Problems finding Sonos system when using powerlink adaptor to extend home network

  • 6 September 2014
  • 70 replies

My kitchen is a wifi blackspot and so I have used a TP-LINK AV200 power-line adaptor to extend the range of my wifi to that room. So I in effect have two wifi access points (for present purposes, lets call them HomeNet and HomeNet-TPL). My kitchen is the room we use the most and the Sonos Play 5 we have there connects to HomeNet-TPL. At least, I assume it does since they are next to each other and HomeNet doesn’t normally reach the kitchen. The Sonos Bridge connects by Ethernet cable to the Homenet Router. The problem is that my iPhone App doesn’t always find my Sonos Network when it connects to HomeNet-TPL (as it normally does when I am in the kitchen) and so I cannot control Sonos. I normally fix this by walking towards the HomeNet Router and then when my iPhone connects to that part of my network it then finds Sonos. However, this is an intermitted problem. Sometimes, my iPhone app does succeed in finding Sonos when it connects to HomeNet-TPL. Any ideas to avoid this annoying problem? It is embarrassing when I have friends around and show off my Sonos system and then my controller app can’t connect! They aren’t impressed.

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70 replies

Hello all

I’m new, so please be gentle. I read the thread with interest, but I’m not in any way a techy person (part of the appeal of the Sonos products is how easy they are for luddites to use), but I have the problem that most of the posters above have.

Background: I’ve had Sonos for about 10 years, and it served me well, however given a move to a larger house and need for more WIFI signal in my kitchen to facilitate working from home, I’ve had to buy a TP-Link powerline.

My set up: Router in Living Room (front of house), connected by Ethernet to a ZP120. I have another ZP in master bedroom (directly above Living Room. I have a Play5 in the kitchen. There is a TP-Link Powerline adaptor (configured to have same name/password as the router) in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding the Ethernet connection to the Router, the mesh always defaults to starting from the TP-Link Powerline adapter (and if it turn the TP link off, and back on, the mesh will again, re-build from the TP-Link). So if my phone is connected to the cloned Wifi from the TP Link, I can use Sonos. If it’s connected to the Router I cannot control Sonos. This means if I am in my bedroom, I need to run to the other side of the house, toggle the WiFi, connect to the TP-Link and change the music/vol.

That is annoying.

I appreciate Sonos is unable (or unwilling) to find a fix. People have taken some rather entrenched views on the problem, and it is a problem. My view, Sonos bend over backwards to accommodate any blips with IOS connections, but ignore this issue entirely. They are not entirely “upfront” as you don’t know you’ve got an issue until you install a TP link and find it all goes to pot (no-one trawls over FAQs until they’ve got an actual problem).

For me, I don’t really care. I like my Sonos and I want an actual solution (if I have to buy something new to fix it, I am open to considering it). I am about to undertake a massive renovation of my house, which will make it bigger and amplify the problem. If it can work, I’ll probably end up buying 2x Play 5, and 2 x play 3, and maybe a soundbar.

So I’m left with swapping the TP Link for an alternative way to get high-speed internet in my house (will, for example Google WiFI solve it, or is that just the same?), or just eBaying all of my current Sonos kit and getting something else.

In short is there another way (which is simple to do and doesn’t require a degree in computing/electronics) to get strong wifi throughout a building with thick walls and still leave Sonos controllable from anywhere in the building. Wifi extenders won’t do…

Just connect your Sonos to the TP Link directly with an Ethernet cable.
Should do it.

PS: make sure there is only one wifi in all your house
I am not clear what you mean by 'the mesh always defaults to starting from the powerline adapter'. Could you explain please?

Also, have you set up the adapter to act in 'access point' mode, sometimes known as 'bridge' mode? (It may be that there is no other option, but just wondered if you had had to do it.)

Also, are your controllers iOS or Android?
Thanks, I tried what JulesGS suggested but no joy.

Sorry if it’s not clear (as I said I’m not techy so am trying to shoe-horn my understanding into this!).

As I understand the TP-Link Powerline Adaptor, it create a new WIFI network. That TP-link network has the SAME NAME as the main network, so whichever network is broadcasting strongest, then the one my phone automatically switches to it without me being prompted to do anything.

Even though they have the same name, I’m calling them Network 1 and 2 here.

Network 1 is the router, and has a ZP120 hard wired to it by Ethernet cable.
Network 2 is the TP Link, and is close to a Play 5.

The mesh always starts from Network 2, as I understand it. This is because when I am in the kitchen, on Network2 I can control Sonos anywhere in the house. When I go into the Livingroom, my phone latches onto Network 1, as that is out of range of Network2. I get the “Searching for Sonos System…” screen on the app and then the app says "we cannot connect".

I don’t want to make the Sonos mesh from Network 1. I don’t care which one the mesh starts from. All I want is for my phone to be able to control the Sonos from Network 1 and Network 2. I recognise this is purely down to having a TP Link Powerline adaptor. Sonos don't seem able to code software to support it, but I need to use one as my house is solid brick construction and the router doesn't reach to all ends of my modest house.

If that means buying some new kit (i.e. does the Google Wifi system work differently to TP Link), then I will do that.

If it cannot be accommodated, I’ll just sell the Sonos system and buy something that works. It would be a shame to have to do that, as I like Sonos a lot and am about to add 2 extra bedrooms and an extra living space to my house, so wanted to add more to the network.

By the way, the phone is android (but my wife has the same issue with her iPhone).
OK. Your understanding of what is going on with the networking is rather astray, but let's leave that for the moment. I'll make a suggestion that I think will give you a workable solution for your Android controller, although it isn't dealing with the fundamental issue. I also need to check a few things with you in the hope of finding a complete solution.

In your Android app, go to Settings, Advanced Settings, Connect to SonosNet. Check the box so that you see 'Allow Connection'. Then in your phone's wifi settings you should see a network name starting 'Sonos.....'. Connect to that. Now see if you can control Sonos from anywhere in the house. Please post back either way.

A couple of questions.
1. What make and model is your router?
2. In the Sonos app, under 'About My Sonos System', every device will have either WM:0 or WM;! next to it. What do yours say?
Interesting. That worked, but unfortunately it had a drastic effect on broadband speeds (I went from 42mbps to 0.8mbps).
My router is a Technicolor TG589vac. My connect:amp, connect and Play:5 (old model) all have WM:0. I have a redundant Sonos Controller (not in use the bottom half of the touch screen doesn't work), it doesn't have any WM 0 or ! value.

I assume you mean just on the phone??!! I would have expected a drop on the phone but not to that extent.

Thanks for info. This means that your speakers are all connecting to SonosNet OK, but I would have expected that. Do you know what wireless protocols your router is set to handle? It would say something like 'b/g/n mixed' or 'n only'?
Actually I have a more basic troubleshooting question. If you turn off the powerline adapter, and leave it off, and your phones connect to the router wifi, can you connect to the Sonos system?
If you cannot connect to Sonos when on the router wifi, and the extender is turned off (and I suspect that is how it will be) then I am starting to think the extender isn't the issue at all, but is actually giving you a partial workaround to a problem between your router and Sonos. But I shall wait for your responses before I pursue that one further.
it says "radio type is 802.11n" when I hover over the connection on my laptop. There's nothing written on the router to suggest whether is does the other standards. I opened the setting page

I turned off powerline and it refused to connect for 3-4 minutes, then it "found" the main router network. But it keeps dropping out as the signal is very weak.
It found the router network but could it see Sonos? Why is the signal weak? For this experiment you can stand right next to the router.
And it may be necessary to change that 'n only' protocol to enable b and g. Can't remember if that is needed for controllers, Leave it for now - I don't think it matters when you are in SonosNet mode.
I found this other thread featuring a similar problem with the same router. There is a lot of duff information in some of the posts, but it looks like part of the problem was a bit of security software called 'NetIntelligence" Do you have that?
Hi, thanks. Turned off the TP Link and the Sonos played on, but when I connected to the router network it didn't see the Sonos. Then I had to go out for an hour. When I came back, the Sonos was still playing and the router network was fine to connect phone to Sonos.

I saw that other thread, but I've only ever used the 2.4ghz network, as it is stronger than the 5ghz over distance, and I didn't think Sonos was compatible with it. 5ghz network is only used by my smart TV for Netflix 4k, everything else (phones, tablets, laptops and Sonos is on the 2.4ghz).

I don't have NetIntelligence that I am aware. The issue occurred only from the time I installed the TP Link..

OK. I never thought it was a 2.4 vs 5 issue - that's what I meant by the duff information, but wondered about the NetIntelligence thing because it seemed to be something that came with the router.

Ideally, since you are using SonosNet, you should have the router, adapter and Sonos on different channels (i.e. one each on 1, 6 and 11. But to be honest this doesn't sound like an interference issue so I wuoldn't hold out much hope there.

It is known that powerline adapters can interfere with the flow of data to controllers, although many people use them without problems. It may just be that. I am sorry we haven't been able to resolve. I think you need to spend some time working with a Sonos technician live, who can remote access your system. We could spend even more time without resolving it.

If all else fails, a dedicated Android device left for control at the router end of the house and connected to SonosNet is a last resort. I use an Amazon Fire tablet as a dedicated controller, and it's amazing value at £50. But you really shouldn't have to go there. Sorry I wasn't able to get further with this, although some useful elimination has been done.

I would expect SonosNet to give you significantly better speed than 0.8mbps so maybe try that again, especially after you have ensured wireless channels aren't clashing.
thanks for your help. I did hear that some people buy dedicated tablets, but to keep one charged etc. it is a bit of a pain. I may investigate getting my SOnos Controller repaired, but as I'm facing into a potential £1000+ investment in new kit I wanted a clear and easy winning solution! thanks again.

I changed broadband suppliers (and got a new router - now with Vodafone) and that made no difference whatsoever.

Then John Lewis (UK retailer) recently had a special offer on their Google Wifi 2-pack (saving me £55 on RRP), so I bought it to try, and was going to return it if it didn't fix the sonos issue.

Glad to report, google wifi solved my issue. I have now ditched my TP-Link powerline adaptors (coming to a well-known auction site near you, soon...). For those with a UK Victorian terrace house, the best locations I found were in front reception room and at the doorway to the kitchen.

I now have 38-42mbps in 3/4 of the house and the slowest speed anywhere is 28mbps. Fast enough for my needs.

The system is a joy to set-up and has worked perfectly. I can now control the sonos from anywhere in the house. 🙂
All he is doing is creating is a WIFI extender like other people have done using a system not dissimilar to Sonos net in operation.
This answer will only work in small properties or ones where the WIFI signal is strong enough to create this kind of subnet. Most tri aerial routers can do this extended WIFI. But when you do this over a longer distance the Download speeds are massively reduced as you have to use your 2 of your three transceivers to make these links.
The underlying issue still exists in that Sonos can not connect to Mains TP-Link type of routers where even a WIFI link is not possible.

And finally Sonos does not work on 5G 2.4 only. however 5G is the best connection and faster than 2.4 in answer to a sub question where this thread has veered off course that has nothing to do with this issue at all.
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The underlying issue still exists in that Sonos can not connect to Mains TP-Link type of routers where even a WIFI link is not possible.
This is because powerline networking is often too choppy to guarantee the relatively low latencies required for audio data transmission. However, although it's not supported, it does work provided the electrical wiring is up to standard. I've been using powerline extensions with Sonos for years, in two different properties, and it's been working perfectly.

however 5G is the best connection and faster than 2.4

Not necessarily. 5Ghz WiFi has substantially shorter range than 2.4GHz. And, in general, 2.4GHz provides ample bandwidth for audio data.
EoP (Ethernet over Powerline) is my last choice for networking, but sometimes it can be the magic bullet.