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My AirPlay music keeps disconnecting. Here's my gear:

  • AirPort Extreme 2013
  • AirPort Express 2012
  • MacBook Air 2013
  • iPhone 4S

And my setup:

  • Extreme is in the living room
  • Express is in the adjacent kids bedroom
  • Express connected to Extreme over WiFi - it does not extend the Extreme's WiFi network

My problems are:

  • The Express' AirPlay icon occassionally disappears from my iPhone
  • When the icon does appear, and I start streaming music to it, the music will stop playing anywhere from 15-30 minutes later. This happens if I stream from my iPhone or MacBook

What can I try to prevent the AirPlay music from dropping out?

  • 1
    Do you have a lot of other wifi networks around your house (e.g. neighbours)? These might cause interference. – Saaru Lindestøkke Dec 24 '14 at 17:42
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    That's how it's designed to work. I have an Airport Express 30 feet away in line of sight that I stream music directly to from a dedicated iPhone 5S. It drops out 10-15 times per day. I've gotten used to refreshing airplay on the phone after drop until the Express re-appears in the list and re-selecting it. Welcome to Apple. I've had have 17 Apple Devices and quality has plummeted in the past few years. – Still.Tony Feb 15 '15 at 17:50
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I have struggled with a similar issue for about a year now. Under the veil of secrecy, I think that airplay is a solid protocol.

I use an AT&T Arris Gateway for a DHCP server with an Airport Express as a LAN node. Here's what seems to have solved my problem:

Deep inside the configuration pages for my Arris router (Firewall > Advanced) I found a "Flood Limit" option, which was stated to block "bursting new traffic." Essentially, the router was dropping packets after a certain limit had been reached (I believe this is a mechanism against DoS attacks). Disabling this seemed to stop the AirPlay from dropping out.

Long story short, you may have a router that is tampering too much with the packets on your LAN. Go through every setting on your routers/APs. Disable MAC address filtering, make sure these TCP/UDP ports are open, and steer clear of firewall features that are degrading the performance of your network. Also, wired connections between APs really help with streaming.

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This is a design bug in my opinion. Apple doesn't buffer enough data to accommodate the tuning and performance of most hardware it ships.

I've filed several bugs with Apple in the last few years and none have been followed up on, so either they think things are fine or haven't heard from enough users. I have found iOS is less likely to skip than OS X of late, so when I really need to have music playing without skipping, I've fired my Mac from that job (sadly) since it can't perform this task well.

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