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Advantages to Sonosnet


Hi,

I have read many of the threads here but I am still not sure over what the advantages to using Sonosnet over my home WiFi are. Will it take some of the load off my home network?

Also, I have 15ish speakers spread around my house. If I were to plug one in directly to Ethernet, my understanding is that it will create a mesh, but will it all be able to run off that one speaker? Should I use a boost instead?

Thanks
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Best answer by Keith N 20 July 2018, 01:21

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14 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi there, Bob1978. Thanks for posting and welcome to the Community. If you are looking for more information about the differences between SonosNet (Boost configuration) and wireless (Standard configuration), look no further.

To make a long story short: Instead of having 15 individual connections from each player-to-router, your Sonos players will talk to each other. This significantly reduces the distance needed to be broadcast over and allows for your Sonos system to extend further than the footprint of your wireless network.

Let us know if you have any questions.
Userlevel 2
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Hi Keith – or anyone driving by – I have an addition/follow-up question here.

In the age of mesh systems and all (most? 🙂 of us now having large footprints to our wireless network, I'm curious if this "SonosNet is better than Wi-Fi for folks with 3+ Sonos Devices" advice is still standard practice? (those are my quotes, not yours :)

All of the Sonos devices talk to the router and DHCP server, and they're all "participating" over Wi-Fi... and potentially interfering with denser, existing Wi-Fi ... and, of course, there are the "surprise" potential risks of STP-related broadcast storms and... I'm wondering if it's better?

Now, I'm someone with a lot of Sonos devices (19, by last count), and a fairly well-spread out home-and-separate-outbuilding setup. All of that's connected via Ethernet and runs one, single "mesh" Wi-Fi network (the Wi-Fi vendor changes regularly... I test a lot of stuff here). Wi-Fi coverage is never an issue, unless I intentionally create one.

So I'm curious what the general recommendation is, and also one perhaps for me specifically?

Thanks!
Userlevel 7
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It Just Works. Many home routers are poorly implemented, so relying on them to deliver your Wi-Fi packets to your Sonos speakers (at the same time as all your other devices) can be problematic (see many threads here). SonosNet is trivial to set up, survives router changes without reconfiguration and is IMHO super robust.

I used a single Bridge for about 8 years in a 3600 sq ft home (with 9 Sonos devices), and with my CR100 rebate I finally got a Boost (because why not). Remains totally solid.

The Wi-Fi option should really only be used for smaller systems, I wouldn't dream of trying that on a 19-device household.
It also isolates the music-only stream. So, if the wife and kids are sucking up all the WiFi bandwidth streaming videos, your SonosNet will be totally unaffected.
I strongly recommend SonosNet too. Here are a few further tips I found useful from the Sonos community members here...

When running on SonosNet remove your WiFi credentials in 'Advanced Settings/Wireless Setup'
Set the SonosNet channel so it is at least 5 channels away from your router 2.4ghz channel.
Keep the Boost/Speaker device, that’s cabled to the router, at least 4 feet away from the router.
Add your Sonos IP addresses to your routers DHCP Reservation Table
Fix your routers WiFi channel... do not let it auto-select channel on startup.

Don’t use access points, WiFi extenders or powerline adapters, except as a very last resort (always better to cable, wherever that’s practicable) ..and if you do, ensure they are set to the same fixed WiFi channel as the router, that’s if they are being used with Sonos. If they are NOT being used for Sonos purposes, then consider switching off the 2.4ghz WiFi band altogether and use just the 5ghz band instead (if your other non-Sonos devices support that band) and perhaps even change their broadcasting SSID, so they do not interfere with Sonos Controllers and Speakers at all.

Keep Sonos Speakers away from other wireless devices particularly microwaves, printers, IP cameras and baby monitors etc.

Continue to regularly monitor the WiFi channels in use around the home using free WiFi scanner software, such as wifiinfoview (just as an example)... always use the least-used channels for SonosNet and your own WiFi. (Still keeping them 5 channels apart from each other).

All of the Sonos devices talk to the router and DHCP server, and they're all "participating" over Wi-Fi...

I'm not sure what you mean there. If SonosNet is running, Sonos devices 'participate' over SonosNet, not WiFi.
Userlevel 2
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Thanks for the thoughts, all. For years I have subscribed to and delivered much of the same advice you've all given here, so I totally grok where it's coming from.

I'm just wondering if it's all still relevant. Every issue-to-be-avoided above is generally solved with modern-day Wi-Fi mesh networks. Even extenders are now far more robust and reliable than they used to be. 802.11ac backhaul changed a LOT of things, mostly for the better.

And, to address this:


All of the Sonos devices talk to the router and DHCP server, and they're all "participating" over Wi-Fi...

I'm not sure what you mean there. If SonosNet is running, Sonos devices 'participate' over SonosNet, not WiFi.


I mean that, even with SonosNet, all my Sonos devices are still participating over *some* kind of Wi-Fi, and it's a separate Wi-Fi that needs to be accounted for when setting channels for everything else. Many consumer mesh Wi-Fi products don't let you control your 2.4GHz channels, and that can really create an interference issue. And, of course, that interference is avoided if the Sonos devices are on the same Wi-Fi as everything else.

Really, I'm playing Devil's Advocate here, both for all of you and especially for myself. Like I said, I've been committed to the SonosNet-way-of-life for many years and, when I made this commitment, it was the right choice.

But now... everything around it has changed, so maybe it's not the right choice anymore?

Add to that the fact that I can't just have one Sonos device ethernetted in... I need several because of how spread out things are, and still occasionally am therefore plagued with STP-related broadcast storms, all of which I think might be avoided by just using the reliable Wi-Fi mesh I've separately created.

Remember, Sonos was the very first company to provide mesh wireless to consumers. Maybe it's time to merge it all together when the scenario warrants? Curious to hear if someone from Sonos support has some experiential thoughts to share, as mainly the rest of us are relying on anecdotal reports or old tests, myself included.

And, given that, I'll likely test this here on my network and report back. That should be ... interesting. And I hope not disastrous! 😉
Hi Dave. I think your challenge is a fair one - there is a debate to be had. The game has changed and there are now alternatives that can deal with large Sonos systems. I still thiink SonosNet is the best choice for many users - perhaps it will end up being for those who don't need a whole-home mesh wifi for anything else.

I don't think it is pedantry on my part to insist that SonosNet is NOT a form of WiFi, it is a proprietary wireless technology designed by Sonos for reliable audio transport, rather than speed. This matters. Hence my earlier post.

Remember, Sonos was the very first company to provide mesh wireless to consumers. Maybe it's time to merge it all together when the scenario warrants? Curious to hear if someone from Sonos support has some experiential thoughts to share,

All good points, I agree as well. My 2011 router is still soldiering on gamely, and Sonosnet is my way since installation of the first Sonos hardware and the now five zone system has always performed reliably. My understanding it that whether it is WiFi or not, Sonosnet is vulnerable to the same inferences as WiFi is. But it provides a dedicated to Sonos pipe that does not suffer when there are demand spikes on the regular WiFi channels, and hence provides stable music play and turns in very high uptime performance.
But it would be interesting to know if home WiFi set ups of today, mesh or not, will allow for the same uptime as well. If so, it would also then do away one Sonosnet maintenance task - the occasional need to switch channels to avoid interference from regular WiFi. It would also be useful to know which - mesh or non mesh - of todays tech levels is better suited to Sonos.
PS: Also, does Sonos get better diagnostics for troubleshooting if Sonosnet is in use?
I should point out that, as things currently stand, meshed WiFi systems which auto-select their 2.4GHz channels don't work in favour of a Sonos system in WiFi ('wireless', i.e. not SonosNet) mode. They may be able to provide universal coverage but varying the channel between APs could affect Sonos group performance (and by implication stereo pairs).

Players tuned to different channels would be unable to connect directly peer-to-peer. In such circumstances intra-group traffic could have to loop around via the mesh WiFi backhaul. It may work fine, but if unpredictable latency intruded the group might experience dropouts when sync fails. The Sonos controller could also complain about 'an extender' being in use.
My question then is whenever my router does die, and if I did not want more performance from the regular WiFi than what I am getting today, does it matter to Sonos if I get a mesh or non mesh system? And for either, would Sonosnet still be the way to go for Sonos?
If Sonos is in SonosNet mode it doesn't care whether you have a single WiFi, multiple APs, meshed WiFi, whatever. It's only the control traffic which flows over the WiFi. (For completeness, I'll add that a few extenders can mangle the MAC address of an attached client which occasionally causes a temporary glitch if the mobile device 'roams' onto/off the extender.)

Note that some (most?) meshed WiFis include a secondary router which, unless it can be disabled in 'bridge mode', would split the network into multiple subnets.
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Note that some (most?) meshed WiFis include a secondary router which, unless it can be disabled in 'bridge mode', would split the network into multiple subnets.

Just wanted to address this in case someone less network-savvy drives by here: most mesh systems become your router, and replace your router (unless you intentionally set them up otherwise), so this scenario of multiple subnets (or double NAT) is not an issue for most folks using mesh in a default configuration.
Note that some (most?) meshed WiFis include a secondary router which, unless it can be disabled in 'bridge mode', would split the network into multiple subnets.

Just wanted to address this in case someone less network-savvy drives by here: most mesh systems become your router, and replace your router (unless you intentionally set them up otherwise), so this scenario of multiple subnets (or double NAT) is not an issue for most folks using mesh in a default configuration.

It all depends. Many users are stuck with -- or choose to stay with -- their ISP-supplied router. If it has no modem mode then, short of putting the mesh primary into the DMZ, there will be two subnets and care must be taken accordingly.