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Behringer XR18 Wifi Problems and Embarrassing Stories

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by michaelpraytor, Mar 14, 2019 at 3:24 AM.

  1. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

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    Location:
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    Hey!!

    I purchased a Behringer XR18 (rack mount/stage box version) last year and it's made my life so much easier in some respects and so much harder in others! I'm still really really new to using it.

    For the first few gigs (a couple of small concerts and some location recording sessions) the built-in wifi router worked perfectly. For larger gigs, I began using a tiny router - everything still worked perfectly.

    Then I went to Atlanta to run sound for a band and nothing would work for me. The gig was absolutely huge. It was in the middle of this gentrified shopping center (Ponce City Market) with thousands of people around. As you can imagine, just finding my router on the list of available networks was a little difficult because there were hundreds of Wifi connections all around.

    After making an initial connection close by the mixer and external router, I walked in front of the stage to handle the sound check and my iPad started freaking out and losing signal. When I'd walk back over to the mixer, I'd pick up signal for a couple of seconds - then it would drop again. In the end, I was only able to get the mixer to connect long enough to unmute the important channels (vocals, keyboard, and acoustic-electric guitar) and I had to pretty much grin and bear it the entire performance and make minor adjustments by walking back and forth from the router at point-blank-range to the front of the stage.

    It was absolutely embarrassing.

    Following this, I did some Googling and found that other people online had the same sort of problem - but I could never find a clear and concise solution. A sound engineer friend of mine that has years of experience with these mixers told me that an easy way to fix everything is by changing the WiFi channel from the default of 11 (or whatever it is) to something else.

    Poking around on the Behringer software, I found the spot in the app to change the internal router's WiFi channel. While I was at home, I changed it from 11 to 5 and (of course) noticed no real difference.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had another gig come up - a poetry and original music showcase in a loft. Only 100 people were expected to attend - and I figured I could get away with just using the built in router as the area the show was happening was not densely populated and I've been able to get away with using the built in WiFi in crowds of 300 before in the same area.

    The rehearsal went smoothly. The first hour and a half of the show went smoothly as well. Whenever the show was approaching the final 5 acts, the WiFi signal completely dropped out. No matter how close I got to my mixer, my iPad would not even recognize the router. After a minute of flipping the switch for the WiFi options on the mixer, I got connected again and everything functioned alright as long as I was close by.

    That is - until the final act.
    The final act was a four piece country band with a great reputation in the town and in the state. As they jumped on stage and picked up their instruments - the signal dropped out once again. I scrambled. I tried everything to fix it but nothing was working. My last choice was to turn the mixer off and on again (which I did after disconnecting all the speakers so nothing would pop).

    When the mixer came back on, I was able to connect to the WiFi, but I was yet again experiencing problems connecting unless I was in close proximity (or weirdly it would connect if I was on the opposite end of the room - but nowhere in between).

    Luckily, I was able to get out of there without completely embarrassing myself. I got the mixer to work well enough to bring effects in and out and to change monitor levels as needed. None of the guys in the band knew there was a problem and nobody in the audience complained about the sound (in fact, I got a shoutout in a newspaper article about the quality of the event sound).

    Anyway - it seems that changing the internal router WiFi channel didn't work for me. And maybe all of my problems would have been solved by bringing along my external router...


    Questions:

    1. Do I need to buy a new external router? I believe my current external router is a small dual-band Netgear unit that's a few years old.

    2. Is there any way to control the mixing through the XAir software on a computer through USB cable instead of WiFi?? Every time I've modified settings for recording or anything, I did it by connecting my computer to the board's wifi.

    3. Are these boards just sometimes defective? The amount of random signal dropout makes me really suspicious. Do I need to contact Behringer?

    4. Should I just buy an X32? I honestly don't have the money for one right now - and I was hoping I could get by with the XR18 while saving up for a Midas M32. Should I look at getting a physical board ASAP?

    5. How can I be certain that everything will work the next time I have a high-stakes gig, though? Next month, I'm heading back to Atlanta to do sound for the same band I was there with last time. If I adjust everything with my external WiFi router and all - how do I know it'll work when I travel somewhere more densely populated?


    As always, sorry for the long post - but these problems are really giving me anxiety and I can't seem to find any helpful, comprehensive answers anywhere!!
     
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  2. Crisp image

    Crisp image Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    My thoughts and my thoughts only.
    Yes changing the channel is a good idea I had the same problem with my Nomad system for lighting. I have heard that the internal router is not the best router in the world so what I have read is use an external one. Use the best one you can afford. Do some experiments. Take the gear to a place where there are lots of people and play with it. No need to uput sound through just connect and wander to see if you can maintain control.
    I would be interested in the results as I was considering one of these devices.
    Regards
    Geoff
     
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  3. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    I would recommend a few things to set yourself for the best success. Always use an external access point. The built in one is junk. And get a nice unit like Apple, or Ubiquiti, or the the like. Get the unit up high in the air to get the best line of sight to where you will be mixing from. (I use a shelf on a tripod mic stand). Set it up as a hidden network on 5Ghz not 2.4. This will help to avoid some of the issues with congestion with local wifi and people trying to connect to your network thinking it is wifi. Also, carry an old laptop as a back up so that you have a hardwired connection available as a back up at all times. Set it up on each gig so it is ready to go.

    ~Dave
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 11:22 AM
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  4. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I'm not a wifi expert, nor have I attempted to use an XR series mixer. However, I have more than a little experience with RF systems, which wifi is at its roots. My opinion is that this is not a hardware problem specific to the XR series. This is a spectrum problem. When the sprectrum is extremely congested, as it clearly was in your problem locations, there is no wireless solution that is going to be as reliable as you'd like. If want a reliable connection, do the time honored thing and string a ruggedized network cable to your "mix position." And don't forget the gaff tape.
     
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  5. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    As stated above, using the 5ghz band instead of 2.4 will always get you further away from oversaturated interference. Also, like above, the access point should be as high as possible so the signal isn't "going through" all the people standing between you and the access point.
    The best and easiest solution is: Use a network cable, not wifi. Apple makes a lightning to ethernet adapter and you will never have to deal with interference.
    Sure you have to run a cable but can fall back to the wifi for sound check and plug in when you're in show mode.
     
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  6. Ken Summerall Jr

    Ken Summerall Jr Member

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    Location:
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    These guys are absolutely right.

    1. The built in wifi is crap. Always use an external.
    2. Get a newer router that offers 5G. Not many people are using that band.
    3. Hide your SSID.
    4. Plug a laptop into the router and you have a backup! The desktop software also has a few more features than the iPad app. If the wifi crashes you still have your laptop hardwired to the xAir.
    5. I would also add - secure your router with a PW that you can remember! I can't count the number of times that I've seen the wifi and/or app crash and require the PW to reconnect only to have the engineer not remember which password he used!

    K
     
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  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Pick up a google wifi puck, that should get you nice wifi in a easy to move package. Second, run a cable for high profile events that will be in saturated wifi situations. You can get an ethernet adapter for an ipad. Using a Camera Connection kit and a USB to Ethernet adapter: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...os-us-kwgo-pla-btb--slid----product-MK0W2AM/A and https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MC704LL/A/apple-usb-ethernet-adapter

    There are also 3rd party things that clean this up a bit... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPNFHSN/?tag=controlbooth-20. As always with 3rd party apple products don't expect them to work perfectly.

    If something is critical for a gig ALWAYS run a cable. Using wifi spectrum over a crowd is always going to cause problems and the X-Airs router is junk. In the unit I have we never even turned it on.
     
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  8. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    All the important stuff's been said.

    5GHz. Altitude. Laptop backup.

    Actually turn off the 2.4GHz radio in the router.
     
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  9. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

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    Thank you all so much!! I'm very dumb to technology when it comes to WiFi - and all your responses have cleared things up greatly for me or have led me in the right direction to find solutions. I have a couple of weeks before I have to hit the road with the mixer again - so I'll play around with it and get it all set up properly.

    Before this thread I didn't even think about the ethernet adapters for Mac and iPad. I'll definitely pick one up now so I'll have a hardwired connection. I had previously been trying to figure out how to do this through USB and the XAir Edit app - but I couldn't figure anything out. One situation was so dire I considered using the USB to route the audio into Logic then back out to the mixer - just because I knew for sure I could have control and process the channels the way I wanted that way.

    One thing that bothers me about the iPad app VS the desktop app is that they both seem to have different features and there's slight things about the layouts that are different - which makes things really confusing sometimes. I can stare at the screen for ages trying to figure out where something's at. I'm getting better, though!

    I have a feeling anyway that my current external router is crap or it's somehow falling apart... I usually use it at a small theatre with a StudioLive Series III and I've never had problems with connections dropping out until recently. I'll look into the Google Puck and see what that's all about!

    In the interest of tidiness I know I haven't always places my external router in a good spot. Could securing a router to the top of a speaker be a good place?
     
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  10. TimMc

    TimMc Well-Known Member

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    Hi Michael-

    I think the 'desktop' Editor is just peachy once you know what you want to do; you're right that you just need some time. Yeah, the UI looks different than the iOS app. Both are useful. The earlier suggestion to use a CAT5e cable to connect a laptop of Either Persuasion to your WAP/router is excellent advice. The Editor is an executable file and doesn't need much computer horsepower to run, either... but it means wired backup in combat audio situations.

    What I've found as a user of a variety of RF technologies: spectrum is more congested than ever; places where it worked last year will fail this year. The 2.4gHz band is overloaded in most concentrated populations - almost every person has a 2.4 transceiver in their pocket that really wants to reach out and touch your WAP/router (even if it can't do anything with it). Antenna position is EVERYTHING, in the sense that you can't bluff: if the devices do not have an RF-unobstructed view of each other failure is almost certain when competing devices populate your venue.

    The advice about securing and defending your WAP/router given up-thread is good grass roots advice. You're trying to minimize the promiscuous connection attempts by the punter's mobile phones and not overload the router's password authentication server to deny an actual data connection. Most devices will not attempt to connect to a "hidden SSID" unless they've previously connected to it. 5gHz? Fewer devices have it set as default but there are more dual-band mobile devices (my Galaxy 7 is one) and it's a pretty good bet that it too will become saturated. For now if it helps, use it. My experience has been the "line of site" requirement even more stringent with 5gHz than 2.4, and part of that is keeping my tablet or phone *consistently* up high enough to not have bags of salt water (people) between it and the WAP.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  11. michaelpraytor

    michaelpraytor Member

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    I just spent a couple of hours playing around with the desktop editor exclusively in a "virtual soundcheck" mode for the band that I'll be working with in the near future. It's something I've been meaning to figure out how to do for a long, long time - but I think I've finally got the hang of it. I worked exclusively on the desktop app so I'm now a little more familiar with the placement of everything and I've got all my inputs and basic processing set up for the gig!

    Thanks for all of your expertise I'm going to take everything you and others have said in this thread into account with my upcoming purchases!
     
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  12. steine

    steine Member

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    Occupation:
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    Never used the XR18 myself, but from fellow techies heard enough scary tales never to get one ;)
    (Used the Soundcraft UI24 a few times, with external 5GHz accesspoint though)

    One thing about 2.4GHz though, despite "all" the channels there, channels 1, 6 and 11 are the only ones usable together without interference, all the rest will at some degree overlap between those three.
     
  13. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    Where as in 5GHz there are like 130 channels, none of which overlap.

    On 5, always select auto.
     
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