OnSong Manual

About OnCue

OnCue is built on top of Apple's frameworks to allow wireless, peer-to-peer connectivity over Bluetooth. The following are some tips to get things running for your team as well as a history and future outlook for the technology.

Because these frameworks are limited to iOS devices, and due to the inherit limitations of the technology, OnSong has a technology called OnSong Connect which requires a network connection. OnSong Connect allows for more robust communication as well as support for many more devices.

OnCue Version

Newer versions of OnSong can use newer and more reliable protocols to send OnCue information. If you are using an iOS 7 or higher device, a new version of OnCue is enabled by default. If you are running iOS 6 or earlier, the older version of OnSong is enabled. Be sure to use the version that meets the needs of every device that you need to connect. For instance, if you have an original iPad that runs iOS 5.1.1, you will need to switch all devices to the older OnCue version for interoperability. This can be done in Settings » Menu Settings » Sharing.

Tips

Wireless technology changes at a rapid rate, and iOS has followed and led many of these trends. When the original iPad launched in 2010, only Bluetooth was capable of setting up an ad-hoc network of devices. With each iOS release, Apple began transforming the wireless sharing landscape. Today Apple uses Bluetooth to configure direct WiFi, peer-to-peer functions. WiFi features much higher bandwidth than Bluetooth.

Number of Devices: One major limitation to Apple's frameworks are the number of concurrent devices. While not documented in the original Game Kit Framework, the generally accepted number of peer-to-peer devices is around five maximum. The newer frameworks support a maximum of six devices.

Frequencies: However, some networks are not friendly with these WiFi requests and different versions of iOS handle this connection differently. We recommend that you turn off WiFi and turn on Bluetooth when performing. This is because WiFi frequencies can become overloaded in crowded environments such as a concert. Bluetooth is generally limited to 30 feet and is not as connected to the otherwise crowded WiFi space.

RF Noise: Another consideration is radio frequency noise. Since nearly all consumer electronics (including microwave ovens) operate in the 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 Ghz range, there is the possibility of too many wireless signals being present. This noise makes it difficult for transmissions to complete and reduces overall bandwidth.

Network Engineering: If you are using WiFi or Bluetooth at a performance level, work with a wireless communications engineer to ensure that you don't have competing frequencies. This applies to not just networking equipment, but to wireless microphones and audio reinforcement hardware as well. Many problems can be alleviated with more professional-grade equipment that can seamlessly switch to less cluttered channels.

History

When OnSong launched with the first generation iPad, this was the only way to accomplish wireless networking. Over time, Apple has changed the way this networking works and, as such, effected performance on newer versions of iOS.

The following provides a history of wireless connectivity is these iOS versions.

  • iOS 3.2 was the original operating system for the first iPad. This featured Bluetooth wireless networking using Apple's Game Kit Framework. This framework only used Bluetooth 2.1 EDR for communication.
  • iOS 4.x did not change the underlying Bluetooth communication system and only appeared to make the Game Kit Frameworks and Bluetooth connectivity more stable.
  • iOS 5.x added the ability for iOS to send wireless data over WiFi if Bluetooth is not enabled. The default protocol remained Bluetooth.
  • iOS 6.x switched the priority of wireless protocols, opting to send data over WiFi if available. The issue is that some networks are not capable of relaying this information, and there is no provision for selecting Bluetooth over WiFi connections. This release made wireless communication less reliable, but overall faster for supported networks. Turning off WiFi and turning on Bluetooth resolves the reliability problem.
  • iOS 7.x is when Apple rebuilt wireless sharing with a new protocol and deprecated the original frameworks. This new protocol is not supported on devices running iOS 6 or older. It uses Bluetooth to configure a direct WiFi connection for peer-to-peer communication.
  • iOS 8.x continues the new model of wireless communication using Bluetooth LE to maintain connections with devices.
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