Answered

Wifi Enable vs Disable?


Userlevel 4
Badge +11

I currently have a fairly significant Sonos ecosystem (over 15 various). My set up is such that I have a modem connected to an eero mesh router with my Sonos Boost hooked directly to that router. I currently have everything set up to enable Wifi. It seems to be working well with just a couple drop offs here and there. My question is that it appears that I could disable the wifi based on my setup. Is there a benefit for that or is it a situation where I should leave well enough alone.

icon

Best answer by Corry P 21 July 2021, 10:34

Hi @Jeffrey_35 

You should find that you are unable to do so - only ethernet-wired devices can disable their radios.

This function is only intended to be used when, for example, an installer has wired 6 Amps to speakers and has put the Amps in one location. All but one should have their radios disabled (with one left on for the later addition of stand-alone speakers via Sonosnet) and all the Amps should be wired to ethernet. If Sonosnet isn’t to be used, all 6 could have their radios turned off (especially if the Amps have been located near a WiFi access point).

As you are utilising a Boost, and didn’t mention ethernet-wiring any other devices, you shouldn’t - and shouldn’t be able to - disable WiFi on any devices.

@Airgetlam - as SonosNet is WiFi, the option is not incorrectly named (though I do see your point and agree it should be labelled “Disable Radio” instead, though no doubt some would think this means no TuneIn or Sonos Radio - sometimes, you just can’t win).

View original

16 replies

Don’t ever disable WiFi (imho). It’s a professional setting that escaped to the public.

And its poorly named. You’re not turning off WiFi, you’re turning off the ‘radio’ in the device, so unless the device is hard wired, it won’t communicate via either WiFi or SonosNet at all. 

Turning WiFi off has a utility if one knows what one is doing. I have it turned off on one of my many wired Sonos units, a Connect that groups only with other wired units, that is also not allowed to communicate with wireless Sonos units because I rather it did not. Another advantage of this seems to be that it runs a lot less hot - the radio not being on all the time is probably a factor.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Hi @Jeffrey_35 

You should find that you are unable to do so - only ethernet-wired devices can disable their radios.

This function is only intended to be used when, for example, an installer has wired 6 Amps to speakers and has put the Amps in one location. All but one should have their radios disabled (with one left on for the later addition of stand-alone speakers via Sonosnet) and all the Amps should be wired to ethernet. If Sonosnet isn’t to be used, all 6 could have their radios turned off (especially if the Amps have been located near a WiFi access point).

As you are utilising a Boost, and didn’t mention ethernet-wiring any other devices, you shouldn’t - and shouldn’t be able to - disable WiFi on any devices.

@Airgetlam - as SonosNet is WiFi, the option is not incorrectly named (though I do see your point and agree it should be labelled “Disable Radio” instead, though no doubt some would think this means no TuneIn or Sonos Radio - sometimes, you just can’t win).

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

 

@Airgetlam - as SonosNet is WiFi, the option is not incorrectly named (though I do see your point and agree it should be labelled “Disable Radio” instead, though no doubt some would think this means no TuneIn or Sonos Radio - sometimes, you just can’t win).

 

Not really important but interesting (to me) questions.

 

Isn’t SonosNet actually more a proprietary AES-encrypted peer-to-peer mesh network?

While I do see Sonos listed as certified here but the details are minimal.

https://www.wi-fi.org/product-finder-results?keywords=sonos&op=Search&form_build_id=form-NOTgUTdm7PggjujhiyfeaohRxrmO_Jw2Lrpe50H5iB8&form_id=wifi_cert_api_simple_search_form

 

I realize Sonos uses the same channels as WiFi and is using COTS 802.11 WiFi radios but most other WiFi devices can’t even tell SonosNet is present.

Thinking way back several years, didn’t there used to be an option to make SonosNet visible to your WiFi controller? Maybe: “Enable SonosNet connection in Advanced Settings.”

So is SonosNet a true WiFi signal but with a suppressed SSID and a secret (not available to the user) key or are there deeper differences?

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Hi @Stanley_4 

WiFi doesn’t really even stand for anything (it’s derived from Hi-Fi, for no apparent reason other than it’s “catchy”), so I’m not sure exactly what constitutes WiFi is strictly upheld (look at CEC and Bluetooth for standards that aren’t as standard as they could be) but WiFi is essentially a human-friendly name for IEEE 802.11, as you mentioned.

According to Wikipedia, “WiFi is a family of wireless network protocols, based on the IEEE 802.11 family of standards, which are commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access, allowing nearby digital devices to exchange data by radio waves.”

Indeed, you used to be able to join an android device to SonosNet via the Sonos app, as it is indeed just a hidden WiFi broadcast with an SSID derived from your Sonos Household ID and a password presumably generated from the same ID. I am not sure why iOS devices couldn’t join it, but the fact that they couldn’t probably highlights some difference between SonosNet and normal WiFi that iOS doesn’t like (or it could be because the OS prevented Apps from connecting a device to a new WiFi instead of the user doing it).

As far as I am aware, SonosNet is simply a 2.4GHz WiFi broadcast with a hidden (not broadcasted) SSID.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

@Airgetlam - as SonosNet is WiFi, the option is not incorrectly named (though I do see your point and agree it should be labelled “Disable Radio” instead, though no doubt some would think this means no TuneIn or Sonos Radio - sometimes, you just can’t win).

Ha, I can remember questions on another forum (in Dutch) about a car radio saying it “storing” in its display, while working perfectly. The radio was indeed “storing” radio stations and saying so in English. But “storing” in Dutch means “malfunction”……………

I’m stil in favor of changing this in Sonos though.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Thanks Corry, that makes a lot of sense.

The term WiFi is rather loosely used but the WiFi Alliance has a certification process and gets a bit unhappy if folks slap their logos (going beyond the simple WiFi usage) on devices that haven’t been through the process.

https://www.wi-fi.org/certification

A company must be a member of Wi-Fi Alliance® and achieve certification to use the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED certification marks.

Sonos is a member and meets their requirements to use the logos.

Sub Gen 3: https://api.cert.wi-fi.org/api/certificate/download/public?variantId=78933

 

Looking at the certification paths Sonos could use any of them but the Quick Track seems most likely.

 

 

As far as I am aware, SonosNet is simply a 2.4GHz WiFi broadcast with a hidden (not broadcasted) SSID.

@Corry P : Perhaps you could complete the narrative by telling what is advantage of using this broadcast for Sonos audio play over the local WiFi network. 

And why it still not some magic bullet in comparison to the home wireless network put out by the WiFi router in the house, such that what afflicts that network will also affect SonosNet.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Hi @Kumar

Some good points. Thanks.

@Corry P : Perhaps you could complete the narrative by telling what is advantage of using this broadcast for Sonos audio play over the local WiFi network.

SonosNet was typically preferred as the configuration is known to be correct for Sonos, and the aim is to use a broadcast that isn’t already (or occasionally) saturated with high bandwidth usage from other devices. Due to the simplicity of most home networks, SonosNet operating as a mesh system can also mean that some speakers will get a better connection via SonosNet than via WiFi.

 

And why it still not some magic bullet in comparison to the home wireless network put out by the WiFi router in the house, such that what afflicts that network will also affect SonosNet.

SonosNet is affected by the same physical laws as any other electromagnetic transmission, like standard WiFi. In fact, if you do not make sure that your WiFi and SonosNet are not on overlapping channels, you can introduce more problems (1, 6 and 11 are the only WiFi channels that do not overlap) by using SonosNet and having a Boost/Bridge or wired unit close to your router (less than 1m) can degrade both signals, regardless of the channels used.

With HD content starting to come from streaming services 5GHz connections will be preferable to 2.4GHz ones (like SonosNet) due to the higher bandwidth available, hence the recent shift in what some of our players will connect to (when they’re not reserving their 5GHz radios for other use, like bonding to Home Theatre satellites or stereo pairs).

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

An additional benefit of running SonosNet instead of your home WiFi is that you can set your home WiFi up for optimal operation with your WiFi hardware, non-Sonos clients and RF environment. No Sonos imposed restrictions needed for proper operation.

Too lazy to dig out the list of newer technologies and other settings that don’t seem to work well when using your home WiFi for Sonos but there were enough of them I had no problem deciding to go with SonosNet on one clear channel and my home WiFi on the other two.

 

That isn’t to say everyone should go wired / SonosNet, there are situations where a home WiFi connection might serve you better and the restrictions imposed are worth the benefits.

When using SonosNet, Sonos units will obtain signal/music from a nearby Sonos unit as opposed to getting it from the router in one, possibly distant, location in the home, allowing for better addressing of music in distant spaces in most domestic conditions - but when Sonos uses the home WiFi, I suppose all Sonos units only talk to each other via the base router? 

But I suppose this drawback to WiFi use for Sonos should be overcome by the modern mesh type home WiFi equipment, where the WiFi itself has extended reach to start with?

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

When using SonosNet, Sonos units will obtain signal/music from a nearby Sonos unit as opposed to getting it from the router in one, possibly distant, location in the home, allowing for better addressing of music in distant spaces in most domestic conditions - but when Sonos uses the home WiFi, I suppose all Sonos units only talk to each other via the base router? 

No, the speakers will still communicate directly with each other, bypassing the router, when using your router’s WiFi - when within range of each other, at least. This is why it’s important to have all wireless access points using the same WiFi channel, so the speakers know which channel to use for speaker-to-speaker communications.

But I suppose this drawback to WiFi use for Sonos should be overcome by the modern mesh type home WiFi equipment, where the WiFi itself has extended reach to start with?

Absolutely, as long as the mesh nodes are well placed (they shouldn’t be placed where you don’t receive a good signal, but where they can connect to the rest of the mesh and cover the blank spot - typically half-way).

Isn’t it time for Sonos to maybe add a second 5Ghz WiFi adapter to all next generation HT products so that everything can one day run entirely on a 5Ghz wireless ‘mesh’ setup?

If a Sonos HT product had two 5Ghz adapters it could use one to connect to the LAN …and one to bond directly to its surrounds. That has to be better for Hi-Res audio and to maybe sort lip-sync issues too across HT ‘grouped’ rooms (perhaps🤔?).

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Hi @Ken_Griffiths 

Isn’t it time for Sonos to maybe add a second 5Ghz WiFi adapter to all next generation HT products so that everything can one day run entirely on a 5Ghz wireless ‘mesh’ setup?

Perhaps we will. I really don’t know. 5GHz has a lower range than 2.4GHz and is less capable of penetrating solid matter, so there will always be a solid case for using 2.4GHz.

What’s needed really depends on usage - some people only listen to music in one room at a time, whereas others apparently hate their neighbours and play music to all rooms all the time. They will put very different demands on their networks.

If a Sonos HT product had two 5Ghz adapters it could use one to connect to the LAN …and one to bond directly to its surrounds. That has to be better for Hi-Res audio and to maybe sort lip-sync issues too across HT ‘grouped’ rooms (perhaps🤔?).

I doubt it would fix lip-sync as the reason for this issue is that while the TV audio is played immediately in a single room, it is always buffered in preparation for transmission to other rooms. It’s the buffering that induces most of the ~75ms delay, with actual transmission time being comparatively minimal (assuming a healthy connection and a bored router*). It may mean that the buffer size can be reduced, however, which would result in a smaller delay - though I have my doubts that it would be significant enough.

*“Bored router” is not a technical term :grin:

My own thoughts were for Sonos to still use their own ‘proprietary’ 5Ghz mesh infrastructure and call it ‘SonosNet-5G’ (imaginative title, eh?) and have all Sonos products running on a single auto-selected channel 36 (or higher) with the HT bonded surrounds/Sub set to run well out the way on one of the DFS/TPC channels (if that’s allowed?)… have the user set the main 5Ghz channel, but have the App also recommend the best channel to use, if possible, based on some kind of diagnostic scan.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

That would be the way to do it, I guess.

If it does happen, however, it won’t be for a long time simply due to the number of new devices out there that won’t be able to connect to it, such as the Arc. I think the range and penetration issues, as well as the alternate option of using WiFi being available will prevent it from ever happening, frankly. SonosNet started at a time when WiFi just wasn’t up to the task, and things have changed.

Reply