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  1. #1
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    possible wireless setup problem (was: general criticism)

    Hi,

    a few months ago I bought the SB3 because my Terratec Noxon2 sucked big
    time (you really don't want to know all the nifty details).

    The SB3 was better but did also cost me twice that much and even this
    device mainly suffered from some strange wireless network issues. Let me
    make this clear: My IBM T42 Laptop is connected to the same WPA-Network
    and it resides right next to the SB3 so either my Laptop has some superman
    Antennas built-in or the network fallback mechanisms of the SB3 are
    badly designed:

    1. Why is the SB3 not retrying more often after a supposed `network
    outage'? We are talking about lossy wireless networks -- this is not a
    wired LAN!

    2. Why do I get only two choices after a supposed network outage -- `set
    up networking' and `current settings' -- when something like `retry with
    current settings' would make much more sense? Again: wireless networks
    are not offering the same stability like wired networks and one should
    assume that when implementing such an extension.

    3. What about the behaviour after a reconnect? You reconnect to the
    network, the device apparently reboots (wtf?) and sets its state to
    `off'. With the appropriate brightness-settings (`off' -> `0'), this is
    a funny way to work up a sweat because you don't know what the hell is
    going on.


    The bottom line is: If you want to sell hifi-like hardware for that much
    money then please make it behave like a rock-solid hifi-device! Even if
    the device is basically working well, there are some pointers which let
    me assume that not everything was tested out properly. And please
    remember that my Laptop _never_ had any of these network problems and is
    connected to the _same_ WPA2 network.

    Edit: Please read the discussion. Interfering access points
    may have something to do with the illustrated problems.



    Thanks,

    finger


    P.S. AFAIR the device pulls firmware-upgrades automagically. Or am I
    wrong?
    Last edited by finger; 2007-10-18 at 10:12. Reason: see discussion

  2. #2
    Senior Member funkstar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finger View Post
    P.S. AFAIR the device pulls firmware-upgrades automagically. Or am I
    wrong?
    SqueezeBox firmware is tied to the version of SlimServer you are using, so when you upgrade SlimServer it will upgrade the firmware of the SB where appropriate.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Siduhe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finger View Post
    2. Why do I get only two choices after a supposed network outage -- `set
    up networking' and `current settings' -- when something like `retry with
    current settings' would make much more sense? Again: wireless networks
    are not offering the same stability like wired networks and one should
    assume that when implementing such an extension.
    If you leave the SB for 20-30 seconds after it reboots from a network outage, it should automatically connect again using your last settings. There should be no need to reenter your settings if you just leave it alone. If you're not seeing this, and having frequent wireless reboots, this suggests a specific problem with your particular arrangement or a faulty SB, rather than a design issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by finger View Post
    3. What about the behaviour after a reconnect? You reconnect to the
    network, the device apparently reboots (wtf?) and sets its state to
    `off'. With the appropriate brightness-settings (`off' -> `0'), this is
    a funny way to work up a sweat because you don't know what the hell is
    going on.
    Again, I don't see anything like this behaviour - and I have an SB1, SB2 and SB3 on my network. It almost sounds to me as if your slimserver prefs aren't being remembered on startup. What is Slimserver running on, the laptop or something different? What OS? If you manually set the brightness for the SB using PlayerSettings/Display in the web interface, save settings, then reboot your router, does it still default back to Brightness=off?

    Appreciate your frustration and the need to vent, but it really doesn't sound to me like the specific problems you mention are design issues. Where I do agree with you is that the wireless implementation for the SB isn't always as reliable as (say) a laptop, but when you look at what the SB has to do in terms of streaming audio it's not so surprising...
    Last edited by Siduhe; 2007-10-18 at 07:03.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siduhe View Post
    If you leave the SB for 20-30 seconds after it reboots from a network outage, it should automatically connect again using your last settings. There should be no need to reenter your settings if you just leave it alone. If you're not seeing this, and having frequent wireless reboots, this suggests a specific problem with your particular arrangement or a faulty SB, rather than a design issue.
    Sometimes I'm lucky and I get the mentioned `third' option (connect to squeezenetworks) but often I simply don't have time to wait. Imagine the following weird situation: An internet radio station plays for hours. Then you want to change the station and you see `set up networking' and `current settings' while the music is still running!




    Again, I don't see anything like this behaviour - and I have an SB1, SB2 and SB3 on my network. It almost sounds to me as if your slimserver prefs aren't being remembered on startup. What is Slimserver running on, the laptop or something different? What OS? If you manually set the brightness for the SB using PlayerSettings/Display in the web interface, save settings, then reboot your router, does it still default back to Brightness=off?
    I dont use a SlimServer -- I just connect to SqueezeNetworks. And I would really like to blame my equipment but since the radio-player on my Laptop never had any problems this seems very unlikely to me.

    Appreciate your frustration and the need to vent, but it really doesn't sound to me like the specific problems you mention are design issues. Where I do agree with you is that the wireless implementation for the SB isn't always as reliable as (say) a laptop, but when you look at what the SB has to do in terms of streaming audio it's not so surprising...
    I don't think that the hardware differs a lot. Maybe the SB even has a more modern Wireless-Chipset than my Laptop. That's why I assume that the developers simply adopted the same way to deal with network problems from the wired part and thats really a bad assumption.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Siduhe's Avatar
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    Ok, that's helpful info.

    If you are only using Squeezenetwork, what default brightness are your players set to? If you log onto the Squeezenetwork page (http://www.squeezenetwork.com) and check your player settings in the web interface, I'm guessing that your default brightness is set to something other than you want. Change it, click save, and I hope at least the brightness issue will be sorted.

    I'm not quite sure you have understood my point about the difference between what the SB has to do to and what your laptop has to do. Streaming audio requires a constant flow of packets with very limited flows of damaged or lost packets. Your laptop is much more forgiving of variable flows of data (for normal use) than the SB is for audio. The problems you are experiencing do sound very much like a flaky wireless connection - if you can improve that, a lot of your original concerns would be dealt with.

    Couple of other thoughts - What router are you using and can you tell us a bit about the settings? In particular, do you have any QoS or booster options switched on, both of these can interfere with streaming audio which requires a constant throughput.

    Also, what is your wireless signal strength like and where are you based? Squeezenetwork only has certain data centers in certain parts of the world at the moment, so that might also be a factor.

    Finally, how many other networks can you see when you check on your laptop? What channels are they on? Apologies if this is grandmother sucking eggs, but different wireless networks on the same channel will interfere with each other. Have you tried changing your wireless channel to something else - particularly if your router auto assigns you a channel, try changing it to see if this improves your wireless connection.

    http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cg...BeginnersGuide

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siduhe View Post
    Ok, that's helpful info.

    If you are only using Squeezenetwork, what default brightness are your players set to? If you log onto the Squeezenetwork page (http://www.squeezenetwork.com) and check your player settings in the web interface, I'm guessing that your default brightness is set to something other than you want. Change it, click save, and I hope at least the brightness issue will be sorted.
    No, the brightness settings are fine (and correct). It's just confusing when the device turns itself off after reconnecting to the network.


    I'm not quite sure you have understood my point about the difference between what the SB has to do to and what your laptop has to do. Streaming audio requires a constant flow of packets with very limited flows of damaged or lost packets. Your laptop is much more forgiving of variable flows of data (for normal use) than the SB is for audio. The problems you are experiencing do sound very much like a flaky wireless connection - if you can improve that, a lot of your original concerns would be dealt with.
    Until I got SB, xmms was running on my laptop permanently. Always playing streaming audio without any problems.


    Couple of other thoughts - What router are you using and can you tell us a bit about the settings? In particular, do you have any QoS or booster options switched on, both of these can interfere with streaming audio which requires a constant throughput.
    WRAP with m0n0wall and ALTQ enabled.

    Also, what is your wireless signal strength like and where are you based? Squeezenetwork only has certain data centers in certain parts of the world at the moment, so that might also be a factor.
    My link-quality is not that good. About 30% (whatever this means). But it was always good enough for streaming a tiny mp3-stream to my laptop.

    Finally, how many other networks can you see when you check on your laptop? What channels are they on?
    Thats pretty fine. 4 APs and every single one uses a different channel.

    Apologies if this is grandmother sucking eggs
    lol! No problem, thanks for help.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Siduhe's Avatar
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    IMHO, 30% wireless signal strength isn't going to be sufficient for high bitrate streaming audio. You mention that your laptop was fine with this - I have tried to explain (probably not very well) that you aren't necessarily comparing like with like.

    The SB is a slim client - it has no processor and only a limited buffer - it therefore relies more heavily on maintaining a strong wireless connection with constant throughput. Your laptop is in a rather different position and may be more forgiving even though you are asking it to do the same thing!

    Of course, you're also entitled to expect something you've brought to do the job, but within the limitations of the hardware.

    I wonder if your router may also be part of the issue - I'm not sure if anyone has ever tested an SB with WRAP firmware! I see that it's described as "end of life". It may be that the two don't play well together - wireless can be a bit of a dark art, and you may be able to provide some helpful info for SD to improve the overall experience. I'm no UNIX expert - can you try switching ALTQ off?

    Also, try running your SB wired for a bit, does this improve or resolve your issues? If it does - we know where to focus our efforts!

    HTH

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siduhe View Post
    IMHO, 30% wireless signal strength isn't going to be sufficient for high bitrate streaming audio. You mention that your laptop was fine with this - I have tried to explain (probably not very well) that you aren't necessarily comparing like with like.

    The SB is a slim client - it has no processor and only a limited buffer - it therefore relies more heavily on maintaining a strong wireless connection with constant throughput. Your laptop is in a rather different position and may be more forgiving even though you are asking it to do the same thing!
    Have you ever opened up such a device? These things always have a cpu, a reasonable amount of ram and a few megs of flash memory for storing the firmware. Maybe its not IA-32 but maybe it has at least a mips or an arm cpu.. maybe its a solution on one single chip which doesn't mean that it does not contain the essential parts to run something like an operation system on it.

    Also you shouldn't rate `audio-streaming' too high. Even a 120 Pentium 1 cpu can decode a 64kbps stream easily on-the-fly -- not to mention an additional hardware decoder which is probably built in into SB.


    However, thanks for your help Siduhe -- like I said: basically the SB works pretty well. It's just this weird wireless-handling..

  9. #9
    Senior Member Siduhe's Avatar
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    Absolutely agree and my use of "processor" was sloppy, but it's clearly not in the same league as your laptop - hence why I struggle with the like for like comparison.

    http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cg...wareComparison

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siduhe View Post
    Absolutely agree and my use of "processor" was sloppy, but it's clearly not in the same league as your laptop - hence why I struggle with the like for like comparison.

    http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.cg...wareComparison
    Cool, thanks for the link!

    Btw: In a few weeks I'll buy a cheap 802.11a AP. Just to be sure that my neighbors don't disturb my connection with their glorious default-password-default-channel-router mess.

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