If you have received 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 Disconnected/Unstable

Encoder disruption can be difficult to troubleshoot as the issue could be introduced by the encoder or the network. Below are a few pointers to assist with troubleshooting both. 

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 consistent connection and stream time. If this is not displaying in your live instance then you may need to 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 as some encoders default to ShoutCast 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. 

If you lose the credentials for your stream you can recall them by visiting the Stream 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 - as this would be service-affecting, we recommend manually scheduling these during low listener hours to minimise interruptions at peak times. 

Tip: You can find your peak/trough listener times by observing the concurrent listener graph in Portal to help schedule maintenance windows.

4. Check Power Supply

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

Network Troubleshooting

Network issues are the primary cause of contribution outages. If your stream has been flagged as unstable or you're seeing numerous disconnections occurring, 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 the Router

Ensure that your router is reliably powered and has a stable connection. We recommend using a wired ethernet connection between your router and the encoding machine where possible 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 stable 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.

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 expected, a MTR (traceroute command) from your encoding machine will reveal the data hops on the way to SharpStream's network. This will indicate if there are any "packet losses" en route to our network.

Refer to Microsoft Help Guide for the tracert command. 

Stream Silences

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

Signal Flow Troubleshooting Tips

As a starting point, check that the playout system is successfully routing or playing out the scheduled audio or audio source. Next, with a pair of headphones, try to monitor each step of the signal flow. For example, plug directly into the monitor output of the studio desk, then the output of any audio processors, and then the monitor output of any external soundcards. This will help you find the stage at which the silence is being introduced - from here you can check the settings of the component and any cabling or patch bays to it to narrow down the source of the problem.  

Soundcard Troubleshooting Tips

If you are using a soundcard or computer setup, you can check that the soundcard is being recognised by the 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. 

Encoder Audio Settings

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