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  1. #1
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    WiFi connection unstable/lost on three Radios

    I have three Squeezebox Radios (HW version 5), all on WiFi. Since a few weeks ago, they all have the same problem: After some time (minutes-hours) they lose connection with my WiFi access point(s). The WiFi symbol is red. "Repair Network" usually resolves the problem temporarily, but sometimes a reboot is required. But no permanent cure.

    I did a major update of my entire home network infrastructure (combined Ethernet and WiFi) and software/firmware before this problem started, so many things could potentially have caused this. My LMS runs on a QNAP TS-569 Pro NAS. My (new) ordinary WiFi consists of three TP-Link Deco M9 Plus configured as Access Points (mesh network) with Ethernet backhaul to an Asus RT-N66U router. It makes no difference whether I'm using DHCP or static IP on my Radios. After spending two days investigating, I believe I have narrowed it down to the WiFi link between the Radios and my access point(s). I have replaced the TP-Link mesh network with my old Asus RT-AC66U router (configured as AP). The AP's "Wireless log" shows that the radios drop out, one after the other. This is the wireless log when all three radios are playing:

    Stations List
    ----------------------------------------
    idx MAC Associated Authorized RSSI PSM Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    00:04:20:26:C0:0D Yes Yes -47dBm No 18M 54M 00:39:58
    00:04:20:2A:2E:B7 Yes Yes -45dBm No 36M 54M 00:39:58
    00:04:20:28:44:5E Yes Yes -63dBm No 2M 54M 00:39:58

    5 GHz radio is disabled.

    The Radios report a signal strength of 75-100%.

    Since this is my old and trusty AP, which has been working flawlessly for years, AND that the problem also exists when using my mesh network, I have only one "suspect" left: The Radio firmware was recently updated to v7.7.3 r16676, as part of an upgrade to QLogitechMediaServer v2.03.01. Unfortunately, LMS is no longer supported "out of the box" from QNAP, but I have been using their official LMS until recently. I don't known with version of the Radio firmware that was bundled with the QNAP LMS that I used until recently, but I noticed that the LMS update triggered a firmware update to 7.7.3 r16676 (dated February 14. 2014).

    To cut a long story short:
    1. Has anyone experienced and fixed a similar WiFi connection issue? I saw that another user changed his WiFi channel to 1 to try and fix this. I have just tried to set a fixed channel on my AP, so fingers crossed...
    2. If I were to revert to an older version of the Radio firmware (v7.7.2?), would it be compatible with the current community LMS? On the other hand, I would seem very strange if this is a firmware problem, given the fact that the firmware is almost five years old and used by thousands.

    Thank you very much!

    --

    Stein Erik

  2. #2
    Senior Member toby10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanullnet View Post
    .....
    1. Has anyone experienced and fixed a similar WiFi connection issue? I saw that another user changed his WiFi channel to 1 to try and fix this. I have just tried to set a fixed channel on my AP, so fingers crossed...
    2. If I were to revert to an older version of the Radio firmware (v7.7.2?), would it be compatible with the current community LMS? On the other hand, I would seem very strange if this is a firmware problem, given the fact that the firmware is almost five years old and used by thousands.
    1. did it help?
    2. highly unlikely

    Try switching one Radio to MySB.com, see if issue continues. Might be that LMS is the one losing it's network connection, not the Radio's.

    Sure there are no near by WiFi's with same SSID name?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by toby10 View Post
    1. did it help?
    2. highly unlikely

    Try switching one Radio to MySB.com, see if issue continues. Might be that LMS is the one losing it's network connection, not the Radio's.

    Sure there are no near by WiFi's with same SSID name?
    1. No, it did not help.
    2. I currently have the three Radios on a separate 2,4GHz WLAN in "Legacy" mode, with a unique SSID. All of them are connected to mysqueezebox.com, and my LMS is not running at all. All Radios play for a while, but after typically 5-30 minutes, the first Radio is disconnected from the WLAN (Radio's entry disappears from AP log table), and the Radio displays missing connection to mysqueezebox.com + red WiFi icon. The two other Radios keep playing, but eventually (hours) all of them lose connection with the WLAN.

    I find it very hard to believe that all three Radios have suddenly and simultaneously gotten the same issue with their WiFi module, and I refuse to give up on my beloved Squeezebox system. It might be old, but I cannot think of a better system out there. So the chase continues. This is what I have in mind:
    1. Keep messing with the WiFi settings, even though I have tried quite a lot already.
    2. Replace the WiFi module(?) in the Radios. Is this even possible without a lot of soldering?
    3. Add a "WiFi-to-Ethernet bridge" to each Radio, e.g. this one: http://www.vonets.com/ProductViews.asp?D_ID=86#
    4. Downgrade the Radio firmware to v7.7.2. I have tried to achieve this by following some advice from other users: I have installed LMS v7.7.2 on my Win7 PC, and pointed the Radios to this LMS. LMS puts the desired Radio firmware file (baby_7.7.2_r9663.bin) in folder C:\Users\All Users\Squeezebox\Cache\updates, but the Radios still only give me the option to update to the current v7.7.3 r16676. Any hints on how I can force a firmware downgrade?

    Thanks a lot for your help. It is highly appreciated.

    --

    Stein Erik

  4. #4
    Senior Member Greg Erskine's Avatar
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    hi seanullnet,

    Years ago, after many years of great wifi reliability, my SB system started going crazy.

    My solution, choose a channel on my wifi router NOT used by my neighbours. I got recommendations that this will not help, but anecdotal evidence has proven success in my case.

    But in your case, it sounds more like a failing wifi router. Move SB close to wifi router to test if wifi strength is a problem.

    My wifi router failed once, after 10 years, and it turned out the goop they used to secure the wifi card in place absorbed moisture and shorted the electronics. This only occurred after the router was turned off for a couple of weeks during a holiday break. If I had left it on, and therefore warm, I would not have had the problem.

    regards
    Greg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Erskine View Post
    hi seanullnet,

    Years ago, after many years of great wifi reliability, my SB system started going crazy.

    My solution, choose a channel on my wifi router NOT used by my neighbours. I got recommendations that this will not help, but anecdotal evidence has proven success in my case.

    But in your case, it sounds more like a failing wifi router. Move SB close to wifi router to test if wifi strength is a problem.

    My wifi router failed once, after 10 years, and it turned out the goop they used to secure the wifi card in place absorbed moisture and shorted the electronics. This only occurred after the router was turned off for a couple of weeks during a holiday break. If I had left it on, and therefore warm, I would not have had the problem.

    regards
    Greg
    I have used both a brand new TP-Link mesh system and an "old" Asus router (as AP). The Radios fail on both WLANs after some time. The WiFi strength is above 70% for all Radios. A WiFi scanner indicates that there is relatively little neighbourhood competition. I have set the AP to fixed channel 6 at the moment.

    Since my previous post I have made some progress (maybe): When I leave one Radio shut off, using only the two remaining Radios, these two have been playing for almost 8 hours now. The Radio that I keep shut off was bought only a few weeks ago. Could it be possible that this Radio messes up the WiFi for all of them? Too soon to conclude, but will keep my tests running until I have more data.

    --

    Stein Erik

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    Its unlikely all squeezeboxes going bad at the same time .

    So a common factor for all of them ?

    The router or other wifi hardware ?

    The environment? Namely other WiFi or disturbances on similar radio bands , other wireless tech seems to occupy similar frequencies ( suspect everything from baby monitors to a faulty microwave oven )?

    Testing another Chanel seems like a good idea I would look where all my neighbors are at and try something a s far from them as possible.
    Chanel overlaps so 1 6 or 11 are good startin points, avoid 12,13 Radio is known to not always detect this properly.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
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    (spares Touch, SB3, reciever ,controller )
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ralphy's Avatar
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    I had a similiar issue with my radio after installing a new wifi AP. If I unplugged the new AP and rebooted the radio it worked as before.

    I came across this bug report describing how or why this could happen.

    I modifed the wlan file as discussed in the bug report and my radio on wifi has been solid for 5 month now with the new AP point online.
    Code:
    --- /etc/init.d/wlan.orig
    +++ /etc/init.d/wlan
    @@ -16,7 +16,7 @@
     	    SETMAC="--setmac $macaddr"
     	fi
     
    -	/lib/atheros/loadAR6000l.sh $SETMAC
    +	/lib/atheros/loadAR6000l.sh $SETMAC --setRD 96
     	if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
     	    /usr/bin/logger -s "wlan: failed"
     	    exit -1
    Last edited by ralphy; 2018-12-31 at 08:44. Reason: Added patch
    Ralphy

    1-Touch, 5-Classics, 3-Booms, 1-UE Radio
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    Its unlikely all squeezeboxes going bad at the same time .

    So a common factor for all of them ?

    The router or other wifi hardware ?

    The environment? Namely other WiFi or disturbances on similar radio bands , other wireless tech seems to occupy similar frequencies ( suspect everything from baby monitors to a faulty microwave oven )?

    Testing another Chanel seems like a good idea I would look where all my neighbors are at and try something a s far from them as possible.
    Chanel overlaps so 1 6 or 11 are good startin points, avoid 12,13 Radio is known to not always detect this properly.
    Thanks! My testing continues. Still keeping the three Radios on their own "Legacy" AP, but now on Auto channel (currently channel 10). My theory (wishful thinking) of one of the Radios being the culprit was not valid. One of the Radios keep playing, but the two others fail just too often. Now following the tip from "ralphy" (above). Seems promising so far...

    --

    Stein Erik

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    I had a similiar issue with my radio after installing a new wifi AP. If I unplugged the new AP and rebooted the radio it worked as before.

    I came across this bug report describing how or why this could happen.

    I modifed the wlan file as discussed in the bug report and my radio on wifi has been solid for 5 month now with the new AP point online.
    Code:
    --- /etc/init.d/wlan.orig
    +++ /etc/init.d/wlan
    @@ -16,7 +16,7 @@
     	    SETMAC="--setmac $macaddr"
     	fi
     
    -	/lib/atheros/loadAR6000l.sh $SETMAC
    +	/lib/atheros/loadAR6000l.sh $SETMAC --setRD 96
     	if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
     	    /usr/bin/logger -s "wlan: failed"
     	    exit -1
    Thank you for the tip! I have applied the patch on two of the Radios; the two that were failing most often, and also located farthest from the AP. They have been playing synchronized for almost two hours now, without any sign of problems (rebuffering, dropouts, connection loss). I will be eternally grateful if this solves the problem! I'll keep you posted.

    Edit: Stability has definitely improved, now up to 24 hours before red wifi icon. I set fixed channel 13 on my AP, as there are no other nearby networks on that channel. So I now have a system that is "usable" but far from optimal.

    What puzzels me is that the Radios need a reboot to work properly again, and that the Radios don't handle a WiFi disconnect/reconnect properly. Having some experience with Linux and device drivers (not too much, though), I would expect that it should be possible to handle this better than in the current firmware/configuration. Maybe an updated Atheros driver or scripts (watchdog + rmmod/insmod)? Any thoughts on that?

    --

    Stein Erik
    Last edited by seanullnet; 2019-01-02 at 09:24. Reason: Updated test result

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanullnet View Post
    I have three Squeezebox Radios (HW version 5), all on WiFi. Since a few weeks ago, they all have the same problem: After some time (minutes-hours) they lose connection with my WiFi access point(s). The WiFi symbol is red. "Repair Network" usually resolves the problem temporarily, but sometimes a reboot is required. But no permanent cure.. . .
    Stein Erik
    If you can, try to bind them to a single AP or the main router. Or, if you already have one, set up a dedicated N extender with a separate SSID, and tie all the radios to that point. If they hold to the network, then it's your wi-fi distribution scheme. If they sequentially drop off all placed 10 feet from your main router, then it's likely a router settings issue.

    I'm still not sold yet on mesh wi-fi technology, as it seems more prone to drop-offs during handoffs among the nodes. Beamforming only makes it worse sometimes, as the signal pattern is constantly shifting.

    It's getting better, but think a high power central router solution still a little more dependable at this point. A big AC88U will cover most residences, and their front and back yards, too.

    Another note is that Asus just ran some firmware updates in the last month. Make sure yours is up-to-date.

    And sometimes, a wireless router's transmitter just starts failing. The AC66U is still a nice router, bit an older one at this point. If you are playing Alexa city with it, and have a model smart home going on, you could be overwhelming it at times.

    People rarely peek at their assignment tables, and suddenly realize they are carrying 25-30 clients.

    Also take a look at your QOS settings. Lots of video and VOIP going on with an overworked router, and other things can start to stall down. Perhaps LMS and these old G clients can't tolerate that.

    Also make sure your LMS server machine and app is staying online and remaining visible on the network. As I mentioned elsewhere, you can never go wrong with a static IP address for your server machine. KISS.
    Last edited by sgmlaw; 2018-12-31 at 12:31.

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