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NetGear "Orbi" integration?

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trackbeo Posted: Wed, Jul 21 2021 6:39 PM

Not to high-jack the thread, but since you seem to have expertise on the topic, what WiFi equipment would you recommend?  I have a large area to cover (indoors and outdoors, 2 level home with basement, US construction so sticks and cardboard, not the heavy duty European walls) which the RBK53s handle quite well.  My computers, iPhones and one Smart TV rarely have issues.  However, my B&O, Chromecast, Android phone and Apple Express sometimes do.  One of the main reasons why I bought the Orbi was so my son could hardwire his computer into one of the repeaters, but he no longer lives with me so that is less of a concern.

I should add that most of my problems occur when doing "touch to join" or NL linking 2 (or more, but usually just 2) devices.

Thanks, Stan

[[Might as well go there...  I retired so my knowledge is dated, and weaker on B&O.]]

The RB50 series (RBK53=Kit) had firmware that varied in quality; I got lucky at a sweet spot (V2.3.5.30) and never updated thereafter.  The only setup that I have seen work perfectly (but never installed myself) is the Ubiquiti UniFi zone controller with a bunch of access points hardwired with Ethernet cables.  The Amplifi Alien, which has software theoretically written by the same folks, is their latest consumer wire-free version, but they forced using a phone app to configure it so who knows what else they ruined.  (Buy 3x$379 base units, not the locked-together base/extender pair+1.)  What I would try if I were starting from scratch would be the older Amplifi HD kit.  It isn't perfect (also no Wi-Fi 6 multiple-user high throughput like the Alien) but the software has been around for a while and it isn't too expensive if you get unlucky.  

Sorry I am no expert about B&O: to understand how NL works, with enough time and a copy of Wireshark can't be too tough -- IIRC it isn't secure and can't be routed, which bodes well for amateur sleuths.  I do tap the top of my own Beosound 1's, but only to continue directly-connected DLNA shuffle-play of background music, not to join NL.

But maybe I can help testing the kicking-off of the AirPort Express: How are you using it and (if you know) what event(s) kicks it off?  My client's setup has just one original generation (wall-wart) unit on the Orbi network, in wireless client mode (probably to the Base), just to act as an AirPlay(1) endpoint for a BeoSound 9000.  But I can put a 2nd-gen Airport Express and Beosound 1 onto that network, in whatever configuration you say, to test.  They have a couple Beovision Avant (OG) that can be used as NL sources.  The only thing I can't (won't) do is change their Orbi firmware, so we must hope whatever sequence of events you name will cause me failure.  [Edit: How lame; I'll go over next week and slog thru user reports looking for a stable modern firmware release.  Too bad taking security updates comes with such high risk of failure... Suggestions welcome.]

If you don't have the time or it's too much trouble we can let it drop, too -- I can't be offended anymore!

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Stan replied on Fri, Jul 23 2021 4:57 PM

Thanks for the offer, but I am afraid that the problems I experience are too infrequent and unpredictable to actively analyze with something like wireshark.  

I use the Airport Express as a network extender to connect my Beosound 5 to the internet.  It rarely fails, but it has.  My Chromecast audio is probably the worst reliability wise.  My Beo devices are somewhere in between.  Maybe each one hiccups every few months... but since I have 6 of them, that means at least once a month.  Most problems are fixed by rebooting the device.  It weird (to me), that I have 2 BeoSound Essences sitting right next to each other, and they rarely fail at the same time, and sometimes one or the other will be spotty, but it's not consistently one or the other.  It all just seems quite random.

A while ago, I rarely had any problems.  I suppose I've been bitten by software upgrades, but it was never "night and day" where I suddenly experienced problems directly after an upgrade.  However, over time, I noticed more frequent problems - but then, some of these were caused the by the issues B&O had with Chromecast.  Anyway, I'll have a string of problems, get frustrated, dig into the error logs, find nothing meaningful to me, reset a bunch of stuff, get it working again, find other things to worry about since it's now working.  Things will run fine for a while, and then I'll inevitably have a hiccup.  Oh well, at least it works far better than the BeoLink Wireless 1.

I was hoping there was an easy solution - buy model X of brand Y and you're solid, but it doesn't sound like we're there yet.  In the past, I've had suggestions like put everything on 2.4 GHz, but this seems like an extreme solution for a infrequent problem.  I'm also not sure if I can do that with the Orbi... Also, back in the days before 5GHz, I had some interference problems with 2.4. 

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trackbeo replied on Fri, Jul 23 2021 7:34 PM

One experiment to try if you're just casting about, is to dramatically shorten the DHCP lease time, to 10 minutes or something, and see if the situation gets worse.  What might happen in the case of "rolling blackouts" of coverage, where the *timing* of one identical device versus another attempting <whatever> could happen at a bad moment?  Just a wild guess, but easy to try/undo.  Or absolutely irrelevant, if you have set up static IPs for your devices!  (Not that increasing DHCP lease time to a month is a panacea if there is underlying trouble, but "whatever works".)  

Yeah, I use an AirPort Express(2nd gen) as a wireless client of a (non-Orbi) WAP and extend its Ethernet port to a mini-switch with 5 clients!  Terrible throughput of course (secondary office), but my point is that I assign all WAPs, including that AirPort Express, their own static IP addresses.  I do it to keep track easier, but believe it's good practice regardless.  Anyway, another random thing to try if you haven't already done.

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