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Streaming to Airport Express via AirPlay - Dropouts

6467 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: May 25, 2013 2:41 PM by yoel69 RSS Branched to a new discussion.
Jamie Whitehouse Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 15, 2012 4:19 AM

Hello everyone.


I have an iPhone 4S and iPad 2 running iOS 5.1 and an Airport Express with updated firmware.


When streaming via AirPlay to the Airport Express I am experiencing audio dropouts, sometimes just occasionally, sometimes every few seconds.


I was hoping that this was a bug that would be fixed in the latest software, but it remains.


The outcome is the same whether the AE is connected to my Sky router wireless network, and also if the AE is set up as a new network with the devices set to that network. I need to have it working as part of the home netork as I am subcribed to iTunes Match and therefore will be pulling music from the Cloud and streaming to AE at the same time.


I have tried a few suggestions that I have seen in other threads such as disabling BlueTooth and turning off "Ask to join networks", neither of which seem to make any difference.


Could it be a faulty Airport Express?


Any ideas or suggestions much appreciated.


Thank you in advance.


Jamie Whitehouse

Birmingham, UK

Airport Express, iOS 5.1
  • Skemmuni Calculating status...

    Hey Jamie


    I had many dropouts on my AE ontill yesturday (from my iMac G4 and iPad 2). I got a hint that said I should change radio channel on the airport express. I changed the channel from 1 to 11, the AE restarted and bingo - I have no dropouts atm.


    Well thats mine 5 cents. Good luck!

  • tedly3000 Calculating status...

    I have a very similar situation.  I get dropouts when I am streaming music to my stereo from my computer (running Win7) with latest itunes and latest version of Airport Utility for Windows.


    I have set up my system so I am running in Bridge Mode (Joining a wireless network).  Everything connects, my green light stays "on" on the Airport Express, and it cuts out somewhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes in the midst of a song and then often quits.  I am running MP3s that I have burned from CD.  I tried AAC, that doesn't work either.


    My situation is kind of unique (maybe not?) in that I am joining a wireless network that is upstairs from me (but the wireless signal is STRONG) and I am aware that there may be some interference some where.  The building itself is wood construction and like I say, the signal I get is very strong.  I am able to stream wireless stations to my laptop no troubles.  Just connecting to the Airport Express --and staying connected without dropping out-- is a problem.  I have moved everything out of the way that could be affecting signal, no dice. 


    Complicated matter.  I'm trying to think of a solution before running wires everywhere... God I hate wires. That's why I bought this to begin with.

  • dmule Level 1 Level 1 (85 points)

    I have been having roughly the same problem for over a month now, and have yet to find a solution. I have received a lot of help from fellow forum members which I am very thankful for. But Unfortunatly those suggestions dd not solve my problem. I have also had numerous phone conversations with Apple support, which also yielded no help.


    My problem has been when using AirPlay to stream iTunes music to my airport express, it stops after an hour of play and I need to restart my express to get AirPlay to work again. Also when AirPlay stops the express disappears from my airport utility and does not reappear again until I restart my express. There have been times when after an hour AirPlay stops and then in 5 minutes it resumes, but I then notice periodic drops in sound until it completely stops in another hour.


    This only happens when I am extending my airport extreme network. When I connected the express and did an active roaming network (with bridge mode off), AirPlay worked flawlessly for hours, I had to stop it after 6 hours but I am confident it would have worked without any problems for as long as I needed it to.


    This probably doesn't help, but I wanted to get my voice in on this discussion. If you find a solution please let me know.

    Thank you in advance.


    Equipment I am using: windows 7 (ultimate) service pack 1, iTunes, airport utility for windows 5.5.3, airport extreme, airport express both are running version 7.6.1

  • Ollie-M Calculating status...



    I've had the same problem as you guys and spent hours trawling the web to find a fix but without any luck, however, after messing about with various configs and systems I have found a way to get the streaming from my PC to my APX to stop dropping out.


    I realise that it may not be ideal for all but it does work on my system as far as I've been able to test it.  Here is what I did (apologies for the lengthy description but I figure that a detailed reply will be of most value).


    Please note that I have been back to the Apple Store and switched my APX for a brand new unit which exhibited the same problem initially so I'm pretty sure it isn't a hardware issue with the APX.


    My system is a home-built PC running XP SP3 connected via Ethernet to a BT Home Hub ADSL wireless router.  My problems with the APX all occurred when streaming through the router from my PC to the wirelessly-connected APX.


    To start a fresh I did a hard reset on the APX, I then left it set to factory config with no changes made.  Next, I installed iTunes on my Samsung Netbook running XP SP3, installed the AirPort utility and connected the APX via Ethernet and started playing music and got 2 hours without a glitch.


    Next, I removed the Ethernet cable and connected to the APX wireless and tried again, the result there was again faultless playback for more than 2 hours.


    Next, I tried changing the APX settings; I enabled WPA/WPA2 wireless security and left DHCP mode enabled with the wireless mode set to "Create a Wirelesss Network".  This configuration again worked fine without any dropouts.


    Based on the above I was satisfied that the problem was not APX-related so I figured that my solution was to keep the AirPort off my main network (i.e. not in "Join a Wireless Network" mode) so seeing as my PC is connected via Ethernet I decided to try adding a wireless PCI card to my main PC (cost £20 GBP) and try again.  Result?  Initially, a drop out after 40 mins!!  Anyhow, turns out that the Windows Wireless Zero service that controls wireless connections is known to cause this so I switched to the application that was supplied with my wireless PCI card and that solved this issue.  Left the system streaming to my APX overnight and all was fine in the morning.  Result = very happy me!


    You should be able to achieve the same results either by using Ethernet for music streaming if you use wireless for internet (inconvenient I know) or by adding a secondary wireless card or USB dongle to your machine.  I've not actually tried this but it's worth a shot, just make sure that you remove the gateway IP address from your music streaming connection to that you PC doesn't try to access the web through your APX rather than your Ethernet or Wireless connection to your router (I got caught there!).


    Oh yes, if you really want to use the Windows Wireless Zero service, you will need to disable it after starting your PC as this will stop the dropouts too.  This forum discussion (see last post) shows you a couple of simple batch files that you can use to toggle the service on and off at will.  If you always turn your PC (not hibernate or standby) then you can place the batch file that you use to turn Wireless Zero off into your start menu to stop it automatically, although you might need to use a program like Start Up Delayed to ensure that you don't try and stop it before it has started.


    OK, that's all I can think of right now.  Let me know if there's anything you want to know and I'll be happy to answer.





  • twander Calculating status...

    I have an express streaming and extreme as router.  iTunes kept dropping for a few seconds every few minutes. I switched the extreme to channel 6 and the problem went away immediately. I can't change the express channel as it is automatically set to 1.

  • Ollie-M Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2012 10:23 AM (in response to twander)

    Hi Twander, I believe that you can change the channel on your Airport Express to one of your choosing, check this post out for more info.

  • wrap Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 2, 2012 12:35 PM (in response to twander)

    I too have been fooling with this problem. Changing the channel on the AE appears to have solved the problem.

  • yoel69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It is totally arbitrary. I can have it streaming simultaneously for an hour or more (or less) to Apple TV and airport express units stationed around the house, and at some point, one or more will cut out and stop playing. It can be between any songs.

  • JoeMY Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)

    Sounds like wifi interferences.  Does it happen as much with the iPhone4S and iPad?  Reason is the iPad is dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) whereas the iPhone4 only 2.4GHz, where you are likely to see more interferences from nearby wifi networks.

  • yoel69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2013 2:19 PM (in response to JoeMY)

    It doesn't happen with airplay via iPhone or iPad. It happens when streaming via AirPlay from iTunes on a Mac to Apple TV and various Airport Express units.

  • Berry with an \ Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Looks like this issue still persists?  I'm also thinking - faulty Express.  We gave four expresses connected to our 5th gen Airport Extreme.  I should add... this is also an issue on our previous older 2nd gen.   So I do not believe this is a generation issue, with either newer /older Expresses or Extreme's.  We have this problem with an older and newer generation Express.


    Couple people have suggested changing the channel of the Extreme, even pointing out a specific link in another forum discussion - suggesting changing channels on the AE - rather than the Express.


    Couple problems here:  You can't change the channel of an Express that's been set to connect to an Extreme network.  It's set to "automatic" select channel.  If you look at any Express connected in that way - the option to change channels isn't possible.  Only possible when an Express has been set as an actual router.


    And if you change the channel of the Extreme, as I've tried - any Express on your network will oddly enough, automatically configure it's channel to match that of your Extreme.  So changing the channel of the Extreme isn't the solution either.  WHY Apple ever did that - I don't know.  You would think it would automatically switch to other channels other than what you set on the Extreme.


    You can verify all this in a couple of ways:  Easiest is to find in the root system folder, Apple's "Wi-Fi Diagnostics" tool/app.  After you've found it and start it up - don't click any of the buttons, just go to up to the menu to "View" and select "Utilities", and then Click the "Wi-Fi Scan" in the window that appears. 


    That will show all other wifi devices around you.  It however, won't show your Expresses connected to your network.  You can see all of those through Apple's Airport Utility, along with the channel their using. I suggest using 5.6 older version that still shows many of the features without having to press the option key at any point.


    The short of it is... I don't know what the answer.  I only know how to look and find all the channels that are being used.  I just know the issue is intermittent with two of our four Expresses.  Very much a pain trying to figure out where to address the issue.  That's all I got for any kind of input.  Sorry not an answer.  I would like to solve the problem, too, but like I said at the beginning.  It's looking more and more like a hardware issue with the Express.

  • yoel69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    When it cuts out streaming from iTunes on my Mac Mini to my Apple TV, if I restart Apple TV, it will resume streaming without my touching iTunes. It stops streaming to Apple TV more often than it does to Airport Express, though it can and does cut out streaming to both intermittently.


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