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Could someone describe Sonos Boost operation "for dummies" - how it works.

  • 30 March 2019
  • 8 replies
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Dear Experts around the Word, please help me to understand how Sonos Boost works technically. I would nee this informaiton for my Network design.

CONTEXT:

* Let's say there are 4 Sonos Connects on WIFI connected to a wireless router
* The wireless router creates a WIFI e.g. SSID "homenetwork" with password "xyz123"
* In this case, all the Sonos Connects are hooked on 2.4GHz on "homenetwork" as Sonos Connects does not operate on 5GHz but only on 2.4GHz
* The wireless router provides IP addresses to all Sonos Connects
* Any Sonos apps (on mobile phone) can control the Sonos Connect units as long as the mobile phone is on the "homenetwork"

QUESTIONS
1) Are my assumpitons above correct?

NOW WHEN ADDING A SONOS BOOST
* If I add Sonos Boost (with help of the mobile app "Add Boost or Bridge" in the settings menu)
* Connect the Sonos Boost with Ethernet cable to my wireless router (that provides the "homenetwork" on the air)

QUESTIONS ADTER ADDING SONOS BOOST
2) Does the Snos Boost create a new WIFI Network on the air for Sonos Products only?
3) Is that new Network discoverable by other devices?
4) Does the Sonos boost allow any other devices connect to that new Network or is only for Sonos products
5) If the Sonos Boost creates a new Network what is that SSID and password - or are those hidden from the other users/clients?
6) Is there a way to configure the "sonos specific" WIFI characteristics line on which WIFI channel it is (1-11)?
7) Is it true that if I check the "information of my Sonos system" all devices that says WM0 are hooked to the Sonos specific Network?
😎 If I remove the Boost from the system (or it goes down) the Sonos Connects then start looking for a new Network and in case of non-existence of the "Boost WiFI" they in the end goes back to the original WIFI Network ("homenetwork")
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Best answer by ratty 30 March 2019, 14:18

1) Is my assumpitons above correct?Yes

QUESTIONS ADTER ADDING SONOS BOOST
2) Does the Snos Boost create a new WIFI Network on the air for Sonos Products only?
Sort of. The Boost causes the Sonos units to connect to each other, in a mesh. It's not strictly WiFi, though SonosNet is based on WiFi's underlying technology.

3) Is that new Network discoverable by other devices?No. However Android devices with the Sonos controller app installed can be configured to use it.

4) Does the Sonos boost allow any other devices connect to that new Network or is only for Sonos productsSee above.

5) If the Sonos Boost creates a new Network what is that SSID and pasworrd - or are those hidden from the other users/clients?They're internal to Sonos. However if an Android is configured to use SonosNet the SSID will appear in its WiFi settings.

6) Is there a way to configure the "sonos specific" WIFI characteristics line on which WIFI channel it is (1-11)?Yes. The SonosNet channel can be changed (1, 6 or 11) in the controller's Advanced Settings.

7) Is it true that if I check the "information of my Sonos system" all devices that says WM0 are hooked to the Sonos specific Network?Yes, or they're wired. In either case it will show WM:0.

8) If I remove the Boost from the system (or it goes down) the Sonos Connects then start looking for a new Network and in case of non-existence of the "Boost WiFI" they in the end goes back to the original WIFI Network ("homenetwork")Yes. However it's usually recommended that you remove the router's WiFi details from the system, to avoid instability. If some devices connect to SonosNet and some to WiFi ('Mixed Mode') it can cause problems.
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8 replies

1) Is my assumpitons above correct?Yes

QUESTIONS ADTER ADDING SONOS BOOST
2) Does the Snos Boost create a new WIFI Network on the air for Sonos Products only?
Sort of. The Boost causes the Sonos units to connect to each other, in a mesh. It's not strictly WiFi, though SonosNet is based on WiFi's underlying technology.

3) Is that new Network discoverable by other devices?No. However Android devices with the Sonos controller app installed can be configured to use it.

4) Does the Sonos boost allow any other devices connect to that new Network or is only for Sonos productsSee above.

5) If the Sonos Boost creates a new Network what is that SSID and pasworrd - or are those hidden from the other users/clients?They're internal to Sonos. However if an Android is configured to use SonosNet the SSID will appear in its WiFi settings.

6) Is there a way to configure the "sonos specific" WIFI characteristics line on which WIFI channel it is (1-11)?Yes. The SonosNet channel can be changed (1, 6 or 11) in the controller's Advanced Settings.

7) Is it true that if I check the "information of my Sonos system" all devices that says WM0 are hooked to the Sonos specific Network?Yes, or they're wired. In either case it will show WM:0.

8) If I remove the Boost from the system (or it goes down) the Sonos Connects then start looking for a new Network and in case of non-existence of the "Boost WiFI" they in the end goes back to the original WIFI Network ("homenetwork")Yes. However it's usually recommended that you remove the router's WiFi details from the system, to avoid instability. If some devices connect to SonosNet and some to WiFi ('Mixed Mode') it can cause problems.
Dear Ratty,

Many thanks to you. You were able to describe all this in a sensible way and now I got it.

The main thing what I can do is to set the Sonos Network (under the advanced settigns) that it's not overlapping my home Network. So this is I believe the simplest way to improve my Sonos system stablity:

1) With Wifi Analyzer to scan my airspace (on 2.4GHz) with this tool https://www.microsoft.com/fi-fi/p/wifi-analyzer/9nblggh33n0n?activetab=pivot%3Aoverviewtab

2) Move my router from "automatic" channel selection to a "permanent channel" in 1...13 where there seems to be less networks interfering from my neighborhood

3) Connect the Sonos Boost to my wireless router with Ethernet cable and "add boost into the system" and let the Sonos players connect to this specific Network

4) WIth advanced settings in the Sonos controller to adjust the channel 1, 6, or 11 where my home Network is NOT and to select a channel that is 2nd crowded (with help of WiFI analyzer)

5) In case of issues, like you said remove router "homenetwork" details to avoid some of the Sonos players falling on the "homenetwork" insted of the Sonos specific Network

FEW ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:

A) Could you please Ratty tell me ("for dummies") what happens if I add one more Sonos boost in my system (wirelss, not with Ethernet cable)? What happens? What does it do?

😎 You described that Boost allows the Sonos players to connect to each other - does this also apply to older products like Sonos Connect?

C) This Boost sounds great thing to do. However an ultimate question: Which one makes more sense - to create a Sonos dedicated Network with Boost or to improve my home Network with "mesh Network" devices that seems to be available as well?
2) Move my router from "automatic" channel selection to a "permanent channel" in 1...13 where there seems to be less networks interfering from my neighborhoodYou should only choose 1, 6 or 11 for the router. Also make sure it's using a 20MHz width channel for 2.4GHz, not 40MHz. This is because a 20MHz channel is (nominally) about 5 channels wide. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are therefore the only (nominally) non-overlapping ones.

A) Could you please Ratty tell me ("for dummies") what happens if I add one more Sonos boost in my system (wirelss, not with Ethernet cable)? What happens? What does it do?A wireless Boost could help to extend the SonosNet mesh into a 'dark' area of poor signal strength, by placing it roughly midway between a struggling player and the rest of the system. In other words it could act as a wireless relay. However, if SonosNet signal strengths are otherwise adequate then the Boost would be ignored. It only makes sense to add an additional Boost on an as-required basis.

B) You described that Boost allows the Sonos players to connect to each other - does this also apply to older products like Sonos Connect?Yes. All Sonos products, old and new. That said, the very oldest -- ZP100, ZP80 and Bridge -- use an earlier version of SonosNet which is somewhat less robust.

C) This Boost sounds great thing to do. However an ultimate question: Which one makes more sense - to create a Sonos dedicated Network with Boost or to improve my home Network with "mesh Network" devices that seems to be available as well?If the purpose is to assist Sonos then use the Boost and set up the SonosNet mesh. The meshed WiFi systems to which you refer don't always play nicely with a Sonos system operating in WiFi mode. The Sonos players typically connect to different WiFi nodes, on different channels, and become reliant on the backbone interconnections of the meshed WiFi system to talk to one another. This can impair the performance of Sonos players when they're grouped (including in stereo pairs, which are a special type of group).
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Something to keep in mind is that you do not need a Boost to go to Boost Mode, wiring any Sonos device will switch your Sonos devices to Boost Mode.

If you have a range issue adding a wireless Boost is an option but adding another speaker will work almost as well if you have a spot where one would be nice.

I found wiring all my easily connected Sonos devices gave me the most stable system.
A wireless Boost could help to extend the SonosNet mesh into a 'dark' area of poor signal strength, by placing it roughly midway between a struggling player and the rest of the system. In other words it could act as a wireless relay. However, if SonosNet signal strengths are otherwise adequate then the Boost would be ignored. It only makes sense to add an additional Boost on an as-required basis.

It therefore helps to buy on a returnable basis. Once installed, invoking the Sonos matrix can tell you at a glance whether the Boost is being used or bypassed. If the latter, and if this happens even if it is moved to other locations, it is not doing anything except consuming electricity and may be returned.
Thank you for all commenting my challenge and questions - these helped me a lot.

A nice end for the story, myt Network of 4 Sonos Connects was improved by:

* Scanning the WiFi air space and keeping my home Network and Sonos Boost on different channels
* Adding the one Boost with Ethernet cable to my router - I assume triggered the boost mode
* I did not remove the old Sonors-to-homenetwork details (as no issues appeared), so I have a fall back if the Sonos Boost drops off (but I will consider that if any issues later)
Your third point is a bad idea. As pointed out by ratty before: However it's usually recommended that you remove the router's WiFi details from the system, to avoid instability. If some devices connect to SonosNet and some to WiFi ('Mixed Mode') it can cause problems.
Userlevel 7
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Be prepared for your Sonos gear to go tits up at the most inconvenient time, like a power drop or software update. Having them both wired and using your home WiFi is risky as others have said and a PITA to change if Sonos is acting badly.

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