Router for Audio Streaming

I have been streaming Pandora, Spotify and Qobuz through a wifi network streamer from a Netgear AC1750 R6400v2 router with no sound quality complaints.

Recently a router firmware update failed (a known issue with these) and as a result it is no longer accessible for administration.  It still seems to perform ok and accepts new devices however the network settings are "frozen" and I am unable to view device IP addresses or traffic, neither via desktop browser nor via the Nighthawk app.

I will try a factory reset but have read that quite often this does not work in these situations, so I started investigating getting a new router to be able to pull the trigger quickly if needed.

I heard/read that routers can make a difference in sound quality, beyond just being able to keep up with streaming with no buffering.  I'm wondering what router experience and recommendations folks have here for reliable audio streaming with superior sound quality at a reasonable price.



I use a Netgear ACxxxx… around $300 and a cheap Net gear wall wart extender… into which I plug my Aurender W20SE. From this I get performance at the same level as my $45K turntable and Phonostage. 

My belief is that ultimately your streamer is most responsible for the output you get. If you get a budget streamer, then fiddling with the router and connections can help.


I am aware of several +$150K systems operating on $59 extenders that provide world class sound. So, my recommendation is to put effort and money into the streamer and leave fiddling to folks that enjoy fiddling with networks. I spent 40 years in IT… I’m tired of trying to make networks work correctly. Let the streamer cashe and isolate.

@yage :  For whatever it's worth, just ran the netstat command in root - 0 discarded due to badchecksum - this is with my "locked up" Netgear.  Below is the relevant subsection (not the whole dump again...).

77680 window update packets

10349 packets recovered after loss

8558 packets received after close

2 bad resets

0 discarded for bad checksum

127869 checksummed in software

127837 segments (9756384 bytes) over IPv4

32 segments (1408 bytes) over IPv6

0 discarded for bad header offset field

0 discarded because packet too short


@ghdprentice , thanks. I am very happy with my streamer (Magna Mano Ultra MkII) and my DAC (RME ADI-2).  The only required action currently is either fix or replace the router since it cannot be controlled.  That's why the post.  Cheers.

@yoramguy1, wireless is truly inferior.  It's like going back to MP3's instead of CD's.

Digital signals in routers, cables and WiFi are not 1's and 0's.

They are analog square waves that get decoded as 1's and 0's.

All sorts of things - cheap routers, cheap power supplies, EMI and RFI - all interfere with those square waves being perfectly square.  If they're not square, the timing gets distorted.  Sending a low-buck radio signal through the air - WiFi - gets interfered with really easily.

Ethernet cables do a much better job.

The UpTone Audio EtherRegen switch cleans up the problems really well for the price.  If you want to spend a lot of money - and who does? - you can use a reclocker and get more perfect square waves.

I've got a relatively expensive system, $7k speakers and $5k amp, and use the EtherRegen.  I've got SQ and soundstage depth and width that most audiophiles only dream about.

WiFi will only give you distortion.

I had an electrician run an ethernet cable from my router about 60' to my listening room for $600.  $600 incredibly well spent. 

With your Bryston system - assuming it's set up correctly and your speakers are well positioned - you'll hear a clear improvement in soundstage and SQ.


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@dougthebiker , thanks.

Digital representation of sound is not by square waves. There are no square waves in digital audio. There are square waves (before filtering) in inverters generating AC from DC but that’s a totally different story.

The sound level at a sampled point in time is represented by a numerical value in binary form. No sound is 0 and maximum sound level is the highest value possible with the number of bits used. The more bits (0’s or 1’s) are used to represent the numerical value (e.g. 24 vs 16) the better resolution is possible (discrimination between the closest sound levels). When we have 16 bits, we can have 2^16 distinct values, or sound levels, from 0 to 65535.

The sampling rate, or how frequently these numbers are sampled, defines the frequency response, or rather, what is the highest frequency that can be transmitted. For instance, CD sampling rate is 44,100 times (values) per second, and the highest frequency is around 20 kHz.

What you get in digital sound is a stream of numerical values in binary format which represent the sound level at each sampled point in time during the music. The frequency, or pitch of the sound, is determined by the fluctuation of consecutive numerical values. Converting these numerical values to analog voltages and "connecting" or "smoothing" them is done by the DAC. Digital transmission devices do not modify the numerical stream, only ensure it is received as it was sent or report errors.

For simplicity, if you use 4 bits, then 0001 = 1, and 1111 = 15. So 1000 (which = 8) is not greater by 1 vs 0000 (which = 0). The packet transfer protocols check for errors both in wifi and ethernet. If your wifi signal is strong and stable and you have sufficient bandwidth you get the same stream as via ethernet, otherwise you get drops or buffering.

For whatever it’s worth, there is a technical review of the UpTone Audio EtherRegen in You can look it up.

BTW, if you believe Audio Science Review, you should be switching to lamp cord for your speakers and snapping up used Radio Shack interconnects.

Seriously, the guy doesn't want to admit he doesn't know which variables to measure or at what scale.

OK, I get what you were after, @dougthebiker ... The "square waves" defining the individual bits...

In fact they are not and do not need to be square at all. They "just" need to meet specified tolerance windows of high and low values inside a specified clock window.

Both wifi and ethernet signals need to meet this. Both wifi and wired routers and switches need to comply with these window specs. Good ones do, really bad ones may not.

What I was trying to explain is that an error in the level of one or more bits (1 instead of 0 or vice versa) does not create distortion, it creates a numerical error vs. the check bits which either can be corrected or results in a drop or buffering or really obvious noise, not harmonic distortion or amplitude or phase shift.

Of course wifi is susceptible to range and strength and bandwidth/speed issues. The point is that once you have a properly set up network with decent equipment and the signal is stable (sufficient speed and strength), the signal you will get via wifi will be identical to the one you get via ethernet.

Low quality or too long ethernet cables can also cause your bit signal to shift outside of the tolerance windows and cause transmission errors due to out of spec resistance, capacitance or inductance.

Think of streaming HD TV on your wifi Amazon Fire Stick vs. via digital cable. If you have enough bandwidth and signal strength, the picture on the same TV will be the same. The colors will be the same, the resolution will be the same, etc. The one on the Fire Stick will not be "distorted".

Same thing with audio. I took care to specify and locate my existing router and streamer such that there is no buffering or drops. I now need at minimum to replicate this. To my knowledge there are indeed subtle, incremental sound quality improvement opportunities in better routers due to clocking accuracy and electrical noise, and that’s the reason for my original post. But that applies to both ethernet and wifi.

I believe we beat this horse to death.


Update:  Two routers ordered on Amazon Prime:  Asus AX5400 (conventional) and TP-Link X60 3-pack. The Asus based on specs and highest rated reviews on Amazon.  The TP-Link based on specs and several endorsements here.

The Asus is here and the TP-Link is due here tomorrow.  Once it's here I will try first the factory reset and firmware update on the current Netgear.  If successful (kind of doubt it) both news ones go back.  If not successful I have yet to decide which new one to try first.  If the first new one works, the other new one goes back.  If the first new one does not work it goes back and we try the second one.  If that one does not work either (unlikely I think) it also goes back and we're back to the drawing board...


@yoramguy1 it'll be interesting to hear how you get on but i'm still a bit puzzled why you're focusing so much attention on the Router as a solution. Will your router still be connected to lots of other devices on the network? or are you planning to use if exclusively for your Streaming set up, eg, with ethernet coming in and one cable going out to the streamer.

Hello @teknorob23 ,

Please refer to my original post. I am focusing on the router because it is broken. Everything else is fine. I am simply inquiring whether there is obvious opportunity for any sound quality improvement in case I need to replace it.

I have fine and stable sound with wifi streaming, no drops or buffering issues. I am just no longer able to control my router, that's what this is all about.

I intend to use the repaired or new router exactly the same way I use it now - through wifi and with all other current wifi devices. I have 10 or 11 wifi devices on the network including at most one smart TV concurrently with the streamer. No gaming or cameras. We have one desktop connected to the router via ethernet for my wife's business (zoom-type sessions). If I decide to use the Asus it will be connected to the desktop via the priority (gaming) port.

If you end up trying more than one, it will be interesting to hear if you not a difference.

You were offered a better route to stream not using wi-fi but using a hard connection, you refuse to accept this advice. This is an audio forum and you will be given the best way to go. 

@brunomarcs , sorry for encroaching on your lofty audio forum.

I think I made it very clear what my parameters, constraints and reasoning are. And I received a wide range of very good advice here, both wifi and wired.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, even in audio. Even in audio, as in life, there are tradeoffs. I am looking for the best solution within constraints, not the absolute best solution in the universe at any cost or effort or side effects.

The audio world is full of many approaches and solutions in a wide range of cost and complexity. It is also full of myths and dogma.

Even with my doctor and lawyer I am always listening and evaluating very carefully but am not obligated to accept their advice. So let’s relax a bit.


Destination Overload: Destination socket buffers can become full because of an application's inability to drain data from them in a timely fashion, potentially because of the server being overwhelmed.

Well... good news and bad news.

The bad news first: I won't be able to use yet any of the good advice collected here.
The good news:  Contrary to the Netgear horror stories I was able to hard-reset and update my current router and all is well.  So both new routers will be dropped off at Kohl's tomorrow...

I do appreciate all your inputs and will refer to them again when the time comes to replace the router.  And to all the wifi skeptics (and believers):  If any of you happen to pass through upstate SC and have an hour or two to spare, drop me a line here with some advance notice and we will welcome you to our home for a brief (or longer) audition.



Even the most basic home router you can buy can EASILY keep up with audio, as long as your provider/cable modem can also keep up.  You do not need anything fancy.  Even the most basic routers can do 100 Mbits/sec which is more than enough for even the highest sampled digital music, as long as you are not sharing the channel with a lot of other devices.

Since you want to use wifi, there are 3 band choices: 2.4G, 5G and 6Gig.  2.4 has the most penetration and as a result the highest RSSI.  5G has better bandwidth but is prone to radar detection requirements, especially if you live any airport or military installation and hence you will be auto channel switching all the time anytime a radar pulse is detected (this is an FCC requirement).  6G is very new and is most likely prone to firmware errors so I would hold off on it.

So probably your best bet is 2.4G band and if you make your streamer the ONLY device on that band, you are likely to get very good response.


@cakyol , thanks.  I have been streaming audio over wifi for over 10 years, more than 3 with the current router.  My streamer requires 2.4GHz.  As I mentioned a few posts up I have around 10 devices on the same network and do not have issues.  Sound quality is on par with, maybe better than my Sony ES CD player (most likely thanks to the DAC). Speedtest is showing regularly 300-350 Mbps download at my Mac over wifi.

@yoramguy1 apologies I missed that and I thought you were looking to explore how  you could improve SQ. if you’re streaming via Wi-Fi any, even basic routers will be fine. :)


The good news: Contrary to the Netgear horror stories I was able to hard-reset and update my current router and all is well.

Good stuff!

From your netstat output, it looks like your network is performing normally.

Thank you, @yage !  It was very helpful.  That dump was before fixing the router.  I can only assume that nothing changed for the worse.  Thanks again!

@teknorob23, no worries!

I would look into a mesh router system. I've had good luck with the Netgear Orbi series and the Synology line of routers. Older routers may still function but lack many of the newer WiFi standards and may no longer receive security updates from their manufacturer. If the router is at least 4-5 years old, I would replace it if only from a network/data security and performance standpoint.

@nmolnar , thank you for this!  Duly noted!

My Netgear is from late 2018, and just got its firmware update.  It has been and is performing fine.  Our house is not very big and we do not experience drops while roaming around with mobile devices, but my focus is audio performance.

I still have on my hands the sealed TP-Link X60 3-pack mesh system which I'm about to return in the interest of cashflow...  Do you think I should bite the bullet and install it now, postpone for a year or two, and/or in any case steer clear from TP-Link?


I would install it now. There is a difference in technology between functionally and technically obsolescence. Hardware can still work but does not have the benefits (performance & security) of the rapidly advancing underlying technology. I suggest you compare the specs of your old router to the new one. If you bought the TP-Link X60 3-pack mesh system from Amazon and its within its return window, try it out being careful to keep all of the box and packings in case you wish to return it. 

Personally, I'd take a pass on the X60 if you're getting good coverage with your existing router.


We've got a mesh system in our house (ASUS XT8). The WAN port is in the basement and now that my wife works from home, she needs to have a better signal on the second floor. We also have a combiner box for our solar system on an outside wall that was sometimes dropping connection when there was only a single access point.


It looks like the X60 doesn't have a dedicated wireless backhaul. That means the mesh nodes will have to contend with devices for bandwidth back to the main access point if you don't want to run Ethernet cabling between the nodes. You might want to consider a product that has this feature, sometimes advertised as 'tri-band mesh'.


The good news is that even if your router stops being officially supported by Netgear, you have the option of installing DD-WRT, an open source Linux-based firmware. ASUS sometimes even takes features from DD-WRT to use in their official firmware releases.

@yage , thanks! I am really trying to avoid running ethernet wires -- no easy way to do it in this house cleanly and cheaply. Maybe a mesh system is an overkill in our situation? There is one line I ran from the router (ground floor) to my wife’s office upstairs. All other devices are fine accessing the router via wifi.

Per @nmolnar ’s advice I might be inclined to update to a newer tech router but do not want to create new issues where there are none at present...

P.S., just to confirm my understanding: the tri-band mesh has a wireless backhaul which does not rob bandwidth from the devices and does not need ethernet backhaul, correct?

This system doesn’t offer a dedicated radio band for wireless backhaul. Instead it uses a "dynamic" approach where the wireless backhaul uses the least trafficked WiFi frequency/channel rather than a separate & dedicated one. The TP-Link Deco M9 system does have a dedicated wireless backhaul.

Thank you, @nmolnar !! It is awesome to synthesize inputs from our expert panel!  This is the beauty of this forum.

I will look into the M9.

@yoramguy1 I’m with you on the wireless. The wire can carry EMI/RFI noise. Wireless is the connection recommended by the manufacturer of the wireless bridge I use to stream, an Auralic Aries (original). 


P.S., just to confirm my understanding: the tri-band mesh has a wireless backhaul which does not rob bandwidth from the devices and does not need ethernet backhaul, correct?

You got that right. What you want to look for is a dedicated wireless backhaul feature.


If most of your network devices support the latest 802.11ax (a.k.a. Wi-Fi 6) standard and you have a gigabit internet connection, there might be a reason to upgrade. If your current setup meets your needs, then I'd stand pat.


One note - it looks like all the TP Link gear mentioned so far supports the older 802.11ac (a.k.a. Wi-Fi 5) standard so you won't be future-proofing at all.

@yage , thanks again.  I have no Wifi 6 compatible devices at this point.  I will definitely keep your points in mind.  As you recall the original conversation started with the query about sound quality (referring to continuous distortion level, not reliability).  I have yet to be persuaded that a reliable wifi network distorts audio more than ethernet.  I see no way for that to take place.  If there are specific routers with superior clock accuracy or electric noise control which impacts the bit stream I remain curious (but that would not be specific to wireless vs. ethernet).


P.S., the TP-Link X60 I have here ready to be returned is Wifi 6, but not tri-band.

@oldrooney , wanted to get back to you. Very cool streamer, the Aries!

We listen to Pandora, Spotify and Qobuz, and I spent quite a bit of time looking for a wifi streamer that would support all three and replace my two existing streamers - Squeezebox Duet and Bluesound Node 2 - at the highest audio definitions available. Unfortunately very few devices fully support Pandora.

One of the good folks on this forum cued me onto the Magna Mano Ultra Mk2, which I’ve been using happily for over 1.5 years now together with an RME ADI-2 FS dac. The Mano can run ethernet but my home makes it quite difficult. It runs wifi 2.4G very reliably. My router and Mano are both located quite high and about 18’ and 2 internal walls apart. I did move all my other devices that are capable to 5G, especially the smart TVs, to minimize 2.4G traffic.

BTW, the root cause for this entire thread was that I needed to update the Logitech Media Server software on the Mano but could not access it because of a failed router firmware update... All is well now.

I have no dog in this fight, but...

Had a Verizon tech out to troubleshoot an issue with their cabling and commented the I should look at a Mesh system and eliminate some of my wired network. Well, although it sounded intriguing I have only a couple of wireless devices, everything else runs through switches (7 to be exact) in a more or less totally wired gig network.

Currently on their router, but will be switching back to my Asus RT-AC68U and I run a second Asus Dark Knight that is used as a wireless repeater to make sure tablet has coverage as I use it to run JRiver through for my second system.  



Yeah, I would definitely ignore what your VZ guy said. Although you may not want to tear your house apart to put in wired Ethernet… you sure don’t want to take it out if you have it.

If you are dedicated to high end audio typically it is best to know yourself and ignor contradictory remarks from electricians, cable guys, cellular guys, Best Buy guys, mid-fi gurus… etc. They frequntly want to be helpful but do not have the values and knowledge to do so.

More than once I have had to ask an electrician to “just do it”. It has always turned out to be a great improvement. I will happily take their advice on putting the toaster oven and refrigerator on the same circuit, but not on audio questions.

I have no recommendation for a router because netgear makes good products.  A UPS might be a good idea for the next router. I am running Netgear AC 1200 network from my router. It is 1ghz and the throughput is Plenty for my bluesound node II.  I have no complaints with sound.  And it has been stable. I'm not sure what the throughput is on a mesh, but being wireless I would expect less performance than wired.

@pcrhkr , I'm with you. UPS is a good idea. Have been considering one for a while. Which one do you have/recommend?

Had quite several good years of use from my Bluesound Node 2.  It developed the known red LED issue but kept running fine.  Ended up replacing it and my squeezebox duet not long ago with a single streamer to increase flexibility and improve the DAC.

Staying with the Netgear for the time being.

@kota1 ​​@yoramguy1 :  I, too, heartily recommend the ADD-Powr Symphony I/O to improve your streaming experience with the Netgear router. 

Please forgive me but for the life of me I cannot see the purpose of this device other than to enrich its manufacturers.

May I politely suggest you try it before opining? Your comment is otherwise useless

Gents, no offense intended or taken.  I simply have not enough time or money to try every audio gizmo without some basic understanding of why, how and to what extent it works, and whether it is intended to address a specific "opportunity" with my current setup. Same is the case for dietary supplements, fitness programs, investment plans, etc...

In this case I read through some of the available literature online and cannot convince myself that this stuff works at all or that its effect is perceptible by the human ear.  I am an engineer with some grasp of vibration theory and signal processing, including Fourier series etc.

As to subjective evaluation, in my audio experience, when you have a very good system to start with, and you are introducing a subtle tweak -- not a very different speaker or an amp of a different performance category or bass traps etc. -- the only reliable way to evaluate its effect with no placebo effect requires:  a) blind A-B-A auditioning, and b) immediate and brief back to back auditioning - e.g., a 5 sec. segment repeated within 1-2 seconds.  These are impossible to accomplish on our own.

Of course I could be wrong.  And of course it could be that I am currently complacent and content with our sound quality and happy to just enjoy the music and not chase the ever receding horizon of promised improvements...


ADD-Powr's concepts and assertions are rational. The Sym I/O audio benefits are not subtle. So you don't need to do blind A/B/A comparisons.

The products are worthy, cutting edge devices that offer more value to the quality of high end sound than any collection(s) of cabling ever can hope to achieve.

Do a little search here on Audiogon and you will find very few posts that show customer dis-satisfaction.

Open your mind. Ask the manufacturer questions. Contact a dealer and try any of the products for yourself. You have nothing to lose with a 30 day money back guarantee.

Maybe then you will be convinced intellectually and subjectively that the product


Late to the party but let's say you don't have to spend much money at all. I got this used: Motorola MG7540 AC1600 Dual-Band DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router.

Connected it via ethernet, short cable but the key: power.

Running the combo modem/router via a battery-powered:

TalentCell 12V Lithium-ion Battery PB120B1, Rechargeable 38400mAh 142.08Wh Li-ion Battery Pack with DC 12V and 5V USB Output for LED Light Strip, CCTV

That made a nice difference. 


In remote areas where there aren‘t too many networks competing for bandwidth wireless can work very well without some of the vagaries of wired connections. In an urban setting, interference however tends to be too high.,What definitely doesn‘t work are mainsborne range extenders.for wifi.