of bandwidth. It's much less likely that the machine you're running as your server (running SqueezeCenter) is the problem. "Very thick walls" could be an issue; what are the walls made of? Is the router really old, and still using 802.11b, or is it 802.11g? Are there other electrical devices such as microwave ovens or cordless phones in use near your router or receivers? Are there large metal or electrical structures (furnace, fridge, steel support beams, electrical panels, etc.) located between the router and receivers? All of these could cause problems with your network connectivity. It's possible that a new and more powerful router could take care of the problem, or it might just be a matter of relocating the router or SBs; sometimes moving them just a few feet in one direction or another can make a big difference. Even re-orienting the router or SBs can occasionally make a difference (i.e. turning them 90 degrees or something).

Also, how much additional traffic is there on your WiFi at the time you're having the problem? If you have large downloads (e.g. a BitTorrent stream or something) going on, that's going to suck up bandwidth as well. Is the box you're running SqueezeCenter on connected to the router via Ethernet cable, or wireless? It's usually better to have the server wired directly to the router, so the stream doesn't have to go wireless in both directions (up to the router, then down to the receivers).

sam001
2008-12-09, 08:34
Hi Dogberry2,
thanks for your reply.
Playing different music on each.
Thick walls made of stone and cement render (old house)- about 3 feet thick and very solid.
Router only year old. Will need to check re 802.11g (where/how do I check and what difference does it make?)
Cordless phone right next to the router! Will this have a big effect?
I have tried moving the router about (limited by cable length) and sometimes made it a bit better, but still stutters. No metal items nearby.

No additional traffic when SB's on (occasional web browsing, but that can be halted easily).
Laptop running squeezecentre connected to router via wireless. I could (temporarily) connect via ethernet - does that make a big difference?, although I wouldnt want this permanantly unless I invest in a much longer cable to attach router to phone point....
If connecting laptop to router via ethernet makes a big difference, I could consider this (and certainly test it out)....
BUT it does sound as though its bandwidth (and I assume nothing to do with slow broadband speed) which may be sorted by repositioning or a more powerful router.....?

Mnyb
2008-12-09, 08:51
If the machine that runs SC is also wireless you double the load on the wireless AP this is not recommended practice.

The server should be wired and SB's wireless for best performance.

Where is the files are they on the laptop to ?.

You can still use an laptop for control and have the SC on another machine that is wired the router via ethernet.

Dogberry2
2008-12-09, 09:04
If your router is only a year old, it's able to run 802.11g, so don't worry about that. (802.11b is an older, and slower, spec.) However, the three-foot thick stone/cement walls are certainly going to give you much less range and more network problems than simple wood/drywall/plaster construction. You might want to look into getting a WiFi booster (which basically just retransmits your router's signal with much more power) as that would undoubtedly help get through those walls. You could also consider a WiFi range extender, but they can be a bit more touchy about working with your particular router, so you'd want to be sure the one you picked would be a good match. A booster would be a better bet. I don't use a booster (don't need one), so I can't recommend any particular brand, but a little searching on the Net will turn up plenty of choices. (Note: if you do get a booster, you should make sure you're using network security, WPA or WPA2, because your range increase will make you more vulnerable.) But it would also probably be worthwhile to at least do a test with your laptop wired directly to the router, just to see whether that has a noticeable effect. Since you can do that without having to buy any new gear, it's worth trying as a first step. Another step you can try without having to buy anything new is to use a different channel on your router. You'll have to check the router's documentation for how to do that, but if you log into the router setup, you can probably find it. However, based on what you've said, I doubt that the problem is really going to be fixed by a simple change of channel; it's much more likely that those medieval castle walls are just not allowing a good WiFi signal to get through. So you can try the other things, but start researching WiFi boosters too.

Patrick Dixon
2008-12-09, 09:17
You might also have an issue with your server being not powerful enough - one thing you could try is to stream in flac rather than apple lossless. Same audio quality, but less server load and less network load.

sam001
2008-12-09, 09:42
Thanks for all the responses.

Dogberry2: I will try connecting direct to router first. I will then consider a booster. I currently use WEP code but nearest neighbour a mile away!
Patrick: re flac. Can I easily convert apple lossless to flac - I couldnt bear to re-do the cd's. Any advice?

Mnyb: all music files on the same laptop. I do have an old laptop so could look into your suggestion (I have a techie mate who no doubt would be able to configure).

So, several soluitions, starting from simple. I really hope I can resolve as moving house may not be acceptable to the wife. I also want a Boombox in the bedroom but hopefully the wifi isnt such an issue.

The Squeezebox has completly changed the way the whole family listen to music. I cant rave about it enough. At last, technology I can enjoy!

Patrick Dixon
2008-12-09, 10:41
You can convert apple lossless to flac without re-ripping, but it would probably be best to try a couple of flacs first, to see if it improves things - otherwise it might not be worth bothering!

You could also look at homeplugs as a solution to your wi-fi cold spots.

sam001
2008-12-10, 09:13
Patrick,
will try the conversion as suggested.
Just looked up Home Plugs. Seems like another option. However, I live in france. Dont suppose anyone knows if you can use a Homeplug via a UK to Europe plug converter?!

pnharrison
2008-12-10, 09:50
Sam001: First you may want to narrow the performance problem down to the two most likely causes: Wifi network performance or the Squeezecenter laptop performance.

You can rule laptop performance issues in/out by connecting your laptop and your 2 SB3s to the router, all with a wired connection. Then see if they run smoothly when both playing. If so, then you can focus on the wireless network.

If it isn't the laptop performance then I would definitely try the suggestion of connecting the Squeezecenter laptop to your router with a wired connection.

It's also worth using the Network Test (under Plugins) to discover how fast your SB3s can each receive streamed data. Perhaps one, or both, are in weakspots. If so; this can be improved useing Homeplugs/Wifi boosters as suggested by others.

As a last resort; you could use Squeezecenter settings to limit the bitrate (and therefore quality) of the streams to each Squeezebox. But far better to identify and resolve any network issues if possible.

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/NetworkProblemsSecondGuide

Good luck!

sam001
2008-12-10, 09:57
Pnharrison,
thanks for the advice and links. Think I can fudge my way through this all now.

Cheers!