If you have recieved an incident notification affecting your live stream or are concerned about your contribution feeds. This article outlines a useful checklist of troubleshooting tests to help diagnose your issue. 


Encoder disconnections/Instability:


Encoder Troubleshooting:

1. Check Encoder instance is active

Ensure there is a continuous data transfer from your encoder to the stream. Most encoders will have some indication of a consistant connection and stream time. If this is not displaying in your live instance then you may need restart the encoder. Tip: most encoders will have an auto-reconnect setting to automatically start the stream in the event of a network outage or a machine restart interrupting the stream. Ensure that this is on to avoid manual intervention. 


2. Check Encoder Stream Settings

If your streaming instance is having difficulties connecting when you attempt to start the instance, it may be because the encoder credentials do not match those of the mount. This could be due to a typo in one of the fields or a credential being added to the wrong field. Ensure the encoder type is set to Icecast, some encoders automatically set the stream type to ShoutCast by default which is incompatible with our ingest servers. Some encoders require a "/" in front of the mount name to successfully connect - try with and without if you're struggling to connect. 


Tip: If you lose the credentials for your stream you can recall them by visiting the stream information page for the mount in Portal.


3. Check for updates

Some encoders may not work correctly if they are running on old versions or outdated operating systems. We recommend scheduling regular update windows for the machines running the encoder and regularly checking for updates from your encoder developer. Windows machines will run automatic updates from time to time by default. we recommend manually scheduling these during low listener hours to avoid interruptions at peak times. 


Tip: You can find your peak/trough listener times by observing the concurrent listener graphing in Portal to help arrange update windows.


4. Check Power supply

A reliable, dedicated power supply for your encoder is highly rcommended. Whether you are using a hardware encoder or a software encoder on a dedicated computer/server, ensure that it is plugged in to a socket with a low surge risk (i.e. keep power intensive appliances such as fans and lamps on seperate circuits where possible) and located in a well ventilated place to avoid overheating. Follow the encoder/server manufacturer's safety guidance to ensure longevity of your encoder performance.


Network troubleshooting:

Network issues are the primary cause for contribution outages. If your stream has been flagged as unstable or you're seeing numerous disconnections occuring, these are most likely related to either the encoder's local network or a packet loss en route to our data centres. While some network issues are unavoidable, here are some checks and best practices we recommend to help you find the cause of any potential issues


1. Check Router

Ensure that your router is being reliably powered and has a stable connection. We recommend where possible to use an wired ethernet connection between your router and encoding machine to ensure the best network stability. If you are experiencing local network issues you may need to enquire with your organisation's network administrator to ensure router connections are available.


2. Firewalling

If you are part of an organisation with a managed network it is likely that some firewalling rules will be in place. These can sometimes prevent connections to external servers. Speak to your network administrator to ensure that the addresses and ports dictated in the encoder credentials are whitelisted on your network. 


3. Check ISP

If you have exhausted the local network troubleshooting checks it is worth checking with your Internet Service Provider if they are experiencing any network issues in your area. Most major service providers will have network status pages to allow for self-checking or hotlines to speak to a representative to investigate potential outages.


Note: Some providers are prone to "network storms" which can affect connections to particular IPs or domains. If you are having issues resolving *sharp-stream.com connections we recommend attempting to connect via a mobile device data connection on another network. You may find that this resolves the addresses as expected implying a network storm on your ISP's side. 



4. Ping/MTR Tests

If you have checked your local network settings and your ISP provider is operating as usual. an MTR 


A traceroute command from your encoding machine will reveal the data hops on the way to our network. This will indicate if there are any "packet losses" en route to our network.


Microsoft Help Guide fot the tracert command:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/how-to-use-tracert-to-troubleshoot-tcp-ip-problems-in-windows-e643d72b-2f4f-cdd6-09a0-fd2989c7ca8e


Stream Silences:

If you have recieved a silence or encoder-silence alert. It is likely that there is something preventing your audio signal reaching the end of the signal flow or there is an issue with your soundcard.


1. Signal flow troubleshooting Tips


  • Check your playout system is successfully routing or playing out the scheduled audio or audio source.
  • With a pair of headphones, try to monitor each step of the signal flow. E.g: Plug directly into the monitor output of the studio desk, then the output of any audio processors, then the monitor output of any external soundcards. This will help you find the stage the silence is being introduced - then you can check the settings of the component any cabling or patchbays to it to pin down the source of the problem  


2. Soundcard troubleshooting Tips

  • if you are using a soundcard/computer setup - check your soundcard is being recognised by your computer and that audio is being picked up. Ensure the audio drivers and soundcard firmware are up-to-date. You may need to restart your computer if the audio is not being picked up. 


3. Encoder Audio Settings

  • Ensure your encoder settings are pointing to the correct soundcard. 
  • Ensure the codec libraries are up to date on your computer.