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How WiFi 5GHz work on Sonos

  • 21 November 2017
  • 17 replies
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Hi.

I understand there are a lot of question about 5GHz, but I am still a little bit confused.
My configuration is simple: Playbar, Sub, 2 x Play:1. They all are in one room. Everything work fine, just interested.

1. Non of the Sonos speaker can connect to 5GHz wifi? Correct?
2. Sonosnet is created automatically when some of them is connected through Ethernet? And the rest of the speakers connect to this devices automatically through a dedicated wifi?
3. Does this Sonosnet work on 2.4 or 5Ghz? My Sonos configuration is 5.1. If 5Ghz, why there is "Chanel" setting in iOS app?
4. I noticed their is "Wireless Setup" in iOS app what allows to connect Sonos devices (Sonosnet?) directly to my WiFi. That is why I am confused now. How does it work now? They all are connected to my WiFi now or some speaker works as a WiFi bridge now?

Thank you.
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Best answer by Airgetlam 21 November 2017, 05:36

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17 replies

1) Correct. The 5GHz band is used by the PLAYBAR to connect to the Surround speakers for when they're bonded.

2) Correct, mostly. The SonosNet is a parallel wifi signal that removes the data from your own network and puts it on it's own. You can control the channel of that network in the controller app, I'd recommend if you choose this option (and I recommend it) that you make sure that your SonosNet channel is as far away from your local wifi channel as possible.

3) 2.4 Ghz only. See the channel information in answer 2)

4) If one of your Sonos devices is not connected to the router with an ethernet cable, then you're in "STANDARD" mode, which means that the Sonos system is sharing the same bandwidth as your wifi. If you connect an ethernet cable, it switches over to SonosNet, so that your local wifi isn't carrying the music as well. See answer 2) again. Note that the switch over from wifi to Sonosnet isn't instantaneous, it does require a few seconds to actually recognize the difference, and switch everything over. Important note, if you are running SonosNet, you should remove your wifi credentials from the Sonos App, so that the speakers don't have extra options on how to connect, and are "forced" to stay with SonosNet. It would be rare that it would be an issue, but it can happen.
1) Correct. The 5GHz band is used by the PLAYBAR to connect to the Surround speakers for when they're bonded.

2) Correct, mostly. The SonosNet is a parallel wifi signal that removes the data from your own network and puts it on it's own. You can control the channel of that network in the controller app, I'd recommend if you choose this option (and I recommend it) that you make sure that your SonosNet channel is as far away from your local wifi channel as possible.

3) 2.4 Ghz only. See the channel information in answer 2)


Thank you very much for the explanation.

Just to clarify: You said "The 5GHz band is used by the PLAYBAR to connect to the Surround speakers for when they're bonded.", so it is when they work though Sonosnet, correct?
At the same time you are saying Sonosnet is "2.4 Ghz only".
Yes, and no. The way I understand it (and I could be wrong), when playing music, the music goes to the PLAYBAR using 2.4Ghz. This can be either on your local wifi, or on SonosNet. Then if there are any bonded surround speakers, it switches the data to the 5Ghz band to communicate with the surrounds. Since your connection to the PLAYBAR is only on the 2.4Ghz band for music, then by necessity, the 5Ghz communication is on it's own channel, like SonosNet. It's not really a signal you can tap in to, that I'm aware of, but as long as it's on the 5Ghz connection, it's not using your wifi.

Now, that being said, if the speakers are not "bonded" as surrounds, then everything will be on the 2.4Ghz band, no matter what.

The only time that the 5Ghz band is used is when the PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE is connected to the surrounds, and SUB.

It's a little complex, as I look back on what I've written. What works for me is if I think of the PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE and any bonded surrounds and SUB as a single unit, rather than 4 different speakers. All of those together talk together at 5Ghz. But when you're streaming music, it's going to the PLAYBAR at 2.4Ghz, either on your own wifi bandwidth, or on the parallel SonosNet.

By the way, I happen to be a fan of SonosNet. I have a BOOST connected to my router, so that all the music data isn't on my wifi, leaving that for other various purposes I use, like streaming movies, etc. And the reason I like the BOOST, rather than the BRIDGE is that it's a slightly later design, and includes a stronger wifi antenna. It also has, according to what I've read, SonosNet 2.0 rather than the BRIDGE's SonosNet 1.0. I'm not an expert on the differences, but I've previously read that SonosNet 1.0 is like 802.11b, and SonosNet 2.0 is like 802.11g. Slightly faster, slightly more range. I was having issues with the signal reaching my bathroom at the furthest point in the house, but when I put in the BOOST rather than the BRIDGE, it cleared up my issue. Purely anecdotal, though, I've not done extensive measurements.
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Really great answers, Airgetlam! You're understanding it correctly.

The PLAYBAR and PLAYBASE have dual functioning antennas operating the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz at the same time.

5GHz has faster transmission rates than 2.4GHz, but it isn't as good at long distances. This makes it great for home theater, but not so good for syncing multiroom playback.
Thanks for the confirmation, Ryan S 🙂 Always good to know that your theory translates properly to the actual system.
Really great answers, Airgetlam! You're understanding it correctly.

The PLAYBAR and PLAYBASE have dual functioning antennas operating the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz at the same time.

5GHz has faster transmission rates than 2.4GHz, but it isn't as good at long distances. This makes it great for home theater, but not so good for syncing multiroom playback.


Thank you, Ryan.

Last question :)
If my Sonos configured as 5.1 and Playbar connected through Ethernet port, does SonosNet work through 5GHz? Do optical input stream and musical services work through 5GHz?

Or it is always work on 2.4 and 5 at the same time?

Thank you.
Hi. Neither. Those are wireless frequencies and have no meaning for a wired Ethernet connection.

The optical cable is nothing to do with the networking, it is an audio cable.
Hi. Neither. Those are wireless frequencies and have no meaning for a wired connection.

The optical cable is nothing to do with the networking, it is an audio cable.


Hi.

I mean SonosNet between the speakers. Only Playbar is connected through Ethernet. The other speakers and Sub are connected to Playbar (as I understand)
The 5GHz communications within the 5.1 bonded components are not strictly speaking SonosNet. But it doesn't matter what label you use, the communications are wireless at a frequency of 5GHz
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If the PLAYBAR is wired into the network, it uses that connection to communicate with the network and to get music from anything not coming through the optical connection.

The PLAYBAR will always send audio to its bonded surrounds and SUB over the 5GHz SonosNet. If the PLAYBAR and your surrounds and SUB are all wired into the network, they should use that connection.

The PLAYBAR will always send audio to its bonded surrounds and SUB over the 5GHz SonosNet.


Perfect. Thank you! 🙂
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I realise this is a relatively old thread but one question I have.
What channel and bandwidth is the 5GHz Sonosnet operating in?
I have a ticket in regarding interference between Sonos 5GHz and Sky Q 5GHz.
Sky Q recommend that their’s is set to channel 36 at 80GHz, therefore this can potentially interfere with the 5GHz channel 48
I may of course be talking complete rubbish, but I am fed up with my surrounds and sub dropping out.
Anyone with any experience of solving this, I would be eternally grateful if you could chip in.
What channel and bandwidth is the 5GHz Sonosnet operating in?
PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE dynamically scans for the best channel when idle. In the UK it should land on channels 36-48. It's 20MHz wide.

Sky Q recommend that their’s is set to channel 36 at 80GHz, therefore this can potentially interfere with the 5GHz channel 48

Not so. 5GHz AC employs per-frame bandwidth control. If it senses another signal -- say on 48 when its primary is on 36 -- then it should 'throttle back' to 40MHz.

I am fed up with my surrounds and sub dropping out

Submit a diagnostic and post the number so Sonos can take a look.
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Thanks for your reply.
So now I am confused. Sonos have told me that they can see interference from the Sky Mesh.
The ticket is open but I am not getting a reply.
I suppose we will just have to suffer the dropouts and see if Sonos have a solution, whenever they get round to it.
There have many reports of Sonos and Sky Q not getting along, so maybe Support know different. In principle though the Sonos 5GHz should coexist with AC/80MHz. It could however get into a tussle with N.
‪Have @googlefiber 5ghz but ur @Sonos not working? Get #sonosconnect and switch ur WI-FI to the 2.4ghz setting... works perfectly for me now! ‬
Really, one or the other will work.