Roon Server network interface (1G vs 10G)

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

  • macOS Catalina
  • Mac mini (2018) - 100% DEDICATED ROON SERVER
  • 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7
  • 64 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
  • 2 TB SSD
  • Roon Version 1.7 (build 571)

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

  • All 100% Meraki network (except for the Melco S100 audiophile network switch).
  • MX100 Security Appliance (router)
  • MS350-48 Switches
  • MR46 Access Points

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

  • Linn DSM’s

Description Of Issue
I am very new to Roon but I do not have an issue or problem; as a matter of fact I am loving Roon thus far. However I am re-configuring my network and my primary listening room, and I have a question on Roon Server performance, as it relates to network connection type & speed.

Long-story short, I have a lot of Linn DSM music streamers (21 in total); so I think I will phrase my question this way:

If I had all 21 Linn DSM’s playing studio master quality music files and/or streamed from Tidal & Qobuz via Roon, would connecting the Roon Server (Mac mini) via 10G Ethernet connection yield notable / noticeable performance improvement?.. or would a 1G Ethernet connect be more than enough?

Mmm, at a guess, I think you could assume 500Kb/s per endpoint, x21 = 10.5Mb/s. Tidal recommends 1.411Mb/s per “hifi” stream, x 21 = 29.631Mb/s. Not sure if this is accurate though.

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TL;DR: 1Gb/s is absolutely fine for a Roon Core with 21 zones of MQA; 10Gb/s is overkill.

You have two different calculations to consider: ingress and egress. Keep in mind that switched Ethernet is full duplex, so it can do both ingress and egress at the same time without suffering bandwidth contention. (Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is half-duplex, which is one of the reasons Roon strongly recommends that the Core always be a hardwired network endpoint.)

Ingress from Tidal, an MQA track in RAW format is 24/48k, so 2.304Mb/s for a stereo track. (Note, the FLAC container provides lossless compression, so the files will be smaller still – I am using uncompressed bitrate here for the calculations, representing worst possible case.) If you had each zone listening to a completely independent song, 21*2.304 = ~48.384Mb/s, which is easily handled by a 1Gb/s Ethernet link, even when you add in the TCP/IP protocol overhead. (Note that this is an oversimplification, because Roon doesn’t actually stream the file from Tidal (or Qobuz) at the encoded rate. The Core bulk downloads the entire file at max possible speed and caches it in RAM. So you will see spikes of a handful of seconds at the start of each song where it consumes whatever your Internet connection can deliver and then nada until the next track is up.)

Egress to the zones: 24/96k (the result of the first MQA unfold) is 4.608Mb/s. So 21 zones consume ~96.768Mb/s, which is still nothing on a 1Gb/s Ethernet link, even with TCP/IP protocol overhead. Now, lets assume the worst possible case: you use Roon’s DSP engine to upsample all zones to DSD512, resulting in each zone consuming 49.152Mb/s. 21 concurrent zones now consume ~1008Mb/s, which with TCP/IP overhead, definitely puts you over the limit of a 1Gb/s Ethernet link. But only just. Drop two of the zones and you’d probably be ok, certainly if you drop three. (Never mind that the Mac Mini you want to use as the Core would have fallen over and died of CPU starvation LONG before you hit 21 zones concurrently upsampled to DSD512…)


I don’t think it’ll work. 21 zones working independently with each end users choice of DSP etc will be too much for the core to process. My guess is the bottle neck will be your cores processing power. Not network. The question in my opinion is how many of these end points are ever likely to be running concurrently?
If you want to run the same to every end point that is different but I think then your issues will be about timing and synchronisation.


@cwichura, @Henry_McLeod,

Good morning to the both of you. Such fantastic responses; thank you both!!

I am experienced with Linn but not Roon, so I don’t know anything about DSP’s or upsampling (I pretty much have all the default settings within Roon).

So with that said, I can explain a couple of scenarios that may be intensive but not sure if / how it’s different using Roon…

Usually the most number of rooms playing different music would be around six (that would be if all family members were listening to music separately). However there are a few times a year that we host large events at our home and I would use Linn Kazoo and Linn Songcast to link all 21 rooms together and have them all playing the same playlist… so in the Roon world, I think the Songcast feature is called “Group Zones”.

Would having all 21 zones grouped be an issue for the Mac mini and/or the network?

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No. Assuming the zones have the same DSP settings (if any), the Core only has to do the processing once. And it’s already been shown that the network is not a bottleneck.

All 21 zones grouped would work. With 20 devices all the same and hanging off a single switch it ought to be OK. But my guess is you’d be the first to try anything that large!

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