Question

Music/zones dropping

  • 21 November 2016
  • 29 replies
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So, I spent an hour and 40m on Saturday morning on the phone to Sonos customer service and nothing was resolved before he hung up on me. I have just about calmed down 48 hours later but and extremely unhappy with this. I wonder if this is an easier and less unpleasant way to try to fix my system. I have had Sonos for 8 years now, have 4 old ZP100s, 2 ZP80s, 4 Play 1s and 1 Play 5. One of my ZP100s is wired into my router. I did have 2 bridges as well but the only thing that the hour and 40m did do on Saturday was remove these from my system as they seemed to be causing problems. However, my system is still dropping music (and not only music off the internet but music stored locally) and zones. I have had virtually no trouble until 4 or 5 months ago when my system has basically not been working at all. The one sensible thing the rude Sonos customer service man did tell me was that I may have an issue because the wireless signal in my house is distributed via a Powerline system of 4 plugs and apparently Sonos and Powerline don't get on well. Is this right? Please can someone help me as I am extremely unhappy?

thanks

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29 replies

Hi. Powerlines can cause problems, and are unsupported by Sonos. Having said that, many people use them without problems. Are these Powerline wifi extenders rather than just Ethernet powerline adapters? Or do you have wireless access points running off the powerline units?

Please would you check in your Sonos controller under "about my sonos system" - do all components have WM:0 next to them or do any have WM:1?.
Presumably the ZP100 is the only wired node. Which channels are SonosNet, the router and all these EoP WiFi points using? What make are they? Do any use a 40MHz width channel?

@Calvin995, get the IP of the wired ZP100 and go to http://ZP100_IP:1400/support/review. Click 'Network Matrix' and snapshot what you see. Post it here and we'll take a look.
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Thanks so much. John B - the base power line unit is plugged into the main and into the router. There are then 4 power line units plugged in around the house to extend the wifi network. The wifi network direct from the router is disabled to ensure there is only 1 network in the house. Make of the powerline units is Solwise (http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-intro.htm).

Yes, ZP100 is the only wired node and during my call on Saturday, we checked that the system is only running on SonosNet not over wireless as well.

As to the questions on the system, i'll answer these when i get home tonight as not in front of the system now
Did the onset of the problems 4 or 5 months ago correlate with any changes, such as introducing the Solwise EoP devices?
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No - my wifi has been powerline for the past 8 years as well and has worked fine. I can only think of 2 options: (1) there is an issue with the internet coming into the house (wifi not great but still works most of the time) but that shouldn't affect playback of hardwired music (ZP linked to router by wire, router linked to NAS drive by wire, music stored on NAS). Or (2) recent Sonos software updates have made the old ZPs run slowly (much like IoS software updates mess up older iPads and iPhones) and that's affecting my system. The latter seems much more likely to me.

Will post answers to technical stuff in a couple of hours. Pretty sure the wifi is on channel 1 and Sonos on channel 6
OK. You are right that internet would not have any impact on playing locally stored music. The answer lies in the router or the LAN side of things if you are having problems playing from NAS. I would, however, pretty much rule out the update as a direct cause and I don't think the age of the ZPs is relevant.

When you were working with Sonos Support (or at any other time), did you try a complete reboot of your router and all the network clients? I mean everything that connects to your network - phones, Smart TV etc, not just Sonos?

Do you have an Android device? If so it would be useful to download "Wifi analyzer" app from the Play Store. There may be an Apple equivalent, I don't know.

To eliminate the powerline extenders as a culprit you could, as an experiment, re-enable wireless on the router, unplug the extenders and see how Sonos runs. Incidentally, why so many extenders? Are you living in Buckingham Palace? 🙂
Additional thought - is your wired ZP at least a couple of feet from the router? It shouldn't be too close.

But it would be great if you could follow @ratty's suggestion re posting the network matrix as the next step.
It would be helpful to get to a simple configuration which does work reliably and then add complexity one factor at a time until something breaks.

Eliminate the router for test purposes. Wire the NAS directly to the wired ZP100. If you have an Android, configure it for SonosNet attachment, stand next to the wired ZP and select that SSID. It should home to the nearest Sonos node. Test the wired ZP playing from the NAS.
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Great troubleshooting suggestions to start with guys. I'll be following along and can help if needed too.

I just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear about what happened over the phone. Rudeness isn't acceptable and powerline adapters, though they could cause trouble, aren't an excuse to hang up in any way. I've reached out to someone on the team to look into what happened and they will likely be in touch with you as well.

Hopefully we can get this sorted out quickly.
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Thanks for all the advice - really appreciated. I am home now and can confirm that all components are WM:0. All components have been rebooted several times and i have also hard rebooted all iPhones and iPads and Macs that control the systems (no Android users here).

Sonnet channel is 6, wifi channel is 11. Will take the powerline wifi down and see if it then works, but may get a false positive as the system doesn't always fail, so it could run fine on that for 2 days (while i have no internet anywhere in the house apart from my study) but then fail on day 3. It's unpredictable. Will hardwire the NAS into the first wired ZP (which is at least 3 feet away from the router) to see if that helps too.

In the meantime, here is the network matrix below. I notice 2 'undefined' items on the top row - no idea what they are:
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Come to think of it, could the undefined items be 'ghosts' of the two Bridges I disconnected from the system on Saturday while on the phone to Sonos Support? Would they still show up even though they have been disconnected for 3 days?

Multiple powerline adaptors because walls of house are very thick (and there are a few rooms!) and wireless simply will not get around the house unless i have them . . .
The Undefined items are the BRIDGEs. The system won't forget about them entirely until the other units are rebooted.

If WiFi has such a struggle with the thick walls (hence necessitating the powerline adapters) then Sonos will have a tough time too. Indeed the kitchen players are on the edge which, combined with some intense local interference when the matrix snapshot was taken, could potentially knock them sideways.

What I don't fully understand is how things have worked okay historically.

Although it's not an officially supported arrangement, some users in situations such as yours find that running Sonos via the powerline adapters is the only option. Is it convenient to wire a few units to their nearby powerline APs? Most usually have an Ethernet jack as well as their own WiFi. Worth a try anyhow. Alternatively you could wire the two spare BRIDGEs to the powerline points, in order to provide a connection to wireless players in the vicinity.
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The two bridges caused chaos when I tried to add them back onto the system with the Sonos Support man. They needed to be wired into the router to be found at all - every time i took them off the ethernet cable, they disappeared off the system and couldn't be found. I think it might be an idea to invest a in a couple of new BOOSTs to improve coverage - sound sensible? My bridges were pretty old (c7 years) and may have been supporting my system fine. They must have gone wrong given how hard it was to find them, and the loss of them has caused the system to fall over in the past few months.

I'm not sure i understand how/why you think I should wire into the powerline - should set Sonos up over the powerline rather than SonosNet (i.e via WM:1)?
The BRIDGEs could conceivably have been suffering from age-related voltage drop in their power supplies. This produces the kind of intermittent behaviour you report. Perhaps we'd better ignore them for now.

As for the powerline adapters, no I'm not talking about using their wireless. Don't they also have an Ethernet jack? My suggestion was to wire a Sonos unit to that, allowing the data to flow over the powerline connection. It's not officially supported but could be the magic bullet.
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Great - let me wire in a unit or two to the power line adaptors and see if that helps. Will wiring the NAS into the first wired ZP also be a longer term help?
Will wiring the NAS into the first wired ZP also be a longer term help?
It should make no difference whatsoever, so long as the router is behaving itself.....
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Thanks. All incredibly useful - really appreciate your help. I have also ordered a BOOST to try to improve the SonosNet, Will monitor performance and let you know how is goes.
Great suggestion from @ratty to wire some Sonos units to the powerline adapters. Potentially could give you strong SonosNet signals throughout your home. It would be interesting to see another network matrix with that configuration.

It might also be worth experimenting a little with the channels to see if it helps with the interference. Maybe try the router on 1 instead of 11, or Sonos on 1 instead of 6. See if some of those reds and oranges disappear.
The orange cells in the left column are 'OFDM Weak signal level: 3'. For reasons I've not fathomed it seems that early SonosNet 2.0 radios which used to register a figure of 5 (green) seem not to progress beyond 3 (orange).

The orange cells in the matrix body are due to borderline tunnel signal strengths.

I doubt that fiddling with the SonosNet channel will have much effect.

The kitchen players were however being hammered by something or other. A microwave? Someone using a Bluetooth device in the room?
Further comment: It's a very sparse matrix, with some extended branches. Presumably the house is either long and thin, or it's the thick walls. Or both.

For instance there is one branch:
Study (root) -> Dining Room -> Playroom

And another:
Study (root) -> TV Room -> Drawing Room -> Kitchen (L) -> Bar

In fact the network diameter -- the number of devices along the longest path across it -- is seven. This is the recommended limit and may be starting to cause occasional topology instability.

Wiring the odd Sonos unit to a nearby powerline adapter may help, but injecting the slightly unpredictable latency of the EoP connection into the equation could in fact worsen things. Worth a try anyhow.
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The house is both long and thin, quite large and has very thick walls. But the players are effectively next to each other. Geography is:

Ground floor (6 zones pretty much all in a line from start to finish): Study - Dining Room - Drawing Room - Kitchen - Garden (unit in same room as Kitchen) - Bar (furthest point)
Basement (2 zones): TV Room (under Dining Room) - Playroom (under Drawing Room)
1st Floor (2 zones): Mimi's Bedroom (above Study) - Master bedroom (above Drawing Room)

This should mean that there is better linkage than is showing on the matrix, which i agree looks bad. Powerline adaptors are in Study, Kitchen, Master Bedroom and TV RooM (effectively the 4 corner of the house).

So, 2 further questions: where to site the new BOOST i have ordered which is arriving tonight and which units to plug into powerline? My thought on the latter was to plug the kitchen powerline into one of the Kitchen Play 1s or the Garden ZP100, and then plug the TV room powerline into the TV Room ZP80. Advice on BOOST placement appreciated!
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Kitchen interference not a microwave but could be a cordless phone or bluetooth Fitbits etc. Strange that the Garden is not affected given that the unit is in the kitchen
A DECT phone should normally be on 1.9GHz, at least in EU. Bluetooth could produce the high ANI level.
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OK, so have connected up a new BOOST (pretty much in the centre of the house) and wired the Garden zone into the powerline. New matrix is attached (i blacked out the ones that don't count). Also switched my powerline wireless to channel 1 and checked that the channel most free from the neighbours' wireless signals is channel 6 which the SonosNet is on.
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Just looked at the matrix though (as i begin to understand how this stuff works!) and it seems the Garden zone is now the root, presumably due to being wired into the powerline?