Switch off WiFi and Bluetooth PERMANENTLY from Sonos One

  • 27 January 2020
  • 92 replies
  • 4765 views

Hi All

 

I have a very quick and simple question:

  • Can I SWITCH OFF the Wifi and Bluetooth PERMANENTLY from my Sonos One?

I am keen on using Sonos One connected to my Router via a Ethernet cable and also because I want to reduce the EMF Radiation in my Flat.

 

Thanks in advance

N


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92 replies

Look at the list of products @rexabush has; it’s a heck of an investment for products where the “sound is meh”. 

 

Yeah, $3,000+ listing, both S1 and S2, first ever post.  It's much easier to spot when they try too hard. 

Userlevel 7
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Anybody who is so obviously unaffected that they can carelessly throw $200+ of electronics in the trash, and yet are angry enough to bother to register here and post such, should be ignored.  

Look at the list of products @rexabush has; it’s a heck of an investment for products where the “sound is meh”. 

Anybody who is so obviously unaffected that they can carelessly throw $200+ of electronics in the trash, and yet are angry enough to bother to register here and say so in their very first post, should be ignored.  

I too would also love to turn the BT and WiFi off. No, I am not some bozo that’s scared of 5G. If that was a problem I am sure growing up below a radio tower would have killed me by now. I do however have an inordinate number of electronics at my home and the wifi spectrum is at a premium. I just realized what Sonos was doing and it SUCKS for wifi. If I can’t figure out how to disable it, I will try to physically remove it, and if that doesn’t work its going into the trash. (Sound is meh anyway.) For the price, I am rather disappointed… especially that the programmers are really that lazy. Multicast? seriously? 

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I have Bluetooth LE hearing aids, stuck behind each ear for about 18 hours per day. Looking at RF total exposure levels they are still likely lower than the 2.4 & 5 GHz access point I’m five feet from, my tablet that is in my hands several hours a day or the cell phone I’m usually three feet from unless it is in a pocket.

If you are serious you need to prioritize the RF issues and solve the worst ones first.

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Thank you vey much for your clever advice! 

Greetings! 

 

I'm serious.  Being worried about BLE and not those far more powerful sources of the same type of EMF radiation is like being worried about red dye in one M&M while smoking 2 packs a day, drinking irradiated barium shakes for every meal, getting chest X-Rays for fun, and taking your biannual month long trips to sunny Chernobyl.


That’s a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more like 1 pack a day, and the barium shakes every evening meal. 😜

Thank you vey much for your clever advice! 

Greetings! 

 

I'm serious.  Being worried about BLE and not those far more powerful sources of the same type of EMF radiation is like being worried about red dye in one M&M while smoking 2 packs a day, drinking irradiated barium shakes for every meal, getting chest X-Rays for fun, and taking your biannual month long trips to sunny Chernobyl.

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Thank you vey much for your clever advice! 

Greetings! 

If you are concerned about “emission for hours every day, close to your head”, I strongly suggest you refrain from buying any WiFi speakers; regardless if they allow you to turn Bluetooth off or not.  Also stay away from cell phones, microwaves, plane rides, sunshine, walks outdoors, and other activities which expose you to EMF levels which exceed that of BLE by tens of thousands to millions of times. 

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If I am to disable the buttons etc, I would switch to the cheaper version. I have a return window and being conned by the company and then proving them wrong, and then finding this thread, is reason good enough to return it. Or an older speaker where bluetooth is not a possibility, if I decide to trust Sonos partially again.

Which one “cheaper/older” you mean? Are you sure they do not use BLE? Please notice, that you can never be sure - a word “bluetooth” is nowhere in manual, nowhere in specifications of One SL. And? And suddenly you find out that there is BLE. Not fair on Sonos. More of it - I also had a chat with their support (see my post above) and they said that “One SL, (...) utilize Bluetooth low energy (BLE) during setup. After the speaker are set up, the BLE is stopped” and? And as you can read here several people measured that it is not stopped. Not fair again. 

When you use the speaker on your desk, working remotely, emission for hours every day, close to your head - is not without significance.

When you plan to install an multiroom audio system in a little medical clinic where there are medical equipment with prohibition of using BT nearby - is not without significance.

So Sonos, please make your manuals more transparent, please let people switch on only that audio transmission, they really need.

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Let me share the knowledge I collected after some research:

- as Sonos support answered to me, One SL, One (Gen 2), Five, Sub (Gen 3) products utilize Bluetooth low energy (BLE) during setup. After the speaker are set up, the BLE is stopped, you can connect the Sonos devices via Ethernet cables and then disable the WIFI from the Sonos app for the Sonos products and they will work only on the Ethernet connection. I was looking at One SL - it really has a special button to press only during the initial setup
- new Sonos models (as production of One SL has just stopped) for example Era 100/Era 300 have no BLE, we can use an external USB C Ethernet adapter (additional cost) to work wired. After the setup, we can disable the WIFI from the devices and they will only work on the Ethernet connection. The Bluetooth is disabled by default, to start the Bluetooth setup on the Era 100/300 we will need to press and hold the Bluetooth button on the back of your Era until we hear a chime. The front status LED will start flashing blue, and then the speaker will start to search for nearby Bluetooth speakers.
- there is another company - Bluesound, for example, their speakers (Pulse Flex 2i), are nice, with the possibility to add a battery “back bag” - making it movable. We can switch Bluetooth/WiFi off in options.
- Denon speakers - no way to get human support, they send me links to FAQ or AI-prepared answers. No Bluetooth off option in the app, they use a “sleeping” system, but how it works is described very lapidary (probably we always have to wait 20 min for “sleep” Bluetooth/WiFi)
So, the Bluesound options seem to be ideal, but the speakers are expensive. Sonos Era 100 plus Ethernet dongle - also expensive. Sonos One SL - model, from 2018, not produced starting this year and how to check if BLE is off indeed? (any way - very attractive economically) 

I have also found a Erickhill ER02 electro-emission meter - I would like to make sure, that all the above is true in real life, but I do not know if this meter will be suitable to measure that. Maybe someone knows?

 

 And not knowing for sure makes it more like comparing apples with chalk. 

 

I don’t know.  I’ve taken a bite out of some pretty bad apples before.


There are probably some meters to measure whether the device is transmitting something and I would gladly buy it, but they are probably expensive toys.

 

I did find this tool. I cannot vouch for its accuracy or effectiveness.

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Did that device use Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy?

I have several Bluetooth LE devices that do not have that warning.

Who knows :-) 

I've noticed that manufacturers don't like to brag about the transmitters they put in their devices. Here is the source of the instructions for the equipment I wrote about (not cheap one):
https://assets.denon.com/documentmaster/master/ceol_n12_owners-manual-eu-en.pdf
Interestingly, the fine print in this manual states that you must turn on Bluetooth on your phone if you use the phone app to control the device (HEOS app). It's unclear whether it's only during installation or all the time, but from the description it looks like it's all the time...
 


That doesn’t sound like they’re using Bluetooth Low Energy: “you must turn on Bluetooth”. If so, comparing energy emissions like this and Sonos BLE is rather like comparing apples and oranges. And not knowing for sure makes it more like comparing apples with chalk. 

Badge +1

Did that device use Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy?

I have several Bluetooth LE devices that do not have that warning.

Who knows :-) 

I've noticed that manufacturers don't like to brag about the transmitters they put in their devices. Here is the source of the instructions for the equipment I wrote about (not cheap one):
https://assets.denon.com/documentmaster/master/ceol_n12_owners-manual-eu-en.pdf
Interestingly, the fine print in this manual states that you must turn on Bluetooth on your phone if you use the phone app to control the device (HEOS app). It's unclear whether it's only during installation or all the time, but from the description it looks like it's all the time...
There are probably some meters to measure whether the device is transmitting something and I would gladly buy it, but they are probably expensive toys.

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Did that device use Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy?

I have several Bluetooth LE devices that do not have that warning.

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Just have found another interesting piece for this thread. Reading next devices manuals, looking for one with BT off switching, there is a sentence: 

“About Bluetooth communications
Radio waves broadcast from this unit may interfere with the operation of medical devices. Make sure you turn off the power of this unit and Bluetooth device in the following locations as radio wave interference may cause malfunctions.
- Hospitals, trains, aircraft, petrol kiosks, and places where flammable gases are generated
- Near automatic doors and fire alarm”

So many potential clients are excluded this way. The possibility of switching off BT would stop their protests with banners “Network speakers for everyone!”, “Ethernet rulez!”  ;-)

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My biggest question here is why would someone worried about Bluetooth and WiFi buy a system that uses them?

From experience I have a cell phone and laptop which has a capability of wifi and bluetooth. Both these devices can be turned on or off (activated or deactivated). The same goes for routers with respect for wifi although on Virgin’s router it isn’t an easy process for non tech people to use this feature. 
Considering the Sonos unit gives excellent sound quality it would be reasonable to expect that using the auxiliary input, there would be an option to disable wifi and bluetooth. 
In the absence of a built in method, it’s a reasonable request to see if the unit can be hacked to remove those functions, with also meter testing to show it has been achieved. 

From an RF exposure standpoint turning off the WiFi and Bluetooth on an active cell phone is going after the lesser of three evils.

Turning off WiFi to a non-Ethernet connected Sonos would remove the ability to control it.

Several good points for other reasons to turn off Bluetooth.

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Consider the used market, sadly it is far smaller than expected given the number of folks that have posted that they are selling all their Sonos.

I’m a big fan of having options, sadly it seems the ones I want aren’t popular enough to see Sonos implementing them.

I was too late to get One gen 1. I’m either stuck with gen 2, or need to go back to the drawing board. Does anyone know if Ray is the same as One? Or can BT be turned off?

 

BTW, I’m going to replace the battery in my old Bose buds to avoid BT headsets. It’s not user replaceable, but still possible to do.

I understand your concern with respect to potential biological consequences of emissions. There are considerations for manufactures and consumers.

On the manufacturing side it is much more expensive to add a mechanical switch than to provide another option on a menu. Also, over the long term, the mechanical switch is a failure point. Yes, there are very reliable switches -- at a higher cost. A network jack (and the cable) are also costs and small reliability risks.

On the consumer side “everything is wireless now, right?”. There would be backlash if a wired connection was required in order to re-enable the radio. Less and less consumers are aware that their Gateway has network jacks because the ISP’s installer simply makes sure that the user’s phone can access the service, then leaves the premises. This confusion would result in more support calls -- increasing costs for manufacturers. There will also be rants in communities, such as this, complaining that their BT has now stopped working. suggesting that a class action lawsuit is needed.

I would welcome a switch. My personal experience with BT has not been great and I don’t have much use for it, but I do have a noise cancelling headset that I’ll occasionally use to protect my hearing from excessive noise in my environment. Of course this places the BT radio very near my brain. I must choose between potential brain damage and well documented hearing damage. I’m constantly struggling with BT connectivity issues of my various devices. Maybe there is a wired noise cancelling headset somewhere.

The latest SONOS models do include a mechanical switch associated with BT. I don’t know if this completely removes power from the BT radio or simply disables it’s function. The switch is a simple pushbutton and I suspect that a reboot or Factory Reset will enable BT again. I haven’t bothered to test this.

I don’t think that we have a complete understanding of potential long term outcomes on evolution caused by radio emissions or if the public will care. There is a large amount of data documenting bad outcomes for consuming certain foods, yet production continues and the public continues to gobble them.

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I think that a large segment of BT users assume that BT simply replaces the wire. In that context BT must be constantly available.

Maybe, but it doesn't mean it could not be switched off, see my smartwatch example above.

Technology always adapts to changes with some delay. Antivirus programs appeared some time after viruses appeared. Similarly, WiFi high encryption and the ability to disable the publication of your network WiFi name. I don't rule out that it was postulated on the forums ;-)
What will come after BLE? I can imagine - this is an extreme case - potential thieves walking down the street, scanning for BLE signals, publishing how expensive equipment is in which house :-( The ability to choose - whether I turn BLE on or off makes sense :-)

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I think that a large segment of BT users assume that BT simply replaces the wire. In that context BT must be constantly available.

Maybe, but it doesn't mean it could not be switched off, see my smartwatch example above.

I think that a large segment of BT users assume that BT simply replaces the wire. In that context BT must be constantly available.

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Business speculations certainly make some sense, but I am wondering about the logic of this whole situation.

Namely, it is impossible for a speaker to use two (or even three) media at the same time.

Therefore, it is logical to turn off those media that we do not use, at least to save energy (I deliberately do not want to write that for ecology, because the topic is as controversial as the impact of radiation on living cells ;-) ). Not to mention the reduction of the endlessly growing interference in the airwaves, or the issue of making public what equipment each neighbor has.
Only logic and consistency. Or the lack thereof.

They allow us to turn off Wi-Fi, but not BT - what could be the reason for such manufacturers' logic?

Earlier I described the issue of laziness on both sides, but I still have the issue of some threshold that cannot be overcome. Maybe BT BLE chips are designed from the beginning in such a way that they cannot be turned on/off programmatically because someone assumed that? (no... probably no...).

P.S.

I am wrong, BLE can be switched off, I have a smart watch, a Garmin, which has a BLE, used for all functions of communication between smart watch and smartphone. That is the only transmission medium of that watch. No other one. And you know what? I can switch off that BLE in smartwatch, really. This is the kind od logic I love :-)