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

  • 6 September 2014
  • 70 replies
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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

Come on Sonos, wake up!
Sonos cannot fix this problem as it's caused by out-of-spec equipment.

As already noted, some Powerline WiFi Points apparently don't forward the broadcasts which Sonos controllers use to discover the players. And this is not some proprietary perversity: a fundamental basis of UPnP is that devices automatically discover each other on the network and exchange information about their respective capabilities.

If you replaced your Powerline adapters with, say, Devolo I believe you'd find they worked.
SOLUTION!!!

Just connect the Sonos directly to your Wifi Repeater thru an ethernet cable!
It will work INSTANTLY!

🆒
THIS ISSUE IS NOW SOLVED:

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. 🙂
That's because the Sonos devices themselves connect via SonosNet (Sonos propriatory wifi network) and not the wifi network from your router/extender. As long as you have a Sonos device connected to your router and your other Sonos devices are in range of each other to create the SonosNet mesh you should have no problem with the devices themselves.

My setup is the same. The devices work fine - it's the ability to connect the controller apps to the Sonos system via the powerline extender that is the issue. I can remove the powerline wifi extender and connect seamlessly via the router wifi to solve the problem, but this means that I have to be within range of the router. Basically I would have to control the system from my living room if I want to listen to the devices it in my kitchen.

I've got a new wifi router on order which will hopefully have a much broader wifi range (that stretches to my kitchen). If so this will negate the need for the powerline wifi extender and solve the connection issue. I'm not confident and I'd really like to see Sonos get to the bottom of this. Sonos is a premium priced system but I don't consider this to be a premium user experience.
Correct. Sonos categorically do not support controller access via powerline wifi extenders. After hours of tweaking and telephone technical support it was clear that there was no solution for my setup using the powerline wifi extender.

I had to remove the powerline extender and replace it with a standard wifi range extender. This fixed the issue with controller when out of range of the main router but it introduced controller connectivity issues when in range of the router and the extender at the same time.

The wifi range extender is also less effective that my original powerline extender so all of my other mobile apps are now slower.

At one point I was advised by Sonos tech support to purchase a 'cheap' Android tablet and use that exclusively as a Sonos controller, connected directly to SonosNet rather than the wifi. I don't need more expense or indeed another mobile device.

My SonosNet mesh network is solid but the user experience is poor when I have to go to a different room to manage my audio via the iOS controller. In my experience Sonos do not have consistent and reliable OSX or iOS controller applications for use in properties where Sonos zones are beyond the primary router wifi range.
pknowq,

Yes, this painless scheme works, but at some point one can swamp the SonosNet with non audio traffic. Careful use of this facility can work miracles. While I'm not supporting a WiFi access point here, I'm typing through a wireless CONNECT because my computer is sitting in a hard to wire spot.
TheManOnTheBus,

Start with the same SSID ("network name") for all of the access points and try not to use the same RF channel for overlapping areas. This is the conventional wisdom for "best practice". Unfortunately, I find that "roaming" can be hit or miss, particularly for iDevices. Some devices roam better if one uses different SSID's for each access point. Although it is counter intuitive in most cases, a given collection of devices may roam better if all of the access points use the same channel. In any case, restrict your choices to channel 1, 6, or 11. Avoid using "Wide" or "40MHz" channels. Experiment and use the scheme that works best for you.

iDevices are very stubborn and refuse to give up a distant access point, even when a much better deal is available nearby. You can force the iDevice to shop around by swiping up from the bottom of a screen, turning OFF the WiFi for a second, then turning the WiFi ON again.

---

There is a different approach for high end (usually called "enterprise") networking. In addition to the enterprise grade access points, there is a "controller" managing all of the access points. In this scheme the controller manages roaming. As a client moves from one coverage area to another, the controller passes the client from one access point to the next. This is seamless for the user. Unfortunately, the cost for this level of performance is out of the comfort zone for most home users.

---

If you wire a SONOS unit into an EoP (Ethernet over Powerline) device, SONOS will use this path for all data -- music and control. If the EoP device is struggling with its own connectivity, the issue is physical and not something that SONOS can fix in firmware. (It is really a variant of a "defective network cable")
Hi guys,
I had exactly the same problem. Not the powerline seems to be the problem but the wifi established by the powerline device. I now disabled the powerline wifi and used an airport express instead. The airport express is connected to the powerline device with ethernet cable. Since that (a few days now) I have no problems to use my sonos controller with my iPhone. Maybe it' going to help you, too.
Cheers
I had exactly the same problem. Not the powerline seems to be the problem but the wifi established by the powerline device. I now disabled the powerline wifi and used an airport express instead. The airport express is connected to the powerline device with ethernet cable. Since that (a few days now) I have no problems to use my sonos controller with my iPhone. Maybe it' going to help you, too.
Sonos controllers use discovery broadcasts to locate the players. Some Powerline/AP units appear to be a bit reluctant to forward such traffic between their own WiFi and the Powerline connection.
I had this issue recently. My controllers could not see the sonos system after I had installed much needed powerline extenders.

I solved it by plugging the master of my powerline extender into my router. Then I plugged in the slave out in my living room and connected it to my connect via ethernet. Now everything works perfectly. Has anyone else tried this and been successful. My tplink powerline extender slave unit has two ethernet ports.I have an android phone that I'm controlling the system with, but it also worked on my pc. So happy to have this resolved.
I have a fairly unusual network with a mix of ethernet, wifi, and TP-LINK Powerline. I have ethernet supllying network to various access points around the property and TPLINK powerlines also provide network to other access points. Playbar and SUB connected via ethernet and PLAY:1's and PLAY:5 via Wifi. All access points have the same SSID but with a good channel separation. The PLAY:5 gets moved around a fair bit and hops between access points as needed. Never seem to get any problems with connection from controller app or anything else!
Hello everyone !
I have recently invested in Fiber so before i run off buying lots of equipment to create a home network, I see now that there are some apparent issues related to Sonos.
Like most of you i have music in kitchen , which has proven to be a blind or at least weak spot for WIFI along with my sons room on second floor directly above.
Havent had any real issues streaming music even though WIFI signal for sure is weaker there.
Its not the latest Sonos equipment, ZP120 and CR200 controller, but it all runs great.

With WIFI blind spots in house i got excited to hear about AC Powerline that can be connected with Ethernet cable where needed.
However Sonos dont support this and i am by far any expert in creating home network.
Like most people i am happy if all in household can use their computers, every now and then even stream films from Netflix, and most of all enjoy Sonos music.

The most attractive solution for me is to go with AC Powerline.
I thought that this would be a quick fix to install.
Have i understood this correctly i can not simply connect Sonos with router using its WIFI and Powerline adapters for all other equipment in household ?
Permo,

Your SONOS components are not using WiFi and will continue to work as they have been. Androids can use the SONOS wireless if configured to do so, iPhone/iPad must use WiFi. EoP (Ethernet over Powerline) can work well, but it can also be a mess. SonosNet (the SONOS wireless), Ethernet, and EoP are competing technologies, each eager to embarrass the others. In my experience SonosNet is the most robust and EoP is the least robust, but in a given bad situation any of the three can be the magic bullet. WiFi will generally be the fastest.

In the traditional home WiFi situation a wireless router is hidden away at a convenient location that has the cable feed, fiber, or telephone line. "Convenience" and "hidden" trump any technical considerations. Unfortunately, a wireless router trapped in a basement corner (for example) is a bad choice. Generally, higher locations work better than lower locations, but wall density and range are considerations too. The best solution uses multiple WiFi "access points" wired back to a central router. Of course, the router might also contain an access point too. If you can't wire the additional access points to the router, PoE might help. Multiple wired access points are routinely used in businesses, but they have been too expensive and difficult to manage for home users.

We are beginning to see home access points using technology similar to SonosNet that allows the home user to establish a "mesh" home WiFi network. (SONOS has been doing this since inception in 2005). The new Ubiquiti AmpliFi is one such system. One starts with a central "box", adding access points until the wireless mesh covers the building. You can expect all of the major wireless vendors to jump on this train soon. Yes, the latest all powerful central wireless routers are considerably more effective than their recent predecessors, but a few walls or a marble floor will bring these super power stars to their knees. (Actually they can't offer more raw power because of safety, interference, and legal considerations, but they do use more effective transmitters and receivers)

If you like, you can mix SonosNet and PoE in the same network. Actually, you could plug additional access points into any network jack on a SonosNet system and SonosNet will share its connectivity with the access points. Note, however, SonosNet has been optimized for robust, not speed and eventually you could overwhelm SonosNet with downloads and video streaming. Until very recently I had been using a ZP90 to connect this computer at a hard to wire spot. Over the years I had zero issues, but ultimately I wanted to take full advantage of my FIOS connection speed and pulled the inconvenient wire.
Hi Buzz!
Thanks for your interesting reply. I simply got a new powerful D-link router and all family computers along with Sonos runs just fine using WIFI only. No need for AC Powerline !.
In previous " blind spots " we now get about 35 - 40 Mbit/s so a new router solved all my problems.
Great forum and wishing all the best for everyone.
Glad to hear a more powerful router did it for you Permo. However, our internet provider is Sky and they also provide the router. I don't think it's possible for Sky customers to use their own. Also, we live in an old house with thick walls so we have five TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders around the place. They work great for giving us good internet coverage all round but the only thing that doesn't work is the Sonos App. In fact, it only works when our iPhones and iPads are connected to the main router which in turn is hard wired to the Sonos Bridge. If we try to use the Sonos app while connected to any of the extenders the app cannot find any Sonos speakers.

I'm not going to ask for any advice because you have all been there already and done your best so thanks. I think that Sonos' lack of input on this issue speaks volumes though. Their refusal to do anything about it is actually quite arrogant. Perhaps they don't need customers who do not have the perfect conditions for their products and we are just an annoyance. That's less than I'd expect after having paid top dollar for what I thought was a premium product.

As some people have already pointed out, there are now many more similar products on the market so perhaps Sonos would be wise to at least give the impression that they are trying to find a solution and until they do, a warning notice about this issue on their packaging might stop people like me shelling out a heap of cash for an otherwise great product which doesn't always work if you happen to be in the wrong room.

Come on Sonos, wake up!
Never mind. Ratty has it covered.
I came to the forum hoping to find some answers. I may have missed some progress as I've not been through every thread but this one particularly caught my attention. It's disappointing to see an apparent lack of support from Sonos on this issue and a lack of clarity on how their product works.

The underlying issue is that Sonos relies on a mechanism that only reliably works if you are trying to control the player from a device on the same layer 2 network as the Sonos player. For most WiFi routers in a default configuration (some can be changed) it means you need to be connected to the same WiFi router as the player and using the same SSID.

If the Sonos player is connected to a different WiFi network to your device you need to be very lucky for it to work. This is because many WiFi access points will not offer a layer-2 passthrough service and will try to "route" your traffic instead using a mechanism called NAT. If either WiFi access point is in routing mode, this breaks the Sonos discovery mechanism and you are out of luck. Worse, even if they are in layer-2 "switch / bridge" mode, they may not forward the Broadcast traffic and this will break the Sonos discovery mechanism.


Workaround:
------------------
Most powerline adaptors that have a fixed Ethernet network port will offer layer 2 connectivity and are as good as connecting a cable directly between two points. They work well and can be reliably used to place the Sonos player a long distance from your main home router, just like using a long cable. This should solve most peoples problems on this thread.

This setup will work in most cases:
[ISP / Internet] [Home Router] [Powerline Ethernet adaptor] [Powerline Ethernet adaptor] [Sonos player]
+
[ISP / Internet] [Home Router] [Device with Sonos App]

These connectivity problems are not related to how strong the WiFi or PowerLine signal is in your home, how old your wiring is etc. That can cause issues, but not this one.

Permanent fix
------------------
There are a number of ways Sonos could modify their software to allow layer 3 communication between the controller app and the player and fix this problem for customers. One example would be a cloud based reverse VPN solution. Let's see if they rise to the challenge.
Sorry, but I think there's a bit of misinformation here.

a lack of clarity on how their product works.
What lack of clarity?

The underlying issue is that Sonos relies on a mechanism that only reliably works if you are trying to control the player from a device on the same layer 2 network as the Sonos player.

Incorrect. A whole variety of layer 2 technologies can co-exist in the same network. What however is the case is that Sonos controllers and players must all share the same IP subnet and broadcast domain. This is a fundamental requirement for UPnP in general, not just Sonos.

For most WiFi routers in a default configuration (some can be changed) it means you need to be connected to the same WiFi router as the player and using the same SSID.

Incorrect. A single IP subnet can extend over multiple media, including wired infrastructure, multiple WiFi APs with different SSIDs, Ethernet-over-Powerline, MOCA, SonosNet and -- if it were able to carry IP packets -- a damp piece of string. Again, the requirement is that there's simply a common broadcast domain.

If the Sonos player is connected to a different WiFi network to your device you need to be very lucky for it to work.

Incorrect. However some routers can be reluctant to forward broadcasts between WiFi segments, breaking the above rule. That's a router issue.

This is because many WiFi access points will not offer a layer-2 passthrough service and will try to "route" your traffic instead using a mechanism called NAT.

Such a device is not a 'WiFi access point". It's a router, and it's commonly understood (or at least it should be) that a router breaks a network into multiple subnets.

If either WiFi access point is in routing mode, this breaks the Sonos discovery mechanism and you are out of luck.

In that case it's a router.

Worse, even if they are in layer-2 "switch / bridge" mode, they may not forward the Broadcast traffic and this will break the Sonos discovery mechanism.

Indeed. And known culprits pop up from time to time on these boards. Some are even listed in https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/42.

These connectivity problems are not related to how strong the WiFi or PowerLine signal is in your home, how old your wiring is etc. That can cause issues, but not this one.

Ethernet-over-Powerline does cause problems, for all the usually accepted reasons. Bad wiring, lengthy runs, a cable route which crosses a consumer unit, nearby appliances killing the RF carrier or injecting interference. All of these reduce bandwidth and contribute to latency, which often varies wildly. This can upset traffic flows and in some cases contribute to topology instability. It's for these reasons that Sonos won't officially support EoP.

Oh, and some EoP devices can indeed block certain types of traffic.

There are a number of ways Sonos could modify their software to allow layer 3 communication between the controller app and the player and fix this problem for customers. One example would be a cloud based reverse VPN solution. Let's see if they rise to the challenge.

Whether or not Sonos opt for a cloud-based control option, UPnP is based on a single IP subnet. For most customers "this problem" doesn't exist.
An unhelpful and pedantic response that just muddies the waters. This is exactly why this thread is so damn long and unhelpful.

Let's review the facts:
1) Sonos's software could, and should be, modified to operate over multiple local subnets thus solving this problem overnight.
2) Ethernet over Powerline between the main router and the Sonos device is a great solution for most people who have accidentally introduced multiple subnets. Yes performance is not always 100% perfect but be practical; good enough is good enough for this use case.
3) If another WiFi device is required for range extension, running it in Layer-2 bridge mode rather than routing mode will help to eliminate multiple subnets. Customers should be told this.
4) It's irrelevant how UPnP is is/not designed to work. It's not appropriate to solely rely on it if you actually care about customer experience.
5) It's extremely arrogant and short sighted to dismiss this issue as not currently affecting "most customers".
An unhelpful and pedantic response that just muddies the waters.
Pedantry or accuracy? Certain terminology was mis-used.

1) Sonos's software could, and should be, modified to operate over multiple local subnets thus solving this problem overnight.

No, because the vast majority of home users don't run multiple subnets. Or at least not intentionally. And fundamentally rewriting the software to cater for those who have accidentally broken their network in two makes no sense whatsoever.

2) Ethernet over Powerline between the main router and the Sonos device is a great solution for most people who have accidentally introduced multiple subnets.

If it is, it's addressing completely the wrong issue. In fact it could end up compounding the problem rather than solving its root cause. Accidentally bridging two accidentally created subnets would cause even more mayhem.

Yes performance is not always 100% perfect but be practical; good enough is good enough for this use case.

Unless you're party to all the experience Sonos Support have accrued over the last 10+ years you can make this statement only from your anecdotal point of view.

3) If another WiFi device is required for range extension, running it in Layer-2 bridge mode rather than routing mode will help to eliminate multiple subnets.

'Help'? Turn it round: using a router will break a network into several subnets. An access point is an access point. A router is a router. A router in bridge mode functions as an access point. A router not in bridge mode also functions as an access point if DHCP is disabled and it's wired via a LAN port.

Customers should be told this.

Believe me, we tell 'em all the time...

4) It's irrelevant how UPnP is is/not designed to work. It's not appropriate to solely rely on it if you actually care about customer experience.

Of course it's relevant. Are we back to protecting the customer from accidentally creating multiple subnets again? See above.

5) It's extremely arrogant and short sighted to dismiss this issue as not currently affecting "most customers".

Arrogant? Short sighted? Common business sense suggests that in the few instances where customers screw up their network by inadvertently introducing multiple subnets you simply help them un-screw it. You don't contemplate a full-scale re-architecting of the product's local network communications.
Come on children, play nice. I'm sorry I started this thread up again. I didn't mean to start a world war. I posted only because I have this problem myself and was surprised that Sonos had not taken part in this discussion, leaving it to their customers to figure out some way round it. Maybe Sonos support will now be kind enough to chime in and give us a definitive reply on this issue. Over to you Sonos... anyone there?
Sorry, when someone suggests that
Ethernet over Powerline between the main router and the Sonos device is a great solution for most people who have accidentally introduced multiple subnets.

and that Sonos should somehow modify their software to take account of such mess-ups "overnight", it's not a question of playing nice or not. It's necessary to put the counter-argument so that lurkers don't go away with the wrong impression.

As for Sonos, they're not exactly going to offer guidance as to which EoP adapters to purchase. I have, because in the past Devolo have largely behaved themselves. Check that your controller device, when attached to the TP-Link, has an IP which is in the correct range. Try turning the iDevice off and on again, to forcibly flush its ARP cache.
Come on children, play nice. I'm sorry I started this thread up again. I didn't mean to start a world war. I posted only because I have this problem myself and was surprised that Sonos had not taken part in this discussion, leaving it to their customers to figure out some way round it. Maybe Sonos support will now be kind enough to chime in and give us a definitive reply on this issue. Over to you Sonos... anyone there?

Sonos has most certainly taken part in the discussion, maybe not in this thread, but in many like this before. They have stated in no uncertain terms that although some people can make them work, they do not support installs which use powerline type adapters. That is their definitive reply. Given that statement, I don't understand why you now expect them to help you with your install which uses powerline type adapters.
Sonos has most certainly taken part in the discussion, maybe not in this thread, but in many like this before.


Sorry, I have not seen the other threads. When I searched for info on this issue, this is the thread that came up first and that's why I read and replied to it

They have stated in no uncertain terms that although some people can make them work, they do not support installs which use powerline type adapters. That is their definitive reply. Given that statement, I don't understand why you now expect them to help you with your install which uses powerline type adapters.


Again, I have not seen that statement. If that is the case then it should have been printed on the box because potential customers cannot reasonably be expected to to trawl through manufacturer's forums looking for threads about problems they don't even know exist before they buy.

I'm leaving now but would like to thank those who gave helpful replies. However, I have to say that this forum is one of the unfriendliest I've encountered. What could have been a useful experience was spoilt by unnecessary nitpicking. I hope you will in future be able to behave in a more civil manner, unless of course, Sonos do not support civility either.
It may not be on the box, but it is on the official Sonos System Requirements page, right on this website:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/127/kw/ethernet%20over%20power


EOP Adapters

Ethernet over Power devices, also known as HomePlugs or Powerline adaptors, are not supported by Sonos. While they may work for some systems, they tend to cause intermittent problems with Sonos. EoP devices create an added delay between your network and Sonos. If this delay is too great it can cause your music to skip or cut out completely or your players to drop off from the network.



And by the way, that was my first post of any significance in this rebooting of the thread, and I hardly think it was uncivil.