Conference paper Open Access

Making the Most of Wi-Fi: Optimisations for Robust Wireless Live Music Performance

Mitchell, Thomas; Madgwick, Sebastian; Rankine, Simon; Hilton, Geoffrey; Freed, Adrian; Nix, Andrew

Wireless technology is growing increasingly prevalent in the development of new interfaces for live music performance. However, with a number of different wireless technologies operating in the 2.4 GHz band, there is a high risk of interference and congestion, which has the potential to severely disrupt live performances. With its high transmission power, channel bandwidth and throughput, Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) presents an opportunity for highly robust wireless communications. This paper presents our preliminary work optimising the components of a Wi-Fi system for live performance scenarios. We summarise the manufacture and testing of a prototype directional antenna that is designed to maximise sensitivity to a performer's signal while suppressing interference from elsewhere. We also propose a set of recommended Wi-Fi configurations to reduce latency and increase throughput. Practical investigations utilising these arrangements demonstrate a single x-OSC device achieving a latency of <3 ms and a distributed network of 15 devices achieving a net throughput of ~4800 packets per second (~320 per device); where each packet is a 104-byte OSC message containing 16 analogue input channels acquired by the device.

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