networking woes - line in breaks up badly

  • 10 October 2016
  • 7 replies

Good evening friends,

I'm back at it... trying to fix my set up. It's never quite worked right, but, as you'll see, there are so many variables that I don't often get the time to sit down, diagram it and try and troubleshoot it.

Here's the TLDR: when I use line in (Apple Airport Express for Air Play, or Amazon Dot) the audio breaks up instantly, and then it totally quits within 3 minutes.

Other symptoms: the Bathroom Play:1 barely works - streaming audio is choppy, controller frequently can't 'find' it

longer version:

My network should be up to the challenge. I've got cat6e everywhere and all GigE switches. And yet, devices plugged into switches seem to prefer wireless over wired routes. I've got STP (vs RSTP) enabled on all my managed switches.

I'm attaching a network topology diagram to this post.

Here's where things get interesting. I have 3 VLANS: 1, 2, 3
1: primary LAN
2: IOT (internet of things .. can access internet but not LAN subnet)
3: Guest (captive portal, can't talk to LAN)

All my controllers (MacOS devices or iOS) are on VLAN1, all my Sonos devices are on VLAN1 (or, more accurately, on the same LAN).

I noticed, on the switch connected to the Kitchen Play:5, the port showed STP was 'blocked'. I changed that port to only have VLAN1 (untagged ... tagged caused it to be unreachable). That flipped the status on the port to 'forwarding'.

All of the other ZPs, which are hardwired, are connected to 'dumb' switches. The Master Bedroom P5s are connected through a wireless AP (the AP, of course, is on a trunked port and get's all VLANS, so the attached ZPs also get all VLANS).

The Livingroom Play Bar is attached to a netgear 'dumb' switch and also gets all VLANs.

None of the ZPs have a problem with IPs... they all get LAN IP addresses and are all reachable via ping and :1400 web.

My googling suggests VLANs may be an issue with Sonos and STP... I'm hamstrung to do to much about it since I don't have a lot of flexibility in the cable runs. And, worth noting, some of my ZPs are, by preference and location, wirelessly connected.

I'm using Sonos's mesh, not my wifi. The SonosNet network is on channel 1, my 2.4 ghz network(s) is/are on Channel 11.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'd be grateful for some troubleshooting help. Frankly, if I could just get Kitchen to turn green, for no reason other than some kind of OCD-like compulsion, I'd be happy.

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7 replies

Man that is by a factor of 10 the weirdest network matrix I have ever seen. Way beyond my capabilities to help. Let's hope @ratty drops by. Where is the root bridge for SonosNet? I can only assume that somehow it's your router. Why is everything a tertiary node? Because everything's going through some switch or other? Too many open tunnels... help!!

Kitchen is red because of interference. Is wifi enabled on the AE? If so switch it off and cable it to the Play:5s Ethernet port. That's all I can suggest, I'm afraid, I hope someone else can do better.

Actually one other suggestion. As an experiment, just wire one Sonos component to your router. Allow all other Sonos components to connect wirelessly over SonosNet. How does the system perform?
Man that is by a factor of 10 the weirdest network matrix I have ever seen.
Kitchen is red because of interference. Is wifi enabled on the AE? If so switch it off and cable it to the Play:5s Ethernet port. That's all I can suggest, I'm afraid, I hope someone else can do better.

I'll grant that the diagram is a mess, but the topology itself isn't that bizarre - one backbone switch feeing other switches in a classic Y-shapped tree.

none of the AE's broadcast - they are only for AirPlay

Kitchen shouldn't have interference, right? It should prefer the cabled route...and yet, it doesn't.
I don't know what it is using. I don't understand how it can have open tunnels to three rooms also at tertiary level. I don't understand anything here!! I think it would be interesting if you wired just one Sonos component to your router, unplugged the cables from every other Sonos component, rebooted everything and see how Sonos performs and how the network matrix looks.
Userlevel 4
I had a similar recent problem with a much simpler network, Sonos devices flipping the network topology every few minutes, leading to severe stutter. I tcpdump'd the STP, decided I didn't like how many TCNs the Sonos boxes were spitting out. Not having time to debug their layer 2 stack, my quick solution was turn off the wireless on any wired Sonos device except one. House-wide playback now rock solid and no more topology spasms. YMMV.
The Kitchen ZP is being hammered with local noise. There's a wireless connection between Kitchen and Living Room, which there shouldn't be. One or other doesn't have a wired root path. What/where is the root? Also there's a wireless connection between the Master Bedroom L & R, which suggests a possible bad cable.

To understand why the topology's the way it is one would need to inspect the http://x.x.x.x:1400/status/showstp pages.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
You need to completely simplify the topology in order to troubleshoot this. Turn off everything except for the router. Start with one player in which you use the Line-In and physically wire it to the router. Test an external audio source going into the line in and see if it plays perfectly directly to the single player. Then boot up the next closest Sonos player and group it to the wired unit. Check stability. Then the next one.

It's almost certainly related to the switches and spanning tree. Don't wire any Sonos component into a smart switch, or if you do, turn off wifi on it (google it)
Userlevel 4
Badge +14
Hi, I think you need to revisit some of your networking setup to address a few issues.

You mention that MasterL player is connected through a trunk port. You might want to investigate if that would work as expected. Maybe it works because the overall switch is configured to fallback onto vlan1 (a common scenario) and any untagged traffic FROM that port will be flagged for vlan1, however, traffic TO that port might be incomprehensible for the device (but most certainly it would see traffic from all vlans). I suspect this give you a bridging of ALL vlans, since that traffic can get forwarded over a wireless sonos link onto another vlan, which doesn't seem good. You are probably lucky since no other tunnels from MasterL seems to be open (but this can change, at any time). If you could separate the AP and the Sonos player, and set vlan1 for the Sonos port, would be better, or if the AP can be configured for untagged = vlan1 for it's secondary port (maybe that is already configured? Then you can disregard my comment about it).

You said that the STP status in the switch for Kitchen said "blocking", tyou should probably also verify the port where netgear switch is connected (since the Living Room is connected through it).

All in all it sound like the path cost configuration is bonkers, which means that it forces traffic from Living Room through the Kitchen player, and at the same time, anything connected to the netgear dumb switch as well. You don't mention anything about the path cost configuration of the toughswitches, and easiest fix for this would be to reconfigure the whole switch for classic STP, rather than RSTP. Alternatively, configure all ports that comes in touch with Sonos devices (directly and indirectly) to path cost 10 or lower, as well as all uplinks (they should probably be as low as possible).

The ANI level of 9 for Kitchen is worrisome, but might be a red herring here.