Don't disgard your 2.4ghz network

Apologies if this is in the wrong place. I just wanted to share a solution to a gotcha that I ran into recently.

My setup is as follows:
Roon Server on Asus PN50 (for the AMD processor) with 2TB Samsung 980 Pro and 32GB of RAM running headless Linux → Gigabit Ethernet plugged into switch on a dedicated Music VLAN
5 Raspberry Pi 4s on WiFi connected to that same VLAN.
1 Sonos Move
3 phones/tablets (separate VLAN)

Anyway, my one Raspberry Pi furthest from the AP kept having issues playing local 192khz FLAC files. I assumed it was a local storage issue since it had no issues streaming similar files from Tidal or Qobuz (didn’t try very hard so these might have skipped at some point as well).

Anyway, my music wireless network was 5ghz only. I decided to try 2.4ghz as well and that fixed it. I am able to stream local 192khz files to 8 endpoints simultaneously with no issues.

Also I decided to look, and with all of them going at once the Roon server was only using around 60Mbps.I don’t have any DSD music, so I can only speak to FLAC/WAV but I can say for my use you only need at max 6Mbps per device, which 2.4Ghz more than affords me.

Anyway, hope this helps someone else. I doubt I would have seen this, so it probably wouldn’t have even helped me, but it’s nice to have written down.

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2.4GHz has better range and will penetrate obstructions (walls) better. The reason everyone got excited for 5GHz is because 2.4Ghz has less “bandwidth” to share and its extended range meant neighbors were stepping all over each other reducing available bandwidth further. the 5GHz band can have significantly wider channels which allows for much higher data transfer rates and the decreased range allows for more wireless networks in the same airspace without them stomping on each other. A win for everyone until you actually need the range of 2.4.

But, your statement is an excellent one to remember. The extra bandwidth up in the 5GHz band isn’t needed for audio and the extra range in the 2.4GHz band will often be more of a benefit over bandwidth. You can also play with channel width (narrower) to increase reliability over speed which, again, can be more important for audio.

Welcome to Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 technical standard) Engineering, Architecture, and Tuning… something we can all be doing more often to optimize our airspace. nice work

Also, the commercial, and those playing in the commercial / enterprise space, Wifi brands can force a device to use 5ghz or 2.4ghz based upon a set of criteria. Once this is set-up it’s easy to just let the network auto-tune the device for optimal speed / reliability.

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Not for me too much 2.4ghz traffic in my area from every household and business in my area. Rx frames are through the roof before any of my own devices are connected. I use all the non overlapping channels 1,6 and 11 of with each channel assigned to a different ap each one using the best channel for that area. Upstairs can’t reliably stream 2.4ghz at certain points as Rx frames from every other networks are so bad it’s too over utilized and will not stream without dropouts so 5ghz for pretty much every thing that supports it. Luckily with 3 aps I cover most of the home without being too far from any one so distance isn’t an issue. Only use 2.4 for non streaming devices that are not critical for consistent performance. This works for me and is rock steady. No I don’t need the bandwidth but I do need the lack of latency and interference from my neighbours.