Wi-Fi vs Internet Connection_What's the Difference or Should You Care?

  • 4 October 2018
  • 5 replies

Userlevel 7

Let’s talk about Wi-Fi the Internet and how Sonos interacts with both. I invite other knowledgeable members to offer their opinions. First here are Wikipedia definitions of the Internet and Wi-Fi:

The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

Wi-Fi or WiFi is technology for radio wireless local area networking of devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi‑Fi is a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which restricts the use of the term Wi-Fi Certified to products that successfully complete interoperability certification testing.

Devices that can use Wi-Fi technologies include desktops and laptops, video game consoles, smartphones and tablets, smart TVs, digital audio players and modern printers. Wi-Fi compatible devices can connect to the Internet via a WLAN and a wireless access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors. Hotspot coverage can be as small as a single room with walls that block radio waves, or as large as many square kilometres achieved by using multiple overlapping access points.

Now if you haven’t been bored to death reading the above let’s make the distinction between the two as it relates to Sonos. Note: I’ll not use the word “speaker” as there are Sonos products that are not speakers; in the true sense of the word, (i.e. Connect and Connect: AMP) but utilize the technologies being discussed just the same.

Know that the Internet in its infant stages could only be reached via a wired connection. Today a wired connection is still needed to get the internet into the home or business but after that it can be shared between devices either wired or wirelessly. The only exception to never needing a wired connection in or outside of the home or business to access the internet is a Cell Phone. Sonos does not use Cell Phone technology.

Sonos uses the internet to obtain updates to its app, speaker firmware/software and to allow access to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music to name a couple. The most recent addition to Internet dependency is Alexa voice control.

Sonos products interact with the internet in one of two ways:

• Wired via Ethernet cable connected to a Router
• Wirelessly (Wi-Fi) via an internal component called a Network Interface Card (NIC) that communicates with the NIC of a Router.

Without getting too technical a Router is the device that distributes (i.e. shares) the Internet among your internet capable devices. It also allows transmission of data not dependent upon an internet connection. It does so via Ethernet cable connected between it and a device; or a self-generated wireless signal called Wi-Fi.

So as not to draw this out let’s get to the point…

Sonos does not need the internet to play audio files that are resident on the hard drive (i.e. downloaded) of a PC, Tablet or Network Attached Storage (NAS). Those files are transmitted from the device to the Sonos product via Wi-Fi generated by the Router or over the SonosNet; if in Boost mode.

Conversely, the Router does not need the Internet to generate a Wi-Fi signal.

In conclusion your world of Sonos won’t come to an end…If you lose Internet to your home or business. Sonos will still process audio files resident on a device over Wi-Fi. You just won’t be able to get app or firmware/software updates, stream music from a service or utilize Alexa.


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5 replies

So...how do I stream Sonus if my modem/internet is non-functional?....where is Sonusnet without an internet connection?
If you don't have an internet connection, you can't stream any music, other than local music, stored on a mobile device, local PC, or NAS.

SonosNet (or Sonusnet, as you say), is merely an extension of your own LAN. In order to get information from the internet, it needs a connection to the internet.
Beam is connected to I-net via Ethernet cable...still drops connection daily
May I suggest that you open a new thread, and include all details of your system, and the issue you’re experiencing within it? Your particulars don’t really have much to do with this thread, and you’re much more likely to get the answers you are looking for in a separate thread.
Although before you leave this thread you may find it helpful to read the original post, so that you undetstand why the statement 'Beam is connected to the internet by Ethernet' is incorrect.