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Recommendations for new router set up


Sartorius

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In another thread I posted recently I explained how I was having drop outs over DLNA. One member suggested this

is a classic sign of my router not implementing UPnP/DLNA discovery properly.

 

I use a standard Sky ISP router which is quite old - it's a Sagem [email protected]

Any recommendations for a replacement?

We are a Mac household, so one obvious option is the Airport Extreme.

 

 

 

 

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In another thread I posted recently I explained how I was having drop outs over DLNA. One member suggested this

is a classic sign of my router not implementing UPnP/DLNA discovery properly.

 

I use a standard Sky ISP router which is quite old - it's a Sagem [email protected]

Any recommendations for a replacement?

We are a Mac household, so one obvious option is the Airport Extreme.

 

 

 

 

 

Could you please give us a fairly detailed description of your network, that will help a lot in making recommendations. In particular any parts having to do with audio (you don't necessarily have to list every printer etc on the network, but computers used for control, storage, audio conversion etc will be needed). It important to let us know how devices connect to the network, wired Ethernet or wireless, if you have any other switches besides the one you mention etc. Also if you have any wishes for doing things differently, now is the time to bring them up as well. If you can make a drawing and post a picture of that it would also help visually oriented people like me. Use solid lines for wired connections and dashed lines for wireless connections.

 

John S.

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With Sky it's tricky to completely replace the router (breaks t&c and they don't give easy access to your username and password).

 

Your best bet is to run a AirPort Extreme in access point mode, disable wifi on the sky but leave the Sky router serving NAT and DHCP duties.

 

You could appeal to a Sky's better nature and try and get a new router out of them - the new Sky Hub still isn't perfect but are much better than the one you have currently.

 

You might want to check the Sky broadband forums for additional help.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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We are all MACs and replaced wireless on my BT home hub with an AirPort Extreme = Very Happy

Annoyingly Sly prevent you doing this easily...

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Looks easy enough if you Google the router model and "sky password"

Well it's not difficult but not as easy as it should be. It's worse if you have Fibre from Sky.

 

In any case you can't just plug a Apple AirPort Extreme in place of the Sky router - you need a separate ADSL (or FTTC) "modem".

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Could you please give us a fairly detailed description of your network, that will help a lot in making recommendations. In particular any parts having to do with audio (you don't necessarily have to list every printer etc on the network, but computers used for control, storage, audio conversion etc will be needed). It important to let us know how devices connect to the network, wired Ethernet or wireless, if you have any other switches besides the one you mention etc. Also if you have any wishes for doing things differently, now is the time to bring them up as well. If you can make a drawing and post a picture of that it would also help visually oriented people like me. Use solid lines for wired connections and dashed lines for wireless connections.

 

John S.

 

Here you go John (the set up is pretty straightforward):

 

Sky Router -> wired ethernet -> Synology DS713+ ---> FLAC files pulled wirelessly to JRiver MC20 (on MacBook Pro late 2013) and pushed wirelessly to ---> Denon Piccolo.

 

The router and Sinology are housed in a cupboard in a separate room to the Denon - I use home plugs to increase the wifi strength so no issue there - but I do have a problem with drop outs regularly. In particular, the Denon drops off the JRiver menu and the MacPro and Synology have to be 'reconnected' most days as they seem to stop talking to each other.

 

My initial thought was to load JRiver onto a MacMini and then hardwire that to the Denon. The Mini would still be pulling files from the Synology over wifi but the wired connection to the Denon would at least remove one of the wireless links.

 

However, it appears the Denon has limited connectivity (basically the only option is optical, which seems to bypass the Denon's amplification (I have to turn the volume right up when playing files from my MacPro via optical to the Denon)).

 

So I'm also open to ideas for a DAC and something else in place of the Denon if necessary (I've tried Sonos btw and got rid of it - same issues and the sound quality wasn't as good).

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I'd look at using something like the Netgear WN2500RP to connect to the Sky wifi network and then connect the Piccolo, NAS and MBP together with wired Ethernet (this is the setup I use for the devices under my television and it works great). This would take the Sky Router out of the equation except for control and streaming services.

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One piece of missing information is where your DLNA server is, are you using JRiver as the control point and the server so both are on the MBP, or is the server on the NAS and the MBP is the control point?

 

The first thing we have to do is determine where the problems are occurring. We do this by performing a series of tests and see if the problems still exist or not.

 

The easiest one is to test the WiFi, the easiest way to test this is to get rid of it all together. Just for testing plug everything into your router using Ethernet cables (I presume the router has a 4 port built in switch, almost all do). So gather up all the equipment into one area and plug the NAS, MBP and Piccolo into the router. Turn off WiFi on the MBP so it is guaranteed to be connecting over the wire. The Piccolo manual doesn't explicitly say how to turn off the WiFi, but it does imply that if it is connected to an Ethernet cable it will use that rather than the WiFi. I'm not completely sure on that. One way to be absolutely sure is to turn off the WiFi in the router.

 

Then fire up the system and use it as you normally do and see if the problem still exists. If the problems goes away then we know it is a WiFi issue and can focus on that.

 

If the problem goes away then put the WiFi links back in one at a time. For example leave the MBP plugged into the router but put the Piccolo back in it's normal location and run over WiFi. If that works then put the MBP back in it's normal location and connectivity.

 

The idea here is to narrow things down so you are testing just one thing at a time so you know what the problem is.

 

If it still has problems with everything plugged in then we can start looking at other areas, but let's wait on that until we know if it is a WiFi problem.

 

John S.

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If you have a wifi issue do this. Download a program called WIFI Explorer.Screenshot 2014-11-04 06.33.57.png

 

The pic here shows my house in Japan with a boatload of nearby connections. You may be getting channel interference. WiFi Explorer can help you find the least crowded channels. Many routers nowadays do poorly with the AUTO channel function. Kind of a pain to test which one works best but I run a small network at work for about 50 people and our setup works best on channel 2 for some reason or another.

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If you are using JRiver as both the DLNA server and control point, then you have a triple hop WiFi setup, this has a very low probability of working reliably.

 

The audio data from the NAS goes over the wire to the router, over WiFi to the MBP, JRiver munges it and sends it back out over WiFi to the router, which sends it over WiFi to the piccolo. Every sample of audio data goes over WiFi three times. This makes the system WAY more susceptible to interference.

 

The best solution is to have no WiFi hops for the data, but it is perfectly fine to have the CONTROL (what song to play etc) over WiFi. In order to do that you have to have the piccolo connected with an Ethernet cable. If that is just not going to happen, you can cut it down to one WiFi hop by having the server connected with a cable to the router.

 

You can easily do this with the mini you were talking about, put it next to the router and connect with an Ethernet cable. Install JRiver on the mini and control it with a remote desktop app on the MBP. In this scenario the audio data only takes one WiFi hop to the piccolo, the MBP is just used for control, no actual audio data goes through it. You can also use a JRiver remote app on the MBP.

 

John S.

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  • 3 weeks later...

John, thanks again. Very helpful advice.

 

So I've upgraded our router as the previous Sky router was not good (now using a Virgin superhub, which is an ac router and has gigabit ethernet). That seems to have helped. I'll be hardwiring the Piccolo to a power line home plug to improve connectivity still further.

 

I'm now trying to decide what mini to get - any suggestions? Just to repeat, I'm using JRiver MC 20, a Synology DS713+, and will likely control everything from my iPhone 6 Plus (the MacBook Pro is a bit cumbersome to have sitting out on display all the time to use as a controller so the iPhone would be a better option). At present I only use JRiver for music (the mac version didn't feature video until the last update) but may use it for video as well if the mini is an option. Currently I use a WDTV to access video on the Synology.

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I'm now trying to decide what mini to get - any suggestions? Just to repeat, I'm using JRiver MC 20, a Synology DS713+, and will likely control everything from my iPhone 6 Plus (the MacBook Pro is a bit cumbersome to have sitting out on display all the time to use as a controller so the iPhone would be a better option). At present I only use JRiver for music (the mac version didn't feature video until the last update) but may use it for video as well if the mini is an option. Currently I use a WDTV to access video on the Synology.

Another option to replacing the MBP with a Mini: I run Windows 7 and JRiver on my Macbook Air (using Bootcamp). This lets me run the MBA with the lid closed, so not cumbersome. Overheating has not been an issue. The MBA runs cooler streaming music wirelessly from the NAS with the lid closed than it does streaming video with the lid open. I haven't tried streaming video with the lid closed, however. It's handy using the phone for a controller (until someone calls you and you want to lower the music volume in a hurry), but there are times when it's really useful to have a screen to access some of JRiver's settings.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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I've found the Airport Extreme to be flawless. I have the previous version. The current one is supposed to be better.

 

Thanks wgscott. Have ditched the Airport extreme idea now we have the new router - it's a huge improvement on the Sky n router we'd been using (and free, so a bit of a no brainer vs paying for an AE).

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Another option to replacing the MBP with a Mini: I run Windows 7 and JRiver on my Macbook Air (using Bootcamp). This lets me run the MBA with the lid closed, so not cumbersome. Overheating has not been an issue. The MBA runs cooler streaming music wirelessly from the NAS with the lid closed than it does streaming video with the lid open. I haven't tried streaming video with the lid closed, however. It's handy using the phone for a controller (until someone calls you and you want to lower the music volume in a hurry), but there are times when it's really useful to have a screen to access some of JRiver's settings.

 

Unfortunately my wife is insisting on a solution which dispenses with the laptop! We listen to music in the kitchen (via the Denon Piccolo which is hidden in a cupboard and hooked up to ceiling speakers) and the living room (via a Samsung tv hooked up to a Monitor Audio soundbar). So having a laptop for a controller in either environment is actually not good.

 

I'm basically curious to know which of the new 2014 minis will do the media server job I need - predominently for music but maybe also for video (although not sure how it compares to the WDTV which basically plays anything you throw at it).

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So I've upgraded our router as the previous Sky router was not good (now using a Virgin superhub, which is an ac router and has gigabit ethernet). That seems to have helped. I'll be hardwiring the Piccolo to a power line home plug to improve connectivity still further.

Just to clarify; I assume you have also changed service providers as the Virgin super hub would not usually work with Sky Broadband service - Sky offering ADSL and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) vs Virgin offering a Fibre service piggybacking their cable TV service?

 

One thing to be wary is that the Virgin hubs can have issues with UPnP so you may have swapped a bad router for a new one with issues!

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
Thanks wgscott. Have ditched the Airport extreme idea now we have the new router - it's a huge improvement on the Sky n router we'd been using (and free, so a bit of a no brainer vs paying for an AE).

 

Sorry, I only looked at the first post before replying.

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Just to clarify; I assume you have also changed service providers as the Virgin super hub would not usually work with Sky Broadband service - Sky offering ADSL and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) vs Virgin offering a Fibre service piggybacking their cable TV service?

 

One thing to be wary is that the Virgin hubs can have issues with UPnP so you may have swapped a bad router for a new one with issues!

 

Eloise

 

Hi Eloise - yes, the virgin is completely separate from sky - we'll ditch Sky in due course assuming we're happy that virgin is an improvement (so far it certainly is). Sky don't offer fibre in our area (even though we're in London!) - and that won't change any time soon - so virgin have the fastest offering. Also, at the moment even sky's newest router is still only n rather than ac wifi. They're behind the curve as far as broadband goes.

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