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Does Sonos need an internet connection?

  • 23 February 2017
  • 24 replies
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I am told by Sonos live chat that I cannot use Sonos play 1s without an internet connection, but I keep seeing in forums that you can make a wifi network from a router without internet and play the speakers. So can I or cant I use them without internet? Any help would be appreciated.
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Best answer by Airgetlam 24 February 2017, 00:49

Well, both positions are correct. Technically, a Play:1 is a streaming speaker, without any way to input anything into it directly, so it needs to be connected to a router. Now, if you have a router, and a computer/phone/NAS, you could then stream your own locally stored digital music to the speaker. But if you wanted to stream anything from the internet (other than Spotify from your phone), you'd be out of luck. Basically, without the internet connection to your router, you've lost almost all of the functionality.

That's likely what the folks on the live chat were trying to say. So, yes, you need a router to hang the Play:1 off of. You can either connect it via local wifi, or connect it directly to the router with an ethernet cable , but it does require a router (i.e. it can't be connected to your computer via the ethernet connection, to my knowledge, unless your computer is set up to be it's own router, which I don't even know is possible).

But without that connection to the whole "world wide web" thing, you won't be able to get the majority of the music that would be available.
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24 replies

Well, both positions are correct. Technically, a Play:1 is a streaming speaker, without any way to input anything into it directly, so it needs to be connected to a router. Now, if you have a router, and a computer/phone/NAS, you could then stream your own locally stored digital music to the speaker. But if you wanted to stream anything from the internet (other than Spotify from your phone), you'd be out of luck. Basically, without the internet connection to your router, you've lost almost all of the functionality.

That's likely what the folks on the live chat were trying to say. So, yes, you need a router to hang the Play:1 off of. You can either connect it via local wifi, or connect it directly to the router with an ethernet cable , but it does require a router (i.e. it can't be connected to your computer via the ethernet connection, to my knowledge, unless your computer is set up to be it's own router, which I don't even know is possible).

But without that connection to the whole "world wide web" thing, you won't be able to get the majority of the music that would be available.
And I missed the whole "sonosnet" aspect, which is where if you have one speaker connected to your router, it creates it's own "wifi" equivalent so that it will allow other speakers to connect to it, and don't have to be connected to the router, but that's the next level of the whole issue 🙂
You will need internet access to register and update the units. After that, it will run fine as long as you do not update the app.
Ah, great point. Thank, jgatie, I'd forgotten about that.
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Great answers guys, just one note to add. Spotify Connect also requires an Internet connection. Though your Spotify App tells the players what to play, they retrieve that data online themselves, even if you're trying to play offline tracks from Spotify on the phone.
I'd assumed that the Spotify Connect would authenticate via cellular, if it was playing local files. Interesting that it doesn't. I'm sure there's a reason 🙂
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Sadly, with the most recent app update I can no longer connect to my Son's when my internet crashes via the controller app on my phone and tablet. Since I stream solely from my own music collection and not through any web based services this is very disconcerting. I enjoyed being able to control my system from within the room I was listening. Now when our internet drops, which happens often in my area, I can no longer do this. I do not care to go to my office to edit my playlist when I am sitting in my lounge listening. This is not the service I paid for. To be clear, my home network is fully operational, just no internet access. I also rely upon the bridge and do not use wifi for my Son's setup. If this is the way it will be, I will abandon my Sonos and seek a system that supports how I enjoy my music - the music I own, not rent.
I think I'm confused by the terminology used. To me, "internet" means access to the outside world. "Wifi" or "LAN" means the network inside your house, which may or may not have access to the outside world. And I think I'm going to interpret "Son's" as Sonos, as it makes more sense to me, and I suspect some autocorrect going on.

To my knowledge, and I've not tested this, there's been no change in the app that would not allow it to continue to work for data stored locally on NAS, PC/Mac Hard Drive, or mobile device, but it seems as though this is what you're reporting.

Where is your music stored?

What I'm going to guess here, based on the little information provided, is that your speakers are dropping off your local wifi for some reason, and then rejoining. Since you didn't mention any movement of the devices, I'm only going to link this as a reference Wifi Interference FAQ but I think your problem may be actually duplicate IP addresses, which tends to be exposed frequently when there's an app update.

This can usually be fixed by unplugging from power all of your Sonos speakers, then rebooting the router, and then plugging back in the Sonos devices, one by one, waiting for enough time between each Sonos device in order to allow it to boot up fully.

I think this will resolve your issue, so you can continue to play your music from your lounge, and do all of the edits you so choose.
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I tried several levels of breaking my Internet connection tonight to see if I could keep Sonos from working but nothing I tried did. First I disconnected the subnet from the router with no Sonos problems and next I disabled the WAN router port and Sonos kept playing and allowing me to make changes from the Android controller.

That is aggravating because a couple days ago my Internet went out due to a backhoe and my incoming cable and then my Sonos wouldn't work. I had been playing Napster and thought I'd switch to my local library but it wouldn't play.

Only difference I see is that I was down for 10 minutes tonight and a bit over an hour from the backhoe.
Hi !!

I have this kind of questions too. What annoys me the most is throughout all these forums, you never find any sonos responses... it would be so easy to give good customer service throught these!!! Please improve !!!
I find a lot of Sonos responses throughout these forums. Particularly from RyanS, KeithN, and EdwardR, although there's lots of other Sonos folks who respond.

What I personally don't expect if for them to answer every single thread. The purpose of having a support community is to leverage people (like me) who have knowledge that they're willing to share. If you want a direct response from Sonos rep, I'd encourage you to call Sonos, where none of us outsiders can be involved in the discussion.
Ok thank you airgetlam :)

You must realy know your stuff to know all the personal nicknames that relate to sonos. Sorry that i am an average user that have no ideas. I guess i am not the only one here.

Please continue to level all up and i will keep trying to find answers through all of this.

My point was not Sonos to answer all the threads, but simply use the forum to answer questions that they "technically" know the solution. Maybe they would save a lot of phone call to their main line as you suggest.

Anyway Keep your good work sorting it all out, we need you guys !! 🙂
Laugh. Been around only a year or two on the boards. There's others here that have been here much longer. Some have high post counts, some don't, but they're all pretty darn knowledgeable. I've done my fair share of managing forums in my past, so it's one of the things I pick up on, who the board monitors are, and what tone they use. Have to admit, I'm pretty pleased with the folks here at Sonos. They do a good job of keeping things on a positive note, and are very helpful.

I'll bet that within a year, you'll have a pretty good thought process on how Sonos works (and doesn't work), and if you've a mind to, you'll be helping others out as well. Not a requirement, some people don't like to be social like that, and open themselves up to an occasional telling off by an unhappy customer, but some of us do get the occasional 'Hey, I helped that person get to a place where Sonos works for them as solidly as it does for me".

I would guess that Sonos folks sometimes say, in the myriad of threads, "yup, that question's been answered by someone else, no reason to post a reply just to validate it" and move on to the next thread that requires more involved responses. I know that's the way I'd be telling folks to deal with it. The number of posts are too many for them (IMHO) to be able to reply to every thread. And I've found that most of the folks that have been here helping have a pretty good understanding of how the system works, and can provide as much, if not more data than the Sonos folks can. In fact, there's probably stuff that some threads talk about that Sonos folks aren't allowed to, in terms of technical data. If you wend your way through the Advanced Issues threads, you'll see a lot of information that probably Sonos doesn't really want their reps to address, merely because in the untrained masses (like me), it could be dangerous to the Sonos system. I have a lot of respect for the knowledge discussed in that area, and frankly other areas of the board. too. I'm only semi-technical, but some of these folks are true engineers, rather than just every day joes like me.

But seriously, if you really feel like you need an answer from a true Sonos rep, the best thing in the world is to call them. A one on one conversation is infinitely better than any post in a public forum. Assuming that they're willing/able to give you the answer. :)

Enjoy your Sonos!
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Hi !!

I have this kind of questions too. What annoys me the most is throughout all these forums, you never find any sonos responses... it would be so easy to give good customer service throught these!!! Please improve !!!


Sonos Tech support is excellent, they will spend time on the phone to get your issues sorted.

While the trend is more and more subscription service for music, I am old school not quite vinyl, but I still buy actual CD's rip them to my computer and put them in the attic. Just doesn't feel right without something I can touch. from there i play them to my Sonos (almost!) t gets a little more complicated than that as I rip them to a windows server, upload that to OneDrive, which is then read by a Mac Mini which is my home music server...

OK so your question... yes you need Internet to stream music from outside your home network. You also need it for updates, connecting a new speaker and tech support.

However once your network is up and running it is far better to leave it on it's own Sonos Mesh Network, don't use your home WiFi, it probably isn't as good anyway. You will require at least 1 speaker to be connected preferably by cable or maybe via powerline or similar to your router.

Your Router in turn needs to connect to a music source or several music sources. This can be a mixture of owned music sources (NAS, Windows Server, or MAC) Linux or Windows need to be running SMB1 which is annoying and totally insecure. SMB 3 Sonos come on it's 12 years out of date now!!! or Online sources Amazon, Spotify etc.

Take the internet offline then as long as you are connected to an in house music source via your router, and the Sonos System has a connection from at least one speaker or bridge to that router then it will still work.

Some common mistakes:-

1 You should only have one device dishing out IP addresses on your home network, leave that as your primary router any other WiFi access points etc. need that turned off so that everything is allocated and controlled by one device only.

2 Your tablets phones etc. need WiFi on and need to be talking to your home WiFi not specifically to Sonos, the common router connection takes care of that.

3 ALL your Sonos kit needs to be turned on. it runs a Mesh WiFi network, so just because you are not listening to the speaker in the Pool room doesn't mean it isn't providing the WiFi to the lounge or the connection to your router.

Sonos is semi plug and play, it will give good service with little effort or tech knowledge, and once up and running it will be consistent and even my Wife can use it (she can't turn the TV on half the time!) but it may take a while and a bit of research effort and learning to get it set up initially.

If you are stuck paint a word picture of your setup, and what isn't working for you and someone on here will probably have done it before. Maybe better help than Sonos Tech's as we did it in our weird shaped homes with our weird collection of network and storage devices. not in a lab environment where everything is a roller chair scoot away.
Hi !!

I have this kind of questions too. What annoys me the most is throughout all these forums, you never find any sonos responses... it would be so easy to give good customer service throught these!!! Please improve !!!


Sonos Tech support is excellent, they will spend time on the phone to get your issues sorted.

While the trend is more and more subscription service for music, I am old school not quite vinyl, but I still buy actual CD's rip them to my computer and put them in the attic. Just doesn't feel right without something I can touch. from there i play them to my Sonos (almost!) t gets a little more complicated than that as I rip them to a windows server, upload that to OneDrive, which is then read by a Mac Mini which is my home music server...

OK so your question... yes you need Internet to stream music from outside your home network. You also need it for updates, connecting a new speaker and tech support.

However once your network is up and running it is far better to leave it on it's own Sonos Mesh Network, don't use your home WiFi, it probably isn't as good anyway. You will require at least 1 speaker to be connected preferably by cable or maybe via powerline or similar to your router.

Your Router in turn needs to connect to a music source or several music sources. This can be a mixture of owned music sources (NAS, Windows Server, or MAC) Linux or Windows need to be running SMB1 which is annoying and totally insecure. SMB 3 Sonos come on it's 12 years out of date now!!! or Online sources Amazon, Spotify etc.

Take the internet offline then as long as you are connected to an in house music source via your router, and the Sonos System has a connection from at least one speaker or bridge to that router then it will still work.

Some common mistakes:-

1 You should only have one device dishing out IP addresses on your home network, leave that as your primary router any other WiFi access points etc. need that turned off so that everything is allocated and controlled by one device only.

2 Your tablets phones etc. need WiFi on and need to be talking to your home WiFi not specifically to Sonos, the common router connection takes care of that.

3 ALL your Sonos kit needs to be turned on. it runs a Mesh WiFi network, so just because you are not listening to the speaker in the Pool room doesn't mean it isn't providing the WiFi to the lounge or the connection to your router.

Sonos is semi plug and play, it will give good service with little effort or tech knowledge, and once up and running it will be consistent and even my Wife can use it (she can't turn the TV on half the time!) but it may take a while and a bit of research effort and learning to get it set up initially.

If you are stuck paint a word picture of your setup, and what isn't working for you and someone on here will probably have done it before. Maybe better help than Sonos Tech's as we did it in our weird shaped homes with our weird collection of network and storage devices. not in a lab environment where everything is a roller chair scoot away.



Thank you for all your answer !!
Sorry for my post about the tech.. it wasn't to discredit anyone, just an improvement i wanted to suggest.

So if i understand, let's say i buy a SECOND modem... i hook it on the internet in my house and start a second wifi... buy a play 3 and a play 5 and log it to it.... then i go to my cottage bringing my second modem....where there is no internet. the 2 speakers will work without internet connection right ??
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I wonder if someone could give me the definitive answer for this? My internet connection went down but my wifi network appeared to still be strong and yet when I tried to start to Sono app for iOS it said could not find network. I would have thought it should still work? Is that not the case? Does the iOS app require internet connection?
If your local wifi is working, and your phone and speakers are both connected to it, then yes, it should work, for "music on this phone" or anything on your PC or NAS hard drive.

You won't be able to add a new speaker, though, that requires access to Sonos servers. Nor would you be able to stream music from Pandora, Amazon, Apple Music, etc, since all of that requires access to the outside world.

In your particular situation, I'd be willing to bet that your phone isn't connected to your local wifi network properly.
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Thanks for the reply Bruce. Might have been a general wifi issue then as the app wouldn't even connect so I'll do some testing later today by turning off the internet connection on purpose to see if it can still work with the wifi.
Internet is down, however WiFi works fine. Sonos App on Android won’t work and tells me I need a WiFi connection, which it has only without internet. On an iPad the Sonos App works, but it won’t play anything. As with the Android phone the iPad has cellular and both the phone and the iPad can connect with the internet and all the music services. They both are connected to my working WiFi. Sonos will not work. This is not a new setup. The only thing that has changed is that I lost internet for a time. Why will Sonos not work?