Sonos and Mesh Networks Can Play In The Same Sandbox


Userlevel 7

HI

Mesh Networks do work with Sonos as long as you choose components designed to work as a Mesh. Let me explain….

The PRIMARY function of a Mesh network is to extend the coverage of your Wi-Fi across your home wherein a single router fails to do so. A Mesh network properly configured should consist of a Primary Router (Main Node) connected to your ISP modem. If the ISP modem is a combo router/modem then it should be set to Bridge mode.

The device or devices used to extend the network are called Satellites (Secondary Nodes). The nodes used to extend the network should be of the same brand/model designed to work as such for the best performance. The secondary nodes can be full blown routers themselves; but when used as secondary nodes cease to function in the same manner as the Main node

Devices of a different brand/model can be used as secondary nodes as long as they are certified for compatibility to be used as such with the brand of your Primary router/Main node. Think oranges and tangerines…not oranges and apples.

The aforementioned assumes you are designing your own Mesh network. There are manufacturer brands wherein you may purchase a Mesh Network that is preconfigured with a Main Node and one Secondary Node with the option to purchase/add additional Nodes as needed. Typically those packages max out at a Main Node plus two satellite nodes. There are some use cases wherein three satellite nodes plus a Main are used in very large homes. The senarios just described would also require that the Main node be connected to your ISP’s Modem.

There is one more scenario wherein you already have a Primary router connected to your ISP moden or just the ISP Router/Modem combo. Mesh units of the same brand are also sold to be used solely as Satellites/secondary nodes. I find those to be less stable as the whole process depends upon a perfect marriage of the components.

The most common deployment of a Mesh network (to extend the Wi-Fi signal) is called a Wireless Backhaul. Tri-Band routers are the product of choice. Tri-Band routers typically have a 2.4Ghz band x 1 and 5Ghz band x 2 or 2.4Ghz band x 1, 5Ghz band x 1 and a 6Ghz band x 1. Either a 5Ghz or 6Ghz band is used to extend the Wi-fi signal. When using the Wireless backhaul method the capacity of the band used (5Ghz or 6Ghz) to handle other traffic is reduced by about 50%. Traffic using that band may be slower to respond or worse case temporarily dropped causing a few seconds of delay until it’s picked up by another band. In most cases the delay will not be noticed.

The best method of deployment of a Mesh network (to extend the Wi-Fi signal) is called a Wired Backhaul. All nodes are connected to the Main node via Ethernet cable. In this manner each node broadcasts the unabated spectrum of frequencies_2.4Ghz x 1 and 5Ghz x 2 or 2.4Ghz x 1, 5Ghz x 1 and 6Ghz x 1. Other devices can be wired to the nodes via Ethernet to enjoy the full throughput of the ISP service with no wireless interference.

Outside of setting up the Mesh network properly with compatible components the most critical aspect is to make sure that none of the Satellites have DHCP capability. The Main node is the only component in the Mesh that should have the ability to assign IP Addresses. If a secondary node assigns an IP Address to a client (say a Sonos product) said client will not show as part of your Main network. For Sonos the affected component may show as missing in the Sonos App.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my network configuration which is an Asus AiMesh with Wired Backhaul. ISP is Comcast/Xfinity with provided router/modem combo in Bridge Mode. My Mesh network consists of three (3) Asus Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6e routers connected via Ethernet cable which is the Ethernet Backhaul:

  • Main NodeZenWiFi Pro ET12 connected to Comcast/Xfinity router/modem
  • Satellite Node 1:  ZenWiFi Pro ET12
  • Satellite Node 2:  GT-AXE11000

Each router receives the full throughput of my ISP’s service plan. Below is a picture of how my Mesh network looks. If the Backhaul were Wi-Fi the green lines would be dotted. The clients will vary based upon use/connection status:

The Ethernet Backhaul allows each router in the Mesh to broadcast 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz and 6Ghz to full potential. 

My Sonos is maxed out at 32 units. The About My System information is a combination of WM:0, WM:1 and WM:3. For kicks and grins I recently had all 32 units actively streaming Sirius XM Watercolors for 10 minutes and no drops. I don’t do that on a regular basis but I wanted to see how my network would handle the stress. It Did!!!

I hope this information has been useful to someone. Enjoy your Sonos!

 


19 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @AjTrek1 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Userlevel 6
Badge +11

Curious. You have 3 WiFi routers, I’m assuming 2 are on the same 2.4GHz channel to avoid conflict with Sonos WM:0, ie you have 3 APs + Sonos, but only 3 2.4 channels to use, 1,6 & 11

Curious. You have 3 WiFi routers, I’m assuming 2 are on the same 2.4GHz channel to avoid conflict with Sonos WM:0, ie you have 3 APs + Sonos, but only 3 2.4 channels to use, 1,6 & 11

Personally speaking, because it’s the same network subnet, I would ‘fix’ all wireless Hubs/AP’s to the exact same non-overlapping WiFi channels, that’s if that option is available in the mesh router/AP settings. 

And… (if using), just put SonosNet on a completely different channel.

However, I now opt to not use SonosNet anyway these days, as modern WiFi networks are faster and more reliable with a modern mesh-based system.

Userlevel 6
Badge +10

Personally I just use eero 6 pro it just works 😊

never had issues with my Sonos speakers and any other devices and I don’t have to mess around to much

last thing I want after working on IT all day 😀

never seen any issues with mesh networks and sonosnet playing nice together 

glad yours works 👍

Userlevel 7

@skullc

Glad your Mesh works as well! 👍

I submitted the post as information for others that might find it useful. Wasn’t having any issues with my setup.

However, regarding your comment that “you haven’t seen  any issues with mesh networks and SonosNet”…well probably not you personally…but do me favor….

Type “mesh” into the community search field. I think you may be amazed at the number of posts on the subject. It’s an 👀 opener…to say the least 😂😂😂

Best regards 👍

This is completely unacceptable. We have had a Sonos system for more than 10 years. Obviously, we have wifi -- but we needed an extender. We set it up and now 3 of our speakers don’t work. I read your ‘white paper’ above and truly that is too much for anyone to have to do as a work around unless they have nothing but time to play with their wifi -- which is the opposite of what wifi is for. This is clearly a Sonos bug that needs to be fixed. Is that in the works? If not, why?

 but we needed an extender. We set it up and now 3 of our speakers don’t work.

Disable DHCP on the extender, that may be the solution.

This is completely unacceptable. We have had a Sonos system for more than 10 years. Obviously, we have wifi -- but we needed an extender. We set it up and now 3 of our speakers don’t work.

If it’s really an extender, rather than a mesh, that’s likely your problem. Sonos doesn’t support extenders. They typically mangle the network addresses of devices attached to their WiFi. For a system like Sonos which is very ‘chatty’ between local devices this can ruin the party.

If your ‘extender’ is basically a router then you could have broken your network into two subnets. Sonos controller and players need to be on the same subnet.

If you tell us what router and ‘extender’ you have we may be able to help. Also, kindly confirm which Sonos devices you have and whether they are indeed all connected to the WiFi, rather than one unit being wired to the network.

 

This is clearly a Sonos bug that needs to be fixed. Is that in the works? If not, why?

Because the problem is with your network, not Sonos. The clue is in the fact that the issues started after you introduced the extender.

This is completely unacceptable. We have had a Sonos system for more than 10 years. Obviously, we have wifi -- but we needed an extender. We set it up and now 3 of our speakers don’t work. I read your ‘white paper’ above and truly that is too much for anyone to have to do as a work around unless they have nothing but time to play with their wifi -- which is the opposite of what wifi is for. This is clearly a Sonos bug that needs to be fixed. Is that in the works? If not, why?

This is unfortunately not only a Sonos problem. If you use an extender it can affect everything on the network, printers, smart lights, etc. It's pretty annoying but it is just how it is. You don't necessarily need to follow the instructions above. Make sure to have a good mesh router network, buy the package with the correct amount of "extenders" (or satellites being the correct name for mesh networks) for your house size and that should be easy to install following the set up instructions. My routers are not necessarily expensive, just have the right technology in.

So I’ve worked super hard to try to understand all the new (to me) terminology. My brain has hit the wall though now and I just need someone to help get me over the line.

I’ve installed a mesh wifi system in the house- it’s ASUS XD5. Vodafone router with wifi turned off plugs in via ethernet cable to WAN of master XD5. The other 2 units/nodes/satellites are backhauled via ethernet cable to the Vodafone router (hopefully best thing to do-  but now I’m writing this I wonder whether it should be to a switcher hanging off the master xd5?). 

Wifi coverage is spot on- I’m really happy with it. But, I have the Sonos issue which I’d like to resolve. After reading this really helpful post (thank you @AjTrek1 ), I guess I just need to swith off the DHCP from the 2 satellite units- PLEASE could someone tell me how to do that?

 

Thanks in advance.

The other 2 units/nodes/satellites are backhauled via ethernet cable to the Vodafone router (hopefully best thing to do-  but now I’m writing this I wonder whether it should be to a switcher hanging off the master xd5?). 

If the XD5s are in router mode you have to backhaul the satellites to the LAN side of the primary. In that case, yes, you should hang a small switch off the master XD5.

The way it’s wired at the moment would be crazy, with the satellites all sitting on the Vodafone router’s subnet, in which case each of them is probably creating its own private subnet. 

 

I guess I just need to swith off the DHCP from the 2 satellite units- PLEASE could someone tell me how to do that?

The ASUS deals with all that stuff automatically.

Brilliant- thanks @ratty I’ll try that. Another new switcher ordered.

For anyone in the same predicament as me, I think it’s now solved- doing exactly what @ratty said above. But then ALSO switching off ALL Sonos products and router/wifi satellites and network switches. Then power on one by one starting with router, then wifi points and switches, then starting with my one wired Sonos product first, followed individually by wifi (unwired) Sonos products one by one- wait for solid white light on each before moving to the next and it seems to be working perfectly. Thanks for all the help Sonos community- I’m glad I didn’t have to start learning how to do anything else more complicated.

If the SonosNet devices were in the wrong subnet having made the above changes then, absolutely, they’d have needed a reboot.

Hi everyone, I too have installed a mesh extender, Tp Links Deco E4, and am having the same no-play issues with my Sonia set up (2 x Play 1s). Is there an idiot-proof guide for to fix this for folks like me?! Thanks in advance of any efforts to save the festive party season! 

Hi.  we had a house fire and replaced the entire stereo system with what must be a larger than average Sonos system.  we have 2 era 100s on a small subwoofer with a 500 in one room, a one in the bathroom, an arc, large sub and two era 300s in the tv room, a move in the foyer, two 500s and a small subwoofer in the den and another one in the kitchen.  we also have a record player and outsider speakers with an amp that we haven’t even tried to set up yet.  we bought the system several months ago but only got back in the house to hook it up a couple of weeks ago and we’ve had nothing but issues---dropping constantly regardless of whether we go through the Sonos app or use airplay.  it’s so annoying I'm upset at myself for putting all my money in.  Customer service has been helpful--there have been many calls.  I also bought the boost.  The first customer agent just sort of skirted around it and said we shouldn’t deal with it unless the system wasn’t working.  the third customer service agent (I'd hooked it up with no improvement in performance at this point) finally told me that the boost wasn’t helpful and that Sonos no longer sold it online.  she suggest a mesh system, which I have absolutely no knowledge of other than hearing about them.  

 

if there’s anyone who can help me out here:  The Modem is Xfinity:  XB-8T.  The router is a Linksys SE3008 with an 8 port gigabit switch.  

 

What’s the best mesh system to get & how is it installed.  I read up on how they work online and it didn’t help.  We live in a two story--less than 2000 sq ft with sheetrock walls.  I don’t know what information is pertinent at this point, I just want this system to work predictably without dropping over and over and over again.  

 

Again, I REALLY appreciate any information anyone is willing to give.

 

Mike Morris 

 

Moderator edit: removed email address

The Xfinity should be placed Bridge Mode. Only the LINKSYS should be wired to the XFINITY. Set the LINKSYS for 20MHz channel 1, 6, or 11. “Reserve" IP addresses used by SONOS and other regular network clients.

Userlevel 7

Hi

@mgmoris75 

Please read my post at the beginning of this thread as it may help. I believe a mesh system will work in your renovated home by placing a satellite node (in addition to the main) in strategic areas where WiFi is weakest. 

It may not be too late to use/install a “wired “ Backhaul that is also explained in my post. BTW…my modem is provided by Comcast/Xfinity and has been placed in Bridge mode. 

Feel free to post questions. 

I had the disappearing Sonos problem on my Asus AIMesh network, so I worked around the problem by binding the Sonos devices to the main router (they cannot connect to any of the mesh nodes). Of course, this defeats the purpose of having a mesh. 

@AjTrek1  - Thank you so much for your post. I don’t see how to change the DHCP setting to disable AI Mesh nodes from issuing IP addresses. Can you point me to what you clicked on?

Thank you

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