Router reboot too often recommended as solution

  • 1 January 2017
  • 8 replies
  • 507 views

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I have a feature request for Sonos and couldn't find where to post it. Apologies if this is in the wrong place. I have been a Sonos customer since 2010, love the products and use them everyday. My request is that Sonos engineer its products for better "error recovery".

Answers to Sonos support questions, as well as responses on this community forum, often recommend something like: "Power down your router, turn off every device connected to your wifi network, then turn everything back on." I work in Corporate IT, and I understand why this advice is given, and I understand why it works. But with my Corporate IT hat on, where one manages 10's or 100's of thousands of hardware devices and software platforms around the globe, we simply would not purchase any device that required a reboot of the network to solve a problem. The products have to be engineered with better resiliency and recovery options.

Home networks, of course, are much simpler, with only 10-20 devices on average. But these include desktop computers, laptops. tablets, phones, smart TV's, smart light switches, light bulbs, security cameras, door locks, etc. Turning everything off and back on is becoming a non-starter. Even simply rebooting the router is problematic. A lot of smart home products have shorter wifi ranges. Once you manage to connect them to your home wifi, they sometimes will not reconnect after a router reboot. So rebooting your router to fix one problem (Sonos) ends up causing problems with other products, that you then need to trouble-shoot one by one. It's a hassle.

Sonos, as you engineer and release your next generations of hardware and software, please start with the principle that a router reboot should never be required. I know it's a challenge, but it's the right path forward and it'll keep you competitive as a reliable, easy to use solution. Thanks

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8 replies

First of all,
A lot of smart home products have shorter wifi ranges. Once you manage to connect them to your home wifi, they sometimes will not reconnect after a router reboot.

In that case there's something wrong with the IoT devices. Routers can and do reboot, for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes an ISP will do an overnight firmware upgrade. Sometimes they simply crash and restart. Attached devices should re-attach when the WiFi comes back up.

On the whole, though, I'd agree with you that we're boringly repetitious with the 'restart your network' mantra. The thing is that the vast majority of home routers lose IP lease info across a reboot, and too often a user's first reaction to 'the internet not working' is to restart the router. Sonos misbehaving is frequently equated to 'the internet not working'.

If a router's loses lease info and has no means of matching IP to MAC -- whether by fixed reservation or hashed MAC address -- then a router restart can make the situation worse. Sonos is heavily reliant on local comms, and is much more sensitive to IP duplication than a device which simply connects out to public IPs.
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You are correct. Many IoT devices are still in their infancy, and they too require more robust engineering, and probably new ways of establishing and maintaining network connections. Right now, my experience is that if a light switch requires a firmware update, there's a 50-50 chance it won't reconnect on its own to the home wifi network. In a few years we might have 50-100 IoT devices in our homes - every light, every switch, every outlet, refrigerators, toasters, eyeglasses, things we haven't thought of yet. Imagine if each required a network reboot to resolve an issue. I know you get it. IMHO the companies whose products best operate (simplicity, performance, reliability, self-healing error recovery) in the increasing complexity of the home network environment will be the ones that win out with the consumer. I wish that success for Sonos.
In the meantime, a lot of this can be avoided by reserving IP addresses - I have not had to do a reboot from the time I did that a couple of years ago for all Sonos components including the controller devices. Using Sonosnet instead of WiFi mode is also a requirement, I have found.
In the meantime, a lot of this can be avoided by reserving IP addresses - I have not had to do a reboot from the time I did that a couple of years ago for all Sonos components including the controller devices. Using Sonosnet instead of WiFi mode is also a requirement, I have found.

Ditto here. I find it interesting that the OP is familiar with the reboot mantra, but failed to mention the "to prevent this in the future, you can reserve IPs by MAC address in your router setup" mantra that follows. I know each time I give the reboot instructions, I include this advice. No amount of engineering by Sonos can prevent the router losing track of IP assignments, but the user certainly can. Which is why we advise them to do it.
How do you reserve an IP address
Google for the router model you have, it has to be done by accessing settings in the router. I use Apple where it is done via the Airport Utility app on the Mac and when I did this a few years ago, it took me less than ten minutes.
Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have a piece of garbage from frontier, the worst internet provider ever. Maybe I can figure it out. Just maybe.
I ended up buying my own router to connect to the device AT&T gave me. Was the only way to get control over my own WiFi (at least at the time, haven’t bothered to check since). I use it as a modem, and use my own router for everything else.