Router Doubter

The new apartment I bought last year came with a free router, a trusty old Linksys WRT54GL.

Yesterday, while investigating my Tidal problems, I found the router still had the original (2006) firmware. After I upgraded to the latest firmware, Tidal is now working much better, if still slow / glitchy.

Wondering if a new router might offer further improvement? I'm on a shared network, where link speed is often all over the place (from 9 Mbps to 24 Mbps just in the last five minutes). Other option is to try a new ISP, but no guarantees of a better result (I'm in Thailand). While I doubt the router is the limiting factor, the firmware upgrade alone has transformed Tidal from unusable to usable. 

NAC N272 connects to router via two D-Link powerline adapters, which seem to work as well as a direct Ethernet connection.

Thanks in advance for any advice. 

 

 

 

Original Post

I would be inclined to first try an ethernet cable again instead of the power line adapters, now you have updated the router, even if you just lay it across the floor for a few days.

I suppose it would be easier to next try a new router, but I suspect the problem is further back towards Tidal's servers.

Also have you put the new firmware on the 272 (version 4.6). This has a fix for Tidal in it and anyway it also offers a sound quality uplift over version 4.4

bedt

David

Ideally you want to differentiate what's slow - your internet connection or your powerline adapters.

You could have very fast internet limited by poor adapter speed or high adapter speeds limited by the internet connection.

If you have a laptop with ethernet hook it up to the router, stop using/unplug all other devices and try a few speed tests (eg Ooklas's Speedtest) to get a feel for best available.  Then hook up the laptop via the powerline adapters instead of the 272 and see if speeds are worse.

You say you're on a shared connection so other people's activity may well be affecting yours - do you have the option of changing ISP or would you just be adding a separate internet service?

Thanks for the replies. I feel a bit unfair doubting my ageing router when it copes perfectly well with Netflix, etc., but seems that Tidal needs all the front-end help it can get. I've just updated to 4.6 on the N272, but can't really tell if it helped at all.

I also haven't been able to tell much if any difference between Ethernet, wi-fi and power-line connections. Connecting my Macbook to Ethernet requires buying yet another adapter. I have an old Mac Mini in a box somewhere so I'll check Ethernet speed on that tomorrow.

Yes, the shared internet service is a big question mark. Speeds appear good enough most of the time, but with alarming dips on a regular basis. I can make the switch to another ISP, but with no guarantee of a Tidal fix, given those with lightning-fast connections still report problems with it.

Meanwhile Tidal support sent me their stock 'we are working on a known issue' response. I'm trying to convince myself that Spotify 320kbps is good enough, but...

 

 

 

 

 

"I also haven't been able to tell much if any difference between Ethernet, wi-fi and power-line connections."

This is pretty unusual, and may speak to deficiencies in your Ethernet network.  It typically performs much better than wi-fi (especially for hi-def music).

Bart posted:

"I also haven't been able to tell much if any difference between Ethernet, wi-fi and power-line connections."

This is pretty unusual, and may speak to deficiencies in your Ethernet network.  It typically performs much better than wi-fi (especially for hi-def music).

Or a good very wifi connection (and nobody in the house streaming things over it)

^ What I should have said earlier was that my Tidal problems seem independent of how I connect to the network.

The Speedtest results are now in:

Wi-fi: 12 - 15 Mbps.   Ethernet:  45 - 50 Mbps.  Powerline: 50 - 57 Mbps.

This suggests my wired network speeds are more than good enough. I'm actually a bit puzzled how the Power-line adapters can be faster than direct Ethernet (with the same cable), but it's good to know they work as advertised.

But what puzzles me more is why Tidal is often barely useable on this network, yet streams along nicely on my mobile 4G connection (8 - 15 Mpbs and much slower pings.) Something on my main network is choking Tidal, but what? 

 

 

 

 

 

When you have tried alternative connections instead of the powerlines, were they completely turned off and disconnected? The very high levels of RFI they produce may still have an adverse effect on your equipment when they are not actually in use. 

Thanks for the tip, Chris. Powerlines were still plugged in for the test. Repeated after unplugging, and yes, slightly better speed via Ethernet (50 - 56 Mbps). So I get the sense that powerline adapters are basically a no-no on this forum?

Powerlines now unplugged, direct Ethernet connection with the router sitting in the middle of the living room rug (as far as possible away from other RFI emitters). Tempted to say Spotify sounds better. Tidal mostly still stuck in search mode (and yet working nicely on my phone via 4G).

 

Perhaps should point out that my home network is 801.11g (i.e. 54 Mbps max), whereas I've seen significantly higher 4G link speeds on my Android devices (up to 150 Mbps).

Is the old 801.11g protocol a possible limiting factor for apps like Tidal?

 

 

easeback1 posted:

Thanks for the tip, Chris. Powerlines were still plugged in for the test. Repeated after unplugging, and yes, slightly better speed via Ethernet (50 - 56 Mbps). So I get the sense that powerline adapters are basically a no-no on this forum?

Powerlines now unplugged, direct Ethernet connection with the router sitting in the middle of the living room rug (as far as possible away from other RFI emitters). Tempted to say Spotify sounds better. Tidal mostly still stuck in search mode (and yet working nicely on my phone via 4G).

 

Perhaps should point out that my home network is 801.11g (i.e. 54 Mbps max), whereas I've seen significantly higher 4G link speeds on my Android devices (up to 150 Mbps).

Is the old 801.11g protocol a possible limiting factor for apps like Tidal?

If you want to use WiFi, an 801.11n or ac device will likely give better results, although I would still suggest wired Ethernet as the best choice. The issue with Tidal, though, is thought to be largely down to latency, not speed (I get pretty reliable Tidal with a 4.5meg line speed). The latency issue is largely outside your control, as it is affected not just by your own network, but the entire chain from your ISP all the way back to Tidal's servers. Unfortunately, Naim streamers are more susceptible to this issue than most, due, I think, to their small buffers. This is something that their new streaming platform has addressed. It's possible that a change of ISP could improve this issue for you, but the only way to find out would be to sign up and see what happens.

Thanks Chris, I will try one or two other ISPs to see if results improve.

I'm aware of Tidal's upstream issues, but what bugs me is that it streams faultlessly on my phone (Hi-Fi quality). If Naim streamers suffer from small buffers as you say, does that imply my phone / tablet have larger buffers than a N272?

Adding to that, my current Tidal problem is more that tracks fail to load initially as opposed to cutting out mid-song, so perhaps buffering isn't the issue?

 

 

 

 

easeback1 posted:

Thanks Chris, I will try one or two other ISPs to see if results improve.

I'm aware of Tidal's upstream issues, but what bugs me is that it streams faultlessly on my phone (Hi-Fi quality). If Naim streamers suffer from small buffers as you say, does that imply my phone / tablet have larger buffers than a N272?

Adding to that, my current Tidal problem is more that tracks fail to load initially as opposed to cutting out mid-song, so perhaps buffering isn't the issue?

To be fair to Naim, they developed their streaming platform before Tidal existed, and their streamers were really aimed at local streaming from a NAS over UPnP. That doesn't help you, though! Maybe phones do have larger buffers, I don't know. Over 4G, the signal will be taking a different route, possibly not even from the same Tidal server, so it's hard to make comparisons.

I believe most people who have complained about Tidal dropouts have reported that the music cuts out in mid-flow, not that it fails to load, so it could be that we are barking up the wrong tree here!! Maybe it's worth trying a different ISP, who will presumably supply you with a different router when you sign up. Good luck!

To be extra fair to Naim, my Tidal glitches occur equally with the N272 & Naim app completely out of the loop i.e. Tidal app streaming from laptop or tablet on home network. Switch over to 4G and things work much better.

So I think the game may be up for my current home network. Just popped out to a local coffee shop with my tablet and had Tidal streaming quite well on their public wi-fi. 

Probably unrelated, but the 'recent search' field in my Naim app is always blank. Anyone else experienced this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

easeback1 posted:

Probably unrelated, but the 'recent search' field in my Naim app is always blank. Anyone else experienced this? 

No, I can see recent searches. It’s a different list to the one in the Tidal app, so I guess each app is storing its own data here - or not!

Wugged Woy posted:

Re. the thread title, surely router doesn't rhyme with doubter ? It rhymes with hooter......

Just sayin'...........

Depends which side of the pond you be at : )

I've lived on both sides, so I'm bilingual. But you can guess which side I started from...

And now in SE Asia, where the correct pronunciation is 'routERRRR' [rising tone].

 

easeback1 posted:
Wugged Woy posted:

Re. the thread title, surely router doesn't rhyme with doubter ? It rhymes with hooter......

Just sayin'...........

Depends which side of the pond you be at : )

I've lived on both sides, so I'm bilingual. But you can guess which side I started from...

And now in SE Asia, where the correct pronunciation is 'routERRRR' [rising tone].

 

Having worked in data networks all my career, I've spent a lot of time in the States as well as the UK, I'll switch between "rooter/rooting" and "rowter/rowting" depending on the audience and in mixed audiences will alternate. I did discover fairly early on that telling an Australian audience that it's critical to optimise the "rooting" can  lead to a lot of laughter, although I suppose 20+ years on they're probably over that pronunciation thing now.

Well of course we can use the original term of gateway. I have found the pronunciation in the US varies on location - there are roots and rowts..... context must be important when you are talking about a rout  as opposed to a route...  - and certainly wouldn't want to get ICT and carpentry mixed up in some parts of the US 

Update: It was the router!

I swapped out the old router for a brand new Linksys EA6350, and, as it turns out, my internet speed is rather excellent!

I think I would have worked this out sooner if I had an English-speaking ISP (mine is Thai). Still, with the new router in place I'm now getting ~ 80 Mbps over wi-fi vs. ~ 12 Mbps previously. Not a subtle difference. And yes, the power-line adapters are in the bin.

As if by magic, Tidal now works as it should. I probably owe Tidal customer support an apology, and also Phil @ Naim, who generously replies to all my emails. Thanks also to those who offered advice here.

Moral of the story: never look a gift horse in the mouth, but be wary of a free router.

 

 

I’d say be wary of powerline adapters too, they can cripple ADSL and VDSL performance in some scenarios from the RFI caused.

in the UK I would say if you are using xDSL and want to use a non ISP router... which I would NOT recommend unless you have a basic internet service and/or know what you are doing, then ensure you have a modem or combined modem-router approved by your ISP. This MSAN/DSLAM to your modem integration is the crucial part of your broadband performance... otherwise you could be throwing performance away, Also keep reasonably upto date with your ISP’s router or if you go third party approved, ensure your third party router always has the latest modem firmware... this can be automatic with modern ISP routers.

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