Digital infrastructure

Due to some equipment changes at work I now have some nice business level switches for home use. My internet and main "stuff" is in a back room and I've got a small home use switches there and in my stereo rack now. I'm replacing those with business level switches, a fiber connection between the switches and then shielded twisted pair (STP) cat 6a wiring to the devices.

I'm not sure if there will be any change in sound but networking is what I do at work so this makes sense at least to me.

Main switch (MDF) has many electrical connections near it. I pass connection through the wall near more electrical stuff to the back of my stereo cabinet and, although well laid out, that's also full of AC equipment.

Now I can get the MDF switch attached to the IDF (stereo equipment rack) network connected with no interference at all from AC. I'll put the IDF switch right in the stereo rack and attach the pieces that need network there with STP cat6a. Wiring up to this point was whatever I had laying around - mainly UTP Cat5 or 5e.

Switches are in place, fiber is connected and I've ordered various lengths of STP Cat 6a network patch cables. I have my music server (Roon) PC, Oppo and a game thing for the kids buried in there. All will be attached to the IDF with STP Cat 6a.

MDF switch is fairly noisy but is in a different room. IDF switch does have a few small fans in it but upon testing is very quiet. I don't think I'll hear it at all from more than 3 feet away and it will be in the cabinet as well for further sound suppression.

I'll report back in when it's completed. I'm not certain there will be any changes but if nothing else the placebo effect will make me feel like I've accomplished something.
Aaron

Comments

  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,226
    Cool beans, looking forward to your thoughts. My house is also networked and I've long dreamed of installing some patch panels, switches and other things, but may never get there myself.....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    Done...so why?

    TCP/IP is the current ruler of the network universe. Pretty much everything that's "networked" is running some version of TCP/IP, either V4 or V6, but probably V4 and from a typical humans perspective it makes no difference. It makes no difference to streaming music that I know of.

    Wiring for TCP/IP is Cat5, 5e, 6, 6a and beyond. Each increment is an attempt to push more data faster, further (although with copper wire that's about 100m or 300 ft. regardless of wire type) and with better chance of the packets arriving intact the first time at their destination. Fiber does nothing more than allow further travel with no chance of electrical interference. Fiber does have it's own vulnerabilities but those are primarily due to cost and physical abuse (hmm...the good stuff is glass - don't bend it too far and the cheap stuff is plastic that doesn't transmit quite as well).

    Evil can happen to those packets as they travel over the wire and from what I've read music streaming is a UDP protocol so there is no error checking or retransmission. It needs to arrive alive the first time.

    Most bad things that happen on the copper is inducted interference from running it too close to electrical wiring. It was also found that even the pairs themselves could interfere with each other (4 pairs, 2 typically used). Cat5e is almost the same as Cat5 except the twist ratio between the pairs is different. That helps eliminate the crosstalk between the pairs. You can research the rest of the variants.

    Most of this network wire is unshielded. There are few applications where shielded wire is required but the cost is much higher so it's typically not used (it's also no fun to terminate properly). Even for the short patch cables I purchased the cost was much higher than unshielded but not prohibitive. Instead of under $1 per cable I paid right around $5 - figure 10x the cost. These are not fancy, straight out of the Monoprice website.

    A fairly new twist on this is the reduction of the gauge of the wire. Standard Cat5/5e is 24 gauge. The stuff I bought is 36 gauge. The advantage is that it's much easier to run and takes up much less space. I did it for the ease of use.

    New cat6a STP in 36g is the smaller one with the metal end on it.

    jbghpc5uj6yn.jpg

    So this exercise is no more than an attempt to keep the packets clean and alive through the entire transmission path. So do I think this will make a huge difference? No. But for the $25 I've got into it I'll just sleep better.

    Impression after 10 minutes of listening. Possibly a slightly blacker background. Maybe a better bass presentation. Maybe...possibly...
    Aaron
  • In the picture ^ one end looks like shielded (metal) v/s non-shield or are both end shielded and I am not see that :)
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    Both ends shielded on that cable. Those are ends from different cables.

    I know in stereo land we usually only ground one end.
    Aaron
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,972
    edited November 2018
    Kewl! Nice to see improvements in networking.

    You have Roon, correct? I do too. IIRC in 2017 they switched from UDP to TCP. Didn't that help?
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    Doesn't everyone have Roon? ;)

    Yessir.

    I haven't looked recently. I was going over some old posts from Roon and couldn't figure out exactly if they were UDP or TCP. If TcP maybe I can put in some QOS as well on these switches if I can id the ports...!!
    Aaron
  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 10,007
    What the hell are y'all talking about?
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    sex....
    Aaron
  • Viking64Viking64 Posts: 3,682
    ALL212 wrote: »
    Doesn't everyone have Roon? ;)

    Runes? Yeah, everybody has that.

    8d9632hhct1d.jpg
  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    edited November 2018
    To further confuse...
    TCP is part of the TCP/IP protocol that requires error checking and retransmission if packets fail.
    UDP does not require any error correction so it's basically send and forget. If a packet happens to disappear it's gone forever.

    I've got a bit bucket under my switches to catch those lost packets and then I pour them back into the switch.
    Aaron
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,972
    edited November 2018
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    Well...ain’t that just so cool! Time for me to ask the Roon crowd what the optimal switch settings are.
    Aaron
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,972
    UDP port 9003 TCP ports 9100-9200?
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • ALL212ALL212 Posts: 849
    ya...what's your point? :D

    Roon specific from a Roon guy (Roon guys name is Peter Lie - do we trust him?): No jumbo frames, no QOS. Flow control - enabled.

    I had to look it up:
    Flow control is the management of data flow between computers or devices or between nodes in a network so that the data can be handled at an efficient pace. Too much data arriving before a device can handle it causes data overflow, meaning the data is either lost or must be retransmitted.

    And this on flow control:
    The primary application for flow control is in high performance applications with protocols that are highly loss sensitive.
    Both sides of a link have to be configured and if you are going to use flow control, it is generally recommended to be enabled on every link along the path.
    Using Flow Control is typically not a good recommendation and is rarely used. If you are planning on using QoS, then you MUST NOT use flow control.
    Bottom line: unless you really know what you are doing...don't use flow control.

    I think I'll leave things alone...
    Aaron
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,972
    edited November 2018
    I listen to Bob. However, Paul Kwan says not every switch is the same, not every protocol stream the same. Enabling flow control on switch solved dropouts for him. He had some neat graphs and TP Link configuation images to support his position.

    I don't have any problems so I am not going to create any with a 'fix'....lol I'm just thankful any Roon updates applied to my Linux server are painless and have never caused a problem.

    Nerds? What, we're just regular guys in over our heads.....well, not Aaron. He does this stuff for a living.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

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