S2 Controllers Acting Inconsistently

  • 15 August 2022
  • 4 replies

I have had my Playbase for about six years and love it. I added a Roam SL just before Memorial Day to replace a dead Bluetooth travel speaker. All of the devices are on an isolated Wi-Fi network and are within 15 feet of each other and the router. We have three iOS controllers- fifth gen iPad, iPhone 13 Pro Max and an iPhone 6S.

Some days all of the controllers see the Playbase/Roam pair which is nice.

Other days not so much. If lucky on those days at least one controller will see the pair while the others only see the Playbase. Start playing music on the working controller and magically after some period of time the others controllers will see the pair. If unlucky, all of the controllers will only see the Playbase and we have to go through the Support/Find Missing Products routine. If very unlucky, a controller will appear to see the pair and actually start playing music, but you cannot adjust the volume and if you even touch the Rooms button the Roam will stop playing and back to the Support/Find Missing Products usually resulting in having to power off everything (router, Playbase, Roam, controllers).

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!


Best answer by Corry P 18 August 2022, 10:02

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @squirrelwhisperer 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

I’m not sure what you mean by an isolated WiFi network - is there another section of the network somewhere, as in, is there another router somewhere?

If not, do you have any WiFi boosters or extenders? These are not supported by Sonos as they tend to produce exactly this kind of behaviour. Please try turning them off if you do.

Finally, it could be settings in your router, like Airtime Fairness, causing the problem, but without knowing the router you have, I can only guess.

Having said all that, I just now looked to see if you had previously submitted any diagnostics that might clue me in - in July, the Playbase was having some trouble with your router trying to put it on 5GHz, which a Playbase is unwilling to do as it reserves it’s 5GHz radio for talking to satellites (surrounds and Subs). I believe you’ll be able to resolve your problem by splitting your WiFi into separate bands. I recommend you do this by changing the network name for 5GHz to include -5 at the end. Leave the details of 2.4GHz as they are. After taking this step, you’ll need to let any phones, laptops and tablets know about the 5GHz change so they get faster connections. Just don’t tell the Sonos system.

Alternatively, if it’s an option, you could just ethernet-wire the Playbase to the router.

I rather suspect that this is only half of the problem, given that sometimes the Roam is missing from the app. Disabling Airtime Fairness, if that’s an option, should help, but if not, I recommend you get in touch with our technical support team, who have tools at their disposal that will allow them to give you advice specific to your Sonos system and network.

I hope this helps.


Thanks. By isolated I mean it is dedicated to the devices that have to be on the 2.4Ghz channel to work: Playbase, Roam, 2 wemo smart switches, 1 Phillips smart bulb and 2 Amazon Alexa devices. Everything else is on the 5Ghz channel - 2 laptops, iPad and 2 iPhones.

The network is very simple - just the Spectrum supplied router/Wi-Fi device. I am traveling so can’t tell exactly what model it is or if Airtime Fairness is on/off. I will check this out when I return.

Putting my network engineer hat on: I am really confused by the inconsistent behavior. If this is due to a faulty config on the router I would expect that I would see some sort of pattern/consistency in the devices behavior. For example, if everything is working before I go to bed and nothing changes overnight on any devices or the network then why would the Roam disappear from the controller? 

I just had my wife submit another set of diagnostics #1672634587. She says this is a “good” day and the controllers see the Playbase 

/Roam. Thanks again!


Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @squirrelwhisperer 

The newer diagnostics don’t bring me to any different conclusions - band steering seems to be the main problem, though the Playbase is experiencing a little interference.

Given that the Roam sometimes drops off the app when it is not concerned with band steering suggests that the main problem is multicast packets getting blocked as they attempt to move between the players and the controller. Should Airtime Fairness not work/be an option, I recommend you get in touch with our technical support team directly.

I hope this helps.


Router is a Technicolor TC8717T docsis 3.0 device, and it does not have any advanced settings like Airtime Fairness or band steering exposed in the admin interface. I will try getting on the support line, however after going through every setting available in the admin interface I am not feeling hopeful that there’s anything I can do. Thanks again!