Advanced Sonos Wireless Network Configuration Using Sonos BOOST

  • 9 January 2018
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Have you seen the Group Coordinator discussions here?

https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/sonos-group-coordinator-question-6803946


Yes, thank you. However, my topology is slightly different. I am using three Ethernet-connected BOOST devices to serve my Sonos speakers. None of my Sonos speakers are Ethernet-connected. However, I don't have RF issues given the BOOST devices. STP is properly configured across the three BOOST devices as confirmed by the network matrix.
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@ratty. Thanks for the great tips earlier in this thread. I will study the available diagonistic info and get up to speed with the terminology and general idea of how it is supposed to work before getting a Sonos techician involved. I don't want to be a PITA if I can figure it out myself.

@MikeConnelly. Good idea about considering the nature of the sound coordination overhead. I agree with you that I would have expected a single sound source being delivered to every speaker (Party Mode) to be implemented as multicast. But what about any inter-node coordination effort? I will think about that. Wouldn't it be ironic if there is some technical reason why you cannot broadcast music on a *wireless* computer network. ?
I'm rather surprised at Sonos Support's comments about multicast. There's obviously an initial multicast discovery from the controller (SSDP) but control traffic is unicast, to the player in focus. One can sniff traffic from a Desktop Controller to confirm this. There'd be no logic in, say, multicasting volume commands destined for a single player. Even in a group context, adjusting the master volume sends a flurry of unicast packets, to each player.

As for stream data when grouped, I have measured traffic away from the group coordinator and it's most certainly multiple unicast. Indeed, to one room where there's a stereo pair there are two streams (one per channel), which is what I would expect. This is for a household in SonosNet mode.

Distribution at layer 2 is a bit more complex, since as noted a coordinator will try and use direct peer-to-peer connections if it can. This means that L2 traffic doesn't necessarily follow a path along the STP tree.

As for the 'coordination overhead' in a group this is presumably the exchange of timing information via SNTP which, if I recall, takes place at 1 second intervals. That may be multicast, but the traffic volume is tiny compared to the music streams. That said, non-Sonos traffic loading down SonosNet could potentially cause the loss of SNTP packets which might eventually trigger a sync failure. But putting heavy non-Sonos traffic onto SonosNet is bad practice anyway, as it could cause dropouts.
As for the 'coordination overhead' in a group this is presumably the exchange of timing information via SNTP which, if I recall, takes place at 1 second intervals. That may be multicast, but the traffic volume is tiny compared to the music streams.

I have been told by Sonos Support on multiple occasions that in stereo pair and grouping scenarios that wifi is necessary even when all players are ethernet cabled. I couldn't get more details, they insisted that i needed to do something about wireless interference which is not possible in an urban apartment building, andwhy everything is wired.

I wish we could get some clarity on situations like this.
I have been told by Sonos Support on multiple occasions that in stereo pair and grouping scenarios that wifi is necessary even when all players are ethernet cabled.
That's surely just their standard line that disabling the radio is not officially supported. Disabling the radio (and in some cases, hard-wiring) will clearly affect whether and how the system makes direct wireless connections in a bond/group. But if you're all-wired I don't see how it can make any difference.
Hi Mike. Thanks for your article -- terrific. One question: I recently added a second wired Boost to my setup. Seems to have really improved my setup -- all my speakers now have "green" connections to one or the other Boost. But one odd thing: The second boost is named "unnamed room" in the network matrix. I can't figure out how to re-name it. If I go into the Sonos controller under Boost Settings, only my original Boost is seen in the drop down menu. So while the new Boost is working, I see no way to manage it separately or give it a new name. Is that the same for you or others?
Does the second BOOST appear in About My Sonos System? Have you tried simply rebooting?
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Like @ratty says, I would reboot the second Boost (and perhaps all Sonos devices). You should be able to manage the second Boost no differently from the first, including renaming it.
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Too lazy to read back and check but have you set up reserved/static IP addresses for your Sonos gear? Doing that stopped some very strange issues here that were giving me fits.
Thanks for the help all. The next day, when I went into the Sonos controller app, it said "Continue setting up your Boost?" It then asked me one more question -- what is the name? After naming, it now appear properly. I suspect that rebooting would have triggered this faster, but all seems fine now.
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* using SonosNet 2.0 (“Boost” mode) with an Ethernet-connected Sonos speaker,
* using SonosNet 2.0 (“Boost” mode) with an dedicated BOOST device


Can’t read your whole article as I’m driving in SoCal traffic but does a dedicated BOOST device help at all with drops when playing lossless (FLAC or ALAC) on multiple groups?
Simple yes or no will suffice so I know if I need to stop on my way home & buy one then read your blog.
Thanks.
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@tcafranz

If your Sonos audio dropouts are due to poor RF coverage, then a BOOST potentially helps v an Ethernet connected speaker.

However, I am still working with Sonos to triage why there are audio dropout issues in my personal system for >3 rooms (6 paired speakers) even when using 3 Ethernet-connected BOOST devices and a single audio stream. My system appears to showcase a bottleneck in how SonosNet handles communications for a large (17+ device) Sonos system with only 3 wired links.
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@tcafranz

If your Sonos audio dropouts are due to poor RF coverage, then a BOOST potentially helps v an Ethernet connected speaker.

However, I am still working with Sonos to triage why there are audio dropout issues in my personal system for >3 rooms (6 paired speakers) even when using 3 Ethernet-connected BOOST devices and a single audio stream. My system appears to showcase a bottleneck in how SonosNet handles communications for a large (17+ device) Sonos system with only 3 wired links.


Main setup is in my living room:
Orbi Router-Ethernet-PLAYBAR
PLAYBAR-Ethernet-SUB
2 PLAY:1’s no Ethernet
To create a 5.1

Garage has a CONNECT hooked up to a Sony 7.2 receiver

Two bedrooms each with a single SONOS:One

A ton of smart lights n whatnot throughout house too though. What do you think?
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It's not clear from your setup which devices, if any, are experiencing audio dropouts. I would expect your living room to play just fine because the Playbar is wired. Re the garage and bedrooms, if you are experiencing dropouts there, I would check your Sonos network matrix, as described here: https://freetime.mikeconnelly.com/archives/6050