Optimising Wi-Fi to beat a wired connection

Of course, eventually, everything will be WiFi/Bluetooth.
The question is “when” not “if”.


Fascinating stuff.

Currently have a Sky router with both bands merged for Sky Q. Innuos Zenith sits downstairs whilst the router is upstairs in the study as that’s where fibre optic comes in running at 145MBps. Would take 30m+ of ethernet to connect the two and an amount of faff I have no time for so I’ve neither contemplated nor tried. Started with a £30 Vonets bridge right next to the Innuos. Lots of audible noise but a compelling sound. Moved the Vonets the other side of the fireplace using 4m of cheap ethernet. The drop in noise was clear but the cable introduced some hardness so I bought 5m of Chord C-Stream instead. Lost the harshness but it’s also a lot less realistic than the Vonets when next to the Zenith. Since I moved to streaming at the end of 2020 this has been the full extent of the journey.

I’ve a sense I should create a subnet; get a switch between the bridge and the Zenith etc. but I’m too busy listening to hours of music. I could get one or both of the Innuos Phoenix products. I could improve the bridge. Indeed I had identified the very product you describe above as a likely candidate except that I can hide the plasticky Vonets behind a speaker so I can only see the flashing lights as I’m putting the lights out and going to bed and the TP-Link is far harder to hide. I can never quite motivate myself to do it.

I’ve decided my next move will be to move from Naim amplification to an integrated better suited to my high sensitivity Zu. I’ve no sense that noise, which must undoubtedly be there, is interfering with my musical enjoyment at all.

My DAC has Bluetooth 5 LDAC transmission, which I believe is the latest, and is very good.

Are there any papers or development test results showing measurable differences between good wired connection and good wifi connection?

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If it genuinely sounds different something will be measurable.

Whether you can correlate what you measure with what you prefer is a different question.

Just read this article (use Google translate because it’s in Dutch) en get yourself a £25 switch with a good lps or ifi powerx and never look back. :+1:t2:

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Only if it sounds different to the same person.

That’s an interesting piece, thanks for posting.

I’ve spent less than $300 USD on my switches and cables and my network is about as optimized as it can get without going boutique and spending many hundreds of $$ and I doubt the boutique equipment will get much better than what I have. A couple cisco PD switches utilizing POE on the last leg to the streamer and some ethernet spec cables is all you need. I would go this route if you’re on the legacy streaming platform. If you’re on the current platform then wifi may be the better option.

I see. As in ‘what I prefer is immeasurable’ then.

There is so much black magic talked about networked hi-fi. Streaming audio uses HTTP over TCP/IP, which is a reliable protocol. The quality bar is very low as your streamer only has to tell the difference between high and low voltages. A great deal of noise can be tolerated. And if the streamer can’t do that because your signal is so noisy then it (technically, its network adapter) requests the server resend the data. The numbers arriving at your DAC WILL be complete, correct, and in the right order. The only issue is bandwidth, ie. do enough of those numbers arrive to keep your DAC input buffer full. And in this regard, Wifi or wired makes no difference - bandwidth sharing is still bandwidth sharing whether you are getting your share over wireless or ethernet. The short answer to all this in my opinion is that if you are not hearing any dropouts, audio stuttering, etc., if you just hear music playing, then your network connection, whatever it is, is fine. Having said that, I did experiment when I got my first streamer (NDX) and there was a very slight quality improvement using it wired. This I took to be due to it having its wireless module switched off, NOT to some mystical quality imbued by the ethernet cable (which I emphasize again is just the medium, NOT the message).


It’s what I had before keeping without hesitation the Etheregen, with it SMPS. Then top linear ps to it gave even a bigger upgrade. Then PhoenixNet.

If you had an old blue cisco you don’t have what I have. And your mains are completely different than mine as well as your system. So there’s that.

Interesting how a plastic SPDIF cable didn’t sound as good as the Chord cable, just 1’s and 0 's?

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Don’t change the subject… :wink:

No one here is talking about data integrity, that’s being taken for granted, the issues that can potentially affect SQ are either differential or common mode noise and timing (jitter).


I had Cisco 2960 with external ps , I think they were PD models. I have dedicated mains and a highly quality powerblock with a top power cord to the wall.

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That’s great, you have one non-scientific data point to which to refer.

Streamers buffer the data and use their own clocks to time it out to the DAC. I don’t understand “differential or common mode noise”. If the data going up the stack to the Naim code is correct then noise to the left of the adapter is irrelevant. That is to say that if the correct numbers appear out of the noise then the noise is in fact a coherent signal and not noise at all. I don’t doubt that people are hearing differences but I don’t believe that network infrastructure is responsible. What else IS there but data integrity? The timing, up-sampling, re-sampling and other magic - the things that create the audio signal - are done by the Naim hardware/code to the right of the adapter. There is no “quality” to a digital signal. It is right or wrong. Cables of different lengths and construction affect the error rate, which is handled by TCP. The only thing that can affect the sound quality, given data integrity, is what the streamer does with the data. That’s the way it seems to me, anyway. What I need now is for a network engineer to chip in and set me straight :slight_smile:

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It’s not quite the situation under discussion, but I tried hardwiring my TV to the router that it’s normally connected to wirelessly. Did quite a few A/B swaps.

I was disappointed to note that I couldn’t hear or see the slightest difference.