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How to make SONOS work with powerline adapters?

  • 22 December 2020
  • 11 replies
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MANY of us are having problems using powerline adapters with SONOS. This is not an unfixable problem, so when will it be full-on addressed? Sonos did not (and actually seems unwilling to) address their ongoing ethernet-setup issue. The needs for most of us to make SONOS work over ethernet powerline adapters are two fold:

(1) Many of us use ethernet to connect our SONOS speakers; sometimes for performance issues with our wifi, and others recognize that their wifi radiation is worse than a Chernobyl cancer zone. No matter which, after spending dozens of hours on the phone with about a dozen SONOS tech’s, no one has  been able to solve the issue. If we want to turn off SONOS dangerous radiation, then we need to use ethernet. 

(2) Who wants wires running all over the place through their house or apartment? Duh. 

After hours with SONOS techies, I ‘get’ the problem: ¾ of powerline adapter issues relate to the fact that many/all/most powerline ethernet adapters generate new IP’s for each/every connection they make, and SONOS doesn’t know how to deal with it. However, this is not rocket science if you’re a techy: The answer is SONOS itself (and/or relationship with powerline adapter companies like TPlink) need to address the IP creation and visibility issue, but they won’t. WTF?

I for one LOVE SONOS but want a full explanation as to how they can make such a good speaker and tech support online interface, and yet they can’t solve an ethernet powerline connectivity issue? 

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Best answer by ratty 22 December 2020, 12:37

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11 replies

I am not sure that you have been given the correct explanation. When power line works, it works very well and at times, it just does not. The reason for this is how the house is zoned and wired for power supply, and nothing that Sonos can address where this zoning is not compatible with Sonos.

After hours with SONOS techies, I ‘get’ the problem: ¾ of powerline adapter issues relate to the fact that many/all/most powerline ethernet adapters generate new IP’s for each/every connection they make, and SONOS doesn’t know how to deal with it.

This makes little sense. Powerline adapters don’t ‘generate new IPs’. The basic technology operates at the PHY and data link layers. IP runs over the top.

About the only possible explanation for this strange assertion could be that a powerline link which repeatedly breaks and makes might possibly cause a Sonos unit to refresh its IP. But therein lies the problem: Ethernet over Powerline is inherently a roll of the dice. It’s vulnerable to all kinds of physical factors outside Sonos’ control, including the electrical wiring quality and topology, supply-borne noise, and even which appliances are plugged in nearby. None of this is going to be ‘fixed’ by any amount of attention at Sonos’ end.

In fact anyone who’d taken the time to monitor the fluctuation in data rates and latency which routinely occurs on a powerline connection could readily understand why Sonos wants to steers clear of it, at least for device intercommunication where latency spikes could easily degrade group performance. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

How much difference in total radiation do you see from Sonos over WiFi or SonosNet and the RF leakage of powerline adapters running over unshielded power cables throughout the house.

Dramatic. Rent yourself an RF meter and see for yourself how much is coming out of their playbase for example. 

¾ of powerline adapter issues relate to the fact that many/all/most powerline ethernet adapters generate new IP’s for each/every connection they make, and SONOS doesn’t know how to deal with it.

This doesn’t make sense - ratty’s explanation is much more likely, IMHO.

I can understand Sonos not wanting to support an unreliable tech that adversely affects their product, and hence their support costs. Personally, however, I have found Tp-link adaptors considerably more reliable than either their Sonosnet or wi-fi approach. This has been in two properties, a 1930’s property with older (but not original) wiring and a 10 year old house with modern wiring. In both cases, switching to powerline kit has dramatically improved the reliability of the Sonos experience. I now have all wireless connection turned off in the units, so would know if there was a problem.

So I’d suggest that if you’re having problems with the powerline approach then it might be worth having your electrical system checked out - I don’t really see what Sonos can do about it.

If we’re going into “wifi radiation is worse than a Chernobyl cancer zone” tin-foil hat territory I’ll take my leave of this conversation.

Personally, however, I have found Tp-link adaptors considerably more reliable than either their Sonosnet or wi-fi approach. This has been in two properties, a 1930’s property with older (but not original) wiring and a 10 year old house with modern wiring. In both cases, switching to powerline kit has dramatically improved the reliability of the Sonos experience. 

As has often been noted, sometimes powerline can be the silver bullet where other link technologies are struggling or impracticable. Nevertheless it’s so unpredictable that it would pose an utter support nightmare if Sonos were to officially condone it. 

LOL

Userlevel 7
Badge +23

Try MoCa instead (multimedia over coax): no RF , uses existing tv coax wiring to deliver functional Ethernet packets reliably. Power line is more of a crapshoot than ARC support on a Samsung TV.

Please tell me more.

Userlevel 7
Badge +23

I use the older Actiontec stuff for MoCa, but this is the newer stuff: https://smile.amazon.com/Actiontec-MoCA-Network-Adapter-Ethernet/dp/B088KV2YYL?ref_=ast_sto_dp