Is Roon Core optimized for ethernet over wi-fi?

Discussion at Australian audio forum with members switching from Roon Core server connected over wifi to connection over ethernet to prevent annoying frequency of dropouts.

Claim there is that Roon is optimized to work better over ehternet? True, or does it work the same way over both types of network and if so, does that mean that the dropouts are an individual router/network issue for that individual?

It depends of the quality of the Wi-Fi connection…

Roon endpoints functioning over ethernet or wifi will work fine given an adequate network. I maintain my Roon core on an imac desktop and have multiple endpoints throughout my home. I use a blend of direct USB, wired ethernet Cat 6, and wifi connections. Eero mesh router system.

Yeah, I’m looking for a definitive answer to my question from a technical person at Roon. I can also say what I think is the correct answer, but that isn’t what I’m after.

Overall wireless is not suitable for the core as it’s not full duplex and the server will be pulling and pushing at the same time eatiing up all available wireless bandwidth but is great for endpoints. I have a mix of wired and wireless endpoints. Like everything though it requires a reliable and thought out wireless to perform at its best.

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Well then, they wont be able to give you much unless you list your setup. If you have a wimpy network it wont work very well, and will likely suffer performance issues. Take a look at the knowledge base.

Note: If you want an answer direct from Roon staff, you should flag support using the @ symbol. That’s the way to get their assistance.

Thanks for asking questions I didn’t ask. Not asking about my network, I’m asking a general question about how Roon is designed. I flagged support. Hopefully, I’ll get an answer.

Flagging you for answer to OP.

Hi @danny2,

As noted in our Networking Guide, we always recommend an Ethernet connection for your Core whenever possible. We’ve found that things work more reliably when your Core, music storage (if on a NAS), and endpoints (if possible) are all connected via Ethernet.

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I have a problem with the Networking Guide. It states early on “If your home can be covered comfortably with a single WiFi access point, that is what we recommend.” Later it states “Avoid connecting high resolution/high performance audio devices to Roon via WiFi to ensure optimal performance.” So if you have nice equipment, as in my case an Element X, is it optimal to use wifi (as recommended initially) or a direct connection (as recommended later)? I have a very strong wifi signal and do not have dropouts so I assume it’s fine, but would sound quality improve further with a direct connection? I’m not referring to the core or to remote devices, I’m concerned with the recommended connection for “high performance” devices. If you recommend one connection over the other please provide references that support that advice.

Direct Connection, especially if you are going to be playing higher definition. The larger size can really tax WiFi networks, leading to dropouts.

Thanks for responding. I don’t have dropouts. My question relates to any inherent differences in the two connection methods. If the ones and zeroes are being transferred in time there should be no difference in SQ. There is controversy over the noise generated by the WiFi circuits vs the Ethernet cable. Auralic recommends WiFi OVER Ethernet claiming less noise from their WiFi circuits than from the cable.
Given that there are no blinded comparisons (that I am aware of) I suspect there is no credible answer at this point. I’m going to assume that a solid WiFi connection is just as good as a direct connection unless proven otherwise.

So many home routers and WiFi hardware is really dismal and substandard. You don’t know how bad it is until you step up your game and get closer to enterprise level gear.

I think that gives WiFi a bad name with a lot of people running time critical streaming like Roon


  • Auralic spounts a lot of audiophool mythic gibberish, so don’t take their Wi-Fi is better than Ethernet with much more than a grain of salt. (And I say this as the owner of a Vega G2 – which is a nice enough device and they keep releasing firmware updates for it. But some of their stuff is just pure snake oil, like the LEO external clock. In truth, the main reason I got the Vega G2 is it was the only Roon Ready streaming DAC with a nice big display screen at the time I was shopping. There are a few other options now, though still kind of sparse and still all fairly expensive.)
  • Your Matrix Audio Element X has a decent Wi-Fi 5 implementation, so it should be able handle most audio bitrates without dropouts. However, you may still experience them if you have a bunch of other devices fighting for the same connectivity to your access point at the same time (e.g., you are listening to music while another family member is streaming 4k video, etc). Ethernet will ALWAYS be better in this regard, as it has way more bandwidth, is full duplex, and not impacted by other consumers of the radio spectrum. (Regular 44.1/48k playback is unlikely to stress any Wi-Fi network. But DSD512/PCM768 is ~50Mbit/s continuous and a whole other ball of wax – may Wi-Fi networks will hiccup on that while Etherent won’t even blink an eye…)
  • Those that say Ethernet cables leak electrical noise and you need isolation devices/etc are just trying to sell you more snake oil. Worse, many actually violate Ethernet specifications with their snake oil. (And queue the audiophools to call me out for claiming that this is snake oil.)

Your Roon Core should be hard wired. If you have a strong network (IMO mesh wifi) endpoints can potentially be used via wifi. My setup is all hard wired. Only thing that uses wifi in my setup is the remotes.

I think you’re missing the gist of this statement “If your home can be covered comfortably with a single WiFi access point, that is what we recommend.”

It doesn’t mean it’s optimal, wired Ethernet is, but if you’re going to run WiFi it’s much less likely to encounter problems using only a single access point. Mesh and pseudo-mesh networks have largely solved this limitation but prior to them trying to get two independent access points to work in the same RF space was fraught with danger from a networking standpoint.

I want to thank those who responded. The words ring true and seem like common sense. Re Auralic, the comments by cwichura reminded me of a review of the Auralic LEO on ASR, as I recall the review was far from favorable, lol.
Running cables to the various audio gear would be quite costly, but if I experience drop outs I’ll have to look into it, or turn my Roon/Qobuz setting down a notch!
all the best

I only use Roon to stream from Quobuz, so my laptop that runs Core is doing no heavy lifting like playing from storage. It is not in my listening room. The rest of my system is in the listening room as is the router, so I can easily connect all the rest of the components by cable. In this case will connecting the Laptop running Core by wi-fi have any effect on sound quality?

Having the core on wi-fi is not ideal, but if you are not getting any dropouts, you are good. I don’t think it makes a difference in sound quality.


i have found that Roon works best “hard-wired” to your router. But my setup requires my core (a Mac mini) to connect to my router wirelessly, so here’s my conclusion based upon my personal experience. After a few months of frustrating and unpredictable drops and other weird behavior, I finally figured out that the use of an additional “access point” and not an extender, coupled with a DIRECT line of sight setup to both the Mac mini and my iPad was the correct wireless setup. I feel that ANYTHING deviating from this set-up will encounter drops, iPad not syncing with the Roon core, lack of audio identification (using a PS Audio DAC connected via USB to my mini), etc., etc. My experience since this “discovery” of sorts, has been good. Audio quality has not suffered.