Question

Sonos at University

  • 21 September 2016
  • 24 replies
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Userlevel 4
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Hi

My son is about to start university and will have access to the college internet through an ethernet port. I have read previous threads on access in such situations but wonder if this specifically should work : BTHomeHub5 - disabled WIFI both frequencies; ethernet wired to access point. Play 1 and laptop ethernet wired to BTHH5. Will laptop be able to control Play1? Alternatively, if Play1 ethernet wired to access point, can laptop or android phone connected to WiFi control the unit?


John

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24 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hello, John, and welcome.

BTHomeHub5 - disabled WIFI both frequencies; ethernet wired to access point. Play 1 and laptop ethernet wired to BTHH5. Will laptop be able to control Play1?
John

If I'm understanding this correctly, there will be one centralised router, which then feeds a cable to his room. He then feeds his own access point off this, then wires his laptop back to the Home Hub 5...? This being the case, it still depends on a lot of things. We don't know how that BTHH5 has been configured, if there is any additional security in place, what kind of access point you are referring to, whether or not this AP has been configured, etc. The best thing to do is wait until he gets there and find out exactly what the situation is. It's mostly guessing until then.
Userlevel 4
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Thanks.

I understand he will have one ethernet access point in his room and WiFi, both of which are fed from the college router. BTHH5 is a redundant BT router from home on which I was going to disable both WiFi channels; plug it into the room's ethernet point and then plug his PC (with Sonos App) and a Play unit into the router. The only security for BTHH5 applies to the (disabled) WiFi and when it has been used as a router at home, ethernet wired components work without any security. I suppose the question is what security process will be needed to access the college's internet via the PC and once having done this, will the PC with Sonoa Controller be able to talk to the Play unit?
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How about just using the BTHH5 as a WiFi network without internet access. The Sonos app won't be able to stream any content that requires an internet connection but anything from a connected wireless device will play through it fine. Obviously a mobile device with a large or unlimited data plan would be needed for lots of streaming but anything stored locally on the device can be used. Not sure if this would suit, but it's an option.
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How about just using the BTHH5 as a WiFi network without internet access. The Sonos app won't be able to stream any content that requires an internet connection but anything from a connected wireless device will play through it fine. Obviously a mobile device with a large or unlimited data plan would be needed for lots of streaming but anything stored locally on the device can be used. Not sure if this would suit, but it's an option.

Actually just reading back my comment, I doubt you'd be able to stream from your mobile, as obviously it'll need to be connected to the same network as the speaker, thus being Wifi and not 3G/4G.
Userlevel 7
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Going to depend on the college network. Many school networks when you plug in Ethernet require a login before you get access (much like at a hotel when you connect to internet). The way to bypass this is get a travel router. With a travel router the travel router will allow you to input your credentials for login via the login page and the router will remember that and reconnect automatically meaning the school line just acts as a permanent access to internet and the travel router acts like your home router.
Userlevel 4
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Thanks.. what is, and where does one buy a "travel router"?
Userlevel 7
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http://nerdtechy.com/best-portable-mini-travel-wifi-router-2016
Userlevel 4
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Thanks... surely the BTHH5 will do the same job, just bulkier. The reason I posted that the WiFi of BTHH5 was disabled was to comply with what may be college's regulations of no separate networks. If this is not the case, surely I can re-enable the wiFi signals of the BTHH5 and operate as you suggest with a travel router.
Userlevel 7
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Difference being will the bthh5 pass the login screen along and then login network if college has a login splash page.
Userlevel 7
Thanks.

I understand he will have one ethernet access point in his room and WiFi, both of which are fed from the college router. BTHH5 is a redundant BT router from home on which I was going to disable both WiFi channels; plug it into the room's ethernet point and then plug his PC (with Sonos App) and a Play unit into the router. The only security for BTHH5 applies to the (disabled) WiFi and when it has been used as a router at home, ethernet wired components work without any security. I suppose the question is what security process will be needed to access the college's internet via the PC and once having done this, will the PC with Sonoa Controller be able to talk to the Play unit?


It seems you are complicating things. If there is a WAN port in the dorm room (access to internet) you can connect a Boost via Ethernet to the it and create a Sonos Mesh for the Play 1. The WiFi is already there (compliments of University) so connect the PC or any other wireless device (i.e. IOS or Tablet Device with Sonos App) to it. The only password required is for the University WiFi.

The only reason for my suggestions not to work would be if the university is running a separate network for wired access vs WiFi. Am I missing something?
I'd go for the security and privacy of the separate LAN provided by a travel router every time compared with plugging my Sonos into a shared network. Call me neurotic.....
Userlevel 7
I'd go for the security and privacy of the separate LAN provided by a travel router every time compared with plugging my Sonos into a shared network. Call me neurotic.....

Hopefully, your not neurotic...maybe a little overly cautious 🆒
Userlevel 4
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John B - thanks. I was hoping life would be this simple, but previous posts on different but related threads talk about university security putting obstacles in the way of a normal set up. Hope yours is correct, though. That being the case, why even bother with a Bridge (although I have approximately 10 spare, new boxed bought with various promotions), and just ethernet wire the Play unit (whichever I buy) into the internet? Other discussions, as well as issues with security/ access, have spoken about prohibition of non-university networks. If this was the case, and he wanted to hardwire his computer as well, I was proposing to use a WiFi disabled BBHH5 as a double ethernet adapter allowing multiple wired access.
Guess we'll have to suck it and see, but I'm trying to anticipate as much as possible so we can drop off and have him up and running without issue. He suggested buying a Bose bluetooth device (shudder!) to make life simple but it would be nice to continue with the Sonos infrastructure we've invested in (about 17 various Play units) in anticipation of life post uni. Besides, without mum/ dad alarm clock, he will need the Sonos Alarm function at full volume each morning; has built up considerable playlists etc..
Userlevel 7
By using a bridge or boost (assuming you hard wire as I suggested) you gain versatility to place the Sonos speaker in the best location in the room. You could still provide multi wired Ethernet access by placing a multi-port Ethernet Switch between the university WAN port and the Sonos Bridge or Boost. The cost of a Multi- Port Ethernet switch is about $50 USD.
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Thanks .. the size of a typical UK college room is such that optimum positioning should be achievable by use of a standard length ethernet cable.. lol.
He's just received various Fresher info via email, including this link to college IT connectivity:
https://www.fitz.cam.ac.uk/computing/network-connections/fcdn-connection-conditions-of-use
This states specifically that routers cannot be used and that each device has to be individually registered. How does one register a Play unit which is normally connected merely by plugging into the ethernet port (directly or indirectly via Bridge) without any formal registration process?
Let's take stock. I am extremely sceptical that you can just plug the Play:1 or a Boost/Bridge into the Ethernet port and have it work just like it was your home router. I doubt t would work technically and I can't see the College allowing it from what you have provided.

My question is now, do they object to routers being attached to the network, or to routers being there at all, e.g. because they are worried about RF interference? If there is no objection to the presence of a router, then @AtterKing's suggestion of using the HH5 standalone to play local content but not stream from the internet is the best option, I would say.

This would allow music on a phone or computer connected to the HH5 to be played. (Obviously, when the laptop is connected to the college network, it cannot also be on the HH5 LAN.)

If you can go down this route, get it set up and working before he leaves.

Does the HH5 have a USB port? you can fit a heck of a lot of music on a USB 64Gb flash drive, and this could be defined as his Sonos Music Library.
Userlevel 7
Thanks .. the size of a typical UK college room is such that optimum positioning should be achievable by use of a standard length ethernet cable.. lol.
He's just received various Fresher info via email, including this link to college IT connectivity:
https://www.fitz.cam.ac.uk/computing/network-connections/fcdn-connection-conditions-of-use
This states specifically that routers cannot be used and that each device has to be individually registered. How does one register a Play unit which is normally connected merely by plugging into the ethernet port (directly or indirectly via Bridge) without any formal registration process?


There's more than one way to register a device on a network. Registration does not always require a computer to log into a database. Registration can be as simple as connecting to the University's Network which will assign an IP Address to the device. The same principle applies when you connect a Sonos speaker to your home network it get's assigned an IP Address by your router.

You should contact the University tell them what you want to do and ask if a Sonos Speaker which only accepts incoming traffic (meaning that it can't act as a computer) can be considered as registered by the IP Address that will be assigned to it upon Ethernet connection. The University can see every device by it's IP Address. They can even assign a name to a device if they so desire.

I also mentioned using a switch in the setup to allow other devices to connect via a wired connection. I clicked the link you provided and here's what appears under the first point:

1.The Network Connection is provided for the connection of a specific registered computer, This means: 1.You may connect the Ethernet adapter of your computer directly to the FCDN or via a simple unmanaged switch.

A switch is acceptable. An Unmanaged Switch allows you to connect one of its ports to a WAN while the other act as LAN's. You can't manipulate any of the port characteristics such assigning one as a POE (Power Over Ethernet) or any other specific that might be accomplished by a router.

Not saying that any of what I suggested is allowed by the University (although I can't see why not because as we know a switch IS allowed) but if so the solution is simple and cost effective.

Last items...
1. you should ask how many devices can one student register on the University's network. According to the Universities policy each registered device (computer) is subject to an access fee. Need to determine if a speaker is considered a computer.

2. Are the Wired and Wireless Networks administered by the same Host. Meaning is the IP Address assigned by the WAN port recognized over WiFi.

If the two networks are separate the Sonos Controller App won't be able to see the Sonos speaker(s).

Last resort - Bite the bullet and buy a decent BT speaker. An advantage for a college student vs Sonos is the party goes mobile! Rock on Man! :8

Good Luck🆒
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John B... thanks very much. Just about left no stones unturned....the downside of a portable speaker is he'll probably leave it somewhere and not remember within a week of arriving.
I think I'm being credited with suggestions I'm not making!
Userlevel 7
John B... thanks very much. Just about left no stones unturned....the downside of a portable speaker is he'll probably leave it somewhere and not remember within a week of arriving.

Don't know if you intended to include Jon B in your reply as you spoke to my comment about the portable BT speaker. LOL. No worries we're all on the same team. 🆒

As to a router the University policy states:

2.You must not connect any wired or wireless router to any part of the CUDN

The university may interpret a router as a router even when its wireless is turned off. It becomes even more complicated by definition given the fact that every router (with the exception of Apples) has an IP Address - ( such as in USA - 192.168. X . X .) that can be reached to make changes on a network. Meaning just having the potential may be a violation of the University's policy regarding personal routers. So my take on this again is -

1. Unmanaged Switch - OK
2. Router - Not OK.

Clarification:
Not to say that Apple routers don't register an IP Address -- it just that can't be reached by typing it into a web browser.
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I think I'm being credited with suggestions I'm not making!

Imagine that. LOL. 🆒
Userlevel 4
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Sorry... trying to flow this on a small screen. Thanks to all ..
Userlevel 4
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Update.. he's been in college now for 5 days and had his Play1 up and running as soon as he had unpacked his suitcase. Not sure if other combinations of connectivity would work (but suspect they would) : he ethernet connected the Play1 to the internet outlet in his room and WiFi connected his PC, iPad and Samsung phone to the same WiFi network. Works like a dream. He's at Fitzwilliam College of Cambridge University and there is a large degree of commonality in the internet provision across all of the university's colleges.... so fingers crossed it'll work elsewhere in Cambridge.
Userlevel 7
He's at Fitzwilliam College of Cambridge University and there is a large degree of commonality in the internet provision across all of the university's colleges.... so fingers crossed it'll work elsewhere in Cambridge.

Hi IJN

Thanks for the update!

To the quote....The laptop will have no problem working anywhere the WiFi signal is available as long he has the password. The Play 1 having been connected via Ethernet depends on two things or rather one or the other....

If a static IP Address was assigned then it won't be recognized outside his room without intervention from University Tech Support. That's to prevent unauthorized access by a device that is not a computer with logon credentials.
If an IP Address is randomly assigned at every port then there is no problem (meaning no logon credentials are required - it's an open network)

Thanks again and good luck to you and your son!

Cheers!