[LAU] Audio over WIFI

Len Ovens len at ovenwerks.net
Mon Jan 19 23:00:55 UTC 2015

On Mon, 19 Jan 2015, Leonardo Gabrielli wrote:

> Just to bring the discussion back to its original topic, I see and know already


> that audio over 802.11 is always thought of as a geek thing when not an insanity,
> but at my institution we felt this as good challenge for engineering research and
> I've been working on that as part of my PhD studies in the last two years.
> Updates and material about the project are reported at our research group webpage
> http://a3lab.dii.univpm.it/research/wemust

I can see how wireless makes this possible.

> The project, called WeMUST, i.e. wireless music studio, was started to test
> current network technologies in a *studio*, but later we also addressed live
> stage usage and a concert was performed last summer on the sea. In that case we
> acquired signal with Debian-based ARM platforms (beagleboard xm) and sent it to
> special devices from Mikrotik through Ethernet. The Mikrotik devices have
> directional antennas and created 802.11a bridges from sea to land. The networking
> topology allowed for monitoring and the round-trip latency allowed by the system
> was 16ms at lowest (but could be reduced with a different HW choice). The
> musicians could synchronize well and all had the same latency, imposed by JACK,
> running on both the ARM and the PC mixing the signal on the land.

I was going to say 10ms is about where I start to feel disconnected from 
what I am playing, but I realize I am thinking one way and round trip 
would be about 20ms. So 16ms might be well workable.

I am probably just missing something, but I find it hard to think where I 
would prefer wireless audio use in a studio where everything is close 
enough for wire and generally there are no "stage acrobatics". Thought for 
testing it makes great sense because it is easier to control the 
environment. Also, hum and noise from guitar cables (for example) can be 
proberly dealt with in a permanent studio in ways some stage setups can't 
(one of my favourite reasons for wireless guitar is to remove the player 
from all grounds to avoid buzz... my new bass doesn't seem to have this 
problem though)

For stage use, this would be great. I can see a number of uses. Smaller 
venues often require a snake to be run (analogue or digital) for people to 
trip over, and with ends to wear out (aside from the cable itself...) 
wireless would be nice and easy/quick to set up. Wireless already knows 
how to deal with more than one channel at a time. One AP can deal with a 
number of clients. (though the same tech could be used with analoge 
wireless) The technology is bi-directional, a musicain could have one TX 
pack for both audio and monitoring.

Directional antennas would make a huge difference. Also remember that most 
802.11* transmitters are not running anywhere near maximum legal power 
(this changes with antenna gain too). Ballancing gain, directionality and 
erp might effectively remove a lot of background radio activity in the 

> To recap, my opinion is that 802.11 can be as good as any other wireless
> technology in providing music and compared to legacy analog techniques the
> quality is not compromised (unless the link is so bad that connection

The only concern I would have with personal radio packs, is ADC quality. 
Resampling becomes manditory, of course, but may not be a real concern 
(besides added latency). Compatability would be a question too, this is 
where AES67 may help. Certainly with many mixers going digital i/o, adding 
an AP to the net would make this stuff "easy"... if they all work 

Len Ovens

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list