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GUIDE TO STREAMING AUDIO

A GUIDE TO STREAMING AUDIO

Typical network configuration Typical network configuration

Basic Networking Knowledge

 

What is (WiFi) Router?

router is a networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. A router is connected to two or more data lines from different networks (as opposed to a network switch, which connects data lines from one single network). When a data packet comes in on one of the lines, the router reads the address information in the packet to determine its ultimate destination. Then, using information in its routing table or routing policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey. This creates an overlay internetwork. Routers perform the "traffic directing" functions on the Internet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another through the networks that constitute the internetwork until it reaches its destination node.

The most familiar type of routers are home and small office routers that simply pass data, such as web pages, email, IM, and videos between the home computers and the Internet. An example of a router would be the owner's cable or DSL router, which connects to the Internet through an ISP. More sophisticated routers, such as enterprise routers, connect large business or ISP networks up to the powerful core routers that forward data at high speed along the optical fiber lines of the Internet backbone. Though routers are typically dedicated hardware devices, use of software-based routers has grown increasingly common.

A WiFi router is a device that performs the functions of a router and also includes the functions of a wireless access point. It is used to provide access to the Internet or a private computer network. It can function in a wired LAN (local area network), in a wireless-only LAN (WLAN), or in a mixed wired/wireless network, depending on the manufacturer and model.

WiFi Router WiFi Router

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Router_(computing)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_router

What is WiFi Access Point (AP)?

In computer networking, a wireless access point (AP) is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi, or related standards. The AP usually connects to a router (via a wired network) as a standalone device, but it can also be an integral component of the router itself. An AP is differentiated from a hotspot, which is the physical space where the wireless service is provided.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_access_point

What is Network Switch?

network switch (also called switching hubbridging hub, officially MAC bridge) is a computer networking device that connects devices together on a computer network, by using packet switching to receive, process and forward data to the destination device. Unlike less advanced network hubs, a network switch forwards data only to one or multiple devices that need to receive it, rather than broadcasting the same data out of each of its ports.

network switch network switch

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_switch

What is an IP address?

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. Its role has been characterized as follows: "A name indicates what we seek. An address indicates where it is. A route indicates how to get there."

The designers of the Internet Protocol defined an IP address as a 32-bit number and this system, known as Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is still in use today. However, because of the growth of the Internet and the predicted depletion of available addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the address, was developed in 1995. IPv6 was standardized as RFC 2460 in 1998,  and its deployment has been ongoing since the mid-2000s.

IP addresses are usually written and displayed in human-readable notations, such as 172.16.254.1 (IPv4), and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 (IPv6).

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) manages the IP address space allocations globally and delegates five regional Internet registries (RIRs) to allocate IP address blocks tolocal Internet registries (Internet service providers) and other entities.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address

What is WLAN (WiFi) channel?

This list of WLAN channels is the set of legally allowed wireless local area network channels using IEEE 802.11 protocols, mostly sold under the trademark Wi-Fi.

The 802.11 workgroup currently documents use in five distinct frequency ranges: 2.4 GHz, 3.6 GHz, 4.9 GHz, 5 GHz, and 5.9 GHz bands.  Each range is divided into a multitude of channels. Countries apply their own regulations to the allowable channels, allowed users and maximum power levels within these frequency ranges. In some countries, such as the United States, licensed Amateur Radio operators may use some of the channels at much higher power for long distance wireless access.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels

What is DHCP?

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a standardized network protocol used on Internet Protocol (IP) networks for dynamically distributing network configuration parameters, such as IP addresses for interfaces and services. With DHCP, computers request IP addresses and networking parameters automatically from a DHCP server, reducing the need for a network administrator or a user to configure these settings manually.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Host_Configuration_Protocol

What is a NAS Drive?

Network-attached storage (NAS) is a file-level computer data storage server connected to a computer network providing data access to a heterogeneous group of clients. NAS is specialized for serving files either by its hardware, software, or configuration. It is often manufactured as a computer appliance – a purpose-built specialized computer.

QNAP TVS-471 NAS Drive QNAP TVS-471 NAS Drive

In comparison to an external hard drive that you connect to you computer via USB cable is called a DAS or direct attached storage. A NAS can be used to store and share files across and network. A NAS can also have a UPnP server installed allowing it to push media onto a network for UPnP streamers like the ARIES to access and playback from. A NAS drive in a UPnP streaming system is essentially your music source.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage

What is SMB file sharing?

In computer networkingServer Message Block (SMB), one version of which was also known as Common Internet File System (CIFS/ˈsɪfs/), operates as an application-layer network protocol  mainly used for providing shared access to filesprinters, and serial ports and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network. It also provides an authenticated inter-process communication mechanism. Most usage of SMB involves computers runningMicrosoft Windows, where it was known as "Microsoft Windows Network" before the subsequent introduction of Active Directory. Corresponding Windows services are LAN Manager Server (for the server component) and LAN Manager Workstation (for the client component).

Lightning Server us SMB protocol to read and manage the music file stored on your NAS or computer. It also have SMB sharing function to let you access the content on USB storage attached on a Lightning device.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block

Optimizing My Network

 

Is my Network adequate for Streaming Audio?

A solid network is the backbone of a streaming system. It is extremely important to have the right networking gear to ensure stable performance and better sound quality from the device.

We have created a list of routers we have tested to work best with our products. You cannot guarantee the device will work with the home router that comes from your network service provider. An UPnP streaming system requires much higher standard for home network than regular home network usage does.

For Apple Airport Extreme users, a channel must be selected for use, as some streaming devices do not work best of the channel selection is left on “Automatic”.

Approved Models (Auralic):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_server

Separate 2.4G and 5G WiFi Network

Separating 2.4G and 5G WiFi network from each other in your router can give better performance and reliability in your network streaming systems.

From the factory if you have a dual band router it will switch automatically between these frequencies depending on what's best for the device your using. This function is convenient as the router shows you only one network while it is operating with two at the same time actually. However, such setting may not be the best option for overall network performance.

Separating 2.4G and 5G WiFi network will ensure that important UPnP messages that are sent among the Lightning devices, your music library and your wireless control point (such as an iPad) have a better chance of getting through the router.

When you separate the two networks, you will have two unique wireless names listed: one for 2.4G and one for 5G, such as 'AURALiC' and AURALiC_5G'. Both networks are connected to each other but using different radio frequency. You can set your device to use only one WiFi network and that device will not join the other one automatically.

Always Use 5G Radio Network

Today's 2.4G WiFi radio channel could be very busy and not quite reliable. Most of the WiFi devices are using 2.4G which makes the channels to be jammed sometime. Another reason to avoid 2.4G is because the indoor cordless phone and Bluetooth are also using 2.4G frequency which makes the situation even worse.

Comparing to 2.4G, the 5G channels not just offering better performance (faster speed), but also a more reliable connection between your media server, media renderer and control point because of the potential possible of channel jamming is much less.

When using 5G radio network, please make sure all devices in your streaming audio system are in same frequency.

Add Additional WiFi Access Point (AP)

In computer networking, a WiFi access point (AP) is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi, or related standards. The AP usually connects to a router (via a wired network) as a standalone device, but it can also be an integral component of the router itself. An AP is differentiated from a hotspot, which is the physical space where the wireless service is provided.

Most of the routers selling on the market are already having WiFi function. A quality WiFi router could cover a small house and be sufficient for your daily use as well as streaming audio. However, when comes to a regular U.S house with different rooms and levels, the single WiFi router setup may not work properly as the router's signal range is limited and won't be able to cover the entire house.

Adding WiFi access point(s) can help to extend the range of your home network and make sure a good coverage of the WiFi network in every all area in your house. For streaming audio, you will have a more reliable connection between Lightning device, music server and control point which could improve the reaction speed on your control point and reduce drop out when playing high resolution music files.

Network Audio Streaming

 

What is Media Server?

media server refers either to a dedicated computer appliance or to a specialized application software, ranging from an enterprise class machine providing video on demand, to, more commonly, a small personal computer or NAS (Network Attached Storage) for the home, dedicated for storing various digital media (meaning digital videos/movies, audio/music, and picture files).

ELAC Discovery Server ELAC Discovery Server

What is Lossless Streaming?

Lossless streaming is steaming music at / above full CD sampling rate of 44 kHz, 16bit and at a bitrate of 1411kbps.

What is Media Renderer?

Media renderer is another Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification that is part of the home network streaming experience. It can play videos, photos and music that are sent to it from a media controller. I know of no devices that are exclusively media renderers. Typically the ability to accept media files is a feature of media streaming device.
http://www.soundandvision.com/content/what-media-renderer

Auralic Aries Auralic Aries

What is Control Point?

The role of a control point is to discover all devices that the control point can control and provide an interface for the control of the discovered devices. An AV control point will provide a method of browsing a media server's catalogue of media and will perform all the necessary setup tasks to enable a user defined media renderer to playback the selected media.

Control Point Control Point

Read more at https://oss.linn.co.uk/trac/wiki/UPnP

What is UPnP?

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a set of networking protocols that permits networked devices, such as personal computers, printers, Internet gateways, Wi-Fi access points and mobile devices to seamlessly discover each other's presence on the network and establish functional network services for data sharing, communications, and entertainment. UPnP is intended primarily for residential networks without enterprise-class devices.

UPnP AV streaming system typically consists of a Media Server, a Control Point and a Media Renderer. The Server, Control Point and Renderer can be on difference devices or on a same device. Many devices can work with third party UPnP servers such as Minimserver, Twonky, and Asset as well as third party UPnP control point such as Kinsky, Kazoo and BubbleUPnP.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Plug_and_Play

uPnP logo uPnP logo

What are the limitations of UPnP AV 1.0

While UPnP AV is an open and interoperable standard, it's design is inherently limited. In particular, it has a limited support for multiple media renderers and multiple control points operating on the same network.

Another major limitation is that you have to keep the control point always running while you are playing some music on your media renderer. As soon as you turned off the control point, the media renderer will stop after current tracks ends. This is because the playlist is stored on the control point rather than the media renderer.

What's the Difference Between Bluetooth and uPnP Streaming?

Bluetooth is based on a Device to Device transforming protocol while Universal Plug and Play uses network protocols to allow a wide range of devices to be interconnected and work seamlessly with each other.

Read more at http://techterms.com/definition/upnp

What is DLNA?

Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) (originally named Digital Home Working Group[DHWG]) was founded by a group of consumer electronics companies to develop and promote a set of interoperability guidelines for sharing digital media among multimedia devices. As of June 2015 the organization claims membership of "more than 200 companies". 

The group published its first set of guidelines in June 2004.  The guidelines incorporate several existing public standards, including Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for media management and device discovery and control, and widely used digital media formats and wired and wireless networking standards.

For more information, please refer to the original article on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance

dlna certified logo dlna certified logo

What is OpenHome?

OpenHome Networking (ohNet) is a modern, cross platform UPnP stack. ohNet includes both a control point and a device stack that can be used together or independently. It runs on Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

ohNet is the first UPnP stack support Linn UPnP extensions.

Linn's UPnP extensions provides the greatest feature support such as following:

  • Multiple Media Renderers
  • Multiple Control Point support
  • On device playlists -- no requirement for the control point to be always on, or always connected to the network
  • Full preamp integration

The Linn UPnP extensions only affect the communication between the Media Renderer and the Control Point - they do not affect communication with Media Server. Thus, the OpenHome Media Renderer will work with any UPnP compliant UPnP/DLNA Media Server.

OpenHome Certified OpenHome Certified

For more information about OpenHome, please refer to the following link:

http://www.openhome.org/