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Author Topic: 02 | Choosing the WiFi / LAN connection  (Read 3084 times)
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PeterSt
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« on: May 30, 2015, 09:56:10 am »

For the Remote Control we will always assume a WiFi connected device. Thus, a Tablet or SmartPhone. Can be a Laptop as well but we still assume WiFi (and we say it like this because a Laptop can be cable connected as well).

Golden rule for the best Sound Quality : Never use WiFi in the Audio PC.

Audio PC : The machine where XXHighEnd runs and which machine thus plays the music.

For this tutorial we will assume that you have the music stored somewhere "on the LAN" (or "behind the LAN"). This, together with WiFi not being allowed in the Audio PC anyway, will make it logical for you to have no WiFi connection from the Audio PC to the LAN (hence to elsewhere) because it would be too slow to transfer the data.
Notice that all the music we play is pre-loaded on the Audio PC and we want to have this done as fast as possible (like 2 seconds for an album).

The Audio PC is now thus connected to the LAN by means of a(n Ethernet) cable. So that is set ...

The other end of that cable

This has to be a device of any kind of our liking, which receives that cable but which also receives WiFi.
Quite some options exist up to a Laptop with WiFi and LAN socket. Not that we are going to use that, but it should make clear that all we need is that "bridge" from Cable to WiFi. So if this bridge is there, our e.g. Tablet can communicate with the bridge and the bridge talks to the Audio PC. And back ...

Internet Router
Most often you have such a bridge available already because your "Internet router" will be just that. That is, when it also can receive and transmit WiFi and which is the case when you already use your Tablet or Smart Phone to access the internet over WiFi, at home.
In this case you cable-connect the Audio PC to the Internet Router and you are done.
Your Audio PC now can connect to the Internet as well if all is set up for that, but maybe this is not what you want.
Situation now is : Tablet with Internet Possibilities <-> Internet Router <-> Audio PC with Internet possibilities

Separate WiFi Access Point
Audio Systems often are banned to attics, garages and are far and away from the living world, without Internet Access.
You can now get yourself a simple WiFi Access Point and it will have one (or maybe even more) Ethernet cable sockets. That socket can be used for the cable from the Audio PC.
Situation now is : Tablet <-> WiFi Access Point <-> Audio PC

We said that we assumed the music storage to be behind the LAN somewhere, but the above two solutions did not really incorporate that (explicitly). Now let's see what solutions actually exist for storage "behind the LAN".

Most people easily think that a "NAS" (which means Network Attached Storage) is THE solution once you want to have it organised nicely. This could be true, but actually it is not convenient at all because "dedicated". It is a small device which runs an operating system and it has storage attached to it (can be internally).
But what is the difference with a normal PC (running any Operating System of your liking) ?
-> Nothing. Except that you can use that PC for everything you'd like and it is hardly more expensive (or at least has much more value for money). Also you will be able to connect your disks or whatever by all means you are used to, instead of that very fixed NAS means ...
Still people me use/have a NAS so let's work out that situation :

No fiber glass socket assumed, we again will connect the NAS by means of an Ethernet cable. What do we connect it to ?
Well, the "network". Anywhere will be fine as long as it is in the network somewhere.
Notice though that theoretically it can also be connected directly to the Audio PC's Ethernet socket. However, when there is LAN/Ethernet socket in there only (and in most of the cases this is so), you are one socket short because you also needed one to the WiFi Bridge (see above).

In the end it is easy : Plug the NAS in the WiFi bridge (of whatever kind it is), assumed it has a free socket.

Only one socket in my WiFi bridge !
Then you have two options :
1. Get yourself one with more sockets;
2. Get yourself a small hub/router/switch with "hub" being the phenomenin in order (the other two are more expensive versions of it).

A hub as such can be seen as a "distibution hub". So if e.g. 4 cables -with devices behind them- are connected, all the 4 devices can communicate to each other. Here we use 3 of those devices :

Ethernet Hub <-> Audio PC
Ethernet Hub <-> NAS
Ethernet Hub <-> WiFi Bridge
WiFi Bridge <-> Tablet


and the third one is used for another type of "hub" which is our WiFi Bridge (which remember, is now the general name for what we previsouly called the Internet Router or WiFi Access Point).

We can see that the Tablet can communicate with the Audio PC as it travels the path
Tablet <-> WiFi Bridge <-> Ethernet Hub <-> Audio PC

We can also see that the Audio PC can get to the Music files, like this :
Audio PC <-> Ethernet Hub <-> NAS

That the Tablet can also get to the Music files is nice, but not used.

While the above is necessary for understanding to make the physical connections, do notice that functionally we are only interested in this :

Tablet <-> Audio PC



So we told that a NAS is only a dedicated storage device while we could "have" so much more. And psychological problem with that is also : most often we just have a machine around for this storage work. It doesn't need to be a fast machine at all, but its disk subsystem must be on par somewhat. Only "somewhat" because it really isn't *that* demanding. But for logic of sequence of happenings, think like this :

You feel that you need a new Audio PC. The old one was set up with the storage connected to it (internally or by USB or even NAS). So now you get yourself this new Audio PC, have as few in there as possible and all you need to do is LAN-connect it to the old PC. Really so !
It ALSO would be the most convenient way of changes, because when executed well, nothing changes. For that, see here : Change from one system to Server + Control.

Here is the same "schematic" again from before, but now for our Music (files) Server :

Ethernet Hub <-> Audio PC
Ethernet Hub <-> Music Server
Ethernet Hub <-> WiFi Bridge
WiFi Bridge <-> Tablet


So "Music Server" replaced the NAS.
If we change nothing, we would still use this functional connection :

Tablet <-> Audio PC

However, it is now possible to do this :

Tablet <-> Music Server
plus
Music Server <-> Audio PC

or in one line :

Tablet <-> Music Server <-> Audio PC

or more in terms of connections :
Audio PC has Ethernet cable directly to Music Server;
Music Server has second Ethernet socket and a cable from there to the WiFi Bridge;
WiFi Bridge connects to Tablet through air.

Or in terms of how RDC/RDP is set up :
Screen of Music Server runs RDP on Audio PC, so what's seen on the Music Server is the Audio PC.
plus
Screen of Tablet runs RDP on Music Server, so what's seen on the Tablet is the Music Server's screen which ... shows the Audio PC's screen.
yes
What in heaven's sake to do this for ?

This is more lean.

It is not so easy to explain, but say that it starts with the dedicated traffic between Audio PC and Music Server and nothing else. This is an electrical thing;
If we compare this with the Audio PC connected to the WiFi Bridge and now thinking that this will be a(n Internet) Router, then all traffic on the LAN goes through the Audio PC, never mind it is not addressed to it. So you send an email with your phone over WiFi and that data passes the network interface in the Audio PC. This is how it (Ethernet) works ...
If the Audio PC is connected to the Music Server with a dedicated Ethernet cable (a so-called crossed one) then no Router data which goes through the Music Server is passed on to the Audio PC. There's just no electrical connection (but this connection can be made by so-called bridging the two LAN Interfaces in the Music Server - which we don't).

Downside : The Audio PC can not connect to the Internet now. Downside ? no, a sheer pro, because we now also don't need anti-virus super detrimental stuff. Still we can use that on the Music Server because it can be detrimental as needed there, if only the "serving" of the files is not going to be too slow and which is used one time per the press of Play anyway ...

Of course this easily implied that the Music Server contains two Ethernet sockets. Or actually : interfaces. But hey, this will be a somewhat larger PC which easily can contain an additional Ethernet PCI(e) card (of $10). Can't be a problem.

We must not be confused about a perceived necessity of the combination of Music Server also being a Remote Control intermediate as proposed above; both are totally unrelated. However, the Music Server set up as Remote itself has some inherent advantages in the area of "maintenance". This is somewhat more difficult to explain, but notice that the Music Server is an Audio PC itself just the same. Or at least it can be, or ... it can run XXHighEnd;
Depending on your experience and needs a LOT of things can now happen in parallel to playing music. So all your huge amounts of data are under your finger tips on that Music Server and while you are doing your whatever maintanance (organising, copying, ripping, etc. etc.) you still play music and control it from the very same PC (the Tablet is now not used and only the part
Music Serer <-> Audio PC
is.
Done with the whatever maintenance ? grab the Tablet and connect to the Music Server and continue as usual.
All this time music continues to play because it runs on its own dedicated (Audio) PC and it is virtually impossible to disturb music playback with your whatever maintenance on the files themselves.
Logged

For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - Oct 31, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 10/20 cores) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 140.19  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 35 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^2*A:B-W-Y-R, B:B-W-R* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> *Blaxius^2 A:B-R, B:B-R* Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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