Author Topic: WiFi the weak link in the chain  (Read 917 times)

WK154

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WiFi the weak link in the chain
« on: January 31, 2019, 11:36:07 PM »
It seems that some mixer manufacturers recently are bound and determined to include a critical link of equipment control to outdated and poor performing internal units. This holds true at least for both the Music Tribe and now Mackie products.  Both the XR/MR series and more recently the DL16/32S series suffer from this problem. Prior units such as the DL1608/806 and the DL32R from Mackie and the X32 Series from Behringer had no embedded WiFi units and as such left this choice to the user. They would have been better off leaving this aspect to companies whose business depends on reliable equipment by simply providing information on tested units in conjunction with their mixers for users to buy. I donít mean company names as some provided but product models. Forums and their participants filled that need by trial and error, how sad, but fortunate for the users.
I have repeatedly suggested that they substitute a more current and just possibly less expensive (due to higher volume production) 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet units into their mixers instead of the 10/100 Mbps units they currently have. This was 5 years ago when these designs were started. This now limits the speed of recent external WiFi routers with a max of over 1000 Mbps with these mixers by a factor of 10. Even wired units are now limited by this. The price you pay for backward compatibility with older, slower equipment running at 10 Mbps. This is why WiFi speed tests come up with significantly lower AVERAGE thru put.  Beacon Frames are sent at 1Mbps and use a significant portion of the available bandwidth as are other packets to comply with backward compatibility.
For those of you still determined to deal with the 2.4 Ghz band here are a few tips.
There are only three channels in the US without interference, 1,6,11. These should be used and often mistakenly other channels are used with the misconception that no-one is using them, surprise. There are 1,11 that have guard bands on either side (no one should be transmitting here) .  Six unfortunately has no protection from either side. Old auto sensing units will pick these channels (2-5 and 7-10) and shoot themselves in the foot. I ran a scan on channel 2 only to find channel 1 frames showing up. Channel 3 showed none. So what you are now faced with is adjacent channels messages for which you have no ability to sync with disrupting the channel.  A serious overlap.  Not good and it goes both ways!  If your traffic is on the same channel there is a mechanism to share bandwidth. That is not the case between 1 & 2 or any other adjacent channels. I choose 1 or 11 if possible. Hiding the  SSID is also a fruitless exercise.
A tool for dealing with WiFi issues that I would recommend is 
http://nutsaboutnets.com/wifimetrix-product-info/
I am always eager to learn new concepts and factual experiences so please post but donít give me the ďI never had this problemĒ or ďmine doesnít do thatĒ scenario itís getting old.
Cheers

« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 01:08:10 AM by WK154 »
When in doubt KISS

Wynnd

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 12:40:59 AM »
The way I read the firmware update on the DL16S is that it has to be through the internal WiFi.  I'm hoping that is wrong because switching back and forth would be a pain.

WK154

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 01:01:42 AM »
The way I read the firmware update on the DL16S is that it has to be through the internal WiFi.  I'm hoping that is wrong because switching back and forth would be a pain.
Wynnd come on. In the DL16S lifetime a few disconnects of the network cable shouln't be a issue. I do wonder why it needs to be done with the internal WiFi.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 01:11:20 AM by WK154 »
When in doubt KISS

Wynnd

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 02:02:05 AM »
I plan to try it through the external WiFi first.  It seems to be more than disconnecting the cable.   One needs to change the mode then connect or disconnect the wire.  My first attempt to connect externally was a failure.  I think I have it down now.  Still wouldn't want to get stuck doing that before a gig.  My plan is to do it at home first and test it a few days first.

WK154

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 05:23:01 PM »
Reading the manual I interpret using the AP mode as a contingency plan should the update fail using whatever connection method you were using before (ie. Static IP, Dynamic). The process has always been to connect the iPad first to the mixer (in Setup) and then run the MF App. At which time MF will check versions and either continue or request a firmware update or go offline. I don't see AP mode as a requirement.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 05:43:41 PM by WK154 »
When in doubt KISS

Wynnd

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2019, 03:12:10 AM »
Sounds good.  Thanks.

Boatman

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 08:07:46 PM »
Well, I decided to rely on the internal Wi-Fi access point to connect my iPad to my DL16S. Although I am less than 50' from the mixer I am repeatedly being disconnected by the router. I have read and re-read the manual and followed all instructions. However, I am due to run in a gig in less than one week and had keyed MF5 with all of my basics only to run into this reliability issue.
Am I doing something wrong (I get signal of "connected" and "disconnected" sitting in the same spot)? Do I need a longer antenna (more gain)? I cannot trust this setup.

It is happening with my Android device as well.


Disappointed....

Wynnd

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 08:55:47 PM »
I have a DL16S and it has a weak internal WiFi.  Yours sounds better than mine, but still not solid.  I did purchase a better antenna and that helped, you could do the same.  I ended up just using my 5 year old Airport Express II.  It has both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands that run simultaneously.  Apple doesnít make it any more, but quality dual bands are available and a worthwhile investment for this mixer.  That said, some are doing just fine with it as is, so Iím guessing the quality control on the WiFi isnít adequate.  There clearly is something to be said for having both bands at the same time.  2.4 GHz is getting pretty crowded while 5 GHz is cleaner.  2.4 does carry farther, but that appears to be a problem you are already having.  With my Airport Express, I was able to easily control the mixer outdoors line of sight at 130 Feet on 5 GHz.  Thatís my suggestion. 

WK154

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2019, 09:22:51 PM »
Well, I decided to rely on the internal Wi-Fi access point to connect my iPad to my DL16S. Although I am less than 50' from the mixer I am repeatedly being disconnected by the router. I have read and re-read the manual and followed all instructions. However, I am due to run in a gig in less than one week and had keyed MF5 with all of my basics only to run into this reliability issue.
Am I doing something wrong (I get signal of "connected" and "disconnected" sitting in the same spot)? Do I need a longer antenna (more gain)? I cannot trust this setup.

It is happening with my Android device as well.


Disappointed....

As I stated above the internal WiFi is not to be used for a gig for the stated reasons. Your most reliable would be a wired connection or otherwise a quality external WiFi router. Since you gave no information on the tablets you are using (manufacturer, model #) I can't really help. You can still use the internal for initial setup if you like to wander  :) . If you read the Mackie manual they give conflicting statements about the use of WiFi. They claim the internal unit is all you need (a flat out lie) but then further down they give a big hint about their favorite method, a external 5 GHz WiFi router  ;D

P.S. The only thing your doing wrong is believing Mackie Marketing BS.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 10:09:34 PM by WK154 »
When in doubt KISS

Boatman

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2019, 10:40:42 PM »
Thank you for your prompt reply. I regard the failed router as a factory defect and hope Mackie will replace it. There appears otherwise to be little advantage of the DL16S over the 1608 unless more effects are wanted. I am now using my Linksys WRT 1900 AC router and it works well - just more baggage to bring and to lose...

WK154

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2019, 11:06:00 PM »
Stick with your Linksys I doubt very much if it's the Mackie internal Wifi. Since I don't know under what conditions your loosing connection, time will tell.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 11:09:57 PM by WK154 »
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Boatman

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2019, 11:51:07 PM »
Point taken. Will watch and wait...

stevegarris

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2019, 06:24:59 PM »
Same issue with my new Soundcraft Ui24. I've been learning the board using its internal wifi, but I have no intentions on using it in the wild without an external access point. A simple wifi router up high on a stand seems to be the most popular solution.

WK154

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2019, 09:34:34 PM »
I would be quite interested in results from the wild with the only embedded unit that is using the 5 GHz band. It may not be the most sophisticated unit in that frequency band but I do believe the lack of traffic in the 5GHz band is all you really need. I don't think that 100+ ft range makes any sense for this application. I certainly would be interested in the live experience. I'm considering this as my next unit.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 05:06:42 PM by WK154 »
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stevegarris

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Re: WiFi the weak link in the chain
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 06:12:53 PM »
I would be quite interested in results from the wild with the only embedded unit that is using the 5 GHz band. It may not be the most sophisticated unit in that frequency band but I do believe the lack of traffic in the 5GHz band is all you really need. I don't think that 100+ ft range makes any sense for this application. I certainly would be interested in the live experience. I'm considering this as my next unit.

There's a FB page for this mixer that would answer a lot of your questions. Some have had decent results with the internal unit (coffee shop, close quarters). Others have added taller, high gain antennas to the unit for improve results. Most providers at our level will say you need an external unit, so I'm not taking any chances. They have an 8 page primer on how to do it, but the guy that wrote it suggests using a wifi analizer and picking between 2.4 and 5 GHz, rather that allowing the software to determine. He states he's has better results with the 2.4 GHz.

With my Mackie, I've always just used an Airport Express, with no complex setup, and it's always worked fine.