How can I get Home Sharing in iTunes to stay connected?
February 21, 2013 10:54 AM   Subscribe

I can Home Share via iTunes (from PC to laptop), but can't get the connection to stay.

I work from home and want to stream music from my (home) PC to my (work) laptop.

Both machines have iTunes installed and I have Home Sharing turned on for the PC (source of music). I can access my all my PC music on my laptop...but only for about three hours at a time (it varies). It will abruptly stop and my PC library no longer shows up on my laptop's Shared area.

I also have the option checked to keep track of play counts (so when I'm done with a podcast on the laptop, it shows the Play count as '1' on the PC's iTunes), but this too works occasionally and inconsistently. I've also tried turning on Home Sharing on the laptop as well (sharing the laptop's library with my PC) but the problem still persists.

My PC is hard wired to the internet and I use WiFi for the laptop. Signal is strong. I've never lost internet connectivity to the laptop (I guess I could have for a second or two without noticing, but I've never had a webpage not load when losing connectivity with iTunes). I have my PC set to never go into sleep mode (I leave it on with the monitor off when I'm working).

Once the connection is lost, if I go back to the PC's iTunes it still shows Home Sharing as turned on. If I turn it off and then turn it back on again, the laptop will 'rediscover' it.

Searching has brought up more issues with AppleTV rather than just home sharing within iTunes. Any help/suggestions is appreciated!
posted by Twicketface to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
3 thoughts:
  1. DHCP leases: either or both machines have a short DHCP lease time, and are being given a new IP address every 3 hours or so. To test, try either extending the DHCP lease time (should be a setting in the router) or assigning static IPs to the desktop and laptop (in the network settings of each) and see if this solves the problem.
  2. Multicast addresses are not being routed properly between the fixed and wireless sides. iTunes sharing uses Bonjour/Rendezvous for discovery, which requires traffic to/from to appear on both sides (and, off the top of my head, full-blown Home Sharing may require more than that, possibly up to or even /4). The usual symptom of this is iTunes streaming dropping out after ~15 minutes, but I offer it as a possibility anyway…
  3. A combination of both - DHCP leases are renewed every 3 hours or so, the same addresses are handed out each time, but doing so drops any previously-established multicast routing. If so, the solutions in (1) should solve the problem, though I've seen a couple of cases where it doesn't - you're not by any chance using a Belkin router, are you?

posted by Pinback at 6:57 PM on February 21, 2013

Damn! Point 2 should have said "The usual symptom of this is iTunes sharing dropping out …" - not streaming.

Any chance of a 3 hour edit window?
posted by Pinback at 9:31 PM on February 21, 2013

Thank you for your insight - I'll check on the DHCP leases and see if that's the trick. It's a Buffalo router so hopefully #3 isn't the issue.

Thanks again - it's been driving me bananas so I hope this does the trick.
posted by Twicketface at 6:53 AM on February 22, 2013

Lease time is set to renew at 1440 minutes (24 hours) so I don't think that's it.

As I'm fiddling with the hundreds of options on the router (none of which I truly understand), I see that my DDNS is disabled. Would enabling that make a difference? I think it was disabled by default as I used as much of the 'as is' settings as I could.
posted by Twicketface at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2013

I changed the IP address of the laptop to be static and it seems to have done the trick (so far anyway)!
posted by Twicketface at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2013

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