Table of Contents
- AirServer Connect Network Connectivity
- Screen Mirroring Protocols
- Network Settings
- Hotspot Settings
- Connectivity Diagram
- Cloud Management
- Common issues, fixes, and questions
The AirServer Connect brings together all major vendor supported screen mirroring protocols into one device. It supports AirPlay, Google Cast, and Miracast. Guest connectivity is enabled by including a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. In order to get the best connectivity for both internal and external users, it is vital to configure both the AirServer Connect and the network to work together.
This guide will go through the features available on the AirServer Connect 4K UHD and AirServer Connect 2, the network requirements for different protocols, and best practices for deployment and network configuration. For information about connecting to and using the AirServer Connect, please refer to the User Guide.
Successful wireless screen mirroring requires a capable and well managed network. We have found that almost all performance or connection issues our customers report are due to network performance or settings. Please review this guide and visit our support site for more information. If you have any technical issues or need further information, please create a support ticket.
AirServer Connect Network Connectivity
The AirServer Connect has both wired and wireless networking capabilities:
- Ethernet: Connects the AirServer Connect to the building infrastructure network. Provides capabilities for Remote Management, updates, and mirroring connections through infrastructure.
- Wi-Fi: With version 2021.01.29 of the AirServer Connect firmware we added the option to use the built-in Wi-Fi adapter to connect to your wireless infrastructure network. However, it is recommended to use Ethernet whenever possible for better stability and performance. More information about how to connect AirServer Connect can be found in a dedicated support article.
Screen Mirroring Protocols
AirPlay is used by macOS, iPadOS, and iOS devices. AirServer Connect provides AirPlay mirroring as well as audio-only and video playback. AirPlay relies on Bonjour mDNS discovery, as well as Bluetooth Discovery, see Network Settings on how to enable Bonjour in your network.
AirPlay mirroring streams are encoded using H.264 video compression and transmitted as TCP packets. Resolution can be up to 1080p at 60 fps and Apple recommends a bandwidth of 25 Mbps per mirroring stream. Average bitrates will be significantly lower, depending on the content.
The latency for AirPlay on AirServer is around 150 ms under good network conditions.
AirServer implements security features of AirPlay. Encryption and key exchange method vary slightly based on the client (iOS) version. Starting with iOS 9 and newer, the keys are exchanged using industry standard ECDH key exchange (Curve25519). The on-screen PIN can be used to authenticate and guard against MIT spoofing and is implemented in terms of SRP (Secure Remote Password protocol). AirServer encrypts all privacy relevant content whenever possible. Our AirPlay audio implementation uses AES-128-CTR over UDP, control channel uses AES-GCM-128, and AirPlay video uses AES-128-CBC over secondary TCP channel.
There are some limitations in that services offering DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected content. Certain live-streaming apps, such as but not limited to Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and most sports/TV apps, either use their custom protocol or prevent connections that are not originating from an iOS device. Some of the service providers behind these apps also prevent an Apple TV to consume content over AirPlay.
iOS and iPadOS devices also support Google Cast media using the Cast from non-mirroring apps feature, see below.
Google Cast screen mirroring
Google Cast is available on all Android devices as well as Chrome OS and when casting from the Chrome and Edge browsers. AirServer provides Google Cast mirroring only. Like AirPlay Google Cast relies on Bonjour mDNS for discovery, see Network Settings on how to enable mDNS in your network.
Google Cast mirroring streams are encoded in H.264 or VP8 formats and transmitted as UDP packets. Most Android devices encode Google Cast at a resolution of 720p at 30 fps, but Chrome OS and casting from the browser as offer higher resolutions. Maximum bitrate can be as high as 20 Mbps but average bitrates will be significantly lower.
The latency for Google Cast on AirServer is around 400 ms under good network conditions.
Google Cast mirroring is secured using TLS. The transport keys for screen mirroring over UDP/RTP are exchanged over the control connection and are encrypted via AES-128-CTR. No authentication is available for Google Cast protocol as it is designed by Google. However, the user must be on the same network as AirServer before they can project content using Google Cast and we have added a prompt to accept incoming connection attempts.
Cast from non-mirroring apps
With version 2020.07.09 of the AirServer Connect firmware, we added support for casting from within apps using the Google Cast icon. This enables Chromecast-like behavior and allows you to cast from within apps such as YouTube, Facebook, Google TV, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and many more.
There are some limitations in that services offering DRM (Digital Rights Management) protected content. The AirServer Connect supports Widevine L3 DRM protection. Certain streaming apps, such as but not limited to Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, HBO Max require other DRM systems and thus are not supported.
Miracast is used by Microsoft Windows devices and some Android manufacturers, notably Samsung, Huawei and LG. Miracast is developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and is based on the Wi-Fi Direct standard. Miracast uses Wi-Fi beaconing to indicate the presence of a Miracast receiver. To initiate the connection the AirServer Connect sets up a Wi-Fi SSID starting with DIRECT- that Miracast senders can discover.
There are two different ways AirServer supports Miracast:
- Standard or Direct Miracast: In this case, the sender connects to the Wi-Fi Direct SSID and mirrors over that connection. The sender can also be on other Wi-Fi networks at the same time. Security and encryption are handled by the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) and PIN code is supported.
- Miracast over Infrastructure (Infracast): This is a vendor extension from Microsoft that is available for Windows 10 versions starting with 1703. It uses the Wi-Fi Direct beaconing for discovery but connects through the building infrastructure network. Starting with Windows 10 version 1809, Microsoft added support for PIN codes and encryption using DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security).
Whenever possible, we recommend using Miracast over Infrastructure as it has more stability and shorter connection times. If Miracast over Infrastructure is not achieved, the sender will fall back to using Direct Miracast.
If you are unsure which connection was established, you can check by enabling the home screen overlay on the AirServer Connect. That is done by pressing SPACE on a keyboard connected or by touching a touch-enabled display.
For each connection, there will be information on the connection type. The possibilities for Miracast are:
- Miracast (ethernet) = Miracast over Infrastructure
- Miracast (guest hotspot) = Direct Miracast or sender connected to built-in Wi-Fi hotspot first and the connection is Miracast over Infrastructure through the hotspot.
Miracast can support resolutions up to 4K 30 fps with capable sending devices and good network conditions. Average bitrates will depend on the content and resolution, but can be up to 35 Mbps for 4K video streams.
The latency for Miracast is around 180 ms with good network conditions. AirServer also implements hardware cursor on supported platforms where the mouse cursor shape and location are sent separately with very low latency.
To verify that a computer running Windows is capable of transmitting Miracast perform the following:
- Open up a Command Prompt window and type: “netsh wlan show driver“. The output will show information about the Wi-Fi interface. If Miracast is supported, you will get the following information:
Wireless Display Supported: Yes (Graphics Driver: Yes, Wi-Fi Driver: Yes)
- Open Powershell and type “Get-NetAdapter | Select Name, NdisVersion”. The output will show NDIS versions that need to be 6.3 or higher for the Wi-Fi adapter.
- Miracast requires Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.3 or newer. WDDM 1.3 was included with Windows 8.1. To check the WDDM version run the DxDiag tool (DirectX Diagnostic Tool), press “Save All Information…”. Save and open the resulting text file and search for WDDM.
For full functionality of the AirServer Connect, the network connectivity must be correctly configured. This section covers what is needed for discovery and connection through the building infrastructure network as well as settings to optimize the Wi-Fi hotspot.
Discovery over Network
Discovery of the mirroring protocols that the AirServer Connect provides is done through network protocols. Discovery usually works without issues when connected to the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, but some issues can come up when connecting through the building infrastructure network.
AirPlay and Google Cast rely on the Bonjour protocol for discovery over the network. Bonjour uses multicast DNS (mDNS) which cannot be routed across different segments of the network with standard settings on network equipment. For instructions on how to enable Bonjour across subnets, please refer to documentation from your network equipment manufacturer. An example can be found from Cisco.
It is also possible to deploy standalone mDNS gateways, for instance, using Avahi.
A list of required Bonjour services can be found together within a dedicated support article.
Network interface isolation does not allow devices on the subnet to see other devices or discover services available. This is a common setting for guest networks and must be turned off for Bonjour to work.
To verify if all required Bonjour records are correctly advertised, it is possible to use 3rd party discovery apps:
- How can I verify if AirPlay is correctly advertised on the network?
- How can I verify if Google Cast is correctly advertised on the network?
AirPlay Bluetooth Discovery
With version 2021.01.29 of the AirServer firmware, we added support for AirPlay Bluetooth Discovery. It uses the AirServer Connect's built-in Bluetooth module to advertise itself to nearby AirPlay sender devices.
This functionality removes the need for advertising AirPlay Bonjour records over the network. Also, the AirServer Connect iOS app is no longer required in most cases as all Apple devices released in recent years are compatible with AirPlay Bluetooth Discovery.
Discovery Assistance Apps
In some cases, it is not possible or feasible to provide Bonjour discovery across a large network. To help with discovery in these situations, AirServer Connect provides an option to show a network discovery QR code on-screen and apps for iOS and Android to help set up a connection. With AirPlay Bluetooth Discovery, the iOS application is no longer required in most cases as all Apple devices released in recent years are capable of discovery via Bluetooth.
The QR code contains the hostname and IP address of the AirServer Connect device as well as the port to use for establishing a connection. The Android or iOS app then sets up a Bonjour proxy on the device using this information so that the built-in discovery tools see the AirServer Connect device as a screen mirroring receiver. Note that this requires all relevant ports to be open between the sending and receiving device, see the section on Port Openings.
For more information on how to use the AirServer Connect apps, we would like to refer to a dedicated support article.
Miracast receivers are discovered through Wi-Fi using Wi-Fi Direct beaconing.
In the case of ad-hoc/standard Miracast, the rest of the setup is done by setting up a Wi-Fi connection between the sender and receiver. In Miracast over Infrastructure, the beaconing starts the communications over the building infrastructure. The following diagram from Microsoft explains that a setup where Source is the sending device and Sink is the AirServer Connect:
The screen mirroring protocols used by AirServer rely on a number of ports to be open between the sending device and the AirServer Connect. A comprehensive list is not possible as all protocols use ephemeral ports and many outbound ports are chosen by the sending device.
A full list of UDP and TCP ports that need to be open between the sending device and AirServer Connect can be found in a dedicated support article.
The AirServer Connect uses the following NTP servers: time1.google.com, time2.google.com, time3.google.com time4.google.com.
Note that AirServer Connect also supports using DHCP option 42 to specify a list of NTP servers.
Fixed IP Address and Proxy
The AirServer Connect can be configured to work on networks that require a static IP address or a proxy for connectivity.
The following settings are available through the Device Management interface:
- Static IP: On or Off
- IP Address
- DNS 1
- DNS 2
It's also possible to configure a user authenticated proxy server. You can do so by entering the following syntax in the proxy server field in the Network section of the Device Management:
If you are not using the default port 8080, you can specify this as normally in the "Port" field below.
802.1X Port-Based Authentication
AirServer Connect has support for environments with 802.1X port-based authentication (PEAPv0/EAP-MSCHAPv2).
802.1X settings are available from the Network menu in Device Management. Settings can be applied but only take effect when connected to an 802.1X managed network.
AirServer Connect has support for IPv6 networks and mixed IPv4 and IPv6 networks. If you encounter any issues with connectivity, it is recommended to revert to using IPv4.
The built-in Wi-Fi hotspot allows guests to connect easily to the AirServer Connect and start mirroring. The hotspot SSID and passphrase are shown in the user interface.
It is also possible to show login information for your own guest network.
Note that the built-in Wi-Fi hotspot can still be enabled if your own guest network is shown on-screen. Miracast also uses the Wi-Fi hotspot, so it is only fully turned off by disabling both Wi-Fi hotspot and Miracast.
Built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot Settings
The AirServer Connect sets up a WPA2 secured hotspot with an eight-character random passphrase that is regenerated every 24 hours or when users select to End Session using the on-screen interface or Device Management.
It is also possible to set your own passphrase, but it is not recommended as that can result in a lot of clients reconnecting to the hotspot when not mirroring, impacting the screen mirroring performance. To automatically regenerate passphrases, leave the passphrase field empty.
Wi-Fi Hotspot Access
You can select which level of access guests get to the building network through the guest hotspot:
- No Access (Isolated Network)
Only allows those connected to the Wi-Fi hotspot to mirror their screens to AirServer Connect. It provides no access to internal networks or the internet. This is achieved with a firewall rule that blocks all IP addresses outside of the AirServer Connect.
- Internet Only (Guest Network)
Gives devices connected to the hotspot only access to mirror to the AirServer Connect and access the public internet. This is achieved with a firewall rule that blocks typically reserved private IPv4 addresses, these are:
- 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
- 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
- 192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255
Any IPv6 addresses are not routed.
- Internet + LAN
Gives devices connected to the hotspot full access to the building infrastructure network that the AirServer is connected to. Network administrators can place restrictions for that network to limit access.
Visibility from Network
If using either of the two settings that allow for internet and/or LAN connectivity, the AirServer Connect routes traffic from the devices connected to the hotspot and uses Network Access Translation (NAT) towards the building infrastructure network. Only the MAC address of the AirServer Connect is visible towards the network.
DHCP Network Range
By default, the DHCP range for the hotspot is set to 192.0.2.1 – 192.0.2.254 but the range can also be set to:
- 198.51.100.1 – 184.108.40.206
- 203.0.113.1 – 2220.127.116.11
The Wi-Fi hotspot supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi channels and can be set to automatic or manual channel selection.
With automatic channel selection, a network scan is performed when starting the AirServer Connect and the best available band is selected. If the AirServer Connect is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will select the same channel to avoid switching frequencies. If not connected to a Wi-Fi network, the highest preference is for the lower 5 GHz bands, then upper 5 GHz bands, and finally channels 1, 6, or 11 on 2.4 GHz.
If using manual channel selection, it is recommended to perform a site survey or channel scan to select the best Wi-Fi channel.
Due to hardware differences, the AirServer Connect 4K UHD and AirServer Connect 2 handle regulatory domain (country) selection differently. The AirServer Connect 4K UHD relies mostly on 802.11d regulatory domain beaconing from other access points. If there are multiple regulatory domains detected the hotspot will select the worldwide domain that limits 5 GHz bands. The AirServer Connect 2 uses the Country setting on the devices as well as 802.11d information to set the correct country. The settings menu for the hotspot will indicate which channel, bandwidth and country settings are active or available.
Some client devices are not able to connect to upper 5 GHz channels (149-165). These channels are by default restricted as some client devices do not support them. It is possible to enable upper channels through the Device Management interface.
This connectivity diagram visualizes all possible connection paths that can exist with AirServer Connect and the different screen mirroring protocols. For the best performance and stability, Ethernet connectivity is preferred where possible.
Firmware updates are automatic by default, but can be disabled through Device Management. It strongly recommended that you keep automatic updates enabled. Updates are downloaded from https://download.airserver.com.
AirServer Connect will check for an update 10 minutes after starting and every 24 hours after that. Updates are only downloaded and applied when the device is not in use. The device is fully functional during the update and will restart once the update is finished.
Release notes can be found here:
AirServer Cloud Management is a free service to monitor and manage multiple AirServer Connect devices. The service is available at cloud.airserver.com and is free of charge.
Cloud Management is built and hosted on Microsoft Azure. It uses the MQTT messaging protocol to send and receive configuration data from the devices. All communication between the device and cloud uses secured MQTT on TCP port 8883. Configuration data is stored in an Azure IoT Hub. Login information is stored and managed using Azure identity services. All login information is encrypted and hashed for security. No mirroring content is sent over the internet.
Common issues, fixes, and questions
We recommend reading through our AirServer Connect hardware knowledge base. However, below you can also find a selection of common issues, fixes, and questions:
- How can I test network throughput with my AirServer Connect hardware?
- Some devices are unable to see the built-in hotspot or mirror via Miracast
- When connected to the hotspot, I am unable to see AirServer as a Miracast destination
- How can I verify if AirPlay is correctly advertised on the network?
- How can I verify if Google Cast is correctly advertised on the network?
- How can I reset my AirServer Connect hardware?
- How can I connect AirServer Connect hardware to a wireless network?
- Can I allow internet connectivity on the guest hotspot without allowing LAN access?
- How can I get AirServer Connect to automatically power on after a power failure?
- My screen is capable of displaying 4K 60Hz but only displays 4K 30Hz or 1080p. What can I do?
- I configured Miracast to request an on-screen PIN but my device connects without a PIN showing
- AirServer Connect 4K UHD - Specifications Sheet
If you are not able to find the information you are looking for, we recommend creating a ticket with our support team.