Prevent AirPlay from Dropping Out

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Turn on Bluetooth to Prevent AirPlay Dropouts

Contrary to popular belief, AirPlay does work over Bluetooth. In fact, you can stream AirPlay directly to Apple TV without a WiFi connection. This feature, known as peer-to-peer AirPlay, has some limitations. It can’t stream most video. Also, your source device has to be placed very close to your Apple TV.

In my experience, I have found that Bluetooth seems to enhance standard AirPlay reliability. There is also some indication that Apple uses Bluetooth to enhance AirPlay reliability, as part of the “overhaul”. Turn on both WiFi and Bluetooth on your source device before establishing an AirPlay connection.

Configure IP Address and DNS Manually

By default, all Apple devices are setup for automatic IP configuration. This may seem like a good idea, but this configuration causes the device to repeatedly ping the WiFi router. This creates unnecessary network traffic and reduces bandwidth. Beyond AirPlay reliability, manually configuring network settings will speed up your WiFi network.

Manually configuring your network settings is easy. On Apple TV, go to Settings > Network > Wi-Fi and then click on your WiFi router. Next, click on Configure IP and change it to Manual. You will now be asked to enter values for IP Address, Subnet Mask, Router and DNS. These are pre-populated with the correct values. Simply scroll and click on the Done button for each entry.

You should also make this change on your source device. This is a little more difficult on iOS. Tap on Settings > Wi-Fi and then tap on the name of your WiFi network. Write down the values for IP Address, Subnet Mask, Router and DNS. You can also take a screenshot, but you’ll need to switch between apps. Next, tap on Static and enter these values. Tap the back button at the top. Your WiFi connection will be re-established.

You only need to do this once for each WiFi network and device. After the change, WiFi should work normally, even if you restart your router or device. If you do experience problems, simply switch back to automatic configuration and use the new values for manual configuration.

Consider Using a 2.4GHz WiFi Connection

There are two bands for WiFi routers — 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Most modern routers and devices support dual band configuration. It’s usually best to go with the default configuration. Most WiFi routers are smart enough to inspect background noise and choose the right band and channel settings. You may need to restart your WiFi router to optimize these settings.

In certain cases, using only 2.4GHz may work better for AirPlay streaming. There used to be a lot of noise in the 2.4GHz channel, due to the abundance of wireless devices. Older cordless phones and baby monitors use this band. Times have changed. Most people use cell phones and have disposed of their cordless phones. Newer baby monitors use WiFi or the 5GHz channel.

These days, you may actually experience more noise over 5GHz, however, its range is limited. Higher frequency waves tend to travel shorter distances. This is why AM radio reception has a longer range than FM. 2.4GHz signals are also better at penetrating walls. If your WiFi router is far away and must communicate through walls, 2.4 GHz may be a better option. next page →

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2 comments

  1. This should really be titled ‘Minimize Airplay dropping by closing other apps, using OS tweaks and Logicstical Voodoo’ instead of ‘Prevent Airplay Dropping’. Well written though.

    1. I have to think about SEO. If no one can find the article, I might as well not write it. But I get your point. AirPlay is so whack, one needs an abusrd title to be accurate.

      It is a shame we have to do so much to get AirPlay to work. I finally found another solution just recently. My router was in bridge mode, and when the Internet connection dies (happens all the time in SF (really horrid infrastructure here)) AirPlay has huge gaps. So the best way to get bulletproof AirPlay is to actually set up a LAN-only WiFi network. Which leads me to my next question — do they actually have QA engineers at Apple? Seriously! Some of these bugs have been around for decades. Some of the newer bugs in iOS and macOS effect basic functionality, such as cut/copy/paste, which are 40-year-old features.

      Honestly, a turn table and vinyl is looking pretty good right now. I can’t believe that it’s 2019 and I spend hours trying to get music to play without dead air. This isn’t really better than older technology, such as a record player. It doesn’t sound better. It doesn’t work better. It can’t play music without gaps. Well done, Silicon Valley! Now go reward yourselves with a $50 bowl of ramen! Get that hipster beard dippin’ in that broth… So smart!

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