Mac Mini 2018 3.6 Ghz Quad-core i3 8GB
macOS Monterey v 12.3
Networking Gear & Setup Details
Eero Pro network eero OS 6.9.2
Mac Mini core connected via Ethernet thru Netgear gigabit switch
Music library on Synology NAS via Ethernet thru Netgear gigabit switch
Connected Audio Devices
Mac Pro laptop via wifi (with ip reservation on wifi) with Audioquest Dragon Cobalt
Bluesound Node 2ii via wifi (with ip reservation on wifi)
Other wifi devices infrequently listened to
Number of Tracks in Library
29000 tracks - mix of local and Tidal tracks
Description of Issue
For a number of months now, thru several build releases, I have been getting a Lost Connection error on my Roon clients. I primarily listen on a Mac laptop with connected Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt and audio engine powered speakers, or on a Bluesound Node 2ii connected to my larger sterosystem and accessed via iOS iPad or iPhone apps.
THE FIRST TIME I LISTEN EVERY DAY, I will get a lost connection within 5 minutes of starting to listen. If I go to the core Mac Mini and reboot, SOMETIMES it will then play flawlessly for the time I listen (usually no more than 2 hours). Other times I continue to get Lost Connections. Sometimes the client will reconnect automatically, sometimes it will not until I go to the core machine and restart Roon, or reboot the computer.
I have a large home and the Eero mesh network has many devices connected to it, and occasionally I notice a “stuck” connection on other streaming services, but it is rare and all the music streaming services I have (SiriusXM, Spotify, and Tidal) stream flawlessly - I don’t think any of them have ever failed. This is very frustrating. I’ve all but quit listening to Roon as a result. Please advise if there are things I can do to address this on my end, or if this is another yet to be resolved issue for Roon.
Scott, have you tested whether Roon has a lost connection on the Core itself, especially when the WiFi-connected client(s) has a drop? If the Core is running fine and it’s connected via Ethernet cable to the switch, then it would appear the source of the issue may be the WiFi connection to the clients, or possibly the performance of the NAS. Is your music library able to be served from the Mac Mini and use the NAS as a backup only?
Also, are any or all of your Eero mesh devices connected via Ethernet cable back to the Netgear switch, or are they meshed wirelessly only?
When I go look at the Core mac mini after losing connection, it always shows that it is active and connected to my library, however, sometimes it seems very sluggish. The Mac Mini is dedicated for use as a Roon Core, and only has Splashtop streamer running in addition to allow remote access from my other computers as it is a headless unit.
I guess the library could be moved to the core machine - but I prefer to keep it on the NAS as it has dual RAID drives and is backed up offsite. Also, I lose connection whether streaming from my local music library or from Tidal, so that would seem to rule out problems with the NAS.
The Netgear switch is connected to the Eero gateway device, which is also connected via ethernet to the fiber optic internet modem.
This may not be related, but I’d suggest checking Activity Monitor on your Mac mini the next time you run into this problem and check memory usage and memory pressure. There have been quite a few posts recently regarding memory leaks and excessive RAM usage, so this may be the cause of the sluggishness you’re experiencing.
I recommend starting with what @DaveN requested. It may be the network, the NAS, or a combination. I believe the NAS may be a good backup solution for the files on the Core vs. the Core’s storage location, but don’t want to assume anything yet.
From this, it appears that other than the router/gateway Eero being hardwired, all other Eero’s are runnning pure in pure wireless mesh mode, is that correct? The Eero Pro is a triband solution, which should help but I don’t know the layout of your home. When devices are on the edge of the WiFi network, they tend to demand a lot of the network, or may compete against another access point it sees, slowing down the entire network.
Do you have the bands separated (each with its own SSID), or all combined into one SSID? I separate by 2.4 and both 5 GHz bands into three distinct SSIDs so I can control what is connecting to what to help with traffic management and bandwidth prioritization.
Robert and Dave, thanks for the replies and suggestions.
Just after the Lost Connection yesterday, I noticed that Roon was consuming >8GB of memory, which is all that is available, if not slightly more. After restarting, the Activity Monitor shows a “fresh” memory used of around 1.3 GB.
Since my Mac Mini core is always on, I scheduled it to restart early every morning. I’ve been listening for about an hour on my Mac laptop this morning and have not experienced a Lost Connection (did have a lost internet connection to Tidal during that time which required a client restart, but the Roon client stayed connected to the core and kept trying to load Tidal tracks in the queue).
Robert, as to the Eero setup, it is “out of the box” except for the port reservations. My 2 primary listening clients are near the gateway Eero, and that is the one they are connecting to. Eero did issue a software update a while back to address the Roon devices competing with each other as you suggest can happen. If there’s a way to separately manage the 2.4 and 5 ghz bands on the Eero, I don’t see it. There are generally fewer customizations options in the Eero software compared to other routers I have had.
This afternoon, I’ll give my other primary listening location a test and see if I’m still experiencing the Lost Connection issue on it.
The Mac version of Roon does seem very inefficient when it comes to managing RAM. Hopefully they’ll get this sorted out at some point but, in the meanwhile, restarting Roon server every once in a while does seem to be the only solution.
Looking at the Eero Pro specifications, while it is a triband router, it appears that each band supports only 2x2 SU or MU MIMO. 2x2 antennas are useful, but may limit connections and capacity compared to 3x3 or 4x4 antennas. Additionally, Amazon does not want to make separate SSIDs available, so a single SSID is used, limiting your ability to force devices to specific connection bands.
As you noted above, with a large house with many devices, the individual Eero devices may become overloaded with connections and capacity constraints.
I recently helped a friend who was having trouble in his larger home with Google-supplied Google Mesh network elements for his Google gigabit connection. These Google devices also ran 2x2 antennas but in two WiFi bands, not three. His speeds dropped from 170 Mbps (from a previous but discontinued Google solution) to 20 Mbps in some locations, and a lot of dropped connections, due to these devices. We upgraded to a triband mesh solution using a mix of 2x2 and 4x4 antennas across the bands and he is now getting about 600 Mbps throughout his home, and no dropped connections.
I listened to Roon a couple of hours yesterday at my Bluesound Node 2ii source using my iPhone app to control, and did not have any Lost Connection errors during this time. It would appear that my problem was related to memory problems on the Roon Core as described by Dave.
Hopefully Roon will get this sorted for the Mac community at some point, but in the meantime it is easy enough to schedule a restart on the Mac Mini every morning. Will keep an eye on the activity monitor to see how quickly the memory is getting used up if I have one of those all-day listening sessions.
Robert and Dave, thanks for the input and help on this problem.