When will 5Ghz work?

  • 28 January 2017
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54 replies

Then consider whether your money is better spent on a Boost or an upgraded router.
Is your Sonos actually working or not? I have used Sonos in an apartment where there were at least a dozen competing 2.4GHz networks. No issues. But I'm sure Sonos will be grateful for your expert insights. :)



Preferring 2.4 or 5 depends on the context. In some cases (for examples, big houses in not-very-crowded areas), 2.4 GHz is better than 5 GHz. In other cases (for example, crowded areas or Wi-Fi in public venues with high usage), 2.4 is a catastrophe.

I live in Paris (high density: >20k inhabitants per km²). Plus, most ISPs historically activated 2.4 and not 5 on their residential routers, and fiber is broadly available. So the typical situation is that you have something like 100 2.4GHz BSSID struggling to try to have some bandwidth (even if they have a 1 Gb/s Internet connection, they usually can enjoy a lot less) and just some 5GHz BSSID, all on distinct channels! Given the relatively small sizes of apartments, you have a very good RSSI in 2.4 and in 5, so this is not at all a signal level debate.



I have an enterprise-grade Wi-Fi access point, my domestic network is optimized for 5 GHz. On my laptop or smartphone, I usually get 300 Mb/s bandwidth, with a ping close to zero. I have a 2.4 GHz BSSID for legacy devices (my Kindle for example... and unfortunately Sonos).

My Sonos speaker worked fine when I lived in a less crowded city, where I had a decent service in 2.4 GHz (something like 20 competing BSSID only). Now it does NOT work fine, I regularly have to go to my wifi AP settings to see the environment and change the channel. This morning, for example, I was on channel 11. Channel utilization was rather low on channel 11, so you could think service is fine... But there were high Wi-Fi usage on channels 10 & non-Wi-Fi RF utilization on channel 12… So I switched to channel 1… It works again. ‘Til next time…



sonos engineers could add an option to use 5ghz. somewhere deep in settings to avoid unintened use by pnp users. this would solve most if not all issues discussed here. why not, Sonos?

It seems obvious that it would be the smartest option... Please Sonos staff, do it!!!
Older SONOS units do not include 5G radios.



One potential solution would be to install repeaters, extenders, or mesh units that support a 5GHz backbone and an Ethernet connection sharing that backbone. Plug your SONOS units into this network port.
One potential solution would be to install repeaters, extenders, or mesh units that support a 5GHz backbone and an Ethernet connection sharing that backbone. Plug your SONOS units into this network port.



Thanks for your reply. That's actually what I was planning to do, but my understanding is that the 'Play:1' has a 5 GHz radio, but we can't use it without Boost, am I right?
The Play:1 5GHz radio is only used when they're configured as surrounds with a Playbar/Playbase/Beam. It has nothing to do with whether the system's in 'Boost' or 'Standard' setup.
The Play:1 5GHz radio is only used when they're configured as surrounds with a Playbar/Playbase/Beam. It has nothing to do with whether the system's in 'Boost' or 'Standard' setup.



OK, thanks for this precision.

Bottom line, it still means that Play:1 HAS a 5 GHz radio and that, from a hardware point of view, it should not need any additional equipment to connect to my 5 GHz SSID
Play:1/3/5 and One all have a single radio which can be switched between bands. The firmware only enables 5GHz operation in an HT surround configuration.



One can understand why Sonos might not wish to consider the complexity of 5GHz for a non-HT player. A 5GHz-connected node would not be able to mesh with its 2.4GHz peers in SonosNet/Boost mode, which means it could also not optimise its wireless paths within a Group when in WiFi/Standard mode.
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Play:1/3/5 and One all have a single radio which can be switched between bands. The firmware only enables 5GHz operation in an HT surround configuration.



One can understand why Sonos might not wish to consider the complexity of 5GHz for a non-HT player. A 5GHz-connected node would not be able to mesh with its 2.4GHz peers in SonosNet/Boost mode, which means it could also not optimise its wireless paths within a Group when in WiFi/Standard mode.




Although it wouldn't be as simple as enabling users to connect a 5GHz equiped Sonos device to connect to their 5GHz AP's it would even be possible to make a Sonos device do mesh on both channels. In fact the playbase/bar/beam does it already. No matter how you connect your TV unit. If you connect it directly to wifi it will use 2.4GHz for uplink and 5GHz for surround sound. If you would hook it up to ethernet it would be the Sonosnet basestation: also using 5GHz for surround and 2.4GHz for Sonosnet to other rooms.



I do understand it could potentially create unreliable connections when people don't have a solid 5GHz network. For a lot of people it would mean disaster for more remote players.



The thing is, I live in the city centre of Groningen. That's a city with around 200k citizens, not even close to the amount of citizens in Paris. I'm a IT/networking engineer. People hire me to do their networking and wi-fi. In every corner of my 3 room apartmen there's excellent 5GHz coverage. I even recently used it to do some part-time callcenter work. I hooked up my laptop to a 5GHz only network, was able to call over VPN with a software VOIP-phone. Never had an issue.



Unfortunately however, there are a few people who live around me that don't know how to setup wi-fi properly. Using 40MHz channel width, boosting up the output power of their wi-fi radios, not sticking to the optimal 1/6/11 channels. Even though it's crowded, if everybody would stick to these rules it would probably work. Unfortunately it's not possible to make everybody change their settings. Even if it was, it would only be temporary.



This leaves me to a situation in which I have no issues on any device, except for Sonos. Once every few days or weeks I have to do a complete RF scan of the environment and hope there's a channel on which my Sonos won't frequently drop connection.



This situation will become more and more common for more and more users. The perfect solution would be to leave it to the users. As stated before, put it away deep, very deep into the settings. Put a warning message on it that blinds our eyes. But Sonos, please... please make it possible.



I'm worried I will get calls from clients soon. Lots of my clients have Sonos too, and it would be a dissappointing "No" I will have to sell if there wouldn't be a solution soon. Some of these clients also don't have the possibility to run cables everywhere they'd like to put a Sonos, even though the wifi is great.
Play:1/3/5 and One all have a single radio which can be switched between bands. The firmware only enables 5GHz operation in an HT surround configuration.



One can understand why Sonos might not wish to consider the complexity of 5GHz for a non-HT player. A 5GHz-connected node would not be able to mesh with its 2.4GHz peers in SonosNet/Boost mode, which means it could also not optimise its wireless paths within a Group when in WiFi/Standard mode.




Although it wouldn't be as simple as enabling users to connect a 5GHz equiped Sonos device to connect to their 5GHz AP's it would even be possible to make a Sonos device do mesh on both channels. In fact the playbase/bar/beam does it already.


Those units have two radios: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Other units only have a single radio, switchable between bands.
Hello Sonos team,



I fully understand that enabling 5GHz is not as easy as it appears.

You have to think about coverage, compatibility, ....



However, as other mentioned, the 2.4 band is so crowded that sometimes unusable.



Some installs, even if multi-room, would properly work with a single 5Ghz router as the flat would not be so huge.

If bigger, then 2.4 Ghz or using a Booster will only be a solution.



For compatibility, sure, let's keep 2.4 as default to allow coexistence.

However for new installs, where people do know what they do, why not allowing then to use those product on a 5Ghz band.

The setting, could be with warnings, or anything else.



I really interested to buy Sonos product, however due to that will not do.



Please do consider to allow it.



Thanks,

Alex
Userlevel 7
Hi Barbades



There are reasons why 5Ghz is not the default....



Sonos is designed to be Plug n' Play_easier way to accomplish that over Wi-Fi is the 2.4Ghz band

_ 5Ghz might be fine if every Sonos speaker/component were in the same room_that's typically not the case

_ 5Ghz is faster but has a very short distance especially when walls are involved_2.4Ghz is much better suited for distance

_5Ghz is used in an HT setup where all speakers are in the same room and the Playbar/Playbase/Beam process the data and send it "quickly" over 5Ghz to a Sonos Sub, Play 1, Play 3, Play 5 or Sonos One.

_5Ghz will also be used in the new Sonos Sub for HT applications

_Boost mode initiated via Sonos speaker/component or dedicated boost module eliminates 99.99% of the problems assocaited with a Wi-Fi (standard) setup.

_Static IP Addresses can also be used to mitigate issues with Wi-Fi

_There are vastly more users (unlike yourself) that do not have the skill to understand 2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz and how to manage them properly even if the option were available.



You might find the reading in the link helpful: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3235?language=en_US



Cheers!
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It's sad to see so many people make excuses "It's too hard for Sonos to do" or "People are too dumb to understand the differences between bands".. At the end of the day there are pros/cons to each wireless band. For those of us who live in a very crowded city (and in a smaller home, apartment, high-rise or condo) then 5Ghz makes sense. People (with the right reasons) have a right to ask for a feature such as this when they pay the premium price for a Sonos system. I completely realize that they have a finite amount of engineering resources and $$. However, in the end it is a fair ask.
I’m really starting to feel Sonos is behind the times. Even a 2 year old RaspberryPi can connect on 5ghz, and don’t get me started on the unfulfilled promise of Google Assistant. Yes, I’m in the beta program but I think that’s just smoke and mirrors. “We’re getting close to beta,” they’ve said for about six months now. Is anybody really home there?!
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I’m really starting to feel Sonos is behind the times. Even a 2 year old RaspberryPi can connect on 5ghz, and don’t get me started on the unfulfilled promise of Google Assistant. Yes, I’m in the beta program but I think that’s just smoke and mirrors. “We’re getting close to beta,” they’ve said for about six months now. Is anybody really home there?!

The Pi has had 5GHz support only since the 3B+, released in March 2018. If you have 2 year old Pi, it only supports 2.4GHz, unless you’re using a dongle. I don’t really understand the relevance of this to Sonos, though.



The relative merits of the different bands are covered extensively elsewhere in this thread. Just remember that 5GHz will end up being as congested as 2.4GHz, so it’s not a panacea.
Thanks for the correction. Regarding congestion, WiFi and Bluetooth both operate in the 2Ghz band and that was causing interference with Bluetooth devices in my location. Keyboards, mice and trackpads would drop out or stop responding. Now everything is on 5ghz, two televisions, four computers, two phones, two tablets, a printer, and two raspbis, everything except the Sonos. And I got my Bluetooth peripherals back. So there’s that. Out of frustration I added an Amp+ To a Pi, mounted it to the back to a pair of really nice KEF speakers for a little less than my One and use that. The Sonos, which I bought this year, is collecting dust. Unless I go hardwire or Sonos can do a firmware upgrade to support 5Ghz, and I don’t see either happening, it will stay that way.
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Fair points.



My house is packed with wireless kit. My Sonos system (running in SonosNet mode) is rock solid, using a thoughtful mixture of wireless and wired devices. So, it can work well using 2.4GHz, especially as the SonosNet mesh does a good job of optimising signal paths. But I accept that 2.4GHz can clearly be challenging in some situations.
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Somehow I don't see Sonos issuing a recall to replace all the 2.4 GHz only WiFi cards in older Sonos gear so 2.4 is going to be around for a long time.
My house is packed with wireless kit.



I know! You’re tag line is a little intimidating. 🙂
My pet peeve with 2.4ghz is that audio dies the second we turn on the microwave.



I fully understand 2.4 vs 5. I work in IT and have deployed wifi in demanding environments. Just give me the option (under advanced options to hide from the average user) so I can make the “foolish choice” to leverage 5ghz. If I run into trouble I won’t blame Sonos.
My pet peeve with 2.4ghz is that audio dies the second we turn on the microwave.



I fully understand 2.4 vs 5. I work in IT and have deployed wifi in demanding environments. Just give me the option (under advanced options to hide from the average user) so I can make the “foolish choice” to leverage 5ghz. If I run into trouble I won’t blame Sonos.




You can also switch over to SonosNet hassle-free.
It sounds like the microwave is leaking badly, heating the cook not the food. Replace it?
It sounds like the microwave is leaking badly, heating the cook not the food. Replace it?

All microwaves I’ve owned stomped all over the 2.4ghz spectrum. Apparently they are tuned to this frequency because water absorbes the microwaves best in this range.



I may switch to wired, I just have to run cable to my router which is a bit of a pain but one reason I bought the Sonos. Wireless is fragile and has inherent weaknesses.
You could try using channel 1. In my experience channel 11 is the most vulnerable.
I had that issue in a kitchen in my last house. Running the microwave killed my kitchen speakers. I replaced the microwave with a new model, and had no further issues.
And can I ask a moderator to change the title of this thread? 5G is a cellphone connection type. 5Ghz is a wifi channel. There's a difference.