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Just when it was all going so well ...
2018-06-13, 15:12 (This post was last modified: 2018-06-13 16:55 by DavidHB.)
Post: #1
Just when it was all going so well ...
... the network decides to throw a hissy fit. At least I think it's a the network. Rolleyes

The network topology is reasonably simple. All networked rooms have built-in wiring, which forms a star configuration with five 'arms'. These meet a a central gigabit switch (actually in the under stairs cupboard), to which the wireless router is also connected. Three of the 'arms' terminate in a single device - the Kiko upstairs, my QNAP NAS in the living room and a spare socket used with my own and 'visiting' laptops. The other two arms terminate in secondary gigabit switches, one in the study for my desktop computers, printer and Netgear NAS, and one (also in the living room) connected to the TV, PVR, secondary wireless access point and the KEDSM. All this was working fine, until, over the weekend ... Sad

After a fair amount of testing, I can define the problem in terms of the following repeatable sequence.
  1. Start with the KEDSM' unresponsive and with the 'x' for 'no network connectivity' in the bottom right hand corner of the display.
  2. Power cycle the KEDSM; network connectivity is restored.
  3. Using any control point (which in my case means BubbleDS or Kazoo on two Android tablets and a phone, and Kazoo on two Windows 10 PCs), load a playlist, and set it playing.
  4. Sooner rather than later (the problem has been getting worse) dropouts will start to occur, the 'x' will reappear on the KEDSM display, and the DSM will no longer be visible to any control point or to Konfig. It will, interestingly, be visible to WNetWatcher running on my PC.
  5. On occasions the music will continue playing (sometimes even without dropouts); if this happens, the DSM does respond to the IR remote (including for track changes). Eventually, however, the DSM does become completely unresponsive, even to the remote, until it is power cycled again.

Other probably relevant facts are as follows.
  1. Although I have not been doing much testing with the Kiko, it too has locked up on a couple of occasions.
  2. BBC iPlayer on the PVR has also become unresponsive.
  3. And (thanks to my dealer Chris for this useful suggestion), everything works perfectly with low bit rate (128Kbps) radio streams; feeds from the servers are transcoded to 24bit, so use much more network capacity.

With these symptoms, I think we can quickly rule out anything to do with wireless connectivity and the control points. Needless to say, I have checked all the Ethernet connections to make sure that they are properly seated. I have also powered the whole network down and, starting with the router, brought it all progressively back on line from the router outwards. These steps had no effect.

As, given that the radio works, the loading on the network is a material factor, suspicion is bound to fall on the network ports and switches. As both DSMs have had lockups, I am inclined to think that their network ports are the least likely candidates. Likewise, the 'AV' switch in the living room is a Netgear GS108 that is only a few months old (and it is not connected to the Kiko in any case). So at the moment the strongest candidate to be the cause of the trouble is the central network switch.

This switch is now some (perhaps as many as ten) years old, and is a cheap, plastic bodied item of unknown manufacture. Common sense says that it ought to have been replaced with something a bit more robust some time ago. So the next diagnostic step (which, if I am really lucky, will also be the fix) will be to get another GS108 as a replacement, and indeed I already have one on order, which should arrive within the next couple of days.

You will gather that I am not (yet, at least) at my wits' end about what to do next. But, given that the vulnerability of networks is the Achilles heel of streaming systems, I think that it is always good to report experience in fixing network issues on the forum, and thoughts/comments are always welcome. When the new switch is installed, I shall report the results.

David

Main system: [LP12 (coming soon) > Lejonklou Gaio >][Roksan Kandy Mk III >] KEDSM > Akurate Exaktbox 10/1 > Linn Silvers> A4200 x 2 and A2200 > K600 > Akubariks
Second system: Kiko
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2018-06-13, 16:17
Post: #2
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
My system has been stable since it was installed nine years ago and I worry that I will eventually encounter something like you're experiencing. Keep us updated how you proceed. Good luck.

I watch the waves roll in and roll out just the same
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2018-06-13, 16:23
Post: #3
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
My money's on the central switch being defective, too. Hope the new GS108 cures it!

My system: LP12/Keel/Radikal/Urika/Ekos 2/Akiva/Akurate DSM Katalyst/ Kudos /2 x Majik 6100-D/Akubarik (externally active). Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L/ QNAP 219P II / Grado PS500e.
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2018-06-13, 16:56 (This post was last modified: 2018-06-13 16:56 by timster (RadiatorCatHammock).)
Post: #4
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
(2018-06-13 16:23)Tendaberry Wrote:  My money's on the central switch being defective, too. Hope the new GS108 cures it!

Call me an optimist, but I have a feeling that it will.

I read David's story getting more and more worried that something fundamental is wrong with the architecture and infrastructure of networks. Until I read:
"This switch is now some (perhaps as many as ten) years old, and is a cheap, plastic bodied item of unknown manufacture."
And I breathed a sigh of relief Smile

At least - I hope it will. Good luck David, we're all "routing" for you Wink

♫ ♫ Akurate EDSM | Majik ExaktBox-I [on Custom Design iRAPs] | Majik 140, REL T5
♫ ♫ Rega RP1, [QNAP HS-251+, Jitterbug, MinimServer, Asset], Kazoo [Linx1010]

AV: Marantz NR1506 | B&W 620(C), M1(S), REL T5 (LFE) | Fronts powered by Linn
Net: NetGear DGN2200 | GS108 | AQ Forest x3

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2018-06-13, 18:26 (This post was last modified: 2018-06-13 18:27 by Donald.)
Post: #5
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
Hi David - I think you have may diagnosed the probable cause yourself i.e. the ten year old switch.

Is there any way to by-pass that central switch using suitable Ethernet cables to connect a single device to the existing Netgear GS108, even if that means temporarily moving e.g. the Kiko??

Keep us informed - Briain may be along soon?

Unidisk SC || LP12 | Kore | Akito/Adikt | Trampolin 2 | Lingo 4.
Akurate DSM/2 | Katalyst Akurate Exaktbox 10 | 2 x Akurate 4200/1 | Exakt dual-mono Keilidhs
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B | IQAudio Pi-DAC+ | Audiolab 8000A | AR28s.
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2018-06-13, 19:08 (This post was last modified: 2018-06-13 19:09 by DavidHB.)
Post: #6
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
Thanks, all. I too have hopes for the new switch, but I'm not counting my chickens. The good thing from my perspective is that the new switch (cost - £28 or so) is a no cost diagnostic, because the old switch really has to be replaced. Attempts to clean its dusty ports seem only to have made the problem worse (another indicator, perhaps, that we're on the right track).

(2018-06-13 18:26)Donald Wrote:  Is there any way to by-pass that central switch using suitable Ethernet cables to connect a single device to the existing Netgear GS108, even if that means temporarily moving e.g. the Kiko??

Yes, there are several things I could do. The easiest way of bypassing the switch would probably be to plug the relevant 'arm' cables into the router, which is wall mounted only 18" or so from the switch. The trouble is that the cables are not only bundled for neatness, they are also of the stiff, heavy duty type required for in wall installation. I prefer to mess with them as little as possible until I know what changes I need to make to the layout when I install the new switch, so I do all the bending and reshaping in one go. It's only a couple of days to wait, so my instinct says better safe than sorry.

(2018-06-13 18:26)Donald Wrote:  Keep us informed - Briain may be along soon?

That would be good - Briain always has something interesting to add to these discussions.

David

Main system: [LP12 (coming soon) > Lejonklou Gaio >][Roksan Kandy Mk III >] KEDSM > Akurate Exaktbox 10/1 > Linn Silvers> A4200 x 2 and A2200 > K600 > Akubariks
Second system: Kiko
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2018-06-13, 20:20
Post: #7
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
Becoming unresponsive to the remote doesn't sound like a network connectivity glitch though. If the connection drops or drops in+out it shouldn't crash the Ds, which is what appears to have happened.

I've had two 'wobbles' recently, both IR related. I can't really remember the details now as they were both one-offs. The first though locked up the Ds and it became totally unresponsive, though it was still playing radio I think. I had to switch off at the mains to recover. That's after failing to force a crash reboot with the remote or front panel button.
The second was even stranger. I pressed play from standby (as I always do) to start playing R3, the Exaktbox Sub powered up and started playing but the Exaktbox itself didn't, it just sat there flashing. I can't remember if I lost IR control or not, but I thing it was a power cycle of the Ds to get things going again.

Both of these have happened since installing Davaar 63 - and I'm betting that's where my and maybe your problems came from. There's all the Roon and Linn Labs stuff in there shiny, new and possibly still a bit unstable. I did briefly switch on Linn Labs but turned it of again after I realised there's absolutely nothing in there that interests me at the moment.

Anyway, it does sound like your dusty old switch has earned its trip to Silicon Heaven so hopefully the new one will help, but I wouldn't bank on it...

ADs/2 -> Klimax Exaktbox/1 -> Silvers -> 2xKCT/D -> K200 -> Ninka
Exaktbox Sub - BK Sub
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2018-06-13, 20:34
Post: #8
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
(2018-06-13 20:20)phino Wrote:  Becoming unresponsive to the remote doesn't sound like a network connectivity glitch though. If the connection drops or drops in+out it shouldn't crash the Ds, which is what appears to have happened.

Actually, I find it even odder that the DSM has gone on playing (in one instance for many hours) when Kazoo, Konfig and my web browsers can't see it. The unresponsiveness to the remote is associated with the 'locked up state' (No. 1 in my problem description), which in turn seems to be a function of the fact that the DSM is trying to work with the playlist and without network connectivity cannot do so. It only stops responding to the remote when it has (or, perhaps, thinks it has) no connectivity.

(2018-06-13 20:20)phino Wrote:  Anyway, it does sound like your dusty old switch has earned its trip to Silicon Heaven so hopefully the new one will help, but I wouldn't bank on it...

No chickens have been counted ... Smile

David

Main system: [LP12 (coming soon) > Lejonklou Gaio >][Roksan Kandy Mk III >] KEDSM > Akurate Exaktbox 10/1 > Linn Silvers> A4200 x 2 and A2200 > K600 > Akubariks
Second system: Kiko
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2018-06-13, 20:52
Post: #9
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
the dsm plays as long as it has a playlist loaded and the nas => switch => dsm connection works
it get unresponsitive if the remote control point => wifi => router => switch connection is broken

forget my statement in case I have overread something
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2018-06-13, 20:59
Post: #10
RE: Just when it was all going so well ...
you can actually use the DS(M) like a CD player ... load a big playlist into the DS(M) switch wifi off and just move to the next title or back with the Linn remote. as long as you have the nas to switch to ds(m) connections working it should work
the switch in this case doesnt need more connections
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