Stream­ing ra­dio dropout

Mac|Life - - ASK -

Over the years, my home net­work has grown. It now has good Wi-Fi cover­age over most of the house, thanks to four base sta­tions, but my TV, recorder, and DVD player re­quire wired Eth­er­net, which is de­liv­ered us­ing TP-Link powerline adap­tors. When I add a Sonos 1 mu­sic player, it suf­fers in­fre­quent dropouts in ra­dio streams. Could this be due to my powerline adap­tors? Yes, but you may well have other prob­lems. Like many net­works, yours has grown over the years and not been prop­erly planned. The time has come to de­sign and im­ple­ment it so that it’s ro­bust and ex­pand­able, and not likely to suf­fer in­ter­fer­ence or con­flicts.

If you can, con­nect your Wi-Fi base sta­tions, wired sys­tems, and mo­dem-router with proper Eth­er­net ca­bling. Powerline net­work­ing can work very well, but uses do­mes­tic elec­tric wiring to trans­mit net­work traf­fic. Even the best and most mod­ern wiring is de­signed to de­liver power safely, not to trans­mit high vol­umes of dig­i­tal sig­nals. It can there­fore be sen­si­tive to your own do­mes­tic elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances cut­ting in and out, and heavy equip­ment in nearby build­ings. It’s also com­pletely un­shielded.

When plan­ning your net­work, con­nect non-por­ta­ble de­vices us­ing Eth­er­net as much as pos­si­ble. This will give them bet­ter band­width and re­duce the num­ber of de­vices com­pet­ing for your wire­less net­work. Po­si­tion your Wi-Fi sys­tems to op­ti­mize lo­cal cover with­out con­flict­ing with one an­other, or spilling into the street and ar­eas with pub­lic ac­cess. It’s a ma­jor task, but well worth the time and ef­fort.

Most net­works grow with­out proper struc­ture un­til they hit prob­lems. Step back and re­design yours to be clean, ef­fi­cient, and ro­bust.

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