Question

Cannot get wired setup working, tried everything – can anyone help?

  • 14 January 2021
  • 5 replies
  • 73 views

Hi, so I have two Play 1s, one Play 3 and a Connect – had them many years working fine in an apartment, no problems at all. Moved house to a bigger place, and the furthest-placed unit dropped in and out – that’s ok, I needed to get better wifi generally, so I got a mesh system. Sonos stopped working, so I do a bit of research and find out that Sonos doesn’t like mesh networks – ok, fair enough.

Next step was to wire the Connect via ethernet to the router (it’s the nearest), then set up the system, it worked for a bit but then stopped working and the system on the app greyed out, says it can’t connect etc. I then read that you should remove the network password in the controller app to make sure the Sonos uses its own Sonosnet and does not try to connect to the the wifi network, ok fine, I did that too and set it up again. I check that the WM is 0 on the connected units like I am told, to make sure it’s all set up right. I think I’ve done it and it works for a bit but then it all stops and greys out. I reboot router, reinstall app etc. No difference.

After more research, I read that the unmanaged switch I am using (Netgear GS108) causes problems. Argh! It was that all along. So, I buy a new switch (TP-Link TL-SG108), checking carefully that it’s not on the problem list, and then swap it out. Alas, it makes no difference and issue persists.

Start again – I factory reset the Connect and wire it to router, then set it up as a new system. Works fine, stable, ok great. Next factory reset one of the Play 1s, and connect it to the system. Connects for one second, then system disappears and greys out, get the ‘Unable to connect to Sonos’ message etc.

I try something else, I factory reset the Connect again, set it up as a new system again. Then I factory reset the Play 1 again, but this time wire it to the router with an ethernet as well before adding it. I then unplug it and move it to the kitchen, where it connects into the system like it should and everything seems to be working correctly, with two rooms. Success! I then do the same thing with the other Play 1 to set up the third unit, I reset it, wire it and add it, and just as it should add as a third room… the system disappears and greys out, I lose all rooms and ‘Unable to connect to Sonos’ etc

At this point, I am running out of ideas and options, and would be grateful for any insights or suggestions. I have sunk quite a lot of time (and money) into this, have searched this forum and elsewhere.

I have plenty fast Virgin Media cable internet, a brand new TP-Link mesh router, brand new cat 7 cables, a relatively new iPhone and have kept everything up to date. I know the Sonos units themselves are quite old but they weren’t cheap and I know there’s nothing wrong with them physically, so I have no particular desire to upgrade (especially if I can’t get the system working).

 

thanks so much – R


5 replies

Some things for you to perhaps try...

  • Does the mesh router/hubs have something called ‘airtime fairness’ in its configuration pages? - if so, then I would perhaps switch off that feature.
  • Does the tp-link mesh system use a ‘combined’ 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi band, or two separate bands - either way, ensure that the 2.4Ghz band is 802.11b/g/n compatible and not ‘isolated’.
  • If you still have an ISP provided router that your tp-link mesh system is connected to, then ensure the WiFi beacons on that device are disabled, so that your mobile controller device only connects to the tp-link system. 
  • Only connect/wire the one Sonos device to the primary tp-link hub/router - do not wire any Sonos devices to the satellites. Keep the wired Sonos device well away from the router to prevent wireless interference issues.
  • Ensure the SonosNet channel is set at least 5 channels away from the tp-link router channel.
  • Maybe try a different wired Sonos device and/or cable linked to the tp-link router.

Hope the suggestions mentioned help you to solve the issue.

SonosNet ignores WiFi and WiFi ignores SONOS. Unless your channels overlap, there shouldn’t be any issues with the mesh.

Go to http://[IP address of a player]:1400/support/review and look at the Network Matrix at the bottom. Red cells indicate wireless connections that are struggling. Note that this is a static view. You’ll need to refresh the page in order to see the results of a change. You may find that you have a transient source of interference. I live in a terrible area. My matrix can be mostly red cells one minute and relatively yellow or green the next.

We cannot rule out some sort of intermittent hardware issue. Am I correct that CONNECT is usually the only wired unit? You could experiment with keeping CONNECT powered down and wire another unit.

Factory Reset rarely cures fundamental issues. Reboot is sufficient to recover from network entanglements. At one point I had a lot of issues and I became an expert at factory reset. Finally, I realized that I had network issues, Factory Reset was a waste of time, fixed the network issues, and have not factory reset the system since. That was in 2005.

Some things for you to perhaps try...

  • Does the mesh router/hubs have something called ‘airtime fairness’ in its configuration pages? - if so, then I would perhaps switch off that feature.
  • Does the tp-link mesh system use a ‘combined’ 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi band, or two separate bands - either way, ensure that the 2.4Ghz band is 802.11b/g/n compatible and not ‘isolated’.
  • If you still have an ISP provided router that your tp-link mesh system is connected to, then ensure the WiFi beacons on that device are disabled, so that your mobile controller device only connects to the tp-link system. 
  • Only connect/wire the one Sonos device to the primary tp-link hub/router - do not wire any Sonos devices to the satellites. Keep the wired Sonos device well away from the router to prevent wireless interference issues.
  • Ensure the SonosNet channel is set at least 5 channels away from the tp-link router channel.
  • Maybe try a different wired Sonos device and/or cable linked to the tp-link router.

Hope the suggestions mentioned help you to solve the issue.

Thanks Ken. I’m trying to make it a wired setup, though, so I don’t think the router should be affecting it as the system should be connecting on its own Sonos network (yep, the ISP router is in modem mode) – unless I misunderstand something? Sonos and the router seem to be on 6 and 8, respectively – I can try changing the Sonos channel. And I’ve only wired up one unit, but yes, good idea, I will test one of the others just in case it’s a hardware issue.

SonosNet ignores WiFi and WiFi ignores SONOS. Unless your channels overlap, there shouldn’t be any issues with the mesh.

Go to http://[IP address of a player]:1400/support/review and look at the Network Matrix at the bottom. Red cells indicate wireless connections that are struggling. Note that this is a static view. You’ll need to refresh the page in order to see the results of a change. You may find that you have a transient source of interference. I live in a terrible area. My matrix can be mostly red cells one minute and relatively yellow or green the next.

We cannot rule out some sort of intermittent hardware issue. Am I correct that CONNECT is usually the only wired unit? You could experiment with keeping CONNECT powered down and wire another unit.

Factory Reset rarely cures fundamental issues. Reboot is sufficient to recover from network entanglements. At one point I had a lot of issues and I became an expert at factory reset. Finally, I realized that I had network issues, Factory Reset was a waste of time, fixed the network issues, and have not factory reset the system since. That was in 2005.

I’ll try that next time I get the system or part of it up and running to see if it reveals anything. And I’ll swap in a different unit temporarily to see if it’s an issue with the Connect. And thanks, noted re factory reset – I had all these units working fine elsewhere for many years and never needed to do anything, so I agree it is some sort of network issue. Thanks for your advice.

The Access Points should be using channel 1, 6, or 11. Channel 8 overlaps 6 and 11. The overlap degrades all three channels. Avoid ‘Auto’ channel assignments with the Gateway and Access Points because this function often assigns off grid channels (other than 1, 6, or 11). If you can, turn OFF the Gateway’s WiFi.

Just to make sure that we are using the same definitions: A ‘Modem’ transforms the signal in the street into a single computer connection. In a modern context this is not useful. A ‘Router’ transforms this single connection into multiple network connections. An ‘Access Point’ provides the WiFi. A ‘Gateway’ provides all three functions in one box. Unfortunately, we often refer to the Gateway as “the Router”. ISP’s typically supply Gateways because one box does everything.

Gateways are often very effective, but at some point for larger homes with diverse network requirements, Gateways fall short. For many Gateways one can turn OFF the WiFi and replace it. Another mode, called ‘Bridge Mode’ turns OFF the router function. Most of the time Bridge Mode will turn OFF WiFi too, but this is not universal. In Bridge mode the Gateway effectively becomes a Modem.

Efficiency suffers slightly, but it is not the end of the world if one connects their own router and access points to the Gateway without forcing it into Bridge Mode and turning OFF its WiFi, but there is a lurking issue because the Gateway remains fully functional. If a local network client is wired to the Gateway or signs on to the Gateway WiFi, Internet browsing, email, and similar will work fine, but the user will not be able to operate a SONOS system that is connected to the local router and access points. Fancy thermostats and similar may have issues too.

After swapping or rebooting a router it is best to reboot EVERYTHING on the network -- else there may be surprises that pop up in following days. These issues can be a surprise because one can get lucky 100 times in a row after failing to reboot, then the system seems to collapse on trial 101 -- leading to the incorrect collusion that something broke.

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