2 Sonos Systems - One House

  • 19 January 2017
  • 10 replies

I have a challenge for anyone up to the task. Not a straightforward arrangement so I have attached a diagram which I hope makes sense. (They say a picture paints a thousand words )

I live in the country and have little or no broadband. I therefore use an EE Huawei E5180s-22 4G LTE 150Mbps Router Cube. I place this in the bedroom as it gets the best 4G signal here ( Up to 32mb ) I have cable from the back of this router to my office, which is where most of my tech lives. In my office I have an RJ45 splitter box which then connects my iMac, Lightwave system and Netgear Arlo home security system. I also connect in to a TP link power extender at this point which then provides good coverage throughout my house on all floors. I have a play 1, 3 & 5 in the house which I have set up using the ethernet cable and used all of these speakers wirelessly when I first set up the system.

There is also a cable from this splitter box to an out building some 100 metres away. Within the outbuilding I have connected a separate router with a different name which then has three further play 1 units connected wirelessly.

For a while I was able to use the two systems independently, I would have to instruct to forget current Sonos System, but then when I restarted I would connect to system of the building I was stood in.

Recently I have struggled to connect to the system in the house, I automatically connect to the system in the outbuilding, despite the fact that the physical distance between the buildings means I do not think I can be connecting wirelessly. I also on the odd occasion that I do find the system within the house, lose the Play 3 regularly. This is strange because it is relatively close to the bedroom and less reliant on the power extender than the Play 5 which is much further away.

Its been going on for several months now and as a big fan of Sonos, who has invested heavily in the system I would very much like to make the experience less painful.

Any assistance is much appreciated.

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10 replies

I see no reason for you to run this as two separate systems. The router in the outbuilding should be configured in "bridge" mode, i.e. with DHCP disabled, and then this looks like one system to me. Is the router configured that way? (Is the TP-link a wifi extender? If so, it also needs to have DHCP disabled.)

Maybe I'm missing something.
Thanks John. I have a little knowledge on these things, but as they say, this can be a dangerous thing.

I will check on both of these items over the weekend. Will let you know how I get on.
OK. The key thing is that you only want one of your devices to be distributing IP addresses - the unique identifiers that a router assigns to every device that connects to its network, which it does using a protocol called DHCP. That should probably be your Huawei. If either of the other devices is also distributing IP addresses, then you will split your network unnecessarily, and all sorts of problems are likely. I suspect (although cannot be sure), that you have an unnecessary split into two networks when you could unify the whole thing.

So on the other router (and the powerline wifi extender, if that is what it is) you need to have DHCP disabled. This state is sometimes known as "access point mode" or "Bridge mode".

If you reconfigure you will have to reboot everything on your network - not just Sonos, everything - to really see the effects. (Although you might try initially with just routers, extenders and Sonos)

One further thought, though. Is there any limit on the number of devices that can connect to the Huawei?

And are your controller devices Apple or Android?

I hope that helps. Please let us know how it goes.
This is all a bit of a mess. The diagram suggests that the house players are reliant on the powerline connections. I'm not totally clear whether they're wired to their nearest powerline adapter or connected wirelessly. Sonos won't officially support powerline connections, and aren't that happy about using multiple wireless access points in 'Standard Setup' (WiFi mode).

As for the outbuilding, it might in fact be better to set those Sonos units up as a separate system and leave the router there to act as a router. The 100m distance is the limit for Ethernet. A spanning tree might become unstable. Are any Sonos units wired? Were they all originally set up as part of the same system? Have any WiFi credentials ever been configured in?
Fair comment @ratty. I guess the key thing is proper separation or unified, not somewhere in between as now. If unified is stretching it in your view then I bow to your greater experience and knowledge.
My inclination would be to treat the outbuilding as a separate dwelling. Presumably the players aren't going to be grouped between the two locations. This should result in a more stable arrangement.

Keep the outbuilding router as a router, with its own SSID.
Set the Sonos units up there as a 'new system' (factory resetting them first).
Depending on which SSID the mobile is attached to (house or outbuilding), it'll find the appropriate Sonos system. (No need to 'forget' etc.)

Any library music in the house can be accessed in both locations. The IP address of the computer/NAS where it's stored would need to be fixed, then the outbuilding system could be pointed at it using a hard IP address.
With the separate system, my one query would be how the outbuilding is going to get its connection to the internet, in order to stream from the internet, assuming that is a requirement?
Thank you both guys.

To answer some of the questions.

Sonos speakers are all connected wirelessly.

All devices are iOS.

The length of cable to the outbuilding has not affected usability. In fact the speakers in the outbuilding are the ones Ive never had a problem with. And I can control those speakers from the house.

The router in the outbuilding is actually only a wireless access point and not a router as I first thought.

Speakers have never been set up as one system. Was always two previously.

The power line extenders have been set up as a clone of the EE router box. With same name and passwords. Is this the same as bridge mode or DHCP disabled.

I will try re-booting everything when I get back tonight.

Strange that when in the house I can see the speakers in the outbuildings, but not the ones in the house.
A problem then is that you have two separate Sonos systems on the one IP subnet.

A controller registered to both of them could find either when it starts up. It's pot luck which it will find.

A controller registered to neither will, if it can only detect one system, automatically associate with it. If, however, the controller can detect more than one system, then it will ask for buttons to be pressed on a representative unit to resolve the ambiguity.

Since you have no Sonos units wired, they must all be in WiFi mode. A check in the controller's About My Sonos System would confirm this: they'd all show 'WM:1'.

And since they're in WiFi mode, STP is inactive and the concerns about topology instability go away.

I suggest you create just one Sonos system:
- make the outbuilding SSID/key the same as all the others
- factory reset the outbuilding players
- reset your controller, restart it and add it to the (only) existing system
- add each of the reset outbuilding players in turn

If any unit is troublesome, bring it into the house temporarily to get it set up.
The distance from your phone to the speakers is irrelevant. Your phone is connecting to your network (somewhere!) and then it's a case of what that network "sees". Given that we haven't quite fathomed how this is all working nothing is surprising at the moment.

When you are home, if you go into your controller and "about my sonos system", can you give us the IP address of a speaker in the house and one in the outbuilding - assuming you can locate them! And do they have WM:0 or WM:1 next to them? Post some screenshots if you can.

Maybe hold off the reboot until we have a little more info?

Having the same SSID and password does not in itself imply "bridge" mode, but I would guess that a standard clone setup would only use one subnet.