Question

Surrounds (Play1s) and Sub dropping in and out

  • 18 December 2017
  • 11 replies
  • 542 views

This is driving me mad. I have a background in IT and my undergraduate studies was in computer networks. I would think I'd be able to resolve this issue but absolutely nothing has worked and I'm officially stumped. If Sonos see's this, my diagnostic is 8235258. Anyhow, regardless of what I do, my surrounds or sub will randomly drop out and then kick back in. This seems to occur only in TV mode. When I stream music everything seems to work fine. As such, if I'm understanding the Playbar/Sonos infrastructure correctly, it seems this may be a 5Ghz interference issue since the Playbar communicates with the other speakers via a dynamic 5Ghz channel. Here's what I've tried without any success:

1. I've tried changing channels with no luck. The 2.4Ghz band on my router is 11 while SonosNet is 1. I also have a Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings hub which use Zigbee and I've ensured their channels are outside the SonosNet/WiFi spectrum (I realize this is all 2.4Ghz here but I felt I should mention this).
2. I've tried changing 5Ghz channels on my router. When I do, the Playbar seems to chase my router and, after a little while, it usually ends up picking a 5Ghz channel that overlaps my routers 5Ghz channel. (e.g. I'll pick 161 on the router and then thirty minutes later the Playbar will suddenly choose 159... why when there are far better channels available?!)
3. I tried wiring a speaker but that didn't help.
4. I tried wiring ALL speakers but that didn't help (I suspect 5.1 mode requires the use of the 5Ghz spectrum to sync each speaker channels audio... is this correct?)
5. I bought a Sonos Boost as a last ditch effort and, not surprisingly, it didn't help. I even tried forcing it to become the root bridge but no luck.
6. Due to my line of work, I have access to a TON of routers. I thought maybe my Netgear Orbi might be the culprit since it generates a TON of 5Ghz traffic. However, I switched it out for several other routers and the issue is still present (e.g. Netgear R7800, 7500v2, R7000, etc.).

Anyone have any suggestions? This is driving me mad and if it continues I'm going to have to get rid of my Sonos setup which I really don't want to do. The sound is amazing when it actually works.

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11 replies

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What happens if you disconnect the sub, and just have the bass coming out of the Playbar? Does it still drop out? I'm wondering if the issue is to do with the source itself rather than the network. If you get the same thing with the bass dropping out from the Playbar direct, my guess is the TV isn't pumping out a correct signal via the TOSLINK.
I have had similar experiences recently but only after I purchased a new Samsung TV. I have not been able to identify it yet. Mine cuts out for a very short amount of time for seconds.
What happens if you disconnect the sub, and just have the bass coming out of the Playbar? Does it still drop out? I'm wondering if the issue is to do with the source itself rather than the network. If you get the same thing with the bass dropping out from the Playbar direct, my guess is the TV isn't pumping out a correct signal via the TOSLINK.

It still occurs on the surrounds. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a source issue since it occurs on a variety of sources (e.g. OLEDB7A TV, FireTV, optical switch, etc.).

I have had similar experiences recently but only after I purchased a new Samsung TV. I have not been able to identify it yet. Mine cuts out for a very short amount of time for seconds.

My issue seems to be the same as you're experiencing. The speakers will drop out for mere seconds and it occurs at random. There are times in which it works flawlessly for a couple hours and then suddenly it will occur constantly. However, my LG OLEDB7A TV doesn't seem to be the culprit because it happens with other devices.

One thing I'm noticing is my Playbar seems to constantly have an abnormally poor 'OFDM ANI Level' signal. It hovers between 6 to 9. If I'm understanding it correctly, this means its experiencing a ton of interference and yet all other speakers in the same room and roughly within ~10ft of the Playbar have an 'OFDM ANI Level' of 0 meaning no interference. Ultimately, the more I attempt to understand and troubleshoot the theory that its interference the more I'm confused by the Sonos infrastructure. Why would the Playbar have severe interference and the Play:1's and sub have absolutely no interference when these speakers are all in a nearly identical operating environment?

I should mention the inbound/outbound signal levels are excellent across all speakers, including the Playbar. It never goes below 50 on any given speaker.
I figured I'd update this thread in case it helps anyone else. I contacted Sonos and I was told my left rear Play:1 had spikes of interference. I actually have a Philips Hue hub and Samsung SmartThings hub roughly ~5ft away from this speaker. I originally made sure the Zigbee frequency wasn't using an overlapping frequency of SonosNet or WiFi. However, I suspect the close proximity of these hubs to the LR speaker was still causing interference. I ended up moving the hubs to a different room and I've gone ~48hrs without a dropout. Here's to hoping it's fixed!

It's still odd to me the issue persisted when all speakers were wired. I'm not familiar enough with the Sonos infrastructure to know exactly what occurs when you wire all speakers in a 5.1 configuration. With that said, I do notice that when you do this the wireless 'HT Channel' still seems to be active on the Playbar. Perhaps this might explain why the issue persisted regardless if they are in wired or wireless mode.
With that said, I do notice that when you do this the wireless 'HT Channel' still seems to be active on the Playbar. Perhaps this might explain why the issue persisted regardless if they are in wired or wireless mode.
Sonos should clarify this ASAP; but to the best of my knowledge, wired mode should address all interference issues even if some wireless activity is still going on with the radios in Sonos in that mode. Particularly because there is a way to turn these off, that Sonos recommends not be done.
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Our surround speakers have started cutting out this week after a recent update. Unifi AC AP LR waps, samsung ks8000 tv, Netflix or plex app source
I got a reply to my trouble ticket regarding how the wiring of speakers works. Apparently wired communication takes priority over WiFi when all speakers are wired but the wireless cards remain active. Sonos seems to rely on the spanning tree protocol (STP) to do this and I'm actually thinking something on my network may be causing it to fail. It makes me wonder how Sonos reacts when such issues occur. From my understanding, Sonos is supposed to look for a better signal every hour but in my case I noticed the WiFi channel was changing VERY often (as in several times within 10 minutes).

Regardless, moving my smart hubs elsewhere seems to have fixed my dropouts. I also got rid of a few unnecessary --and admittedly very buggy-- switches which may have been causing the STP issues.
the wireless cards remain active. Sonos seems to rely on the spanning tree protocol (STP) to do this and I'm actually thinking something on my network may be causing it to fail.
It would be interesting to know why, if Sonos deigns to reply. From what I know, this is just occasional wireless communication that can cope with a lot more than what a continuous music stream needs to remain viable. So it should not be affected.
@Kumar

Here's where things get comical: Not even five minutes after I posted my surrounds and sub went out. It's honestly as if its just mocking me now... it has been working days without any problems and then as soon as I mention that fact they go out all at once. Looks like I'll be contacting support again... I'll direct them to this thread to let them know others are experiencing it (and feel its a firmware bug).
Hi. I think it is very unlikely to be a firmware bug as there must be tens of thousands of these setups and the forum would be awash with queries if it were a bug. My system has no problems. That doesn't rule out a bug that only has an impact in conjunction with other factors, but I'd still be rather doubtful.

Everything you have said about how Sonos works is in line with what I have always understood - although that doesn't make it right! But you seem to have researched the topic well and clearly have a very good understanding. If I had to put money anywhere it would be on STP, although that normally results in something more terminal than dropouts, in the form of a network storm. Is there anyway you could simplify your network experimentally to take out any remaining managed switches? I assume they are configured to allow STP packets?

Could you experimentally turn off the 5GHz band on router?

I must admit you have done pretty much everything you could do.

When you wired everything, how were the Sub and surrounds wired?
I figured I'd update this thread in case it helps anyone else. I contacted Sonos and I was told my left rear Play:1 had spikes of interference. I actually have a Philips Hue hub and Samsung SmartThings hub roughly ~5ft away from this speaker. I originally made sure the Zigbee frequency wasn't using an overlapping frequency of SonosNet or WiFi. However, I suspect the close proximity of these hubs to the LR speaker was still causing interference. I ended up moving the hubs to a different room and I've gone ~48hrs without a dropout. Here's to hoping it's fixed!

It's still odd to me the issue persisted when all speakers were wired. I'm not familiar enough with the Sonos infrastructure to know exactly what occurs when you wire all speakers in a 5.1 configuration. With that said, I do notice that when you do this the wireless 'HT Channel' still seems to be active on the Playbar. Perhaps this might explain why the issue persisted regardless if they are in wired or wireless mode.


So glad you posted this. Thank you! I’m also in IT with some network infrastructure background, and I was lamenting the goose chase rabbit hole I dreaded this issue was going to be when it started occurring. I actually noticed it first during music playback and then during TV.

Going off your findings, I’m going to wager my culprit is the Alexa about 6’ from my LR. I’ll move it and see how it goes.

I have the same TV, though! So I sort of prematurely freaked out a bit before I got to your workaround.