For wi-fi streamers--a discovery to increase wi-fi strength

It was previously reported in a thread here that putting a piece of aluminum foil  behind a router can increase wi-fi signal strength, and I verified this with the Bluesound app for my Bluesound Node streamer.

Today, because I was having some internet speed problems, I experimented with the orientation of the base router of my mesh network, and found this made a significant difference in the wi-fi signal strength, going from "Good" to "Excellent."

Then for the first time I added a piece of aluminum foil behind the extension router unit nearest my streamer, and that further improved the wi-fi signal strength from -48 dBm to -43 dBm, the best reading I've ever gotten with this mesh network.

Given that an "Excellent" reading is considered by Bluesound to be necessary for streaming hi-res files, this is an important consideration for those doing wi-fi streaming.  And perhaps some members who have been disappointed with wi-fi streaming didn't have adequate wi-fi signal strength.  I suspect the audible differences (at least with the Node streamer) lie in problems with dropouts and buffering rather than sound quality, but I'm not certain of that or whether that would be the case for all streamers.


Man, I’m getting old…

anyone else here remember hanging aluminum foil flags from rabbit ear antennas to improve VHF signal reception?

@soix  @ghdprentice 

I tried to connect the Node with an ethernet cable to my mesh extender, but couldn't get the BluOS app to work.  I've put in a support request to Bluesound,

Today I reviewed my notes about the Node and see I already tried using the 5e ethernet cable that came with the Node.  I listened to the MQA version of CSN's
"In My Dreams," and heard no difference between the cable and the wi-fi connections, but this was using the Node's DAC, which I think is pretty good, actually, and which does unfold MQA.  But perhaps a test with classical music, with genuine room ambience, would be more revealing.  Does anyone have evidence that ethernet cables require a break-in period to sound their best?

So it is still possible that a higher-quality cable, DAC, or source material might reveal a difference  between ethernet and wi-fi. I'm using a Denafrips Ares II DAC, but I haven't heard a noticeable SQ difference between it and the Node's DAC, even though I'm using my best interconnects (Cardas) with the Ares II.  I thought the Ares might have sounded better than my Cambridge Audio CXU's DAC on one classical CD, but that could have been because of the difference in the interconnects connecting each component.

I think I'm pretty good at detecting sonic differences when they exist without being too influenced by auto-suggestion (like thinking something should sound better because of deductive reasoning or because of its higher price).  My system is transparent and good enough to reveal differences in soundstage depth and other aspects of ambience that I pay attention to.  In addition to having spent decades comparing audio components' and cables' SQ, I've also honed my hearing by learning guitar and other musical passages by ear, as well as figuring out how to replicate various guitar tones.  I've also spent a lot of time comparing the tones of various electric-guitar pickups and other musical equipment.  Fortunately, I haven't spent so much time performing live as to ruin my hearing, although I admit I have damaged it some and have some slight tinnitus that I rarely notice.  I can still hear triangles and other high-frequency sources. A hearing test decades ago showed some loss around 7kHz, if I recall correctly.

I ran my BS Node for 3+ yrs on FAIR signal strength with zero problems with any hi res files, and no dropouts or buffering. I didn’t plan on wading into the Ethernet vs Wifi fray but there are actually some manufacturers that suggest a well designed wifi module is a better streaming interface than ethernet from a potential noise perspective - Auralic for instance. The argument is that 1) the noise in your router is likely high by audio standards so why connect to it and the ethernet cable is also subject to noise/jitter and 2) wifi can be cleaner if there is error correction and that error correction only needs to be used sparingly (otherwise it produces internal EMI - which I doubt can be heard). But as long as files arrive intact, I can’t understand how it makes any practical difference, at least in my modest $20k system.

@normb Sorry, no.  I had a 10' Radio Shack antenna on a motor to turn it and got excellent FM and TV

You can get a wifi relative quality reading with a mac computer about this mac,

system report wifi it will tell connection quality mine next to node -31 dbm signal

-98 dbm noise