Tidal Media Loading Slowly....I'm sorry, I've tried everything the internet has to say

Roon Core Machine

Dell Optiplex
Model name: Intel(R) Core™ i7-6700T CPU @ 2.80GHz
CPU family: 6
Model: 94
Thread(s) per core: 2
Core(s) per socket: 4
Socket(s): 1
Stepping: 3
CPU max MHz: 3600.0000
CPU min MHz: 800.0000

240GB SSD
16GB RAM

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Ubiquiti Amplifi Router
Direct cat5e from Router to Core
Tried all of the prescribed DNS stuff (I usually use Google anyway, but tried OpenDNS, CloudFlare, etc)

Connected Audio Devices

WiFi connection to Raspberry Pi 4 (RoPieeeXL) with Topping D50 DAC
WiFi connection to 2019 8-core i9 MacBookPro with OWC Dock as DAC (as well as internal)

(also ran ethernet to both for testing purposes)

Number of Tracks in Library

129715 Tracks

Description of Issue

I have been using this setup for well over a couple of years and never had an issue. After the last update or so, I cannot get playback for more than several seconds without the dreaded slow Tidal message and dropouts.

I first noticed this (probably coincidence) when the updates started to support Roon ARC. While Roon ARC has improved greatly - and I use it everyday to listen to both local and (mostly) Tidal sourced music (my local music is on a Synology NAS - hardwired on the same network) while I’m working around the house (same network using my iPhone on WiFi) or in the car (Cellular) I get the same network issues when using either of my two endpoints (MacBook Pro and RoPieee) or even if I try to use my phone with the Roon Remote selecting the phone (as opposed to RoonARC).

I’ve cleared the cache, checked my network connection (consistently between 100-200 Mbps) hardwired everything, unplugged everything else from my network except the Core, storage and endpoints (even turned off wifi for everything else on my network), tried different QoS optimizations on my router. I’m at my wits’ end. I haven’t been able to listen to my HiFi for almost a month now and I don’t really see any useful solutions.

Would love if anyone can help.

Welp. Time for a little mea culpa. I borrowed a network analyzer from work and checked all around my home network and found nothing, until I got to the WAN link on my router (connected to my cable modem). It was connected, but the connection was unstable. Basically in a state of constantly connecting and reconnecting.

I really didn’t suspect this as I have been regularly streaming UHD content (I work in video streaming for one of the big content companies and so am constantly evaluating content, looking at debug screens to verify what bandwidth rendition is playing, etc). But apparently Roon didn’t like that at all (understandably).

In the end it turns out that the problem was with the WAN port on the Ubiquiti router. Tried swapping cables and all that but eventually the router showed that the WAN port was disconnected on its cute little OLED display. At that point there was no outside connectivity at all.

I ordered a new mesh system, hooked it up last night, set it to the same IP network as the old one and my Roon Server showed right up and I just played an entire song for the first time in several months.

Moral of the story. Roon needs a lot of network and is super sensitive to network conditions. Sometimes it’s not as easy as just hardwiring. Simplify your system as much as possible to narrow things down and be methodical. It can be really frustrating to troubleshoot.

The difference is that video content buffers on the player device a lot so it probably got over the fluctuations

Roon via RAAT, however, doesn’t because it has to be able to play to several simultaneous zones without getting out of sync by more than 1/10 of a second, preferably less, while the Roon Ready endpoints can come from many different manufacturers. Ergo, RAAT must keep a right reign on everything and buffers on the endpoints are necessarily small

Agree, that’s what I thought also. I’m aware of most streaming video architectures, but I learned a lot about Roon/RAAT in this whole process.

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