I appear to be making progress...
Airplay has been stable and reliable for a month now.
I ran a long cat5 to center of the house.
Put an Airport eXtreme on it
Then added two airport expresses, one in one direction in the lounge, the other in other direction in the kitchen
Then put the Time Capsule in my office , under the kitchen ( upside down house built into a cliff)
Then put another airport express in Master bedroom, under the lounge.
All the airport expresses set to extend the airport extreme and Time Capsule connected to Ethernet. Running over a DLink 500Mbps Ethernet over power.
Then licked Mac addresses to fixed IP addresses for all the audio/video devices and servers.
Also moved an old iMac and set up Maudie server in the dining room next to AirPort Extreme.
All video runs to two AppleTVs. The Music iMac drives 6 AirPlay speakers around the house.
So far everything has worked well except for iTunes flakey internet radio which hangs after 30 mins of playing.
But plays and is remote controlled by iPads and iPhones flawlessly all day everyday.
It has taken years to get right, but, here is hoping, it seems stable and reliable
Hope that helps anyone else struggling with this
not sure if you are still monitoring this, but wanted to thank you for the really excellent posts ! Actually, these are the most helpful (and encouraging!) posts I could find on this.
I have similar issues re unreliability / instability of AirPlay. It seems like you may have cracked it and I have a couple of follow-up questions if I may.
First, my gear:
In study: Netgear router linked via ethernet to Apple TimeMachine (current model) which provides Wi-Fi to back half of apt, extended...
In living room: to Apple Extreme (current model)(extension via D-Link powerline 500) which provides Wi-Fi to front half of apt, linked via ethernet to...
MacMini & Apple TV (both linked to Hi-Fi)
In bedroom: D-Link powerline connecting Apple TV and AirPlay speaker
In kitchen: D-Link powerline connecting AirPlay speaker
I have also 2 MacBooks plus iPads, iPhones for operation, control, etc.
My issue is that I cannot get the AirPlay options to show up reliably as they should and/or randomly disappear (Apple TVs are generally pretty good although AirPlay speakers still very hit and miss). One issue may be caused by one of the speakers which keeps reverting to Wi-Fi rather than powerline (and is perhaps therefore unreliable?) but I hope to resolve this soon. Generally quite frustrating.
I have at least followed your advice with use of powerline. Has made music via AirPlay on ATVs much more reliable.
But you mentioned linking IPs to MAC addresses for all devices. Could you expand on this? What does this do and where would it be implemented? I am not a network guy but willing to try anaything if it helps!
Any other thoughts also appreciated!
Thank you and glad to have helped someone.
Well so far all pretty reliable for six months, iTunes does still lock up when playing BBCRadio2- High once every week or two.
I can say after an extensible trial the AQ SmartSpeakers AirPlay are very flakey unless within 8 feet with line of sight of the router. For 8 feet I'd run a cable and have done with it, so won't be buying any more of them.
The Sony RDP-XA700iP AirPlay speakers are a much improved sound, volume and bass along with they are much more deployable around the house. The only downside is that EVERY time you want to connect to them over AirPlay you have to select them once - deselect and reselect again to turn them on. Annoying but at least they work. The AQ's show green light that all is well but are unreachable by wifi :-)
I have fixed all the AirPlay devices to fixed IPs. This appears to have made AirPlay more reliable and certainly quicker to come up.
I manage DHCP through my Airport Extreme, you could do your through the Netgear router or disable DHCP and enable DHCP on your Time Capsule.
Let me know how you want to proceed and I'll dig out Netgear manuals and or walk you through setting up fixed IP addresses in Time Capsule.
OBTW - every time I get a power outage, too often, I power off all network devices, poser up the Master Airport Extreme, then power up the AirPort Expresses working outwards from the Extreme. Then power up the AirPlay Speakers. Sounds alot but I can do it in 5 mins or so.
awesome to hear from you so quickly and thanks for the info.
I will give it a shot fixing IP addresses for the AirPlay devices. Sounds like it might help. My question here is whether I need to fix addresses outside the DCHP range which is managed by the Time Capsule. Or should it inside? Or perhaps doesn't matter?
In your earlier post you also mentioned something about fixing mac addresses. Is fixing the IP addresses the same thing or is there another layer here which might help?
The main driver for all this is my recent acquisition of a B&W A7 which generally seems quite nice but the AirPlay reliability is causing me grief. Wi-Fi is ok-ish (but there are still occasional music drops) and the AirPlay icon has a habit of disappearing very frequently. Definitely not what I was hoping for ! I have put an extra powerline thingy next to it in the hope that the ethernet connection would work better but I cannot get the A7 to work at all via ethernet over powerline (AirPlay icon has shown up once or twice but when I try to connect I invaraibly get a message that no connection is possible and it disappears again...). Stellar !
In any event I will do some further tinkering this w/e and will report back !
Sorry had friends over yesterday.
Fixed IP/Fixing MAC addresses to IP addresses - Fixed IP is where you set each device and hard code the IP address - Not very good, setting DHCP to link the device MAC address to IP address better.
In an idela world you would just let DHCP do its job, normally you hard code MAC to IP only when you need that device to be reachable outside of your NAT router, ie from the internet.
The reason I am doing it for AirPlay is an attempt to stabilise the audio network.
If you have an iPad/iPhone get an app Net Analyzer I find it invaluable in tracking down what is connecting and how etc etc a very useful too for a couple of bucks well worth the money.
This has helped me determine whether it is an AirPlay or an underlying network issue.
thanks for the info!
I have now set the AirPlay devices (2 x ATV, B&W A7, Marantz M-CR10) to fixed addresses outside the DHCP range of the main server (Apple Extreme). I downloaded a small utility for my MacBook (iNet) which seems to confirm that the devices are operating at their new fixed addresses.
The good news is that everything still seems to be working. It seems to me the 2 ATVs and the Marantz show up more reliably or at least a bit quicker on the AirPlay lists (these were generally ok before but I was more focused on the new A7 so am not 100% sure). The big disappointment however is that the B&W, which is now working via ethernet, only shows up after a hard restart. When inactive it sleeps and will not show up as an AirPlay option after waking. The only thing that seems to work is unplugging and plugging in again. Very vexing! Perhaps it is a B&W problem. The Marantz seems much better in this respect.
In any case, I will try to link IP and MAC addresses as you suggest. I have had a quick look inside the Apple set up screens for the Extremes / Time Capsule but can’t see anything which might do this. Is this something which would need doing in the main router (Netgear)? In my network DHCP is switched off in the Netgear and switched on in the Time Capsule.
Busta, thanks again for the info. I managed to find the MAC reservation options and have now done this. I have an initial feeling there is an improvement as the AirPlay icons appear to show up quicker. The main breakthrough is that the B&W is now waking from its hiberantion mode which it never did previously. However, there are still signs that the AirPlay system overall is still pretty flaky (B&W has already failed to wake once or twice and I was unable to connect to one of the Apple TVs yesterday). It is still early days so will need to observe further. But I can't help thinking it should all be so much easier and more reliable. Maybe I will take a closer look at Sonos after all !