Unplug and Reboot – Troubleshooting Apple Airplay, a Yamaha Receiver, and Frontier DSL

07ED180BE35443FAA6D01C48DE795B0A_12075If you’ve ever placed a call to a tech support line for computer equipment, you know that usually one of the first things they’ll instruct you to do is unplug the device, wait 15 seconds, plug it back in, and then reboot it. I used to give that same advice when I worked for a company doing tech support. I should have followed that advice, but it’s amazing how you can get tunnel vision when working on a problem.

Last year I purchased a new stereo receiver, a Yamaha RX-V473, after my previous receiver blew up. One of the reasons I purchase this particular receiver was for its Airplay and Internet radio capabilities. For those of you not familiar with it, Airplay is an Apple technology that allows you to listen to the music you have stored in iTunes on your phone or computer through your stereo. It’s pretty cool technology, and I had gotten used to it, as well as I loved listening to net radio.

I found a couple of great stations on net radio that I really liked, the Jethro Tull station, and a big band jazz station. It became our weekend routine to listen to the big band station in the morning.

That all came to a halt when I decided to switch my Internet service from Suddenlink cable to Frontier DSL. Over the years I had grown to hate Suddenlink, for while my bill kept increasing, their performance and reliability suffered. When I was supposed to be getting 8MB service, I found that at night when everyone was downloading Netflix streams, I could barely get 2MB. So I downgraded to their 1MB for cost savings and ditched Netflix. When some vandal started cutting Suddenlink’s cable every few days, I finally had had enough. Not because the outages were their fault, but because they were the type of company that would inspire such vandalization in the first place.

So we made the switch to Frontier and everything went smoothly. Frontier’s bundle meant I was getting my DSL at no extra cost, plus my download speeds were improved to 6MB. But there were two problems that I put on the back burner for awhile.

First the Internet radio was full of clicks and crackles, like listening to an old record. While listening to the big ban station I just pretended it was an old record, but after awhile I got tired of my own delusion.

The second problem was that Airplay no longer worked.

The odd thing was that I could see the receiver on the network, and I could even use the iPhone app Yamaha provides to turn it on and off, and switch inputs, as well as changing radio stations. I couldn’t figure out what would cause a digital signal to degrade the way it was, usually digital signals are fine or they don’t work at all.

I tried playing with the router that Frontier provides, a Netgear 7550. This model of router is sold only to telecomm companies, and they don’t provide a manual for it but I was able to find some info on the web for it. But nothing seemed to help.

Finally I decided to put the router in bridge mode and go back to using my old router. Again I found instructions on the web, but I still couldn’t get it to work. So I called up a local network guy and had him come over just to double check everything. He was stumped, but finally made the suggestion to just try unplugging the receiver since it was normally in a standby mode when turned off.

So I unplugged it, waited the 15 seconds, plugged it back in, and after it warmed up both problems vanished. The net radio was crystal clear, and the Airplay was able to stream. Because the LAN IP address changed from my old router to the new one, some old setting was saved in the receiver and it was screwing it up. I don’t know what it saved, and I don’t really care. The important thing is my music is back.

I did decide to keep the old router in place, mainly because it puts the wireless access point in the part of the house where we most often use wireless. To do that I just disabled the wireless in the Netgear 7550, then plugged the old router into a port of the 7550. No other configuration changes were required.

So my lesson learned was just because a device shows up on a network, it doesn’t mean the old unplug and reboot trick isn’t necessary.

P.S. I really love the Yamaha RX-V473 receiver and the iPhone app that is a free download. It is so much easier controlling the receiver with the iPhone than using their standard remote control. It is such a great app, I’m thinking of someday upgrading to their blueray player that also can be controlled by the app.