Multigig modem/router mod project

Xymox

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Apr 17, 2019
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If you have to ask..... hahahahaha.... I would bet this is THE best way.. But most likely eye watering prices.. Like a pair of top end speakers eye watering.. Its the options were they get you..

RTP-oscilloscope-test-and-measurement_49831_05b_img05_new_w900_hX.jpg
 
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Xymox

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Apr 17, 2019
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I have been testing the modem and router.. I have some work related things I am going to do
So there will be a slight pause in my thread. I need to be certain the modem and router are super stable over time, so a pause is needed.
 

Xymox

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Apr 17, 2019
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I got fairly distracted with a number of things work related..

SO.. I have been running the modem and router for 14 days with zero issues. 14 days uptime on both. Nice and solid. Zero uncorrected errors on the 32 channels + OFDM. That is better then with my SB8200 where I always get a few..

So.. It has passed the stability test now...

I went thru a nasty storm here in Phoenix yesterday where the lights flicked pretty good 4 times. I lost computers and other stuff during the flickers. The modem and router tho did not notice and rode thru the power fluctuations easily. I would expect that with so much uF..

I have been talking to people I know who make high end gear. I know 3 people who make very high, top of the list, DACs and renderers. I found out something interesting.. No one has really examined the physical layer of Ethernet as they do not have the equip to do so. I am trying to pursuade a high end guy who makes nice devices right here in my neck of the woods to buy that scope. I could then go over and use it..

With my calls and emails now I am VERY convinced the boogy man causing the voodoo in EThernet, Optical and maybe USB is this not well explored physical later. Further,, I don't think any mfgr of super high end gear that makes a renderer should be without a Tektronix MSO-64B + Advanced jitter + Ethernet options. Designing products at this level and price range really requires understanding the Ethernet / Optical / USB signal at a physical level and really tweaking all sorts of things to maximize it.

I would also like, if possible, for the resulting auto negotiation set of parameters to be available on a device to see what is really going on. Im not sure this is available tho from the Ethernet controller chip. If so, it needs to be brought out.

In some weeks from now I will be setting up some new gear. After that all gets settled I will do some actual SQ A/B of these devices VS SB8200.
 

mjohnson4580

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Mar 10, 2021
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I know your a very busy man. Is there any way you can post pics of the mods you have done to the modem and router like the before pics in the zip files? Thank you. This is awesome and is very interesting.
 

Xymox

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Apr 17, 2019
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I got distracted because of new gear.. I now have a CH Precision L10 and some M10's in place driving the YG XV's. I wanted to get this all in place to really have a good platform to evaul changes.. So I will get back to this shortly..

The router and modem with all the mods has proven to be 100% uptime and very stable. WHich sure makes sense with the insanity level of the right kinds of caps for this application.
 
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AC in AC

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Jun 7, 2021
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Firstly, thank you very much for your discussion threads here, Xymox. I have learned a lot by following your narrative and your answers to others' questions. Please indulge me a bit of explanation in advance of asking you a question. I have an extreme high-end system and have been doing most of my listening recently to streamed internet content, which I greatly enjoy. I have made various "upgrades" and "improvements" to various devices in my system from time to time by replacing SMPSes with LPSes and believe I have achieved improvements in sound quality by doing so -- not my imagination, but according to the most intellectually honest objective listening I feel I can muster for myself. Now, Comcast has recently increased my internet service to 800Mbps and sent me a new (rental) modem/router to use -- an ARRIS TG4482A. This device has a weird dc jack/plug setup that precluded easy connection to my Nordost QSource LPS (which is presently powering four Nordost QPoint resonance devices but has 2 additional auxiliary LPS outputs) so I contacted both Comcast and ARRIS for more information about the TG4482's power supply and ARRIS told me that this modem/router was discontinued in 2017 and is no longer supported by the manufacturer. (So, Comcast is renting us a 4-year-old thing that's no longer even being made and telling us it's the latest and greatest home internet connection that they can possibly offer. I chose to include this part of my long story here for the benefit of others who may find themselves in the same situation.) I then went looking for more information about modems and routers that audiophiles might be using and found your threads. As a result, I am now about to return this POS to Comcast and purchase the S33, which is perfectly compatible with Comcast cable internet service. (Your advice to go with a multi-gigabit modem at this time in the marketplace is wise even though Comcast's service will not necessarily reach this level [for me, at least] for some time.) While I was not going to be inclined to start tearing the S33 apart and stuffing it with caps and a fan as you are doing (which I think is very cool but is far beyond my pay grade and patience level), I did have every intention of powering it with a 12V LPS feed from the Nordost QSource and running it into a good audiophile-oriented isolating switch such as the PhoenixNET, WRouter, EtherREGEN, etc. -- out of which I would presumably feed my very high-end streaming device and a suitable (audiophile-recommended) wifi router. Before making a commitment to any one particular expensive solution, however, I wanted to make sure that my iPad would be able to "see" and control the streaming device on my network with this setup. I have been able to have that question asked of the streamer's manufacturer and they say they do not recommend running their system that way. In further discussion about internet connectivity in general and any improvements that could possibly be achieved using various "audiophile" ideas and approaches, they also recommended against using an LPS for a modem for which a SMPS was supplied -- suggesting that SMPSes are "faster" than LPSes and that today's modems require that level of responsiveness from their power supplies. They said that present-day wall-wart SMPSes are far better made than in previous years and that any "noise" they might introduce -- whether physical or electrical -- is far less nefarious than the potential degradation of performance from a too-slow power supply. All of this is to preface my question to you of whether, with your combined experience in analyzing the performance of modems and routers and also critical music listening, you can appreciate the logic in this statement. I can't ask you if you agree because much of your discussion threads are focused on the poor (messy) measured performance of SMPSes and the modification of devices to take LPSes instead, so your underlying assumption is obviously that digital switching power supplies can always be bettered -- at least in technical performance -- by linear supplies. I would greatly appreciate hearing your comments on the streamer manufacturer's advice from your perspective. I am now at a loss as to whether to use the "supplied supply" (sorry) or my LPS to power the modem. Also, now that it appears I shouldn't use one of the audiophile ethernet switches according to the streamer's manufacturer (even if I employ it between my modem and eventual wifi/ethernet router, which the streamer's manufacturer claims will have no ability whatsoever to "improve" any parameter of the internet packeted signal itself and likely will have very little if any effect upon any digital system noise or jitter), I will need a suitable wifi/ethernet router to run out of the modem and before the streamer. I don't need anything like the Mikrotik -- only perhaps two or four ethernet ports at the most along with built-in wifi, which doesn't need to be super sophisticated because I don't do any gaming or wifi music streaming. (I only need wifi for general consumer-level laptop connectivity in a small apartment and iPad control of the music streamer.) Is there any particular simple current-technology wifi/ethernet router that you have measured and/or listened to with good results? I apologize for the long message but I'm hoping that your followers (which will now include myself) will benefit from some of the experiences I've related. Thank you very, very much. AC>
 

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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I'm curious what streamer manufacturer advocates an off the shelf switch rather than an audio grade switch. A good switch with LPS was one of the larger gains in streaming that I heard. Getting a stand alone router instead of an all in one router modem was also big. The LPS to the modem and router were small gains. And you have to have a LPS that is at least twice the power output of the device being powered. If you don't have good tension in power you will get a lot of dropouts. And possibly burn out the devices. I know from experience.

Putting a filter in the data closet and using it to plug all the SMPS or LPS into will reduce noise bleeding back into the general power. The music playback will get darker in tone. Some might find it a little hifi. Others love it.
 

AC in AC

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Jun 7, 2021
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Thanks for your attention to my post, Kingrex. I see that you are active on several digital audio forums and are an electrician so I might hope to eventually learn some things from you, too. I would be particularly interested to hear if you have had any experience with the Linear Solution router, which would, in theory, be the perfect solution to my second question to Xymox (a much less expensive solution to the Waversa WRouter, which is also a combined "audiophile-grade" ethernet/wifi router and switch). You spoke of a personal connection with the Linear Solution guy ("Adrian"), who visited your home to install his switch, so perhaps you have had a chance to hear his router in some system(s)? I need a good ethernet/wifi router to accompany my new ARRIS S33 modem, regardless of whether I also eventually employ a switch (or whether the router I use also contains isolating switch infrastructure).

In answer to your comments, though, you will note that I specifically refrained from naming the manufacturer who offered the advice I related, in order to "protect the innocent", so to speak. (He wouldn't have intended to get in the middle of a forum discussion vicariously through me and I don't want to put him there). However, I assure you that he represents one of the most well-respected manufacturers of digital audio gear in the world and is someone whose advice and opinion you'd want to at least consider. I also didn't say that he advocated an "off-the-shelf switch" -- he actually eschewed the concept of the current crop of "audiophile" switches altogether, saying (for seemingly strong reasons that are unfortunately beyond my ability to repeat to you coherently and correctly) that they can't possibly have the ability to "improve" the actual packet-based internet signal coming out of the wall in any way (including with any kind of "re-clocking") and can mostly only interfere with what today's modems and routers are designed to do and unnecessarily add more complexity to one's audio system and power needs. He did say that if an ethernet switch was necessary or preferred for system topology reasons, he happens to have had (or heard of) good experience with a relatively modest one made by English Electric -- but I never said anything about that in my original post. It was actually the "off-the-shelf" (your reference) SMPS that he recommended using over any linear power supply (including expensive audiophile ones) for today's modems, insisting that SMPSes are "faster" in response and power delivery than LPSes; and that if a modem is supplied with an SMPS wall-wart, then that's what it's designed to work with and that's what the consumer should use. I was seeking Xymox's view of that advice, he having a lot of direct experience measuring the (noisy and unstable) signal components of modem and router power supplies and trying very hard to improve their technical performance in a measurable way. Of course, he and you and others have written that power supply changes from SMPSes to LPSes have (somewhat surprisingly) produced among the smaller improvements relative to other upgrades; but I would still consider using my Nordost LPS to power my new modem if someone with the technical and listening experience of Xymox was able to tell me that it at least wouldn't degrade my performance relative to the supplied SMPS like the streamer manufacturer guy suggested. At the very least, I wouldn't mind keeping wall warts off of my power conditioners just to keep my system wiring tidier. (Thank you for the good suggestion to employ an LPS capable of twice the power output required by a device -- I, too, learned this lesson burning out guitar effect pedals with insufficient power supplies in my earlier years.)

Frankly, the most interesting observation that the gentleman from the venerable digital audio equipment manufacturer made was that most of the companies and individuals mucking around in this field at this time and making things like "audiophile-grade" ethernet switches and other noise- and jitter-reduction schemes are applying traditional audiophile values, biases, understandings and workings of high-end home audio equipment to the natural propensity to want to "upgrade" things and are likely doing more harm than good to most users' sound quality, not understanding the actual content and behavior and manipulation of raw internet signals. In listening to his take on these things, I couldn't help but be reminded of Xymox's extensive narrated tours, dissections and upgrading of two pieces of electronics in order to achieve measurable technical improvements that might or might not (as Xymox is careful and honest to point out) translate into improvements in sound quality -- after which he wades into a (short but very informative) discussion of the almost impossible complexity of the internet signal itself, saying that he is only recently starting to understand what's really coming out of the wall and why it is what it is -- and that almost no makers of digital audio gear truly understand it because none of them possess the proper tool to analyze it.

Let me close here with a word on my own audio point of view. I'm not a "bits is bits" or "all amplifiers sound the same if they perform well on the test bench" (Stereo Review) kind of guy and I don't necessarily take the streamer manufacturer's word on ethernet matters as gospel (even though I'm heavily invested in his products). We all know that many things that shouldn't necessarily make a difference actually do make a difference and we don't always understand exactly why; and, in fact, in my experience everything matters. I have an extreme system and I've spent lots of money on both traditional upgrades and freaky tweaks. Some things that should have (or were touted to) wrought major improvements turned out to do relatively little or even be detrimental and some things that were almost quixotic in their concepts have actually produced substantial and meaningful differences in system performance or room response. Hang around audio long enough and you can't help but experience this. I can certainly grasp that separating out the modem from the ethernet and wifi routing could make a big difference and I'm going in that direction. I'm also willing to try one of the well-regarded "audiophile" ethernet switches (with appropriate LPS) or perhaps a router/switch like the Linear Solution or Waversa, and I trust your statement that this brought one of your larger gains in streaming performance. (Alas, I don't have a "data closet" to "put a filter in"; but I do have two dedicated power lines running from my central panel to two audio-dedicated duplexes for my system with certain RF resonance treatment devices treating these lines.) Anyway, one thing should be clear to everyone who has tried to improve their system's (and room's) performance over time: every system and room combination is different from every other and what works or sounds good in one place may or may not do the same elsewhere. Not everyone wants to spend their entire listening life A/B'ing black boxes all the time but a certain amount of experimentation and trial and error are healthy and essential to finding a sound you can settle on being happy with for a reasonably long period of time before your next itch to upgrade something. Thanks again. AC>
 

Kingrex

Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2019
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Xymox is way beyond most everyone who posts on these forums with his understanding of the inner workings or modems, routers and switches. He is also way beyond most all when it comes to building out an entire power supply to an audio/video room. He is a person I would call a mentor of sorts to me. He got me to take the Lyncole grounding class. And he led me to an incredible manufacturer of custom panels and industrial filters. And I too have noted in his posts that he does not say the improved stability of packs will make the sound better. Its just verifiably more stable.

I have not spoken to Adrian in some time. Last I saw him he had an endpoint at my house. I have not asked him about his router. I like his switch. It was clear what that was doing. I have not sat with his switch which I use in the same system with the Ether Regen or others.

I have heard those with shall I say wisdom, caution against throwing a LPS at everything. I think a bit of it is good oll caution too. I put one (1) HD plex to my modem and router. It said it had enough power to run them both. After a few weeks I dropped out. I reset. After a week I dropped out. I reset. Then it started dropping out daily. Eventually I burned up my modem. I bought a new modem and use the HD Plex 19 volt for the router and bought a new LPS for the modem. I have never had an issue since.

There are a lot of individual that live and die by numbers. If they cant measure it, it does not exist. There is the extreme. People who could care less about the numbers and only listen. And there very well could be anticipated bias in their perceptions. I probably fall a little more to the listen side. I don't understand the inner working of electronics. But I have seen LPS utilized across a number of systems and everyone seems to find a benefit. And even further, most have a filter of some sort they plug those LPS into. I noted this morning on another thread about the Trifield that I heard a gain plugging my modem, router and switch into a Triplite medical isolation transformer. A month or so ago I was plugging these devices into a name brand filter. I also heard a change. But it was more dark backgrounds. A different presentation. I "personally" like the transformer more than the other filter. Both worked. But then again, I like my 22 watt 845 amp driving PAP trio 15 horn speakers. Most of my friends have hundreds, if not thousands of watts and love a very robust, powerful, linear form of playback. We make choices on the devices we use in our systems based upon taste. FWIW, a couple friend plug their modem, router and switch into the Nordost Q core and swear by it. And their digital is darn good. Almost indistinguishable from their their vinyl. As is mine. And we all use an audiophile switch and off the shelf modems and routers with LPS to them all. We all have different brands of LPS.

I believe there are absolute rights and wrongs when it comes to setting up a system. As far as digital, I believe a good audio grade switch feed by a good power supply is critical to achieving premium streaming performance. Its the last step before you enter the server. There is more to it than packets. There is also power supply noise. Leaking DC. Jitter. It just works better to have a good switch. And darned if the Ethernet cable between these too also matters. You can hear changes from one brand to another. There is a lot of noise going on in a digital streaming system. When you rid that noise, or stabilized the packets or whatever is really going on, the noise floor drops and the music becomes much more real. More natural. Details are much better. Separation is better. There is less smear. You need to apply a sound foundation in the digital backbone to get the most from streaming.

I try to get the foundation correct when I approach a system. I am not a dealer of any equipment aside from panelboards I have made for me. I therefore have not spent much time comparing brands. But I have seen enough systems to know there are gains to be had by applying a solid foundation of equipment to the digital backbone. Stepping into the world of premium with the switch is a must from what I have seen.

Hopefully Xymox can find time to answer your specific questions. He is a wealth of information everyone can learn from.
 
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