Is it necessary is to hardwire to network when streaming hires?

Hello. I am relatively new to Roon and want to know if it necessary to hardwire your network connection from your control unit to achieve Hires streaming playback? The source is the network, and since the network is hardwired to my Esoteric N-01, Apple Airplay limitations should not be a factor when controlling cordlessly over WiFi from my MacBook Pro, should it? I have tried it both ways many times playing the same files and I just don’t hear a difference. My understanding is if I had a drive attached to my MacBook, and I was playing files from that attached drive to my network with a WiFi connecction, THEN the AirPlay limitation of 44/16 would limit my playback. I would appreciate a confirmation of my assumption here. Many thanks!

Your Roon core computer device should be wired to your router with ethernet. Your Roon end-point device or Roon bridge device should be wired to your router with ethernet. Your control device can be WIFI. Dont use Airplay. If you have music files on a hard drive, connect that to your Roon core computer using USB.

Hi Jim. Why is it necessary to hardwire my core to the network, if I am only controlling, not sourcing playback, as with streaming? This must be something unique to Roon, and I would like understand. Thanks. Ted.

If you’re using Roon, the Roon core device does all the processing. Music flows from your router to the Roon core for processing. Then, it flows back to your router and on to your Roon end-point or Roon bridge, then to your amp and speakers. Your Roon control device can be your Roon core or an iPad, iPhone, or Android device. The control device can be WIFI, because it’s not doing much, just selecting songs, basically.

That said, some people get by with their Roon core connected using WIFI, but if you read all the problem threads, a large percentage of problems come from trying to connect the Roon core using WIFI.

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Core is hardwired. Music files on Qnap NAS, hardwired. My endpoints are wifi. 5, not 2.4. No dropouts. You’re mileage may vary.

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Roon depends on having a high-quality path between core and endpoints, and also a high-quality path between core and Qobuz or Tidal if you want those in the mix. High-quality here means that packets don’t have to be retransmitted much if at all. WiFI in a congested neighborhood does not meet this requirement. That doesn’t matter for most use cases, but it matters for Roon. If you can’t ensure a high-quality WiFi network, save yourself a lot of grief and go wired. That’s what I did, anyway.

Thank you Jim, and everyone else for your input. I do have Ethernet 5.0/350, and I am not yet using the DSP, so that may be why it works for now. If I start to use DSP, I understand that uses a lot of resources. But, if the signal first goes to my MacBook Pro core and then back via WiFi, I would think there would be some limitations - even without using AppleAir. Even without DSP, Roon playback sounds better than my Esoteric Sound Stream application. Ted.

I’ll just have to keep my core close and wired, and use remote Apple iPad control.

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You’ll be glad you kept it hardwired via ethernet cable. It might work, but subject to, or prone to dropouts with hires material.


The “wired” recommendation is conservative, intended to save you trouble.
But I think it applies to Bad WiFi I used to have trouble, but then I got Good WiFi and have had no trouble: WiFi between the Core and the Internet, and to most endpoints, lots of hires.

In my case, Good WiFi is Eero.


I run Roon Core on a MacBook Pro and it works fine over WiFi. I do have Ethernet cables set up in a couple of places that I can use to hook it up if I need to, but if I don’t bother, the music still plays. If you’re using DSP, parametric EQ or whatever in Roon, I would have thought that the extra workload was mostly on the Mac, rather than over the network.
Obviously the robustness of your network will affect it’s ability to remain stable, especially with HiRes streams, and there are many factors that can effect this, but for me, Roon over WiFi has been surprisingly resilient.

I would agree that if you have a good wireless setup then wired is not essential. I use an Orbi setup with the an ethernet cable running from one of the satellites to my DSD and works fine.
Still best to go wired if possible as makes things simpler and probably more reliable…

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I have a hardwired core, and wireless endpoints. I never (rarely) use more than one endpoint at a time… no drop outs with high res audio, even while the wife is watching HD Netflix via wifi. It is definitely advisable to hardwire the core, as per Roon’s recommendation.


Incidentally, if you’re concerned about the lack if an Ethernet port on your MacBook, a cheap USB to Ethernet adapter will sort it.

Before I bought a NUC and changed to a Roon Ready device (both wired), I was using a MacBook Pro as a core and a Raspberry Pi as an endpoint (both on Wifi). I never experienced any dropouts with high-res 24/192 or DSD 128.

The advice not to use WiFi is based on the fact, that there are a lot of non technical people using Roon. They maybe have some kind of wireless, but working far from ok. In this case cable is simpler.

If you know what you do and have a rock solid wireless, then use wireless. Even for HiRes. Streaming 24/192 requires 9.5 mbps. Even when you are on a 2.4 GHz network, the bandwidth is not the limiting factor.

It makes sense to have the Core and the NAS on wires, but the endpoints can be on WiFi without problems.

My streamers connect with 200 mbps to 866 mbps. I’m streaming for years using WiFi and it just works.

If you live in an area with a lot of congestion, then it might be better to use a cable.

If you want to know how good your wireless is, there are tools - not necessarily free - which show you the quality of your network. I use “wifi explorer” on a Mac for this.


No, the advice to use ethernet is because that is what Roon recommends. Also, many of the issues people have is because of using WIFI. Nobody said it can’t be done. Please don’t presume to know the qualifications of people making recommendations here.

Just 2 eurocents here: I tried wireless in my hobby room, 2 meters from an access point. Worked very well until I started cleaning lp’s (yes, lp’s) with an ultrasonic cleaner. Wifi dropped out on all bands.

I use powerline adapters myself for my home network. Works just fine and is cost effective.

+1 for powerline adapters. I’ve used them for more than a year, but other people haven’t had much luck. YMMV.

I only use WiFi (for my core as well as my endpoints). I’ve never had any issues. Everything works absolutely reliably. No dropouts when streaming HiRes music (>24/192). Maybe I’m just lucky.