I finally broke down and ran Ethernet to my living room.
But not with Cat 6. I used MoCA – short for Multimedia over Cable Alliance, I think. After all, coax was what the guys back at Xerox PARC in the 1970’s used for Ethernet in the first place, and the house is already wired for cable. I bought a starter pack of two MoCA transceivers, went over the cable path to make sure there weren’t any splitters in it, plugged the transceivers in, and sure enough, full-speed Ethernet.
Encouraged by that, I figured I should convert my high-end Roon system from WiFi to Ethernet. Another MoCA converter, OK. But my streamer is a Pi 3B+, and I didn’t want to use both Ethernet and USB to the DAC at the same time. And of course, Pi 4 parts are in short supply right now.
I read the postings over in the “New iFi Zen Stream device” thread for a while, then shuddered delicately and decided to try something else. I ordered one of the little MeLE fanless Windows PCs (only half the price of the Zen Stream, too, though twice the price of a Pi) and sat down with it today. I applied all the updates and set it to update automatically in the wee hours of the morning. I downloaded Roon Bridge for 64 bit PCs and installed it. With the invaluable help of @Rugby, I managed to set up the machine to (a) not require login on boot, and (b) start Roon Bridge automatically on startup.
Then I plugged it in where the Pi had been, plugged in the Ethernet cable, and scanned for it in Roon’s setup. There it is! Enable, and play music.
Update: I noticed the machine would drop off the Ethernet every now and then. To fix that, you have to find the Networking control panel, and adjust the “Power Management” setting of the Ethernet network adapter. Uncheck the box that says, “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.” See here. Or, if you’re one of those types who likes to edit the registry, you could do it this way.