On The Verge Of Dumping All SONOS Product If I Can't Get Connection Issues Solved

  • 22 October 2018
  • 30 replies
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At my wit's end here. Currently owns dozen PLAY1 speakers, a PLAY5 and a subwoofer—the latter two both second gen. (Also recently purchased a SONOS Boost to help problem-solve.)

Issues with these products used to be beyond minimal—but seems every SONOS-related app updates over the past year has worsened the overall experience, rendering the products absolutely useless.

Issues I'm dealing with are comparable to many others on here who have invested thousands of dollars into this system, but still don't have viable answers.

Breaking point was reached last week after spending hours going down the message board rabbit hole and dedicating IP addresses on my router to each piece of SONOS hardware in my home—going into my Arris router's LAN Settings, inputting the 12-digit MAC address as well as the dedicated IP.

Went through all steps of resetting my router, plugging in all devices one-by-one, et al— still in a nightmare situation. (Have also played the change-the-router channel game between 1, 6 and 11 and no combination there proved better than the previous)

For a party this weekend, I relied on my MacBook as somewhat of a hack. It's plugged into my home's Cat5—bypassing the need for songs to stream wirelessly. Even with that, the app was still insanely sluggish when attempting to change songs—and the process of importing my iTunes playlists into SONOS still wasn't seamless, as it cut off at the letter "Q", when I reached the max number for the importing process.

As I went further down the rabbit hole, I've found things about setting music up on a NAS drive and similar solutions (re: plugging hard drive with music into USB port of router, etc.)—further leading me to believe SONOS has an issue with this product (and app) that must be solved, as it shouldn't be this difficult to stream music at home.

All this to say, the juice is no longer worth the squeeze. Not sure what happened with the SONOS process or why things have become so complicated over the past year with the hardware / software issues—but I never would've invested this much money or time into a home audio solution that required a computer engineering degree.

BASED ON ALL OF THIS, what are my options to rectify this issue?

Would a better router help the cause? What about upgrading my Internet speed—which is currently the best option Cox Communication offers, outside of their new, highly-priced Internet Gigablast plan ($120-per month—up to 1 GBPS download / up to 35 MBPS upload speeds)? I've also found a local AV company that boasts a proper knowledge of SONOS home instillation; but have hesitated to call until I've tried to troubleshoot on my own. (In zero mood to invest another cent in this process right now.)

The amount of man-hours I've spent over the past decade creating playlists, ripping CDs to iTunes, downloading hi-res cover art, etc.—not to mention money invested in SONOS—and to STILL not be able to play music with ease ... officially ready to lose it, dump all this hardware, start with something new and go scorched earth on all things SONOS, advising all potential customers to beware of what is starting to feel like an inferior home audio solution.

All and any expert advice is appreciated. Thank you for your time.

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30 replies

Userlevel 7
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Your going to need to talk to Sonos on the phone. There is no way via a forum to straighten out network issues you seem to have.

I can say I have about 14 Sonos units around my main house with IP addresses fixed. Not using boost but I have a Play:3 making my hardwired connection. Sonos on Channel 1. Home router on channel 11.

I have no issues. Zero. App is fast as can be. Everything connects well.

Any internet speed over about 25MBPS is going to run sonos fine.

Some routers have quirky issues - maybe yours is one of them.

Do you have any wifi repeaters in house - those can cause issues.

App speed to update (sluggishness) is normally always some type of network issue (interference or network storm). Is the Boost the only Sonos unit hooked to your router?
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Thank you for the detailed response. Yet to call SONOS with this, but alas, seems like the last resort.

Router could certainly be quirky and the problem. Currently renting the Arris router provided by Cox (out of sheer laziness at the time they set things up here), so maybe it's worth investing in a new one.

No WiFi repeater. Did purchase an EERO system to help with some dead zones in the house—but have since disconnected that in effort to just run SONOS proper and to see if that was the issue. Thus far, things remained just as bad without EERO.

Yes, at this point my SONOS Boost is the only unit hooked to the router. I had originally tried to run one of my speakers through my Cat5 set up (in the master bedroom), but it didn't take. Have the ability to plug at least 4-5 speakers into a Cat5 port based on where the speakers are set up in my home, but couldn't figure out how to make that work and went the Boost route.
Userlevel 7
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I would stick with just the boost hooked to router. Keep it a few feet from router and keep the channel for sonosnet 5 channels away from your home wifi channel.

According to compatibility page Arris has had some broadcast storm type issues if more than 1 sonos unit hooked to router. So definitely be sure the boost is only Sonos item hooked to router. https://support.sonos.com/s/article/41?language=en_US

Is there the ability with Cox to use the EERO as your main router instead of the Arris?
Userlevel 7
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You can go into settings...advanced...submit diagnostic and post the diagnostic # here for Sonos to look at source of any interference etc. that could be causing your issue.
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I used the EERO router in the past, but had issues so went back to my standard 2.4GHz WiFi via my router.

What is the true purpose of the Boost? I purchased it under the belief it would be a dedicated network for SONOS, keeping it from having to compete with all the other crap—iPhones, laptops, streaming movies / TV, etc.

BOOST is currently connected to the router and a few feet away. What did you mean in regards to "keep the channel for sonosnet 5 channels away from your home wifi channel"? Like you, I have my SONOS on Channel 1 and router on channel 11. (Also, the BOOST is the only SONOS hardware connected to the router. Nothing else.)

Thank you, again.
Userlevel 7
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Mom is on Cox Essential, 10 GB connection and her Sonos is perfectly happy so don't look at the network speed as the problem. I'm on the Cox 100 plan, again with no issues even with multiple streams coming in at once.

With at least the Boost connected via Ethernet your system should show all speakers (see the controller About status) as connected in Boost mode. When switching to Boost mode some folks forget to remove the WiFi settings and end up in mixed (Boost/Standard) mode that rarely works out well so double check all of your units are in WM:0 mode and clear the WiFi settings. If they are cleared there will be no option shown to clear them, not user friendly but it is what we have.

If you look at your network matrix you should be able to see if there is a noise or communications problem among your units. I had to relocate a couple electrically noisy (but no radio built in) devices away from a couple Sonos units to get an acceptable noise level. You also have the option to wire one or more Sonos units to your Ethernet, that can sometimes change the connections and clear a communications problem. http://your player ip here:1400/support/review

I've found a NAS more stable than a PC as a music library source, I wouldn't consider using a USB device from a router from a security standpoint and performance may be an issue too. I prefer a custom NAS based on a Raspberry PI but WD and several other folks make nice, low end NAS devices. You don't want or need a fancy NAS for Sonos, just enough space to hold your music and SMB Version 1 support.

The Arris router sounds like a huge pain, most routers let you set static/reserved IPs with a couple clicks. I'm using a cable modem and separate router here and at mom's, maybe that combo unit is what is giving you fits.

Try the suggestions above and if there are still problems give the Sonos folks a chance to look into them. Within about 10 minutes of having a glitch submit a diagnostic and contact Sonos with the number. I'd lean to a phone call given your setup but one of the 24x7 support options or even posting the number(s) here will work too.

My system has been great since I got it, a few glitches at upgrades that were solved by the static address trick but otherwise it just sits here and works without issues.
Userlevel 7
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So the boost is on channel 1 and router is on 11 so your fine.

Yes the boost is creating Sonosnet - a separate wifi network that your Sonos speakers are communicating on back to the router.

Then your phone is connecting to your home wifi - which in turn through router gets out to Sonosnet.

The issue though with your Sonos app being sluggish and slow to update means your router is for some reason still bogging down. Running Sonosnet that is odd - and seems like something is interfering with the router (some type of interference or networking storm that is bogging down router).

Do you happen to have an android phone or tablet handy we could try connecting direct to Sonosnet (bypassing going through router to speakers).
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Stanley_4 — Everything is in WM: 0 mode regarding BOOST settings, so it's not that. Definitely wondering if the Arris router from COX isn't helping the cause. Can't recall how bad things were with the AT&T router, but can confirm we've definitely gotten much worse around here over the past six months on the SONOS front.

Chris — I don't have an android or tablet. All Apple-related; running through an iPhone X—while the MacBook is macOS High Sierra (10.13.6). Both have a tremendous amount of hard drive space, too—the phone a 256GB with about 50GB not used, while there's almost 400GB or hard drive space on the MacBook (as I moved all my music to an external.)
Userlevel 7
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If you have a PC available that has two Ethernet ports you can put router software on it, pfSense works well with Cox and it is free. Set the Cox modem to bridge mode, reboot the modem and plug the new pc/router into it. Follow the pfSense setup steps and you'll be running in a few minutes.

Get it: https://www.pfsense.org/download/

Setup instructions: https://www.netgate.com/docs/pfsense/install/index.html

Setup help: https://forum.netgate.com/

Documentation: https://www.netgate.com/docs/pfsense/

I liked it so well I bought one of their router devices and love it.

https://www.netgate.com/products/appliances/
Userlevel 7
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He has an EERo router he can use.
Userlevel 7
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I would turn off the wifi on the Cox router. Hook the EERO to it and enable the EERO wifi. Hook the Boost to the EERO base ethernet slot. Set EERO to wifi channel 6. See how it all works then.
Userlevel 7
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I didn't suggest the EERO since he said he had issues with it but is an option.

The pfSense wouldn't be a long term solution, just a fast/cheap way to test things, to have a workable replacement system for the Cox combo unit's router/wifi you'd have to add an AP to the pfSense.

I wouldn't just turn off the Cox WiFi section, I'd also bypass (bridge mode) the entire router section of the Cox modem/router/wifi combo device by putting it in bridge mode. That seems to be a solution a lot of Cox customers end up following as it removes both the routing and DHCP functions as well as any firewall stuff Cox has in there.
Userlevel 7
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I hate cable company routers …..It was a pain to get Verizon to properly set me up without the Verizon Fios Router! Luckily I got it all bypassed and direct ethernet to my router.
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Thank you for all the suggestions, gents. Will dive in and see what I can get solved. Super, super appreciated.
CBello305,

I'll echo Chris's and Stanley_4's notes that I have zero networking issues. I had been using the FIOS router and that was a bad trip. The day I ditched that router (many years ago) my issues stopped. Today, I only have 15 SONOS units on my network, but there can be more. Currently, two of my SONOS units are wired, but I usually connect only one wired unit. I recommend wiring as many units as possible. Regardless of any marking hype, wired is always faster and more reliable than wireless. I could wire almost all of my units, but I am deliberately using a contorted setup because I like pushing the envelope. I'm a firm believer that one learns more from failure than an accidental success.

I'm using SonosNet (SONOS calls this "BOOST Mode"). The system will switch to SonosNet when one or more units are wired. By the way, BOOST is simply a unit with no audio section. BOOST is not required, but is handy when one does not need audio at the only convenient network port location or if there is an area with poor wireless coverage. In this case BOOST (wired or wireless) would be placed about midway between a good coverage area and the problem area. Multiple BOOST's are welcome, if required, to cover difficult layouts. The limit is 32 SONOS units of any mix.

By the way the diagnostics are excellent. They will log networking issues. Only SONOS staff has access to the full diagnostic presentation. You should submit a diagnostic, log the confirmation number and contact Support directly or through a post here. While the diagnostics can point out issues that are days old, the fine detail scrolls after about 20 minutes. If you have a major issue, it is best to submit a diagnostic within about 10-15 minutes.

Are you using any network switches? Most dumb switches will work fine, managed switches usually need some configuration. Avoid any networking products listed in the Hall of Shame.

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The ISP supplied routers can be a complete disaster, but are usually required to support cable boxes. You probably are not in the mood for more experimentation, but a good plan would be to work with SONOS support to zero in on an issue. You can minimize the supplied router issues by either switching into into "Bridge" mode (if possible) or setting a "DMZ" (Demilitarized Zone). DMZ's are commonly required for online gaming. In this arrangement, the box is not providing any router functions. One would also disable or ignore the supplied router's WiFi. Now, connect a good quality router to the DMZ port or any port on a Bridged router.

A good pro could help with all of this. I have no direct experience with COX Cable, but there are a lot of online grumbles.
I only have two Play 1’s that have been working great until just recently.
Now they are constantly losing connection. You should not have to go through all the hassle to make these work. I was considering getting some play 5’s but no way now. Will try a couple more things and probably call Sonos later today to see what they can do. Frustrating as hell.
Userlevel 7
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Sonos will get you fixed. Multiple things can cause those to drop off all related to your network.
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Again, appreciate all who have taken the time to advise here.

Buzz — Question, since you're hard-wiring a few products; are they all going into a router or is this a home wired for Cat5?

I have Cat5 throughout the house and could easily plug at least 3-4 of the units into an walled ethernet port, but haven't solved how to do that. Only purchased the BOOST as yet one more option to get this situation on a better track.

WiFi is set up in master bedroom closest and there's nothing I can do to change that as it's where the Cat5 wiring panel is set up. That said, I have rooms upstairs that have garbage WiFi (office, extra bedroom) that required me to purchase EERO to help boost the signal. (As mentioned above, I've currently disconnect EERO for my SONOS troubleshooting and it's made zero difference.)

From what I'd read, BOOST needs to plug directly into the router. Can it be plugged into a Cat5 port instead?

At minimum, will submit diagnostics to SONOS and get on the phone with them. Been trying to solve on my own, as I rarely have good customer service experiences in situations like these. Logical folks on message boards with a heart to help have usually proven the better route. Appreciate the time and effort. Thanks, all.
Userlevel 7
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Hi CBello305, as the other's have suggested, it'd be great to work with us live on this one. You can plug any number of Sonos devices into the network, just using the Cat5 port will work, assuming it's wired back to the router somehow. If you have managed switches or a pretty complicated network, you may need to do some configuration on STP settings, but we can assist if that's the case.
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Ryan S — All Cat5 ports work when I plug a laptop in and need Internet access, plug in Apple TV or wire to a flat screen for streaming services. By that rationale, just plugging in a SONOS speaker would work, correct—or settings-wise does more need to be done?

I don't have a complicated network here. Standard modern-day tract home with Cat5 built in. Router is an Arris from Cox Communications (which I am glad to upgrade if it's part of the problem.) Also have EERO for dead zones at the house (two stories) but have temporarily disconnected (for a few weeks) as I troubleshoot SONOS.
Userlevel 7
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Correct, you can just plug any player into the network and they'll sort out the rest. It'll usually take a minute or so to switch over from wireless to wired (and might wait until the end of the song that's on if you're listening to music). Because Sonos uses our own mesh technology when you have devices wired in, they'll bounce the signal around to get to the network the fastest. So wired players will add extra spots to get access.
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Appreciated, Ryan.

Do you have any ability to look at diagnostics, or is that only doable via a SONOS call? I can ping them tomorrow—too jammed up today—but did submit diagnostics and had a number ready to go, barring you had the ability to do here.
CBello305,

Post the diagnostic confirmation number here or give it to a live agent.

I have wiring buried in the walls. You can use a "Network Switch" to expand the number of ports on your router. Common configurations are 5, 8, 16, 24, and 48 ports. One of the ports would connect to your router and the others are available for your house wiring. "Unmanaged" 8-port switches are available for well under $100 and can purchased online or at most office supply stores, Home Depot, Best Buy, and similar stores. A "Managed" switch is a higher end product used on larger, more complex networks that one might find in a business. This is more than you need and Managed switches require some configuration, Unmanaged switches are plug and play. Be sure to avoid anything in the Hall of Shame.
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Buzz — Doubling back here. In the past 11 days I've dumped my Arris router/modem combo I was renting from COX and have replaced it with a NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S (DOCSIS 3.1) combo—while also upgrading my Internet speed to COX's GIGABLAST (95Mbps download speed and around 35Mbps upload speed.) Nothing has improved with my set-up—which still has registered IP addresses for all SONOS products.

I've tried calling support a few times over the past week, but hang up after being on hold at the half hour mark (as that bad jazz waiting music is too much for me.)

I sent diagnostic info in about an hour ago and the conformation number is 894570271.

Today is the last day this week I have to mess with this until the weekend, where I'll double back and give it another try.

To say I remain beyond frustrated is an understatement—right down to SONOS' customer service lack-of-accessibility, as well.
Userlevel 7
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For fast responses the Sonos twitter or facebook contacts may be faster.