• Stability and Performance from Access Networks

    It should come as no surprise to anyone reading Computer Audiophile that home networks are very important and seem to be increasing in importance year over year. I use the adjective "important" because home networks have moved far beyond the ISP supplied modem / wireless router all-in-one device that enabled Mom to hear "You've got mail" back in 1999. Many of us use our networks for audio of course, but also for controlling the temperature in our homes, sending data from multiple security cameras to the cloud, streaming 4k UHD HDR content from Netflix, low latency gaming, and Wi-Fi calling built into iPhones or Android devices, among many other things. Multiply this usage by any factor necessary when a home has multiple residents.

     

    Home networks are far from our pristine audio-only environments. Many of us use computers designed only for audio with nothing extraneous installed. We have NAS drives with nothing but music on them and we know the only activity on the drives involves sending music to our audio devices. On the analog side, nothing traverses an interconnect or speaker cable unless we press play. Networks are a different animal entirely. They are constantly sending traffic to communicate, no matter if someone is streaming from Tidal or sleeping or three thousand miles from home. That said, networks aren't rocket science, but they can require a special skillset to design if one's requirements are above and beyond Joe Sixpack.


     

    Audiophiles and Music Lovers

     

    Many people who enjoy the finer things in life, such as a high end audio system, settle for the lowest common denominator when it comes to a home network. I can't even count the number of times I've talked to people with network problems who are using the all-in-one device supplied by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or people who have turned into the family IT expert to design an "enterprise" class network for home. This is so common that almost all HiFi companies I've talked to about network based products say the same thing with respect to supporting customers with problems, "it's a customer network issue 99.999% of the time." Companies such as Meridian / Sooloos, Aurender, Naim, Auralic, Linn, dCS, Roon, etc... all say the same thing, and they aren't trying to pass the buck. It's in their best interests to help a customer, even though they often wind up solving issues totally unrelated to their products.

     

    I'm all for starting with inexpensive components and trying to do things yourself, and learning a little in the process. But, when problems start appearing, it's time to call the experts. The experts in this case are from Access Networks. This southern California company was founded in 2003. Today it works with hundreds of integrators / dealers around the country to design solutions that balance ease of use and robustness. Sure, a company with enterprise IT experience could install a business network in one's home. After all, data is data as long as it gets from point A to point B. The problem with such a network is that it may require a computer science degree to understand it and make a minor adjustment. In addition, products designed for 500 person office with elevator columns and cement floors, may not be the best fit in a home.

     

    Before continuing, I want to provide readers with a small bit of information about myself, to help in understanding my point of view with respect to networks and networking. This article isn't about me, but more information may be beneficial. I worked in enterprise IT for a decade after college, for fortune 500 companies. I designed, installed, configured, managed, and maintained local and global networks. This includes switches, routers, firewalls, access points, and synchronizing storage data around the world in case a disaster wiped out a datacenter. That said, the Computer Audiophile Community is full of people much smarter and more experienced that I when it comes to networking. No matter the topic, there's always someone stronger, faster, or smarter whenever the audience is global.


     

    The Beginning

     

    Access Networks works through custom integrators and dealers around the country. The company doesn't interface directly with consumers, but it will happily field inquiries and connect consumers with the best local resource for their needs.

     

    I went through the process of obtaining a network from 'Access' directly, so I could evaluate the company in addition to the product it would have delivered to me if I'd have gone through a local dealer. Other than this direct communication, there shouldn't be many differences for consumers working through a local dealer.

     

    The process started with a phone call and simple questionnaire. Access Networks needed to know more about my expectations and requirements. If I'd have said I expect the network to work 50% of the time and I only have a single computer that sends email, the recommended solution would've been much different from the one I eventually installed. Any company suggesting it knows what to install, without a consultation with the homeowner, isn't a company I want in my house.

     

    The questions asked of me and the questionnaire were very straight forward and assumed I was an average user. The 'Access' team knew what to ask, even when I couldn't think of something during the discussion. This is important because we've all interfaced with the IT guy who asks the user for requirements and installs a system based on the user's answers. However, this guy doesn't ask the right questions to extract all the required information. It's impossible to expect the consumer to raise all the pertinent issues and requirements, when he or she doesn't have the IT background.

     

    Access Networks asked how many square feet were in my house, how many floors the house has, and what materials the house was made of, such as wood, plaster, metal, sheetrock, etc... Pretty easy questions to answer for even the novice. Access also asked about the number and type of devices on my network, what the devices were used for,  if I had any existing Ethernet cabling in the walls, and if I needed wireless coverage inside and outside my house.

     

    Once this discussion was complete, Access sent a document for me to complete. The document asked for existing wireless network names (SSID Name), security type (WPA, WPA2, WEP, etc...), VPN information if necessary, and passwords for these networks. I'll skip ahead a bit just to note that Access used this information when creating the new network for my house. Upon installation, all my devices connected to the wireless network without any reconfiguration. This may not be a big deal for some, but it's a pain in the neck to reconfigure a thermostat, a bathroom scale, a doorbell, and friend's phones (when they visit the house again), Internet of Things (IoT) devices don't always have simple interfaces for changing network information. For example, changing the network or password on our bathroom scale is an absolute joke. I tried it once and gave up. Thus, I have an old AirPort express using an old SSID solely to service the bathroom scale (before the 'Access' network was installed).



     

    Access Networks

     

    (click to enlarge)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    My Requirements From An Audio Perspective

     

    In addition to way too many gadgets and video streaming devices on my network, I have the devices that I care about most in my listening room and wireless audio devices around the house. At any given time I have roughly 25 audio devices on the network. There is a mix of wireless and wired devices. Devices such as a dCS Rossini DAC, Auralic Aries, Aries Mini, and Altair, Sonore microRendu, SOtM sMS-200, Aurender W20, A10, N10, Chromecast Audio, Klipsch The Three, Naim Mu-so, Synology NAS units, and CAPS Cortes server to name a few.

     

    My audio devices have different requirements as well, such as UPnP, DLNA, RoonReady, DTS Play-Fi, Wi-Fi, 2.4GHz, 5.8GHz, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, PCM, DSD, 24 bit / 384 kHz, DSD256, etc...  In addition to different requirements, some are designed better than others. Some devices work great with any UPnP server while others can't handle too much data at once, and a host of other strange occurrences. When strange things happen during audio playback, the first item everyone points to as the likely cause, it the network. During the period I had this 'Access' designed network in my house, I felt at ease when I told manufacturers that the issue-of-the-day wasn't with my network because it's from Access Networks. Only one person questioned this and suggested that we should still consider the network as the source of the problem. Upon further investigation by this very bright person, his conclusion was that the network was too fast for some ARM based devices to handle the audio packets without dropping them. In other words, the network was too good and required adjustments by the developers of applications to account for this "issue."



     

    The Recommendation

     

    Based on my requirements, Access Networks recommended a network package for my house. This package was called The Foundation C with some small customization.

     

    The hardware consisted of a combination of wired and wireless gear.

     

    Wired:

    Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series 24 Port Switch (This switch was placed in my utility room where I had the most devices).

    Cisco Catalyst 2960-CX Series 8 Port Switch with PoE (This switch was placed in my utility room and used to power the wireless access points).

    Cisco Catalyst 2960-CX Series 8 Port Switch (This switch was placed just outside of my listening room and was used for all my wired HiFi gear).

    Cisco ASA 5506-X Router / Firewall

     

    Wireless:

    Ruckus Wireless ZoneDirector ZD1200 (this is a wired piece of hardware used to manage the wireless access points and optimize the wireless environment).

    Ruckus Wireless Access Point R600 (three of these, one for each floor of my house).

     

    The total cost of the system is $13,299.

     

    I accepted the system as proposed. Once everything arrived from Access Networks, I unboxed the hardware in addition to a network diagram and documentation. Consumers don't usually install these systems on their own, because the integrator / dealer is there to do the work. In my case, I had no issues connecting the wires exactly how they were laid out in the network diagram. I think a monkey could have followed each line and connected point A to point B.




     

    The Assessment

     

    Once the Access Networks design system was in place and I'd verified it was working, I started digging through my notes looking for usernames and passwords for each of the hardware devices. That's what people who are into this stuff do, we look at all the settings to see if anything "needs" to be changed. We are also accustomed to consumer network equipment that never arrives optimized for one's specific requirements. I also thought I'd poke around a bit to get a feel for the gear, especially the Ruckus Wireless components. I hadn't used Ruckus gear before this stuff arrived, and I was curious. Plus, wireless networks always need adjustments, firmware updates, reboots, and miscellaneous tinkering to why "YouTube isn't working on the Roku."

     

    After a few minutes I was distracted from the username and password search. I made a note to follow up with Access Networks. Surprisingly, I never followed up. I kept telling myself I should call them to get the information, but after several weeks I changed my mind. I thought, the person who wants this type of network and who can't design it themselves, really doesn't want the usernames and passwords to the equipment. If a username and password are required by the consumer, the installation is a failure. Why would I need a username and password if everything is working? Shouldn't the pre-design consultation make these credentials unnecessary?

     

    As it turns out, yes, these credentials are unnecessary when Access Networks is involved. I've been using this network for 11 months and I've yet to need the username and password for anything. In fact, I haven't rebooted a single piece of hardware since the installation. Think about that, I'm a network guy and I had no need to gain access to my home network for the last 11 months. After a few months I even lost the desire to get into the equipment. Why mess with something that works? To make it better? Perhaps, but given this network's performance I don't believe better is possible.

     

    I could have run several network stress tests before and after the Access Networks system was installed, but that's a red herring in my opinion. If I was a network stress tester for a living, such tests would be interesting to me. However, this network was designed to handle everything for which I use the system. I'm sure it would have performed awesome in such tests, but I'd rather test it using everyday activities.

     

    Over the course of the next 11 months, I used the network to the best of my ability. A menagerie of IoT devices, phones, tablets, laptops, audio and video gear, wired and wireless, etc... Nothing phased this Access Networks designed system.

     

    I connected multiple wired and wireless audio endpoints and Netflix 4K streaming devices, and simultaneously sent content to them all. This meant highly compressed Netflix content, but I have no control over that. The audio I sent was three streams of DSD256 over Wi-Fi and two streams of 24/352.8 PCM over wired Ethernet. All at the same time. Plus, while I was conducting this multi-zone audio experiment, the rest of my family was surfing the internet and emailing, without a clue that such business was going on downstairs. After trying to break the network in every normal fashion, I failed to cause a single audio dropout. Everything worked perfect.

     

    In addition to playing audio and video, I frequently copy/move several terabytes of data around my network while testing different NAS units and computers. With the Access Networks system in place, my network speed was frequently around 800 Mbps if my memory serves me correctly. Sure there's 200 additional Mbps to be had, but there are other limitations such as overhead, read/write speed, NIC, and HDD/SSD that may prohibit faster data movement.


     

    The Comparison

     

    Given that my previous network was Cisco based, it's hard to really provide a usable comparison. I have no interest in comparing my network design versus Access' network design. That wouldn't help anyone. Also, anyone that can design and configure a Cisco based network, probably won't be interested in Access Networks' services anyway.

     

    It makes a bit more sense to discuss how the Access Networks network compares to pedestrian networks available at and designed by the local Best Buy salesman. I've had various Netgear, TP-Link, DLink, and Apple devices in here over the years. For the most par they all work pretty well. Updating them and rebooting them consistently really improves reliability and was a requirement for some hardware.

     

    Throughput, wired network performance, and wireless network reliability are all up in the air with these store bought networks. With support that can be difficult to use on a good day and zero network design that has considered one's specific home environment, an off-the-shelf system from the local Microcenter may work great, until it doesn't.

     

    One example of an off-the-shelf issue I had last year involves a wireless router from Netgear. I researched which router to purchase for days. I looked at all the online tests before settling on a specific model. I Amazon Primed it and had it running in no time. However, I was only getting 150 Mbps download / upload speeds when running the Ookla speed tests. Given that I have 1 Gbps up/down and I had previously tested the speed at around 950 Mbps, this was an issue. The Netgear router had a Gb network port on the WAN in addition to a few Gb ports on the LAN. After more research I found out I had to install hacked firmware on the Netgear router to reach speeds of around 700 Mbps. All around a bad situation. Most people purchasing this router would never get to the workaround that still didn't give me Gbps speed. They would continue paying for Gbps speed but only get 150 Mbps. Maybe they'd call the ISP and talk to someone on the support line about the issue. I can see it now, "It's your network" "No it's your network." Good luck with that one.

     

    Note: If issues arise with an Access Networks designed system, the company has support staff that can remote connect and remote diagnose many problems. Try that with any of the aforementioned companies.



     

    Wrap-up

     

    My time with the network designed by Access Networks has been so refreshing. I'm used to messing with all network equipment that enters my house, and all my relatives' houses for that matter. This network was different in many ways, chief among them was its stability. I didn't even have the login credentials to gain access to the network, but I didn't need them during the entire 11 months of using the system.

     

    The network performance, both wired and wireless, has never been better in my house. Now it's time to ship the system back to Access Networks. There's no way I'm shipping this system before I leave for the Munich High End trade show next week. I need a rock solid network running at home, while I'm away on business. Doing tech support for my family from 4,500 miles and 7 times zones away, because I voluntarily removed a perfectly good network, just doesn't excite me. Keeping the Access Networks system in place, so I can enjoy the Super Bowl of audio shows in Germany, now that excites me.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    System Details:

     

    • ASA5506-K9 - Cisco ASA 5506-X Adaptive Security Appliance - Multi-WAN Capable.
    • 901-1205-US00 - Ruckus ZoneDirector 1200 wireless LAN controller, licensed for up to 5 Access Points.
    • 901-R600-US00 - ZoneFlex R600 dual-band 802.11abgn/ac 2x2:2 streams Wireless Access Point.
    • C2960CX-8PC-L - Cisco Catalyst 8-port Gigabit PoE+ Ethernet switch with 2x 1G SFP and 2x 1G copper PoE+ uplinks. 1U
    • C2960X-24TS-LL - Cisco Catalyst 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with two SFP uplinks. 1U
    • C2960CG-8TC-L - Cisco Catalyst 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with two dual-purpose gigabit uplinks. 1U

     

     

    Additional Information:

     

    Access Networks: website, contact, rep locator

     

    an.jpg

    Edited by The Computer Audiophile

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    User Feedback




    Nice review Chris, were the systems components that you used the top of the line? Or do you have options? $13299 WOW. Don't get me wrong I'd love to have something like that, unfortunately that's more than my entire system. 

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    HI Shawn - I completely understand. The network I own is quite a bit less expensive, but it's not as stable and fast as the 'Access' network. The components in this review aren't the top of the line by any measure, but they are also no where near the bottom. It can take some skill to design the correct package for each use case.

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    You have a bathroom scale on your network????  And I thought you were a rational midwesterner!

     

    The article was excellent, though.  I've been able to hack through the things I've needed to on my network.   Solid not top end equipment and all the same brand helps.  I have <1msec latency on all my devices to each other over LAN and WiFi extenders, and coverage to my garage and back deck.  

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    Liked the article and found it fascinating: I didn't know there was such a thing as a network that "always works״ I've never had one, either at home or at work.

    My small apartment with a max of about 15 networked devices obviously doesn't apply here, but I can say, based on previous recommendations by Chris, that I turned my ISP provided all-in-one router into an Interet modem only, and bought a quality switch and dedicated router (no modem inside).

    That - and using well made Ethernet cabling (Bluejeans) - vastly improved my network speed and reliability. 

    So even for someone who doesn't do something like Chris' system, just getting something better than the ISP supplied device is a good idea.

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    1 hour ago, Solstice380 said:

     

    You have a bathroom scale on your network????  And I thought you were a rational midwesterner!

     

     

    Ha, tell me about it!

     

    I thought it was going to help me monitor my weight and nudge me in the right direction of eating healthier. I thought wrong.

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    26 minutes ago, mrvco said:

    the stakes are bit higher (and the "IT calls" angrier O.o)

     

    No doubt about that!  Having cut the cable TV cord about 5 years ago, network stability gained a whole new level of importance! That's also when my desire to make WiFi passwords independent of routers started to grow.

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    1 hour ago, http404 said:

     

    No doubt about that!  Having cut the cable TV cord about 5 years ago, network stability gained a whole new level of importance! That's also when my desire to make WiFi passwords independent of routers started to grow.

     

    Fortunately we live in a location where Wifi poaching isn't much of an issue, so I use a tele# that friends and family all know.  I just hope my home network never gets to the point where I need to subnet.

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    while I know that this was a consultative process and knowledge isn't free, and a company needs to make a profit, a quick web search turns up that I can buy this hardware for a little over $5000 and install it myself just like you did.


    And, since they're a big outfit, I'm sure that they can get the hardware cheaper than I can from Amazon or CDW, so they're making some profit on the hardware.

     

    Yet from the description of your experience, I'm struggling to understand what else they did for you to charge you an additional $8000. Seems like a heck of a premium given the time they spent on designing this for you and that you installed it yourself. 

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    Does Access offer a cable upgrade for better sound?  Done right they could raise the price another $15,000 easy.

     

    +1 on the Ubiquiti gear.  Pretty nice stuff nicely priced for home network tinkering types.  I do wish their forum was more welcoming to newbies asking questions however.  Not always a friendly crowd.

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    I'm curious if there is a status quo, or consensus, for the security/ firewall? I recall pfsense being highly regarded not too long ago.  I have Century link for a service provider.

    Thx

    kenreau

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    $13,000... USD.... Holy Batman!!!

    I remain to be convinced that a home network needs hardware at this price point.

    Wow, just wow.

     

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    4 hours ago, eternaloptimist said:

    $13,000... USD.... Holy Batman!!!

    I remain to be convinced that a home network needs hardware at this price point.

    Wow, just wow.

     

    No kidding!  However, as your home network spreads its tentacles through every aspect of daily life what were once annoying issues take on a much magnified significance.  When your home office becomes more of a necessity than a convenience and if you live in a property with infrastructure that's challenging ...

     

    I only see this as a growth area. The $13k end of the spectrum are the bespoke trailblazers. And lest we hold high faith in hardware manufacturers magic to create a solution, never forget that every time they create something idiot proof, nature creates a newer better idiot!

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    10 hours ago, esldude said:

    +1 on the Ubiquiti gear.  Pretty nice stuff nicely priced for home network tinkering types.  I do wish their forum was more welcoming to newbies asking questions however.  Not always a friendly crowd.

     

    Chances are good that unless you're doing something really complex, the question has been asked before. In this respect, a careful Google search will often find what you need, and in many cases all you need to do is cut and paste within SSH.   Don't forget to save configurations before making changes and save the commands you use in a text file for future reference.

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    6 hours ago, eternaloptimist said:

    $13,000... USD.... Holy Batman!!!

    I remain to be convinced that a home network needs hardware at this price point.

    Wow, just wow.

     

    The hardware is available for just over $5000 from a combination of Amazon & CDW. Now this doesn't include CAT6 (or 7) cables since Chris already has his house set up, so if you need this run, the price will be higher.

     

    So this is what I'm struggling with...basically the $8K difference appears to be a consultant fee which, from the description of the process, was handled primarily via questionnaires; Chris doesn't say how much time he spent actually speaking to someone. So, at $150/hour, that's 53 hours of consulting to review the questionnaire which I'm sure it didn't take anywhere near that amount of time.

     

    Now if the company had installed the wiring and set everything up, I could accept the total price tag a bit more...having paid to have this work done at my house several years ago, I know that running cables behind walls without upsetting wifey is costly! 

    Edited by ChrisG
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    2 hours ago, ChrisG said:

    So, at $150/hour, that's 53 hours of consulting to review the questionnaire

     

    Chris made it sound as if ongoing support is included as well, though I don't recall this being called out in great detail. 

     

    If a finger-in-the-air assumption of a five year life is assumed for the network to remain up to task, based on typical alarm companies monthly monitoring charges of around $35, add at least $2,275 to the calculation for ongoing support over that five years.

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    Hi Chris, this is a really good article that complements well your two earlier articles on more basic networks (The Complete Guide To HiFi UPnP / DLNA Network Audio & Network Audio Refresher);  Since those past articles focused on somewhat more affordable improvements, I am glad that you focused the  current article more on what could be done with a higher level of investment.  After having made improvements based on your past articles (PFSense router/firewall, Cisco switch and Airport Extreme WAPs), I was mostly happy except that the level of performance I get from the Airport Extremes leaves some room for improvement.  It was good to read what you did here with the Ruckus wireless components and it gives me something to think about.  I do wish however that I could rely less on wireless and have more hardwire points in my house J

    Regarding the point some folks have made about the cost of the latest system – (1) you already showed us 4 years ago how to set up a lesser cost system so it’s good to show something better this time – something to which we might aspire; (2) yes $13k is a lot of money but if one was running a small business from their home or building a new home, then the cost doesn’t look so bad; (3) many of us are generously paid in our professions so it is not so consistent to expect that people in other professions should get a lesser deal; (4) I am not sure I could get a bathroom remodel, a kitchen remodel or even a decent size deck made of the latest non-wood materials for $13K or less J - typically providers of those projects charge at least as much for labor/design as the raw materials.

    I really enjoy these articles and always learn from them.  Thanks!

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    I may just give these guys a call, I see the local contact is right here in the Metro area, Chris.

     

    I like not doing this stuff myself.

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    Is there any certainty whether the clocks in these devices are superior to others, and if so which come stock with the better clocks?  As we're learning the clocks in all our devices whether that's a motherboard, ethernet switch or router can have an impact on sound quality through its introduction of jitter or noise.

     

    Stability is fine and good, but it can also pay to have two of the same device with one sitting in storage as a stand by in the event the one in production fails.  If this can be done instead of buying the more expensive device it may be a better route to take.  However, if a device doesn't perform as it should because it's a lesser cost piece of equipment then paying for that performance could be worth it.  There are routers and switches which don't perform as stated, while Cisco is typically very reliable.

     

    The Ruckus gear is fairly common in manufacturing and warehousing.  I've considered it for our warehouses, but have stayed with Cisco for standardization.  I've never had a problem with Cisco's wireless equipment, knock on wood.  Meraki is another way to go, but I'm not keen on the subscription format.  Maybe one day I'll warm up to it, but I'm not shy about investing capital and try to avoid opex.

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    @Johnseye

     

    Who said the clock inside an ethernet switch / router makes a difference?

     

    As far as I am aware, all ethernet streamers are asynchronous devices. Unless you truly have an extremely noisy network system, noise introduced into a DAC from the ethernet should really be inaudible.

     

     

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    14 hours ago, Johnseye said:

    Is there any certainty whether the clocks in these devices are superior to others, and if so which come stock with the better clocks?  

     

    The base line clock is going to be a 25 MHz clock. There is no 'better' and by that I mean MORE 25MHz. It's like asking which Gold Nugget is more Gold. They are all Gold. 

     

    From a 24 port Cisco ESW 520 POE GBe Switch ($35 from Craigslist):

    5919c7eb72c51_cisco520eswswitchclock.thumb.jpg.00238dec7551402950eec4d19b9aff9a.jpg

     

     

    From a $65 ASRock N3150 mainboard (and that includes the 4 core CPU :)  ):

    ASRockn3150mclock.thumb.jpg.76c741474393b6e9e4a8b63b6d4c4643.jpg

     

     

    From a $18 Dual GBe Intel Server NIC:

    intel2portservernicclock.thumb.jpg.d2f7ebe5e853842a00805ff28b243a47.jpg

     

     

    Quote

    As we're learning the clocks in all our devices whether that's a motherboard, ethernet switch or router can have an impact on sound quality through its introduction of jitter or noise.

     

    No we aren't all learning that. Whomever is telling you this doesn't know what they are talking about.

     

    Consumer computers are non-realtime devices composed of many clock domains: Ethernet, PCIe Bus, RAM , CPU, USB,  and these domains are traversed by buffers that eliminate various system clocks by maintaining a FIFO buffer. 

     

    Start playback from a streamed source, pull the Ethernet cable, and most likely music will still continue to play. What does the Ethernet clock have to do with the quality of sound now coming out of your setup? 

     

     

     

     

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    1 minute ago, plissken said:

    No we aren't all learning that. Whomever is telling you this doesn't know what they are talking about.

     

    Consumer computers are non-realtime devices composed of many clock domains: Ethernet, PCIe Bus, RAM , CPU, USB,  and these domains are traversed by buffers that eliminate various system clocks by maintaining a FIFO buffer. 

     

    Start playback from a streamed source, pull the Ethernet cable, and most likely music will still continue to play. What does the Ethernet clock have to do with the quality of sound now coming out of your setup? 

     

     

    Excellent points and I've challenged others with the same.  There are some specific threads here I can point out if you'd like where people are reporting improved sound quality by updating their clocks.  Whether that's just a different sound that they prefer or are in fact improved through less jitter, noise, distortion, what have you is unknown.  I understand the buffer should help, but does it eliminate all timing issues?  Is there something we're missing? There are undeniably better quality clocks than others.

     

    This isn't my setup as I haven't replaced the clocks.  These are reports from others doing a lot of experimenting.  It is all subjective review, but there are multiple similar reports.

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    27 minutes ago, Johnseye said:

     

    Excellent points and I've challenged others with the same.  There are some specific threads here I can point out if you'd like where people are reporting improved sound quality by updating their clocks.  Whether that's just a different sound that they prefer or are in fact improved through less jitter, noise, distortion, what have you is unknown.  I understand the buffer should help, but does it eliminate all timing issues?  Is there something we're missing? There are undeniably better quality clocks than others.

     

    This isn't my setup as I haven't replaced the clocks.  These are reports from others doing a lot of experimenting.  It is all subjective review, but there are multiple similar reports.

     

    Just because someone makes stuff up doesn't mean it's true. In another thread I posted ADC'd tracks of a $233 per foot Ethernet cable and a $0.30 foot cable. The $233 was only 3 foot and the $0.30 was 315 foot that I chucked underneath a microwave and had it running while I captured a track on it.

     

    I posted with what track was what cable. Initially STC thought the $700 cable sounded better. When he had the tracks randomized and put through Foobar's ABX comparison function he said he didn't hit 7 out of 10 correct.

     

    Again, what does even a more 25MHz clock have to do with playback if you can destroy the clock with jitter? That is cause a huge amount of jitter by removing the cable.

     

    I don't care what people are saying about clocks on switches and NIC's because they are delusional. Same as I don't care what people say about Ethernet cabling that cost from $30 to $200 plus a foot. Subjective evaluation is valueless in this regard.

     

    All I know is that I can add these people the list of opinions on anything audible that I can safely throw out because they are making stuff up.

    Edited by plissken
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