Search for a multicast capable router

  Ultmatenewbie 09:21 16 Oct 12

I run an Allen & Heath digital mixer. The iDr32 mixrack sits on the stage and has a 2 port Ethernet switch on board, which allows the device to be controlled with a PC. If you then add a WiFi router then you can have wireless remote control from a laptop. Allen & Heath also sell an app for iPad to do the same. I have this working quite well although I am receiving no metering data from the Mixrack. Allen & Heath say this is probably because my router does not support multicasting. They list some routers which are recommended, but the list is rather out of date. I am trying to find a suitable dual band router with decent range on both bands. I would prefer a cable type, but since it will not be connected to the internet, it isn't important. When I Google "Multicast capable wifi router" all that comes up is a lot of stuff about video streaming. None of the manufacturers seem to list if their product supports multicasting. I understand that multicasting is usually used for video streaming, but in my case it seems to be a requirement to speed up data between the iPad and the Mixrack. Apparently some users of similar systems have encountered problems with multiple smartphone users in the audience seeking WiFi connections. The solution to this is to use 5GHz band, and switch off the SSID. Some have also found it best to use MAC filtering for security.

Can anyone out there offer some advice and recommend a dual band wifi router with decent speed and range with multicasting capability? Also the ability to attach external antennae might be useful, oh and not too expensive please :-)

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  Forum Editor 18:21 17 Oct 12

Your dual-band router requirement is fairly easy to resolve. I suggest you take a look at this

The last time I got involved with multicast systems it involved working with a Cisco router that cost almost £2000. Other than that, I haven't come across multicasting other than in a software environment.

  Ultmatenewbie 17:08 19 Oct 12

Thanks for the router suggestion. This certainly seems like a good option. I have checked and there is no metion of multicast options in the user manual. Here is some of the advice that Allen & Heath offer in choosing a suitable router. I wonder if you can offer any comment or further advice regarding this. Mixpad is the iPad App which is used to control the mixer. I do not use thier hardware option for control. Thanks very much

A: The MixPad handles a very large amount of metering data. If your iPad slows down or loses connection, for example through wireless interference or going out of range of the router by walking behind a pillar, then the meters on the Surface can slow down too while the MixRack waits for a response from the MixPad. Using Multicast for meter transmission prevents the MixPad affecting the response at the Surface.

Q: Can I use any wireless router?

A: No. For fastest and most reliable performance you need a router that is Multicast cabable. With MixPad multicast enabled, the router has extra work to do. This overhead can exceed the processing power of older or less capable wireless routers and make your MixPad application slower to use, or in the worst case not work at all. Every time MixPad wants to start listening to multicast metering it "joins" a multicast group. Multicast compliant routers query and listen for group membership information and only send data to connections which need it. This capability lowers the overhead on the router.

Q: What wireless router should I use?

A: The router is an important part of the iLive system. Investing in a modern router that has a high specification and good processing power will help you get the best performance and speed from your iLive, particularly if you are running multiple controllers.

However, manufacturer specifications can be vague when it comes to Multicast. Some routers that claim to be Multicast compliant may have only partial implimentation of this or not handle it correctly. Others that do not mention it may in fact work correctly with Multicast traffic. Those that specify IGMP snooping are most likely to be compliant. Our advice is to look for a high end consumer unit that mentions media streaming, and look for the following:

•Choose a respected brand and ensure it has the latest version of firmware, •Multicast capable (These are usually the ones designed for media and data streaming), •IGMP snooping V1/V2 (this usually means the router can work with Multicast), •Wireless-N (802.11n), •'Auto' channel select and Dual-Band are also indicators of a router with modern specification, •Good wireless range (Some may also let you use higher power external antennas for greater range)

If by multicast they mean the ability to transmit on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies (which from your original post seems to be the case) then they are normally referred to as Dual-Band, such as is the router that the Forum Editor recommended.

  Ultmatenewbie 07:15 21 Oct 12

No, they recommend dual band as well as multicast capable (see last paragraph) . Elsewhere other sound engineers suggest using the 5 Ghz frequency to avoid congestion from multiple smart phones in the audience attempting to obtain an internet connection. This latter has not been a problem for me, but is a potential source of problems. I think, from the description, they do mean multicast. Thanks

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