View Full Version : How I got my wireless Duet SB Network to hum

2009-01-09, 22:02
SB and LAN configuration:
- 3500 sq ft home
- five zones (four zones wireless, one zone wired)
- four duet receivers
- one sb boom

- two duet controllers
- browser control from my BlackBerry via wifi
- ipeng for my ipod touch

- one linksys gateway router
- two dlink wireless routers (dgl4500, dir655, both with WPA2 enabled)
- one linksys switch

- squeezecenter installed on windows home server
- FLAC highest quality (384, 20-40mb per track) is standard for my ripped music

Last month I made the plunge and built out a whole house network with SB. This was my first experience with SB, and I had been really excited about the potential of multi-room synced audio without pulling wires. But I had two MUSTS for it to stay:

1. It must be stable and not require "patching" or geeky tweaking (have been doing this for years with tech, now I just want an appliance).

2. It must be wife-approved. My wife has far less tolerance than I do for unstable tech, and I am done playing help desk.

Six weeks later, after a very bumpy start, I can say that its stable, its working, we love it, and my wife is big fan. We can stream wirelessly all day and night to my entire network without a single problem, use independent sources in multiple zones or a single sync across all zones, use music services or my own music; all this and still use our wired and wifi PCs without noticeable performance degradation. I hope my comments here can save a few others some time with their setup, and also give hope to some who may be on the fence with this system.

When I first installed a few zones, I ran into many of the problems posted on this board: randomly stopped playing, sc crashes, receivers not found, controllers not connecting, etc. I got to my current stable working state through a slow process of changes and network tweaking (I know I said I didn't want to tweak, but my network needed an overhaul anyway).

Here are some of my observations on how to improve the SB experience, in order of importance IMO:

- Turn off performance enhancement settings on your routers. This includes proprietary improvements for media, gaming, voice, etc. Anything that claims to "improve" the performance of an application should be disabled. Search the forums for specific settings, some include: WMM, gamefuel(dlink), QOS, IGMP, WISH, Multicast, etc. I am sure some of these can be re-enabled and configured specific for SB and other apps, but it will be easy to understand their impacts after you have a baseline of good performance on your SB network. Also, if you experience a complete inability to connect to devices, check your firewall settings.

- Assign Static IPs and/or DHCP Reservations for all components in your SB network.

- Install SC on a robust PC. I noticed a huge difference in performance when I moved it from a legacy PC (4 yrs old pentium 1.6ghz, 2gb ram) to my windows home server (2 year old, 2.4ghz, 4gb ram).

- Upgrade the firmware on your network components.

- Remove all WiFi B from your network.

- Watch out for interference from cordless phones. This means any 2.4 mhz units, even 5.8 and DECT. I had a DECT 6.0 phone near my wireless router. This DECT phone was supposed to avoid interfering with my network, but it absolutely had an impact. I unplugged the unit and got an immediate improvement.

- Tweak your router location/antennas and placement of receivers for each zone (check the wifi data through the sb controller/advanced settings/information page). Small movements can make a big difference in wireless signal.

- Use best practices for locations of your routers. DLink has some good details on their site (look in DAP 1522 user manual).

- Haven't fully tested this, but the I believe that iPeng iphone controller app actually causes some issues when working in a synced mode. I'd avoid using until your network is stable and you can isolate any issues once enabled.

And things I have learned:

- Wireless SB does work, you just need the right gear and right configurations.
- Most challenges during setup are related to wireless configurations. If you go with a wired network, it should be an easier setup.
- Most random stops and buffering issues are the problem of the music service provider.
- I have noticed problems with music services during heavy internet traffic. Some buffering problems are due to increased load at your ISP (comcast is mine) during heavy traffic periods.

Ongoing issues, but we (wife included) can deal with them now that they are understood:

- Rhapsody is the spottiest of all music services. Its not your network. (Despite these problems, I just signed up for their monthly service because its so cool, it is the best of the bunch when it works.) Restarting the playlist usually fixes the feed.
- Slacker and Pandora have service issues as well, but far less frequent.
- When the controller is connected to the wireless network, but it fails to control the receiver or it just slows down, a power cycle on the controller almost always seems to fix the problem. Hopefully this will improve with firmware updates.
- I have had my receivers completely freeze up with a solid white light a few times. Only unplugging reset would fix. This is a bug, and I have an open ticket on it.
- Service for SC stops. I have seen this a few times, but not in the last couple of weeks. Seems to be stable since the 7.2.x update. A service restart fixed the problem.
- SC scan problems. Saw this twice early on, not recently. See the threads. Try flushing the library.
- When enabling a sync, its common for some zones not to pick up the feed immediately. Forward to the next song fixes the sync.
- If zones fall out of sync, or if a song/feed stops playing, forwarding to the next song usually restarts the feed.

SB is not plug-n-play for many wireless configurations. Some may criticize the SB system because of all these setup challenges, but I have to give them a pass as a each wireless network is so very different, and there are many variables outside of Logitech's control that affect the SB services.

Good luck and happy listening

2009-01-10, 06:15
Thanks for sharing all this.

Seems to be stable since the 7.2.x update

So you have not tried 7.3 or 7.3.1?

2009-01-10, 08:12
So you have not tried 7.3 or 7.3.1?

Just loaded 7.3.1. No observations yet.

2009-01-10, 09:40
Just loaded 7.3.1. No observations yet.

Please let us know in due time...

My experience is that 7.3.1 does not work well. However, I am reluctant to revert to 7.2.1 (which seems to be the advice) since my main source is currently internet radio on SqueezeNetwork (I have a NAS running SC, but I'm not using it much, yet), and IIUC the controller will do a firmware upgrade anyway as soon as it connects to SqueezeNetwork (if someone knows I'm wrong, please enlighten me).