I’m having this exact problem except I’m using a Mac as the Roon server just to evaluate Roon. It plays perfectly to Sonos devices and other endpoints but any Airplay device has regular random drop outs. Everything is hard wired with enterprise grade networking hardware. My smart switches have extensive reporting and there are zero issues with the network. No latency and no dropped packets.
The Mac CPU is only at around 6% load and the network traffic is also only at a few percent of the Gigabit port. This happens even when streaming a native normal CD quality format from the Mac SSD. It also happens with Internet radio as the source.
Like with the original post, and several other threads on here, this ONLY happens with Airplay devices. And those same devices work perfectly over the same network when streaming audio from any source besides Roon.
I’m still on the 14 day eval and if there’s not a fix for this apparently somewhat common problem Rune is a hard fail as Airplay compatibility is a big deal. Even my phone can stream to the same Airplay devices without dropouts. A quick search here reveals several reporting this issue often with no satisfactory resolution.
As the original poster has clearly documented this issue is unique to Roon and Airplay.
It’s a UniFi Switch 24–an enterprise grade $300 smart switch. The Mac is connected directly to the switch via gigabit ethernet. The Airplay devices are variously either connected ve ethernet (i.e. a pre-Heos Denon receiver) or via WiFi and a UniFi WiFi 5 access point (i.e. Apple HomePods). It makes no difference as to the Airplay endpoint. EVERYTHING AIRPLAY HAS DROPOUTS!
The music is on a Qnap TS-453BU also connected to the same switch via gigabit ethernet. The router isn’t even in the picture here except to let the Roon server phone home but it’s an enterprise grade $700 Netgate 5100 running pfSense.
This same network, setup and Airplay endpoints work flawlessly with literally everything BUT Roon and Airplay. And the same network and hardware works flawlessly with Roon and various Sonos endpoints. That’s the main takeaway here. That reasonably rules out the Mac running Roon Server, the music on the NAS, and the network.
You guys demand all sorts of info, and the original poster even replaced his entire switch which didn’t change a thing just as he predicted, rather than admit Roon has an issue with Airplay. This has been consistent in various other threads on this issue. You keep asking for more info until the customer gives up. It’s a classic support tactic and another red flag with Roon.
If Roon is so fussy with Airplay it needs something somehow better than an enterprise grade hard wired gigabit network your product is broken. My phone can stream wirelessly to the same Airplay devices without a single dropout but Roon can’t work when hard wired? Would you like to know the color of the ethernet cables next?