I have the latest Rock installed on a NUC8i7. I’m fairly new to Roon and truly I love it! But before going lifetime I have to make sure I can use it to play music in all of my three rooms.
I know, that Roon recommend network by cable. My NUC is connected to the router by cable and I have my main listening system connected to my NUC. But for my other rooms this is not possible because of practical reasons.
I have my router placed in the exact middle of my apartment 2 meters above the floor. I live in a appartient with some but not strong networks from my neighbors.
One wireless speaker (B&O A9) is placed 3 meters and directly visible from the router.
The other wireless speaker (B&W A7) is placed in the room next door, 5 meters from the router with a fairly thin brick wall in between (This speaker unfortunately is only capable of using the 2.4GHz band (for Airplay), which could be part of the problem? I have a Chromecast Audio connected to this speaker and using its 5GHz band makes it more stable)
I have a 7 year old Apple AirPort Extreme router. Sometimes I have dropouts (happens on both wireless speakers). The build-in Airplay and Chromecast on the A9 are extremely unstable, almost unusable.
Because of these issues, and because Roon explicitly advise against the AirPort Extreme, I bought a Asus AX86U. But the AX86U turns out to be even worse. More regular dropouts - especially on the speaker (Airplay) 5 meters from the router (according to AX86U the 2.4 signal are very strong though)
Also I used to have my USB external harddisk connected to the Airport Extreme for backup purpose. Working fine, although a little slow. AX86U has two USB ports, but unfortunately the harddisk is only visible every other day.
I have spent much (to much!) time trying to finetune the Asus AX86U settings - and now I have given up on it. I will try to get my money back.
My question is: is it possible for me to make a stable wireless network for my two wireless speakers, perhaps setting up a mesh system?
I’ve been very happy with Ubiquiti WiFi gear in several different locations. Their simplest consumer-grade line is AmpliFi. AmpliFi HD with a couple of AmpliFi mesh points works really well. However, I’ve not pushed it hard with Roon as my setups are mostly wired.
You probably have 2 relatively simple solutions. One is ethernet over power (often called Powerline) where you piggyback the network signal through the wiring of your house. Probably not recommended for really serious hifi where the sensitive systems will pick up that mains ‘noise’ but fine for everyday use. It’s literally plug and play.
The other is a mesh wifi - Google do one, there are others. I have the Google one in my house, and get coverage all over, and it has solid brick walls and other nasty obstructions in places. You get as many pucks - small access points - as you need - 3 will cover most usual situations, often 2 is fine - and follow the smartphone instructions to set them up. Once set up, they tend to just work too. They effectively give you one large wireless network with a slightly lower speed than your main internet connection (because they chat to each other and pass the signal around) but they tend to offer rock steady reliability.
All my work is done on a laptop from home, despite having a wired desktop machine, and myself and my partner can happily Zoom whilst the kids stream Netflix (obviously your internet speed plays a role here) but the in-house wifi is not the issue.
Wired is better. Consider running a long cable up and around and over and so on - it’s surprising how little it ends up being noticeable if done well. If it’s your apartment, then you can drill holes and fish it through walls, but maybe not if you’re renting. But if not, the (Google) mesh is a simple solution, and the one I’d go for.
I do not recommend Google mesh for Roon users, unless they can abandon the ISP router or be able to configure the ISP router to bridge mode (usually impossible), due to the limitation Google mesh cannot be run in bridge mode if you use more than one Google WiFi unit.
Those who have a current router, then add a Google mesh with more than one unit will result in having two routers in the network, which does not work for Roon.
for sure it has to be set up properly - there are a variety of configurations that work, but I agree abandoning the ISP-provided router is almost always needed - though that is rarely a loss…You don’t want 2 things doing DNS, for example…
Other mesh systems are around - Uniquiti, Netgear, BT Home wifi. These may well be more flexible, but I’ve only had the Google one and it’s good.
I use a mixture of wired networking and Orbi mesh with my Room system and it works really well with only the occasional dropout (mixed local NUC hd and Tidal hi def).
I would say if you’re power is clean and reliable to try powerline adapters as they do not suffer WiFi interference glitches, though 5G tends to be much more reliable these days with mimo solutions and plenty of available channels (but if you mix environment and devices that can still be fun)
Just remember that powerline adapters want to be plugged directly into the wall sockets and not run from extension leads. If that is an issue buy one’s that have a passthrough socket.
The other thing that I have seen which looks good is the Linksys velop series mesh router which also has powerline built-in. I couple of friends tried to buy these at the start of lockdown though, and they never came into stock, do I can’t give you a personal recommendation on this.
Just be aware that roon advices against using powerline adapters and that their success, or not, can depend on your house wiring. I’ve had mixed success over the generations of them as their speed has increased their tolerance of wiring conditions has fallen.
Powerlines suck and have a great potential to add in a lot of noise to your mains and your system. I ditched them as they where constsnt flakey connections and my phono stage picked up the RF they through out. If your spending lots on good hifi don’t ruin it with a cheap way of getting a wired connection.
Getting good WiFi is a matter of planning where to put access points to maximise coverage, use channels in areas that are not overused by your neighbours, only ever use channels 1,6 or 11 on 2.4ghz and for 5 ensure you can use the higher DFS channels as they offer greater throughput.
Were possible any access point should have wired backhaul to the router, this will ensure its rock steady and not using available bandwidth to talk between each other and the router. Whilst some mesh work well this way and have a dedicated extra wireless section for this part it’s not the most reliable.
I have a full Ubiquity Unifi setup with their router, switch that powers the access points via PoE so it’s simple to set then up and no extra power unit. Obviously if you have trouble getting wiring to places in first place this is not feasible. But I highly recommend where you can or just get an expert to install it. You won’t regret it and have the best that WiFi can offer when it’s all wired back to the router. Since setting this up I have full coverage around the house with top speed of 300mb/s which I have had in my laptop. Never drops out, never causes problems.
In your opinion powerlines may suck. In mine they have worked perfectly. Roon has never missed a beat with them.
I wish people would just describe their own experiences rather than make sweeping statements, it allows others to make a balanced judgement rather than just listening to the loudest.
I’ve got real issues with Linksys Velop in the house. They keep dropping offline and a hard reset took me over 2 hours of reconfiguring to get them to behave. Then two of them had the wrong password.
I’m trying to get them in to bridge mode as I want my Vigor router to do all the heavy lifting. The house is hardwired for ethernet so each of the nodes is connected via ethernet cabling to my network.
I might wait for the WiFi 6 offering from Amazon before getting rid of the Velop but for my configuration it’s not really fit for purpose.