Is There Any Reason To...

  • 26 October 2018
  • 32 replies
  • 392 views

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...say wire a connect to a boost or a connect to a Play 3 via the ethernet ports? Does it make any difference in stability? I have the same connection and skipping issues everyone else has, I've tried all the troubleshooting and diagnostics, but i have 15 speakers and cement floors and crazy intermittent interference so I basically get what i get. I've found ways to make it work, it's not ideal but it's working more often than not at the moment. I do have a boost hooked up to a connect now, but I also have two play 3s I can hook up to two different connects....any harm in this? Can it actually help?

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32 replies

Userlevel 4
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I'm assuming you have one or more of your devices connected to the router? That certainly makes a difference. As to your actual question, one of the more technical guys will need to turn up for that!
I'd say that it helps reduce wifi interference, when you wire all your units. But it doesn't help change the potential for duplicate IP addresses.

In general, if you're going to use the SonosNet mesh network, any speaker or BOOST can be wired directly to the router. You just need to be aware that each device then becomes a "repeater" for the mesh, and place other devices (potentially your BOOST) in between areas that have coverage and those that don't, so that you're "extending" the range.

The BOOST connected to a CONNECT won't do much, unless that CONNECT is wired to your router. It will act as a mesh extender, but the CONNECT would already be doing that, so its duplication of effort. That's why you'll most often see the BOOST connected to the router with an ethernet cable, acting as a "hub" that all the rest of the SonosNet devices connect through.
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sorry, yes the boost is already connected to the router. One connect is connected to the Boost via ethernet as it's close by. I haven't connected the other Connects with the Play 3's, those are on another floor. But i think what you are saying is that it wouldn't help any issues to wire further, I have speakers everywhere on each floor so those are their own "bridges" so to speak for the next speaker in line. I have quite a few security cameras as well so that probably doesn't help.
There's not much need to attach the CONNECT with an ethernet cable to the BOOST, unless you're having a particular issue with it. But with the BOOST connected to the router, then you're definitely using SonosNet....which I tend to think is the best setup if you're not fully wired.

The thing to remember is that several years ago, each speaker became its own "bridge", and no longer requires an external device to serve that function.

And yes, the security cameras probably aren't helping 🙂 What I'd do in your case is see what channel my router is using. I'm assuming that the security cameras are connected to the wifi signal from your router. Then I'd go in to the Sonos Controller, and change the channel for SonosNet to be not the same as the wifi router. In fact, as far away as possible. Sonos limits you to 1, 6 and 11, mostly I think because those channels don't overlap each other.

That might help.

There's other long time posters/users here who do have "mixed mode" setups, where they have more than one device connected via wire, and also others using wifi. I'm not one of those, so I don't have a lot of advice in that area. Perhaps one will chip in here with their experience. I think it actually works OK, if you're semi-careful about it. I've not had to deal with it, I have my BOOST connected to my router, and about 3 to 4 feet away from it, and on a separate channel.

Good luck!
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Thanks for the response! I have been able to change my router channel and that helped a lot. Still not perfect but good enough for the time being. Cheers!
Userlevel 4
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Setting channels can make a good difference, so SonosNet and your WiFi are not competing. Get a scanner for your mobile too and you can see what channels everyone around you is using so you can choose the quieter. If I understand it correctly, 1, 6 and 11 are chosen as there is crosstalk over neighbouring channels, so selecting say channel 3 can cause interference on channel 1 and 6. Therefore keeping to 1, 6 and 11 is a neater format of reducing interference.
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I discovered a feature in Mac OS that i didn't know was there, the wifi diagnostics. Through that I was able to find out which channel had the least interference and switch my router to that channel. Made a lot of difference for sure.
Userlevel 7
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sorry, yes the boost is already connected to the router. One connect is connected to the Boost via ethernet as it's close by. I haven't connected the other Connects with the Play 3's, those are on another floor. But i think what you are saying is that it wouldn't help any issues to wire further, I have speakers everywhere on each floor so those are their own "bridges" so to speak for the next speaker in line. I have quite a few security cameras as well so that probably doesn't help.

Wiring any Sonos unit gives it a better connection to your router than SonosNet WiFi so any you wire will not be impacted by WiFi issues. Also the more Sonos devices you have wired the less traffic there is on the SonosNet WiFi when playing them. Something additional you see by wiring units is that they are more likely to be selected by nearby Sonos devices that are running SonosNet over WiFi as their link back to the router. Sonos devices try to pick the best path to the local LAN.

As an example I have a Play 1 out in my garage, a fair distance from my Boost, when it connects to the Boost the link status is not green in the NetworkMatrix but it still plays pretty reliably. If I hook Ethernet to one of my Play 3s that is about half the distance from the Play 1 that my Boost is, then the link to the Play 1 switches from the Boost to the Play 3 and is green in the NetworkMatrix.

So in your case I'd wire at least one Sonos device on each floor to get past the concrete WiFi blocking properties. Wiring more than one device on each floor wouldn't hurt anything. A direct to the router connection is great but you can also piggyback devices from any device that has dual Ethernet ports, how many I'm not sure.

Personally I don't piggyback as I have Ethernet switches near each Sonos device I want wired, that gives me a GB link back to the router from the switch and each Sonos device gets a full 100 link from the switch. Probably makes little difference as Sonos data use is far under the 110 link's abilities to move data.
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Interesting. Either way it's easy to try it and see if it makes any difference on the matrix. I will give it a shot. I also have an unused Airport Extreme sitting around, I wonder if i could make use of that somewhere in the mix? My boost is actually plugged straight into my cable modem.
The thing to remember is that several years ago, each speaker became its own "bridge", and no longer requires an external device to serve that function. Since the very first ZP100 back in 2005 in fact. All Sonos units with an Ethernet port have always bridged between wired and SonosNet segments.

And yes, the security cameras probably aren't helping 🙂
A longstanding issue, if an ill-behaved proprietary wireless stomps all over the 2.4GHz band. Baby monitors are a classic example.

There's other long time posters/users here who do have "mixed mode" setups, where they have more than one device connected via wire
That's not 'Mixed Mode', it's just SonosNet with more than one wired device (= good). 'Mixed Mode' is when some units are on SonosNet (or wired) and some are connecting via WiFi (= bad, usually, unless measures are taken to ensure stability).
I also have an unused Airport Extreme sitting around, I wonder if i could make use of that somewhere in the mix?It won't help to extend SonosNet, but you could use it as a WiFi access point or an Ethernet switch. In either case, set the Extreme into 'bridge mode' otherwise it could cause network mayhem.
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So just to report back, i tried this wiring play 3's to the connects, and at the end of the day it made no difference. Same random dropouts, speakers going in and out, etc. So i decided to buy a better router, and see if that made any difference. It had much more coverage for my house and I was able to get rid of my extenders. Via wifi to my phone I am getting consistent speeds between 40 and 200 mb/s...yet still getting the "insufficient network speed" error on Apple music. I don't really see how that's possible when i'm getting those speeds. Things generally work all right when i just have the speakers on in the room that i'm in, if i start adding more that's when things go nuts. The matrix sometimes shows interference, but sometimes not, and even when things are mostly green, i still have the same problem. I guess i'll just have to use these workarounds, pretty disappointing when everything was working great until I added the Play 3s. I think the learning here is if you have 15 speakers it's buyer beware, the system may just not work, or work properly. It all is very random.
I have 19 Sonos devices currently deployed. There's rarely a problem, and when there is it's blindingly obvious why. You have network issues which Sonos Support should be able to help with. Submit a system diagnostic and post the confirmation number.
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I've done that already. This was the response:

"Thanks for sending in the diagnostic report. It looks like your Boost is having a bit of a hard time keeping up with all the streaming data going to your Sonos speakers. The communication between the Boost and Kitchen is having the hardest time. Try changing the wireless channel your Sonos system is using. This can reduce wireless interference and may help.

It may also help to make sure your Boost is not too close to your router, or any other third party wireless electronics. You might look around your Sonos speakers for third party electronics as well. Common sources of interference include cordless phones, wireless cameras, wireless baby monitors, and wireless printers. Try moving away any such device you find and see if that helps."

I did all that and much more. I've turned off every wireless device in my house and its the same issue, it works for a while and then starts happening again. But in this day and age should we really have to get rid of anything wireless (i mostly have cameras) so our Sonos will work? You may have no issues, which is great, but I do and i don't think it's blindly obvious why, or at least this response didn't really point it out? As i pointed out the issue happens when the matrix is mostly green as well.

Hopefully you don't get me wrong, you have been a huge help, your responses on the forum have helped me try all sorts of things, but so far no luck in fixing it.
i mostly have cameras
Do they use WiFi? If not, which frequency do they occupy? Anything in the 2.4GHz band which is not WiFi will cause interference to a degree. Sonos kit can deal with a certain amount of RF noise, but eventually the laws of physics win out.
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They do use WiFi....some have their own router, some just connect onto the network directly, but it happens with or without the cameras on. I've tried turning literally everything wireless off. I was thinking it must be my cement floors, but i'm getting crazy network speeds with this new router, even in the basement (2 floors from the router)
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...in addition everything was working great until I replaced two analog speakers that were connected to a Connect amp with two Play 3s, and added an additional new version Play 1. After that , everything went sideways.
Sonos Support said "It looks like your Boost is having a bit of a hard time keeping up with all the streaming data going to your Sonos speakers. The communication between the Boost and Kitchen is having the hardest time." Perhaps this was when a lot of the players where grouped? I have occasionally seen a Boost struggling when under high demand.

Since you now have a powerful new router, and have dispensed with the extenders, have you tried running the system in WiFi/Standard mode? Conventionally one would recommend that a 15-player system should operate in SonosNet/Boost mode, but it would be worth trying WiFi as an experiment. The system will behave 'differently' that's for sure. All you need do is configure the WiFi details at Advanced Settings/Wireless Setup, power the Boost off and wait for, say, 10 mins for the system to switch over.

If the router has an Airtime Fairness setting, it may be necessary to disable it.
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I've definitely considered it...however it was issues when I first set up the system that caused me to get the Boost, which solved all problems until that new speaker setup. If i try this and it doesn't work is it just as easy to switch it back to the earlier Boost setup?
If i try this and it doesn't work is it just as easy to switch it back to the earlier Boost setup?
Yes. Plug the Boost in and the system should switch back again after a few minutes. https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3209
It's a good idea to then remove the WiFi details from the system if they'll not be used again.
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Cool i will try it out and report back. Thanks very much for all your help so far!!
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Sadly this did not work, as soon as I switched over the speakers were dropping out like crazy. I left it for a while and it didn't get any better, so i switched back to the boost. Still getting the usual skipping songs and dropouts fairly often at totally random times. Even happening when the matrix looks pretty calm, mostly green. Network speed is higher than its ever been. If anyone has any other ideas I would really appreciate it, as this is very frustrating!!
Userlevel 7
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I'd contact Sonos staff and shoot them a diagnostic. Connect with them on twitter or facebook that are open 24x7 or wait to phone in on Monday.
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Thanks for the reply...did that already. Check out the response above. Wasn’t overly specific about what to do, beyond stuff I’d already done.
Userlevel 7
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If the twitter or facebook support wasn't helpful (can't tell which you contacted) then the phones are going to be your best bet, they have the best tech and the most access to Sonos internal resources.