Is consistent ROON via WiFi possible?

Hi,

I am moving house soon. I have currently hardwired Roon core desktop pc to key points in the house; core in living room to office and kitchen via RJ45 cable. I also have a few CC audio pucks which work quite well, connected optically as needed.

It’s a setup which works nicely for Roon, and I’ve never been able to get consistent audio via wifi other than with the CC audio pucks (and then not 100%, and they have limitations in any case - no native DSF and only up to 96khz for flacs without downsampling).

As we will be moving home soon which has 10g Fibre Broadband, and am looking to eventually replace my existing cheapy wifi extenders with Mesh devices in the new place, I am really interested to know if the more modern powerful routers/mesh setups can handle Roon well, or if I should still plan to hardwire?

Cheers

Hi David, I wish you well , we nearly moved last year until Covid struck ! It’s a daunting task.

The answer to your question is there probably is no prediction :roll_eyes: until you can experiment in the new conditions

My experience with WiFi is bad but my house has brick and concrete walls , I would say house construction makes a big difference, stud and wallboard absorb less than brick etc, also beware reinforcing rods. I even get better WiFi if I move the parrot cage , google Faraday Cage.

Maybe also google reasons for WiFi interference, microwave etc. I just bought a blood pressure monitor which warns me not to use near a microwave (honest !)

As you know from being on this forum most Roon issues come down to network issues.

I assume you don’t have the option of running Ethernet cable.

Good luck with the move
I am sure lost of mesh users can give better advice

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When I first installed Roon it was on a QNAP NAS and I have my R-PI (3B) endpoint on wifi and it was flawless. Then along came a router firmware update one day and it all went to hell with no way to rollback. Now several updates later its working fine for around a week until the router is rebooted and then all hell breaks loose when various devices knit themselves together (not Roon - other home automation stuff).

With that in mind - its a case of suck it and see. Just make sure all devices have excellent signal strength and that they are all on 5Ghz and not 2.4Ghz and that the router isn’t a buggy piece of junk.

Probably worth sacrificing something to whomever too… :wink:

Wifi can work and can work fine, but when it doesnt, then it can can be a world of pain to sort out. It can work well for ages and then one day out of the blue it no longer works well enough - buggy router firmware update, external interference or whatever.

In the end, ethernet tends to be more setup and forget and unless you have animals eating through cables etc, tends not to die one day.

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I’ve never had any problems at all, up to DSD512. My whole setup is WiFi, and I’m literally surrounded by neighbors running WiFi, as well (I can “see” ~20 other networks). I often listen to Roon upstairs (on the other side of the house from my server), and never any dropouts, etc.

So it’s certainly possible.

PS - I originally THOUGHT I had some WiFi troubles using HQPlayer to resample to DSD512 (I’d get stuttering, etc.), but once Roon implemented their resampling capabilities, I realized it was just I didn’t have the horsepower on my server (2014 3Ghz i7 Mac mini) for HQPlayer - Roon will do it all day long :wink:

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It depends on lots of factors: house construction (as @Mike_O_Neill said), router/mesh point quality, level of interference from surrounding WiFi and other electrical gear. In the city, I lived in 3 different places in the same neighborhood. I had such problems with WiFi (and powerline Ethernet adapters) in the first place that I wired the 2nd with Cat 6 when I moved. The unusual construction of the 3rd place prevents easy routing of Ethernet wire, but fortunately there’s coax for cable TV in all the rooms that matter, so I repurposed it (I don’t care for TV) with MoCA adapters. In our country place, on the other hand, there’s very little surrounding interference, so I was able to run Roon over WiFi from an UniFi Dream Machine router successfully. Eventually, I found that the “phone” wire in the walls was actually Cat 5, so I repurposed it for Roon networking — why not — but WiFi was working fine for Roon.

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If you stream to several endpoints simultaneously, you likely will run in band-with issues with wireless.

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Enterprise Wifi systems are hardwired APs or they use P-t-P dedicated links where wires don’t reach. This is probably overkill for most residential systems. But, there is no reason why a system like this cannot sustain gigabit speeds or faster.

So, why do most resi wifi networks suck? Because they are optimized to provide coverage not bandwidth. Mesh systems, frankly, suck because they “steal” spectrum to provide coverage slowing down all the individual devices.

As others pointed out… you won’t really know until you try but there really is no substitute for a wire (or P-t-P system).

Some pointers… do not allow for “double-hop” to occur across Wifi. Remember that everything goes to Core then the endpoint. Don’t allow source to core over wifi only for core to send it back across wifi to endpoint. Keep your Core wired to router. Keep your NAS (if you use one) wired to the same switch as router / Core. Keep the Core and its supporting bits (internet, NAS, etc. wired). That leaves endpoints. Use robust wireless endpoints, with external ants, if you must go wireless. Not all endpoint wireless radios created equal (I’m looking at you Node 2i). Good luck.

I use WiFi exclusively with no problems.
But I do use Good WiFi ™.
I understand if you use Bad WiFi ™ it may not work so well.

Specifically, I use an Eero mesh, one key point is that if house construction causes trouble you can buy more mesh nodes. And adding nodes does not involve any setup or fine tuning, just plug it into a power outlet.

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Thanks for the replies, guys.

I can hardwire at the new place. Also, the distances are fairly short. I can get away with 2 short runs of ethernet. I am just trying to avoid unsightly cabling (and diy work, lol).

That Eero system looks good @AndersVinberg . I was looking at the 3 pack pro set on amazon just now. Is each node hard wired to the previous one, so to speak, or piggybacks via wifi?

That depends very much on the wifi access point(s) / router and the devices in use. On my network, depending on which of the radios my newer high speed 5Ghz devices register with and thus how the bandwidth ends up being spread over the radios, then I could in theory achieve a combined wifi bandwidth that is way more then 1Gbps ethernet (and in practice too as I have 2Gbps teamed ethernet backbone between NAS, wifi and main switch).

That really doesnt matter unless something is horribly wrong with your switches. Actually, if you also have some really high bandwidth traffic going on (such as PC/Mac to NAS backup or whatever which all has to contend in some way on the controller in the switch), then splitting switches may have advantages not to mention may also hugely simplify cabling. Even multi-zone hi-res AV doesnt really need that much bandwidth compared to copying files etc around - it just needs not to be interfered with too much.

For me - I have all my AV gear on its own little switch in my AV rack fed with a single 1Gbps link to my main switch - more than enough and it means that switch never sees the really high bandwidth traffic that occurs on this network (shunting huge media project files around between PC/mac and NAS). This was not a consideration - it just simplified cabling - one long cable instead of many.

Only one node is hardwired, to the internet modem.
The others just plug into a power outlet.

Amazon also sells a bracket that holds the node so you can attach it to a power outlet, coiling up the power cord inside, very neat.

The other nodes do have two Ethernet jacks, which allow you to plug in devices that do not support wifi, like my core.

Highlighting what others have pointed out that most Roon problems point to networking. That said, my set up uses a mix of wifi and ethernet. My main system uses an ethernet switch to connect Roon Core, Raspi streamer (RopieeeXL), and one of my Google mesh wifi hubs for internet connectivity. I have a second raspi connected over wifi for headphone listening.

This configuration works well for me and has been error free. It took me a bit of time to get there though. The second raspi was in a metal case and that reduced wifi range. I put it in the standard raspi plastic case and wifi works fine now. Placing one of the Google wifi hubs with my main system was another necessity as wifi range wasn’t great from my cable modem to the location of my stereo. All this works fine with sampling rates to 352k which is plenty for me.

You may consider fiber ?

Do it.

Also, run an extra nylon rope (that isn’t stapled down) twice the length of network cable, so you can run more stuff in the future or change things out easily. A minor expense that will pay off the first time you don’t need to open a wall to run more cable.

WiFi is getting better, but it has limits and design compromises that cause it to be more unreliable than ethernet. Why not plan ahead just in case? If you find the cost of the cabling too much, just run the rope.

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Smurf tubes! Smurf tubes everywhere! :open_mouth:

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Let me also endorse Eero, which I’ve used successfully to stream to multiple endpoints at once. The “gateway” node must be hardwired to your Internet source (e.g., cable modem or fiber ONT), and then the other nodes connect to the gateway either wirelessly or through Ethernet. We have five nodes total, and four of them are wired (gateway—>ethernet switch–>nodes). In general, wiring the nodes gives better performance, as it offloads the mesh backbone (i.e., transmission from a node back to the gateway) from wireless.

This is absolutely the right solution… my suggestion is based on retrofits where you pull out a cable and replace it with a rope, which was a bad suggestion in this circumstance.

You should be able to find bulk non-metallic electrical conduit for <$1/foot.

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You might also want to take a look at the Deco M9. It’s a bit cheaper than a Eero system, has a bit more power, faster wifi and a few more features. I’m using three and they play nicely with Roon.

I changed my provider router for a TP link with WiFi6 - so far so good running several endpoints in sync at the same time via WiFi. Nevertheless will install Ethernet when I have the opportunity to do so.

For those in Germany using the popular FritzBox (how German :wink:) - this offers decent, meshed (or Ethernet attached) repeaters with the latest firmware . Quite robust if you keep to the brand and avoid mixing. Especially in brick wall houses wired repeaters often are the best option.

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