Wireless - Breaking up blues ---Flex 6500

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  • Updated 4 years ago
  • Answered
  • (Edited)
Is there any hope for LAN operation to improve later?  
I finally got around to trying it today. Wireless because I don't have any wire out to the workshop. Excellent signal on the laptop. Dual Core, plenty of ram etc. I figured if those Winbooks worked surely my laptop would.  The network quality gizmo on ssdr said orange, red or just plain bad. Horrible break ups in the audio and it finally just locked up the OS. Reboot time. 
Ok is it supposed to work with wireless? I've read several ideas about trying this and that. 
Now what I don't understand is this: 
If it can't work any better than this on a LAN how can it ever work on a WAN? 
I tried this with a much earlier version of ssdr on the same machine and actually it worked about the same. I was only 10 feet from the router too. 
So where do we go from here folks? Are we expecting too much?
Steve N4LQ
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Steve N4LQ

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Posted 4 years ago

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SteveM

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Steve,

Try operating with the laptop closer to the router or with a wired connection direct from the router. If that works, then the problem is the quality of your wireless network and Flex can't be blamed or held responsible for it. It could be that the distance 'out to the workshop' is too great for a reliable wireless link. There are adjustments that can be made to some routers to boost the output power, or there are WiFi repeater devices that may help solve your issue.

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Duane, AC5AA

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Steve - there's another thread open on this.  One guy has found what appears to be an Intel WiFi chip set problem and if you're using another chipset, it should work (some are buying WiFi USB adapters.)  While this may be what is causing the current problem, I'm mystified about why it worked so well on 1.3x versions. My shack was set up using WiFi (I figure one less wired path that lightning can use).  Flex has it on their list of bugs to investigate, but I haven't seen any hint of an answer.  I hope the problem gets found & fixed, and, while the Intel chip set might have issues, why did it work fine in earlier versions?  Oh well - I don't have the link handy to the other thread - when I find it I'll include it here. (Oh, and my router is literally 2' away from the WiFi'd PC.  Ethernet connection takes care of the problem, but I'd like to disconnect the PC from the router physically.)  Other thread:  https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/audio-break-up-stutters-and-the-signal-display-stut... 
(Edited)
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John n0snx

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I think there has been some confusion about LAN and LAN REMOTE.  The two are different.... anyway Steve here is the earlier thread.... Hope it helps...
https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/nextbook-similar-10-inch-tablets-suitable-for-ssdr-...
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Steve N4LQ

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Well it's not a big issue for me since I have other rigs out there.
The router/modem is from Time Warner. It's power setting is at max in its menu and I have "excellent" signals etc. 
BTW: Out in the shop, which is about 10 feet from the house, I use a wi-fi 7 element beam with a built in usb wi-fi adapter. I unplugged it and switched to the internal one in the Lenovo laptop. Of course the signal was weaker and it just got worse. 

Really there's not a lot I can do. Yes I could move the laptop closer to the router but then I don't want it closer so even if it worked it would be of no benefit. 

Oh I didn't say it worked fine on 1.3xx....I said it worked about as well...bad.
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Steve N4LQ

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Now hang on....When I say the indicator in SSDR is weak that doesn't mean my wi-fi is weak too. The Windows network signal strength is full bars,,,,max max...and says Excellent. YouTube videos play great etc. Maybe I'll swipe the XYL's laptop and see how it performs although it is the exact same model. 

TimeWarner's modem is a combo modem/router with internal wifi. They made me take it when I upgraded to "Extreme speed", 30mbs. 
This summer they are boosting it to 300 mbs!
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SteveM

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Steve,

Have you tried operating right next to the router? Does that get rid of the problem?


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Steve N4LQ

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Nope. I might try that tomorrow. The laptop is a permanent installation in the workshop with a big monitor etc. Might be easier to move the workshop ....:*)
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SteveM

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Hmm. Sounds like you do need to confiscate the yl's laptop for testing purposes. :-)
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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I have the same 30mb extreme from time warner.  They made me take the combo modem/router too, but I had issues with their wifi being stable so I disabled it and bridged the modem to a better router.

I think you're on the track, try the other laptop and see if it is any different, maybe walk around it and see if there are spots where it gets better or worse.

Click on the signal strength indicator at the bottom of SmartSDR and see how many packets it is dropping, and what the latency is.  If you see a high number of dropped packets or high latency, there's likely something network-related causing it.
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Duane, AC5AA

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Two comments:
1. My comments related to LAN, not remote.  If LAN won't work, I don't see how REMOTE will work, since LAN is a subset of REMOTE.  I have not tried remote, only LAN, and that is what broke in 1.4 and 1.4.3.

2. And my comments about it working fine in 1.3.8 and earlier is that it worked fine there connected via WiFi for LAN operation.  

OK, enough for the clarifications.
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Mike Hoing

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I am operating at about 100 ft away From router all is great. Not experiencing any break up

Mike
N9DFD
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Steve N4LQ

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What's the difference in LAN and LAN Remote? 
And yes I do have a repeater for the 2nd floor but don't use it out in the shop. 
And 100ft? Holy cow ...what kind of mega-router is that? 
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Steve N4LQ

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Like I said....I'm using an external wi-fi stick built onto a 7 element beam ...Pretty cool little device. Works about as bad with the Flex as the internal chip in the Lenovo.
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Steve N4LQ

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Here's an idea.
Is there a program that can be used to test a network to see if SSDR will run? 
Maybe Flex should find one....
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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It is the network monitor in SmartSDR.  It is isn't green all the time, then the connection is not going to be able to support streaming data between the radio and the PC.
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Jim K4JAF

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I have the same problems as Steve, even with the laptop next to the router using wireless.  Works fine on the Ethernet cable, but constant receive jitters and xmit is horrible.  Granted I don't have the newest or best laptop but thought I could at least listen in the other room.  Tried all the suggestion, disable DAX, one slice, no waterfall, etc.  
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Steve N4LQ

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Jim
When they say....disable the waterfall...I just grabbed it by the top and dragged it down to the bottom so I can't see it. Is that the same thing as "disabling"? 
I tried that and it didn't help either. 
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SteveM

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I think setting the rate to 0 would disable it.
(Edited)
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Steve N4LQ

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Hmmm...Just tried that. Watch closely. It still moves every few seconds. 
My desktop's cpu utilization stays the same with rate at zero or max.
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SteveM

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That's weird. But I guess it is close enough to the disabled-state for your experiment - the data rate is ~0 if it takes a few seconds to update.
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Walt - KZ1F

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remote actually is a subset of LAN. LAN stands for Local Area Network. You get your modem from your cable provider, like TimeWarner. You connect that to a router, be it wireless or not and from that some number of devices can directly connect, via RJ-45 CAT-5e or CAT 6. Wireless is a whole nother critter. Some wireless routers are crap, you get what you pay for. Earlier type N routers worked great if you were in the same room as the router, but the further away you got the worse it gets. At this point I'd go with a type AC wireless router, much better than type N.

Is this problem in general working wirelessly from your shed or is it specific to trying to run ssdr from your shed. I think one issue is people are conflating remote as in wirelessly and remote as in SSDR audio. Audio will put more strain on the wireless router and, with a good router should work fine 100' out. I could routinely connect to my neighbor's wireless router. Make sure you are on the same elevation as the router. Adding a repeater is problematic with Audio, as that has to get the packet then retransmit the packet.
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Steve N4LQ

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Exactly...What's the big deal about a little audio? It's nothing compared to HD Video when watching YouTube vids...!!
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Doug Hall

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It's not really analogous. With a wired switch the devices can send and receive at the same time with no interference and no slow-down. You can get the same throughput as if you were directly connected. That is far from the case when a wireless repeater is used. It's not so much the speed of transfer that's problematic (although using a repeater can cut your bandwidth in half, or worse) but the turnaround time between transmit and receive. And if there are other WiFi devices running in the same vicinity the problem just gets worse. I'm pretty sure network jitter will nearly always be worse with a repeater.

In my experience I have found that a good, strategically-placed wireless access point is better than using a repeater/extender. The Ubiquiti Unifi long range access point (http://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-UniFi-Access-UAP-LR-US-Version/dp/B005H4CDF4) covers my entire house (3 levels) and works extremely well with SmartSDR LAN Remote.

73,
Doug K4DSP
(Edited)
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SteveM

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Doug,

I misread your intent the first time I responded, so I deleted that response. However, I think in your post you build a straw-man and then knock it down.

I agree, there is no "analogous" to a WiFi repeater in the wired domain (strictly speaking). I used the term loosely in reference to Walt's statement:

" Adding a repeater is problematic with Audio, as that has to get the packet then retransmit the packet."

I not sure I'm reading his statement correctly, either. But I get the sense that Walt thinks Audio packets (in particular) are a problem through a WiFi repeater. Why? I'm not sure. My guess is his concern is based on the inherent delay introduced by the buffering that occurs in the repeating process. In my previous post I was only trying to argue that the delay is negligible.

(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Steve, in the wireless world, you'll incur more rejections and inject more delays than you would in a wired world. So while your analogy is sort of valid, in the CAT-6 (or even 5e) world you don't get the signal falloff like you do in the wireless world. The master will be transmitting UDP packets while the repeater is trying to retransmit a prior packet. If someone wants to resolve a problem, remove all the variables and see what happens then one by one add them back in. uSec?, a millionth of a second is very tiny and, I believe, some x86 instructions take more than that. Did you mean mSec? Even that I suspect is low.

From wireless forum, "As Jeff or anybody else will tell you, one big issue is that they cut thruput in half since they are store-and-forward repeaters trying to
do it all with one radio."

My main point was remove all the variables:
start with the laptop within feet of the wireless router and see what happens
next walk it back until the signal becomes unreliable.
leave the laptop where it is.
add in the repeater
from where the laptop is, is the signal more or less reliable?
if more reliable continue walking the laptop further away until the signal becomes unreliable.
In either case, better or worse with the repeater, you will ascertain you max reliable distance. Also, are there other neighbors on that same channel?
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Walt - KZ1F

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I haven't looked to see if the audio is sent as UDP or TCP. <- it's UDP
UDP - packets will be potentially dropped leading to studdering

What makes audio special  is you hear it, you don't hear the spectrum display or waterfall so from a human experience bad audio is worse than bad waterfall or bandscope.
(Edited)
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Steve N4LQ

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Totally confusing. I'm familiar with LANs after having worked in IT for 20 years. My Flex has always been on the LAN...Just a few feet of cat5 cable to the router. Works fine on the desktop pc which is plugged into the same router. So then....What's "REMOTE" mean? Longer cable? Wireless? 
I figured out in the shop was "REMOTE" ....Does it mean something else?
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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"remote" in this case just means sending compressed audio over the lan to your computer instead of plugging headphones into the back of the flex.
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Steve N4LQ

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Gee that sure doesn't sound like a big deal these days...Audio? Haven't we been doing that for a while?
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SteveM

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Steve (N4LQ),

Steve (N5AC) has broken down the network-bandwidth consumers in a different thread. Below is the summary:

  1. Receive audio: 80kbps - independent of the number of slices you are running 
  2. Each pan: a typical 25FPS frame rate and a 1500 pixel width will generate about 500kpbs of data.
  3. Each waterfall: a rate of 80 and the same 1500 pixel width, consumes about 650kbps.
  4. Metering: 30-60kbps
  5. Discovery protocol: 2kbps


So it seems the audio bandwidth is dwarfed by the other consumers under a typical setup.

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Walt - KZ1F

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remote is, more generally, means accessing a LAN while not tethered to it, i.e. wireless. I suppose you could do a blue tooth or NFC but 801.22ac or some such. So, in the context of SSDR there is a conflation of the term. Flex really wants the audio quality to be reasonably consistent with audio quality through the radio itself so it uses the Opus codex to compress and decompress the audio between the radio and ssdr. Switching the REMOTE button in the top right of SSDR tells the radio proper to route the audio through the network to the SSDR which will play it through the PC's audio. I am about 20 ft away from a 1750AC router and I disconnected the rj-45 to switch to a 5G wireless rate, which is generally full bars and network diagnostics is "Excellent", If I select the wireless icon in the bottom right toolbar of Windows the network diagnostics goes to poor. If I leave everything alone it goes to excellent. My point in this is it is possible to have a very strong wireless signal but have intermittent crappy audio through SSDR. With the Network diagnostic, even when it showed 2 yellow bars it still showed I hadn't dropped any packets. Right now, with 160,000 packets it shows it only dropped 3. Yet it can still intermittently sound crappy. What I would suggest is start wireless with the REMOTE button on (blue) start next to the wireless router and work yourself progressively further away and sense how far it the received audio goes south.

Walt - kz1f
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Have you tried changing wifi channels and/or protocol? Sometimes simple things make a huge difference.
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Pat - WH6HI

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I agree with George, this may be a case of being on a WiFi channel that is carrying to many users.  One way to sort that out is to get a program called WiFi explorer or iStumbler, that will read all the signals in the area and what channels and what signal strength they are.  The programs  I mentioned are for the MAC, but I know that there are ones for the PC as well as android and iOS.  If you do find to much activity you will need to access the routers WIFi config section and change to an unused or less used channel. i run SmartSDR on a old 2009 PowerBook and it works perfectly, with 3 to 5 ms of latency.  Solid as a rock. 
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I STRONGLY suggest that everyone read Wayne's VK4ACN solution to this problem before you all needlessly continue to kill a lot of electrons

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/audio-break-up-stutters-and-the-signal-display-stut...
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Walt - KZ1F

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Howard, we all know, if we've paid attention to X-Men, that only Magneto can kill electrons.

When I was a road warrior, there were hotels I stayed where despite their claim to wifi in every room, if you weren't in the lounge, you didn't get a usable signal. So to the point of what can we expect with Remote WAN...the ability to span subnets.
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John n0snx

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Howard, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink!!!

Wayne's VK4ACN  solution sure solved all my issues...
(Edited)
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SteveM

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FYI: Duane posted the link seven hours earlier than Howard (third post from the top). Some of you might like to go up there and taste his boots, too.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I saw Dwaynes. Post but it looked like people were ignoring the solution that solved the issue and coming up with a lot of irrelevant advice so I posted it again.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Howard? Are you really certain you want to accuse every other respondent in this thread with , "coming up with a lot of irrelevant advice"? Is that how you view other's advice; as 'irrelevant"?

I must have missed the post where Steve said he has an Intel Centrino WIFI card.
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W5XZ - dan

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Steve, have you looked at Tim's stuff in ZenDesk already?

https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/203469425-Reasons-for-Wireless-Network-Performance-...

i stabbed this puppy into my tired old ibm / lenovo T60 and gave her a new
lease on life:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/415623/W900U_Wireless_AC1200_Dual_Band_USB_Adapter

my crummy, slow ATT dsl router / wifi got the wifi turned off and I put an AC speed
 wireless router there too..

also, this works great on my android galaxy s-5, scoping out the 'hood..

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer&hl=en

JM2C..


 
(Edited)
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KM4CQG

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Howard just posted the solution once again for the WiFi fix.

I tested my LAN based computers all worked 1.43 great now have to get WiFi usb a try.

Ian
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Bill -VA3WTB

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What is that?  an USB adaptor? for the laptop or what ever your using?
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km9r.mike

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FWIIW I just utilized the remote feature w/ a 10 year old vista machine (full of glitches) via a wireless router. Not trying to upset anyone just passing info. About 1 minute after initializing the remote feature I heard KH0YB calling cq so I thought open cwx and drop my call. Worked him w/ two calls. Not a biggie from out west but hey my first remote qso ever.

My flex based network monitor showed basically a max latency of 32 msec while working a station. Increase the workload w/ other programs running or asking the flex to do a lot then the max latency shot up to 132ms which is quite jittery but hey it is a ten year old vista machine full of quirks. Interesting fact despite the latency the network monitor displayed zero dropped packets which I am thinking can actually increase latency.

I do not have a big need for home remote capabilities. I already spend too much time on the radio and I could personally benefit from more physical activity vice playing radio all around my place. However, my cost for this feature was zero dollars and zero cents and while not near as smooth as my wired lan it is capable and I am thinking it would be more than capable if my laptop was at least a win7 machine vice the vista dino.


One thing that I am curious about, should I be able to access my flex 6300 remotely via the wifi hotspot that is built into my win7 pc vice the wifi router that I am currently using ?

(Edited)