MOVE not visible on the app via a wifi extender


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I have been a Sonos user for years, happily running exclusively on SonosNet.  I had always liked the idea of a Sonos player that could be used outside and so when the Move became available, I bought one about a year ago.  Unfortunately, I did not realise that the Move is a wifi-only device.  Given the challenging nature of getting a good wifi signal throughout our house, (due to the structure of the building), I would certainly have thought twice about the Move, had I known this at the time.

Anyway, from reading numerous other posts relating to this topic, I realise that I am not alone in now suffering numerous wifi problems, but the main issue is that my portable controllers (i.e. iPhone/iPad etc) cannot access the Move, even when it is sitting next to my router, unless that controller is also connected to the same router wifi signal, and not that from a wifi powerline extender (PLE) elsewhere in the house. 

I have now spent hours on the phone getting nowhere with Sonos support and their default position is that, effectively, PLE’s anywhere in the network make it unsupported.  Whilst I always understood that to be the case, e.g. if you wanted to hard-wire a Sonos payer to the network via a PLE, it was news to discover that even using a wifi PLE for controller access to the system was “forbidden”.

I have tried numerous things to sort this out including: running exclusively on the 2.4GHz band, fixed separate channels for the router and PLE’s (Ch1) and Sonos (Ch11), BT SmartHub6 Wireless Mode set to Mode 2, etc, but none of this has helped.  It seems it should be a simple problem, since everything shares a common SSID/password, and so I cannot understand why the controller does not recognise the existence of the Move, which is surely just another IP address on the network.

I would be grateful, if anyone has any other thoughts on this issue that might get round the problem.  The only suggestion from Sonos is to install a wifi mesh network; however, that will take 6 disks and cost several hundred pounds at least.  Also, I am not convinced that a wifi only system would be ideal with 8 Sonos players in the network and I would definitely like to avoid ending up with a “mixed mode” set-up.

I look forward to any comments or suggestions, that you might have.

 

 


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What powerline adapter make/model?

If your controlling device is also attached to the extender’s WiFi at the same time as the Move, which rooms do you see in the Sonos controller? 

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Hi Ratty, thanks for responding.

Powerlines are all TP-Link, the wifi’s are a PA4220 and a PA281. The non-wifi extenders are all PA4010’s.

If I understand your question correctly, when the Move and controller are both connected to the same extender, I see all rooms but not the Move.  This the same as when the Move is in its normal position next to the router and the controller is connected to the extender’s wifi.

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Ratty,

I may have misled you.  Given the time it sometimes takes for Sonos to respond to network changes, when I moved the Move to run off the wifi extender, the portable controllers running off the same extender eventually reported it as being Offline.

I suspect the problem is with the WiFi put out by the PLE(s). Some such devices don’t correctly forward all types of network traffic.

As I understand it, from your original post a controller on the PLE can’t see the Move on the router. If the Move is on the PLE is it visible from anywhere at all? (BTW “offline” in the controller means it’s not seen.)

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Correct, any iOS controller linked via the PLE can’t see the Move, regardless of where that device is connected.  Similarly, when the Move is on the PLE, the iOS controller cannot see it at all.  However, the Move is clearly visible at all times in the Network Matrix and looks normal.

Just to complete the picture, wherever the Move is located, both my CR200’s and MacOS controllers can see it and all works normally.  Presumably this is because the iOS devices use my router’s wifi to connect to Sonos, as distinct from my old Android phone, which used to connect direct to SonosNet.

Part of wanting to make this work on iOS is that the CR200’s are the only thing keeping me on the Sonos 1 Controller.  They are getting a bit long in the tooth and I will have to get used to living without them in due course.  But, right now they are the only devices that I can use to run Sonos  away from the router, where my desktops are located.  Buying an Android device just for that purpose is, of course, an option, but not a great solution.

Do you have any idea what elements of the PLE’s wifi signal might be missing and/or any others that do a better job?  The 2 PLE’s I use seem to work perfectly well for all our other wifi devices, even if they can be a bit spotty in terms of dropping out for no apparent reason.

Sorry to labour this but I’m trying to build a picture of what works and what doesn’t. So the only time you can reliably see the Move is when the iOS controller and Move are both connected to the router WiFi?

If the Move is on the PLE WiFi, you’re unable to see it from a controller on the router’s WiFi? 

How do the Macs connect to the network? (CR200s obviously talk direct to the Sonos units.)

By the way, the Network Matrix has no relevance here as the Move isn’t on SonosNet.

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The background to all this is that the controller needs to have uninterrupted multicast/broadcast access to the players to be able to locate them when it starts. It uses SSDP. Some powerline devices may not pass such traffic, and some WiFi devices may not forward such packets between their different network segments (WiFi 2.4, WiFi 5, wired, powerline, etc). 

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I understand completely and apologise for not being more precise on this matter.

Before my last post, I checked what I could and could not do, but the situation does not seem to be entirely consistent.  This isn’t helped by the fact that when the controller and the Move are side by side in our Kitchen, the iPhone can only connect via the PLE, whereas it seems that the better antennae in the Move sometimes allow it to connect direct with the router.  Add into the mix that the PLE Manager app, which lists the wifi connections on each PLE, takes an age to reflect any changes, even if I do a refresh.

I thought I was reaching a revised conclusion that things work only when Move and controller are connected via the same method, i.e. both on the router or both on the PLE, but I am not sure I can say that with any certainty right now.  So, what I suggest I do is back off and take a step-by-step approach, in order to give you a definitive statement as to exactly what works when and where.  I will be in touch again as soon as I think I can present you with this info.

Re the Mac’s, both were originally connected via Ethernet, one direct to the router and one using a non-wifi PLE.  At the request of the Sonos support, I removed the PLE device and used the router Ethernet socket occupied by the other Mac to directly connect a second Sonos device.  This hasn’t made any discernible difference to the situation, but that is how the setup remains today, i.e. a Boost and a Play:3 directly connected to the router with both MACs communicating exclusively via wifi.

It sounds like Sonos Support set you off chasing the odd red herring. You don’t have a problem with the rest of the system, so wiring another device (the Play:3) was not relevant. Assuming it’s close to the Boost they’re both doing much the same job in terms of bridging into SonosNet. Boost has a somewhat better radio so between the two I’d choose to wire that.

The Macs have either been wired to the router, or using the WiFi to the router, or using a non-WiFi PLE. From the perspective of the WiFi PLE they’ve always been approaching from the same direction, i.e. the router. 

Anyway, I’ll leave you to map out what works and what doesn’t. To my eyes the key issue is whether the Move and its controlling device are ‘upstream’ (the router side) or ‘downstream’ (the WiFi side) of the PLE.

Another possible solution?  I am not clear whether you have several of the PLEs about the place so that you can move the Move within your home, or if it has a reasonably fixed place when connected to your home network.  If the latter, maybe an access point in bridge mode connected to the Ethernet port of the closest other speaker might work?

I think I’d like @ratty ‘s view on whether that could possibly work before you went out and bought anything.

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I was happy to wire the Play:3 to the router, with the intention of using the Boost further into the house as a “bridge” to improve the connection to the most remote players, but then Sonos asked me to wire it back to the router.

I will change it back, once I decide whether improving the situation with the Move requires any other network changes.  Irritating thing is, the SonosNet side of everything appears great - all green/yellow on the Network Matrix, which has not always been the case, although the Sonos techie says there are underlying issues not visible in the matrix.

Will get back to you with some definitive results asa p.  There are only 4 permutations to test, how hard can it be……..

If your matrix had green/yellow in the signal strengths then a wireless Boost would be ignored as a “bridge”.

Yes, there could be other underlying issues only visible to Support from the full diagnostic. Unfortunately we had those toys taken away from /support/review a few years back.

 

@John B yep, wiring an AP onto a SonosNet backhaul could be the next step. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let’s see, once the problem is fully characterised.

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@johnb 

I have 2 wifi PLE’s, but usually only one is used with the Move.  I don’t think we are being very demanding with the Move.  It stays in the same place near the router for the bulk of the time and we occasionally move it onto a terrace just outside the back door.  It started to become an issue when I was considering placing the Move permanently into another room connected via a PLE and then taking it into the garden from there. 

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@ratty 

The Matrix is only all yellow/green when I use the Boost as a bridge.  Mind you, what you say is very interesting, because occasionally when I have tried it this way, Sonos ignores the Boost in favour of an inferior (orange) connection via another player.  I then have to force it back to using the Boost by turning off the other player so that green/yellow is back everywhere again.

@johnb

I have 2 wifi PLE’s, but usually only one is used with the Move.  I don’t think we are being very demanding with the Move.  It stays in the same place near the router for the bulk of the time and we occasionally move it onto a terrace just outside the back door.  It started to become an issue when I was considering placing the Move permanently into another room connected via a PLE and then taking it into the garden from there. 

As @ratty has pointed out, it IS asking a lot of the Move if the PLEs are not passing all the traffic that Sonos requires, bearing in mind that making a standalone Smart TV (for example) work is trivial compared with a multidevice system that requires constant contact between devices.

Hence my suggestion that if this cannot be made to work, an alternative to PLEs might be better.

@ratty

The Matrix is only all yellow/green when I use the Boost as a bridge.  Mind you, what you say is very interesting, because occasionally when I have tried it this way, Sonos ignores the Boost in favour of an inferior (orange) connection via another player.  I then have to force it back to using the Boost by turning off the other player so that green/yellow is back everywhere again.

 

This is a digression from the Move/PLE problem, and hence another topic really, but SonosNet will organise its topology so as to minimise ‘root path cost’. This means that it will try and stick to a single hop to a wireless player if it can. It’s only when the direct signal strength drops into the low 20s (well into orange territory) that it would start to favour a two-hop path via another wireless node. Generally orange isn’t an issue, depending on the level of transient RF interference.

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I am interested in the outcome of this problem I was thinking of buying a Roam for my garden shed which due to distance will need a Powerline to get a wifi signal.

Not sure I can add much to the discussion but the following may (or may not) be helpful. I have some TP-Link powerline and for the most part they have been successful. The PA 281 I believe is quite an old bit of kit so I wonder if that can be removed whilst you do your testing. I am using Sonosnet and as I write I am successfully controlling sonos via an android phone connected to an wifi access point which is in turn connected to my router through a couple of PA411s. In the past I am fairly sure that I have connected my android phone connect through a WPA4220. But none of this has involved a speaker in wi-fi mode. The recent Tp-link products have some QoS option not sure if this would have any impact on the problem.

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@Ralpfocus 

I have done some preliminary tests, but want to repeat them, since as I mentioned the results can appear to be inconsistent and I want to be sure of any conclusions.

Also, I could remove the PA281, but I am a bit reluctant to do so since this has proved to be the most problematic of my wifi extenders and once the signal drops it can take several days or more for it to decide to work again.  I know it is quite old, but it looks to all intents and purposes exactly the same as the PA4220 and, on the plus side, I know that in this situation I am definitely only connecting the iOS controllers via the PA4220.

For what it’s worth, I suspect that an Android controller, assuming it still connects direct to the SonosNet SSID as I think it used to, would work with the Move/Roam, for the same reason that my CR200’s work perfectly, regardless of either their location or that of the Move.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that my problem is an inability of an iOS controller to connect to the Move, unless both devices share the exact same network.  Using the PA4220, there seems to be a distinction between its “local” wifi network and that of the router, even though the network details have been cloned and they definitely share the same SSID.  I just wish I had an Android device to hand so could check it out.  That said, maybe I can access one to find out.

Will report back asap hopefully some time over the weekend.

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@Ralpfocus 

Having reflected on the issue overnight, I suspect my comment about Move/Roam and Android controllers is way too optimistic. Just not sure how you’d get the powerline to transmit the SonosNet signal for the Android phone to pick it up in your shed, especially given that Sonos seems to go out of its way to discourage any use of powerlines with their kit nowadays.  I will still try to get access to an Android phone to see if it works in my situation, which I think it could given that I have other Sonos players in range working on SonosNet, but guess that won’t help in your case.  Sorry if I got your hopes up.

These connectivity problems are not with powerline connections per se, but (I suspect) with those specific adapters. 

Powerline connections do often present reliability and latency issues, which is why Sonos deprecates them for actual audio streaming, but for control purposes they should work. 

By the way, Android devices can no longer connect directly to SonosNet. This has been the case for some while. 

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@ratty Thanks for the  clarification. It’s been a while since I had an Android phone and wondered if that might be the case. Under the circumstances, I will forget about trying an Android device, which could be a bit more difficult to arrange in lockdown, than might normally be the case. 

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I had a powerline set up running top my Garden room and garage.  When it worked it was … OK, but on every Sonos update it would fail and I’d have to spend a lot of time resetting routers and turning things on an off. I’d then get issues still with speakers sporadically not appearing on some controllers etc. My system was also running in mixed mode too.  I found things massively worse if I mixed brands of powerplugs.  Stuck with TP link in the end.

It can’t have been that bad as I put up with it for 2 years.

 

However I eventually ran a lan cable to the room from the home an repurposed an old router as an access point and all my issues disappeared. Utter bliss :) 

 

Over the years I’ve used Devolo EoP adapters (85Mbps, 500Mbps and Magic 1200Mbps) for various purposes, including with Sonos. As I recall, the performance when carrying actual audio streams was a bit mixed -- probably as these had to cross the consumer unit -- so I didn’t persist with that particular arrangement. 

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A while back a pair I had did strange things with the clients MAC address but cannot recall who made them, Used TP Link ones with Sonos but they needed a weekly power cycle otherwise they would just stop working. Like ratty I gave up with them.

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@bjw10 do come back when you have done your repeat testing. Powerlines do seem to be very environment dependent but having never run mixed mode your experience would be helpful

  

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Apologies for the length of this post, but here’s what I’ve found out from testing the Move and iOS Controllers connected to either my router’s wifi or that of a TP-Link PLE.  Unfortunately, I do not have the definitive set of results that I was hoping for, since having now repeated the 4 possible test permutations over 4 separate days, there are conflicting results from apparently identical situations, which I am at a complete loss to explain.

There are a few general points to make in advance:

  1. All tests involved playing Radio streaming rather than music from My Library etc.
  2. The Move ran as both a Group Member and a Group Controller in a group of 4 players and it was invariably alongside another player at all times.  Regardless of how the Move was connected to the system, I experienced no discernible latency whatsoever from players in the same group.
  3. The iOS devices were an iPhone running iOS 14.4 and an iPad running iOS 12.5.1.
  4. All of the device network connections were verified via the TP-Link utility.  As previously mentioned, in certain rooms, the Move could sometimes opt to connect to the router’s wifi, even though the physically adjacent Controllers connected to the PLE, which was significantly closer.
  5. The Controllers/Apps were restarted each time the physical location of the Move and/or a Controller was changed and a reasonable delay was allowed for the system to adjust before any further activity was undertaken.
  6. An iMac running the Sonos S1 Controller, connected direct to the router by ethernet, and a CR200 were used as a comparison to the iOS devices.  It is reasonable to say that they both functioned pretty much faultlessly throughout, allowing control of the whole Sonos system, regardless of the situation with the iOS devices.
  7. When I say the Move was not visible on a controller, it was as if it did not exist on Sonos and not just that it was shown as Offline.
  8. Generally, when the Move was not visible on a Controller, it would still react to certain requests made to the other rooms in the same group e.g. mute/unmute.
  9. If the Move was the Group Controller then when the Move become invisible to the iOS Controller, any subordinate rooms in the group also disappeared. 

 

So, at the risk of stating the obvious, the 4 permutations are derived from the fact that either or both of the Move and the iOS Controllers can connect to the network via the router or the PLE.

The easy situation to deal with is when both were connected via the router, in which case everything worked as expected.  The next 2 options are also easy to dismiss in that, if either device was connected differently to the other i.e. one on the router and the other on the PLE (regardless of which way round it occurred), nothing worked in that the Move was invisible to the iOS Controllers.

The real surprise is the final option, when both Move and Controller were connected via the PLE.  In an earlier post, I said I was coming to the conclusion that if both shared the same connection, then everything worked fine and in earlier tests that was exactly what happened.  However, in a subsequent test yesterday, when both Move and Controller were connected via the PLE, the Move was missing from the app.  Nothing I did to try and address this situation had any effect whatsoever, e.g. restarting both iOS apps numerous times and the iPhone/iPads themselves.

Eventually, I returned the Move to where it would re-connect to the router.  This caused the Move to drop from its Group on both the iMac and the CR200, whilst at the same time it appeared in the iOS Controllers that were still attached via the PLE, but showed as Offline.  However, after a few minutes the Move reappeared on the iMac and CR200 Controllers but disappeared again from the iOS devices and remained that way, in spite of any attempts to get them to re-connect to it.

This morning, I had yet another variation on these results. When I moved the iPhone in order for it to connect via the PLE, the Move disappeared.  When I followed this up by placing the Move alongside the iPhone, it was shown as present as a separate room, but Offline.  However, after a few minutes, the Move eventually rejoined its previous Group, but was not playing.  In spite of stopping and starting the Radio stream, this situation did not change until I added another room to the Group and then both that room and the Move started up.  Meanwhile, at the same time, a second iPhone Controller, connected to the router, showed no sign of the Move and remained that way even when the additional room was added above and the Move started playing.

One final point perhaps worth mentioning is that when the Move is visible/invisible on a  Controller, the Networks connection in Settings is different.  I have included screenshots of the two situations below, which show that, if the iOS Controller is able to access the Move, then Settings/System/Network/Networks shows my Network SSID as being “In Use”.  However, if the iOS Controller cannot access the Move, then the Network SSID is displayed under the “Other Networks” list instead.  This appears to suggest that any iOS Controller is invariably aware of my wifi network, regardless of whether it is connecting to the router or the PLE; however, when connected via the PLE it sometimes decides not to recognise devices in that network.

I hope some of this is helpful and I will be interested in any thoughts that any of you may have about this situation.