Your Airport Extreme and/or Time Capsule might be screwing up your network

My iTunes library recently developed a problem wherein the Home Sharing would spontaneously die within a few hours of starting up the library.  This was extremely annoying because I’ve built up a whole networked home entertainment system over the years that is premised around the Apple TV and iTunes actually working.

Turns out the workaround, as far as you can call it that, was to unplug an old 1st generation Time Capsule I was using for backups.  I had seen a problem before where it was knocking a Nexus 7 off the network, but didn’t really make the connection to it being the issue until I realized that Home Sharing is based on Bonjour services, and the Time Capsule and Airport Extreme often proxy Bonjour services for the network.

The latest Airport Extreme is officially supported as a Time Machine target, so I may switch over to that.  But it’s good to have the network stable again.

Update: it wasn’t just that.  I actually had to install a clean version of OS X 10.10 to get the bonjour home sharing advertisements to stop crashing.  I also got a crash course in how Bonjour/Zeroconf actually works.  Suffice it to say that Apple’s implementation is extremely broken across multiple devices.  Don’t trust your computer, your iOS device, or your Airport Extreme/Express … any one of these can break your device’s ability to discover a host computer.

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