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There are some disadvantages to 2.4GHz. Your overall WiFi speed probably won’t be as fast. If you make this change, I recommend splitting your WiFi network into two distinct networks — 5GHz and 2.4GHz. Most WiFi routers support this capability. Before you start an AirPlay session, change both your Apple TV and source device to use the 2.4GHz network.
In my experience, 2.4 GHz offers better AirPlay connectivity and sufficient bandwidth for streaming music and video. That said, I actually don’t engage in this practice. It’s just too much of a bother. I only recommend this level of fiddling if your AirPlay dropouts are severe, frequent and aren’t solved by the other tips.
Full configuration of your WiFi router is beyond the scope of this article. For more information, please read “Apple TV 4: Fix WiFi Problems”.
Turn Off WiFi on Other Devices
Ideally, only your Apple TV and source device should be connected to your WiFi router during an AirPlay session. Competition from other WiFi devices creates unpredictable traffic on the WiFi network. With its small buffer, AirPlay doesn’t fare well with competing WiFi traffic.
Turning WiFi off on other devices improves AirPlay streaming quality. It will also save battery life and speed up WiFi access. I do this even when I am not starting an AirPlay session. Apple devices sometimes decide to download a huge iOS update or do an iCloud backup at the worst possible time. These rogue processes have interrupted streaming video programs too often. Turning off WiFi on idle devices just makes life easier!
Streaming is all the rage these days. The problem is, streaming music from a server and beaming it to Apple TV involves a lot of network traffic. Instead of just beaming music to Apple TV via AirPlay, your device must also stream it from a server. Downloading music ahead of time reduces traffic on your WiFi network. It also guarantees the best audio quality. It may not eliminate AirPlay dropouts, but it definitely reduces them.
You don’t have to sit around waiting for your music to download completely. Although it depends on the app, most will let you play an album or playlist before it has fully downloaded. I use Google Play Music, and I am able to start the download process just before I start playing. Of course, AirPlay is more reliable when the download process has completed.
Downloading music also saves battery life on your device. Streaming an album and relaying it to Apple TV for the duration of music playback uses more battery power. If you simply download the album or playlist in advance, your device will just stream the downloaded music to Apple TV over AirPlay.
AirPlay Music Playback Steps
So far, the advice in this article has been presented in prose. It’s important to know both how and why you need to do something. These explanations can often occlude the process, making it harder to digest and practice. For clarity, the following step-by-step process will reduce AirPlay dropouts:
1. close Apple TV apps
2. restart Apple TV
3. activate WiFi and Bluetooth on source device
4. set Auto-Lock to Never on source device
5. download music on source device
6. turn on AirPlay
7. play music
8. place device in WiFi-optimal position, leaving it unlocked next page →
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