Sonos One, Connect Amp, Orbi network, Airport Express. Complicated? I can't get it to work properly!

  • 8 January 2019
  • 12 replies
  • 223 views

Hi Folks.

I bought my first Sonos product a year ago, the Connect Amp, mainly to play BBC 6Music through my hifi setup. That worked well enough, but I rarely even tried to use a controller, I just pressed the play button on the Connect as and when I wanted it on and it was fine.

I then decided I wanted to be able to play music or podcasts via my phone or computers (all Apple devices) and as I understand it I can't do that direct using AirPlay, so I bought a 2nd hand airport express and plugged that in - the airport is wired into the network via an ethernet cable, then another ethernet cable links the connect amp, along with a lineout cable for the sound. I've never bothered to setup the airport express as a wifi hotspot or whatever as I wouldn't use it (not sure if that's relevant).

Anyway, the network in the house is provided using an Orbi Router (RBR50) and 2 Satellites (RBS50). It's a big old house with very thick walls but on the whole I have wifi coverage everywhere I need it.

If I sit in the room with the connect amp and open the Sonos controller on my phone, it usually finds the sonos on the wifi okay and I can play music through that device.

If I sit upstairs, in my office, where I have placed the Sonos One. I get the "You're on the xxx wireless network but Sonos isn't" message.

I setup the Sonos One in the room where the Connect Amp is, then brought it back up to the office. It works fine as a speaker, but I can't use the controller to select what I'm playing (so I have to go back downstairs, select what i want to play, then come back up again, at which point the controller gives the error message above).

Can anyone point me in the direction of where this is going wrong? It's driving me insane! I'm no expert when it comes to networking but I'm happy enough to configure settings and so on if needed on the router.

Cheers in advance!

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12 replies

Userlevel 4
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My guess would be that the satellites are acting as separate networks, so the controller can't see the speakers. I am assuming the Connect is wired to the Router. Your Sonos will be running in SonosNet mode, so the Sonos One will be also be linked to the router via the Connect. So you could be sat next to the One, but your controller is connected to a satellite and not the Router.

I would love to help more, but I cannot. Hopefully someone will be along who can explain better what settings need checking.
My guess is there's an undeclared primary broadband router, in addition to the Orbi, and that the Orbi hasn't been put into bridge/AP mode. There'd therefore be two subnets. If the Sonos players are on one subnet and the controller on the other they won't discover one another.
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
I'd always listen to ratty - he speaks knowledgeable sense on a regular basis.
My guess is there's an undeclared primary broadband router, in addition to the Orbi, and that the Orbi hasn't been put into bridge/AP mode. There'd therefore be two subnets. If the Sonos players are on one subnet and the controller on the other they won't discover one another.

Yes there is another router, sorry I should've detailed everything (it's amazing what you forget you have plugged in!) - I have a Virgin Media router which is in Modem Mode, it has a specific ethernet port for this mode and I use that to link up the Orbi. The airport express/ connect amp are wired directly to the Orbi router.

With that in mind would your theory still be plausible? I'm afraid I'm a tad out of my depth already!

Thanks for the prompt responses, very much appreciated.
I have a Virgin Media router which is in Modem Mode, it has a specific ethernet port for this mode and I use that to link up the Orbi. The airport express/ connect amp are wired directly to the Orbi router.

With that in mind would your theory still be plausible?

My theory was based on the primary router being in router mode (as is common), and since you have the VM box in modem mode you can discount it. The Orbi must remain in router mode.

On a different tack, go to Settings/About My Sonos System. Do the devices all show 'WM:0'?
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
If your Virgin Media router is in modem mode (i.e., not sending out a wifi signal), then that part of the setup is correct. Is it possible that the airport express is creating a wifi signal? I'm not familiar so couldn't say. It does seem like the problem was introduced when you introduced it.

I would see what wifi your phone connects to by default when both upstairs and downstairs. I would bet that it's different. And honestly, I think you can just unplug the airport express. You can should be able to use airplay 2 with the Sonos One as the speaker, and then group your Sonos One with your Connect in the office.

On a different tack, go to Settings/About My Sonos System. Do the devices all show 'WM:0'?


Yep both devices show WM:0
If your Virgin Media router is in modem mode (i.e., not sending out a wifi signal), then that part of the setup is correct. Is it possible that the airport express is creating a wifi signal? I'm not familiar so couldn't say. It does seem like the problem was introduced when you introduced it.

I would see what wifi your phone connects to by default when both upstairs and downstairs. I would bet that it's different. And honestly, I think you can just unplug the airport express. You can should be able to use airplay 2 with the Sonos One as the speaker, and then group your Sonos One with your Connect in the office.


Every device in the house shows the same wifi connection, that is I suppose the point of a mesh network like that provided by the Orbi setup, or at least that's my understanding!

That said, if I look at the device list, there are 25 different things connected (or thereabouts) and some are connected to one or other of the satellites, some directly to the router, so despite the appearance of a single entity, in reality they are connected to different points on the network. I'll do a little research into the mac addresses and see if I can identify what is connected to what if it will help?
Okay I've taken the airport out, looks like that has solved this issue for now at least. Dashing out now but thought I'd quickly post this update since you've been so kind with your time!

I'll test further tomorrow 🙂
Unless configured otherwise, Airport Express is a router.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Every device in the house shows the same wifi connection, that is I suppose the point of a mesh network like that provided by the Orbi setup, or at least that's my understanding!


Yes, I have orbi myself. I wasn't thinking your connecting to different wifi through the different orbi satellites, but connecting to a different wifi altogether. And not really every device, but your specific phone you were using to control Sonos. Was it switching wifi networks between upstair and downstairs.


Okay I've taken the airport out, looks like that has solved this issue for now at least. Dashing out now but thought I'd quickly post this update since you've been so kind with your time!


I honestly don't think you need the airport. You should be able to use airplay 2 directly to the Sonos One as I mentioned earlier.

Every device in the house shows the same wifi connection, that is I suppose the point of a mesh network like that provided by the Orbi setup, or at least that's my understanding!


Yes, I have orbi myself. I wasn't thinking your connecting to different wifi through the different orbi satellites, but connecting to a different wifi altogether. And not really every device, but your specific phone you were using to control Sonos. Was it switching wifi networks between upstair and downstairs.


Ah okay, I understand - no I did check and the only network anything was connected to was the Orbi mesh.



Okay I've taken the airport out, looks like that has solved this issue for now at least. Dashing out now but thought I'd quickly post this update since you've been so kind with your time!


I honestly don't think you need the airport. You should be able to use airplay 2 directly to the Sonos One as I mentioned earlier.


Yes I think you're right, to be honest now I have subscribed to Apple Music, and that is available on Sonos anyway, I'm not likely to need to play much through AirPlay anymore so it's no hardship either way.

Everything seems to be working great now though, so thanks one and all for the help.