Answered

Sonos Arc via Ethernet, while all other Sonos speakers are connected via 5GHz WiFi WPA3

  • 20 December 2021
  • 4 replies
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All the home theatre master players contain two radios: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 5GHz radio is only used to connect its satellites (which is also why the HT master can’t connect to a 5GHz WiFi).

The private 5GHz connects the satellites in both modes -- Ethernet/’wired’/SonosNet or WiFi/’wireless’ -- unless both the master and the satellites are wired.

 

Hi, I have a question about connecting my Sonos Speakers. Here you get an overview which Sonos devices I own:

  • Living Room (Surround): Sonos Arc, Sub Gen. 3, 2x Symfonisk Lamps Gen. 2
  • Bedroom (Stereo): 2x Symfonisk Lamps Gen. 2
  • Kitchen: Sonos One Gen. 2
  • Bathroom: Sonos One Gen. 2
  • Office: Sonos One Gen. 2
  • Hallway: Sonos One Gen. 2 

All devices are capable of 5GHz Wifi, except the Arc as stated by @ratty, because of it’s master role.

I also have a well operating Ubiquiti Unifi network here at home with 5 Access Points and managed switches:

  • UDM-Pro
  • USW-Enterprise-24-PoE
  • USW-Flex-Mini
  • 5x U6-Pro

At the moment I have two different SSIDs for the same network because of Sonos. There are also other networks/vlans and SSIDs which are not relevant to my question. I don’t want to bring my Sonos devices to an IoT vlan, because I don’t want to use mDNS to talk to my Sonos speakers. I am trusting Sonos. ;)

SSID 1 (here are my Sonos devices connected to currently):

  • Wifi Band: 2.4Ghz and 5GHz
  • Security protocol: WPA2/WPA3 transition
  • PMF: optional
  • Multicast Enhancement: Enabled
  • BSS Transition: Enabled
  • Enable Fast Roaming: Enabled
  • Enable WPA3 Fast Roaming: Enabled

SSID 2 (here are all my high performance devices, like iPhones and MacBooks for example, this is the SSID where my Sonos devices should connect in future):

  • Wifi Band: 5GHz
  • Security protocol: WPA3 only
  • PMF: required
  • Multicast Enhancement: Enabled
  • BSS Transition: Enabled
  • Enable Fast Roaming: Enabled

Underlying Network is configured the following way:

  • IGMP Snooping: Enabled

USW-Enterprise-24-PoE is configured the following way:

  • Spanning Tree Protocol: RSTP

My requirements and questions:

I want to understand how it works or how it should work, before trying to configure it.

The Sonos Arc is now connected via 2.4GHz, but in future mode of operation there is no 2.4Ghz available at the respective SSID (2). I want to connect it via Ethernet. Here are my questions:

  1. The Sonos Arc will be connected to the USW-Flex-Mini (which is connected with Power over Ethernet to the USW-Enterprise-24-PoE). I read about STP issues, because this mini switch is not capable of STP. It should be capable of forwarding STP packets, I read somewhere. Is it possible to wire connect the Arc to the mini switch without STP issues (it will be the only wire connected Sonos device)? 
  2. I don’t want to use SonosNet in general, because I have a well planned and working network/wifi (all channels (2.4Ghz and 5GHz are in use). I am fine with how it works now. All devices are connected to my Ubiquiti Wifi, except the Sub and the 2 Symfonisk Lamps. They are connected via 5GHz Wifi to the HT master (Arc = WM:1 and Sub/Satellites = WM: 2). How will it work, if I wire connect the Arc and disable Wifi at the Arc (to not get a SonosNet for all of my Sonos components)? Will the Sub and the satellites despite the deactivated Wifi at the Arc connect to the Arc via private 5GHz or will they communicate via my Unifi wifi/network?
  3. What is the best solution for my use case in your opinion?

I hope you can help me. Thank you guys!

Regards Hoppel

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Best answer by hoppel118 20 December 2021, 16:45

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4 replies

 

My requirements and questions:

I want to understand how it works or how it should work, before trying to configure it.

The Sonos Arc is now connected via 2.4GHz, but in future mode of operation there is no 2.4Ghz available at the respective SSID (2). I want to connect it via Ethernet. Here are my questions:

  1. The Sonos Arc will be connected to the USW-Flex-Mini (which is connected with Power over Ethernet to the USW-Enterprise-24-PoE). I read about STP issues, because this mini switch is not capable of STP. It should be capable of forwarding STP packets, I read somewhere. Is it possible to wire connect the Arc to the mini switch without STP issues (it will be the only wire connected Sonos device)? 

I suspect this may work. Sonos uses STP-like path costs within SonosNet but so long as this is simply appended to the RSTP backbone by a single wired connection you shouldn’t run into the usual RSTP path cost issues.

 

  1. I don’t want to use SonosNet in general, because I have a well planned and working network/wifi (all channels (2.4Ghz and 5GHz are in use). I am fine with how it works now. All devices are connected to my Ubiquiti Wifi, except the Sub and the 2 Symfonisk Lamps. They are connected via 5GHz Wifi to the HT master (Arc = WM:1 and Sub/Satellites = WM: 2). How will it work, if I wire connect the Arc and disable Wifi at the Arc (to not get a SonosNet for all of my Sonos components)? Will the Sub and the satellites despite the deactivated Wifi at the Arc connect to the Arc via private 5GHz or will they communicate via my Unifi wifi/network?

This is where it could all go wrong.

Disabling the ‘WiFi’ (the radios) on the Arc will also kill the 5GHz private wireless for its satellites. They would have no option but to connect to the Ubiquiti WiFi. The latency variations on this indirect route to the Arc could easily cause them to drop out.

Of course if you leave the radios enabled on the wired Arc then all your Sonos units are going to try and connect to it over SonosNet, deserting the Ubiquiti WiFi.

If everything’s working fine your best bet would really be to leave the 2.4GHz SSID in play for the Sonos to connect to.

 

1. Is there a way to restrict Sonos devices (except Sonos Arc) from the client side to 5GHz? 

All my Sonos devices sometimes connect to the Wifi using 2.4GHz, even though a strong 5GHz signal is available. My goal was to remove the 2.4GHz band from the SSID, so that my Sonos devices could not connect to it anymore. 5GHz only: means no problems with Babyphones, etc anymore. But there is the Sonos Arc, which makes this idea/usecase absolete.

There’s no way to steer a Sonos device. It will connect to the best signal it sees. The definition of ‘best’ may have more dimensions than just signal strength though. I’m not privy to how it selects.

 

2. Is SonosNet 2.4Ghz only or is it possible to have a 5GHz SonosNet?

I have the complete 5GHz spectrum with Interference free 80MHz channels 42, 58 and 106 already in use with my unifi access points. A 5GHz SonosNet would be an option for me, because I have some free channels (besides weather radar 20MHz channels: 120, 124, 128):

  • free 20MHz channels: 116, 132, 136, 140 or
  • free 40MHz channel: 134

SonosNet is 2.4GHz only. 5GHz would have lower range/penetration which is presumably why Sonos has never felt inclined to allow units to mesh together at 5GHz. That and the fact that most units have a single radio, so a node couldn’t simultaneously connect to one peer at 5GHz and another at 2.4GHz.

(The home theatre satellites are a different case as they’re in-room. Theirs is kind of an extension to SonosNet, in that they’re STP-active, but of course they’re not part of the peer mesh.)

 

3. Do you know which roaming standards (802.11r, 802.11k, 80211v) Sonos supports? 

Sonos devices are not capable to find the best signal. They use what they find first and they are not changing the channel / AP to the best signal automatically. 

This a bad user experience from an admin point of view.

Sonos units don’t roam. If they’re WiFi-connected they’ll doggedly hang onto a signal until that fails, even if a stronger alternative is available.

Roaming doesn’t apply for SonosNet, since nodes will connect to every other one in range. The determination of whether a path is active or blocked is left for STP in the next layer up.

 

4. Another offtopic question: Do you know if Sonos supports 802.1x?

I thought about reconfiguring my main SSID (where my high performance devices reside) to use 802.1x authentification.  

No authentication. Sonos is designed for home use primarily.

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Hi @ratty,

thanks for the fast answer. 

 @ratty wrote

I suspect this may work. Sonos uses STP-like path costs within SonosNet but so long as this is simply appended to the RSTP backbone by a single wired connection you shouldn’t run into the usual RSTP path cost issues.

 

OK, fine. 

 

@ratty wrote

This is where it could all go wrong.

Disabling the ‘WiFi’ (the radios) on the Arc will also kill the 5GHz private wireless for its satellites. They would have no option but to connect to the Ubiquiti WiFi. The latency variations on this indirect route to the Arc could easily cause them to drop out.

Of course if you leave the radios enabled on the wired Arc then all your Sonos units are going to try and connect to it over SonosNet, deserting the Ubiquiti WiFi.

If everything’s working fine your best bet would really be to leave the 2.4GHz SSID in play for the Sonos to connect to.

 

Sadly, this is what I thought. But it’s such a waste. One SSID for Sonos only.

1. Is there a way to restrict Sonos devices (except Sonos Arc) from the client side to 5GHz? 

All my Sonos devices sometimes connect to the Wifi using 2.4GHz, even though a strong 5GHz signal is available. My goal was to remove the 2.4GHz band from the SSID, so that my Sonos devices could not connect to it anymore. 5GHz only: means no problems with Babyphones, etc anymore. But there is the Sonos Arc, which makes this idea/usecase absolete.

2. Is SonosNet 2.4Ghz only or is it possible to have a 5GHz SonosNet?

I have the complete 5GHz spectrum with Interference free 80MHz channels 42, 58 and 106 already in use with my unifi access points. A 5GHz SonosNet would be an option for me, because I have some free channels (besides weather radar 20MHz channels: 120, 124, 128):

  • free 20MHz channels: 116, 132, 136, 140 or
  • free 40MHz channel: 134

3. Do you know if Sonos supports the fast roaming standards 802.11r, 802.11k or 80211v?

Sonos devices are not capable to find the best signal. They use what they find first and they are not changing the channel / AP to the best signal automatically. 

This a bad user experience from an admin point of view.

4. Another offtopic question: Do you know if Sonos supports 802.1x?

I thought about reconfiguring my main SSID (where my high performance devices reside) to use 802.1x authentification.  

 

At the moment it seems to me, that there is no viable solution for my issues.

The best I can get, is what I already have. ;)

Thanks and regards Hoppel

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Thanks @ratty! Perfect support, even though I can’t find a satisfying answer.  

@ratty wrote:

There’s no way to steer a Sonos device. It will connect to the best signal it sees. The definition of ‘best’ may have more dimensions than just signal strength though. I’m not privy to how it selects.

 

If I block a connected Sonos device in the Unifi Network Application (Controller) and unblock it five seconds later, it connects to another channel of another AP. You can do that until you get to the right AP at some point. Signal strength doesn't seem to be involved in the decision. This works not every time, sometimes it doesn’t find the right AP with it’s 5GHz band.

This is mainly the case for my Sonos and some of my IoT devices.

 

 @ratty wrote:

SonosNet is 2.4GHz only. 5GHz would have lower range/penetration which is presumably why Sonos has never felt inclined to allow units to mesh together at 5GHz. That and the fact that most units have a single radio, so a node couldn’t simultaneously connect to one peer at 5GHz and another at 2.4GHz.

(The home theatre satellites are a different case as they’re in-room. Theirs is kind of an extension to SonosNet, in that they’re STP-active, but of course they’re not part of the peer mesh.)

 

Yes, 5GHz has a smaller range than 2.4GHz, but that is the only argument for 2.4GHz. Nowadays 2.4GHz is mainly used by old and IoT (bluetooth and zigbee devices for example) devices. 😉 Not to speak from neighbours with network/wifi skills and other interferences by for example baby monitors or microwave ovens. A well planned (channels, cell sizing, transmit power, etc.) 5GHz Wifi is much better, than the congested 2.4GHz band. My five Access Points cover my house and garden perfectly with 5GHz.   

 

 @ratty wrote:

 

Sonos units don’t roam. If they’re WiFi-connected they’ll doggedly hang onto a signal until that fails, even if a stronger alternative is available.

Roaming doesn’t apply for SonosNet, since nodes will connect to every other one in range. The determination of whether a path is active or blocked is left for STP in the next layer up.

 

Sadly, but yes, this what Sonos does not do: ROAMING. SonosNet is not an alternative. It steals a complete 2.4GHz channel, which is needed for my IoT.

 

 @ratty wrote:

No authentication. Sonos is designed for home use primarily.

 

All of my approaches (with a more professional nature) are unfortunately denied by Sonos. But there is no alternative on the market that can compete with Sonos. So I'm glad that Sonos exists. It has a perfect user experience with a great WAF. ;)

 

At least I found a workaround for my Sonos devices to lock to a specific Unifi AP. With the latest Unifi Network Application (Controller) v6.5.x this is possible. Sadly it’s not possible to lock to the 5GHz band. So it can happen that the Sonos device connects via 2.4GHz first, but with the second attempt (block/unblock by the unifi network application) it connects to 5GHz. The Downside is, that the Sonos devices can’t connect to another ap (with a worse signal), when the ap the Sonos device is locked to goes down. Bit it’s better than nothing or how Sonos chooses the best available channel/ap. ;)

 

It would be great if Sonos implements more standards to their products.

802.11k/r/v to find and transit to the best available channel/signal/ap quickly would be fantastic and with 802.1x authentication method it could get a more business relevant solution. At least this is my opinion and also my wish. 

For the moment the thread is solved, even though I don’t have a solution/workaround to connect my Sonos devices to 5GHz only, when the Sonos Arc/Beam is in the game (hardwired or wirelessly connected).

 

Thank you for all the answers @ratty.

Regards Hoppel