Help requested for fixing glitch


Of late my system is acting up sometimes, and Sonos support has been a little tardy, so if anyone here has any ideas I would be grateful.
My set up is a Bridge wired to a Time Capsule router, with a 4 zone set up. NAS is a WD passport USB drive, wired to the USB socket of the TC.
The problem is music play stopping at random times, even when a single zone is playing. Internet radio doesn't seem to be affected. When this happens, when I select a playlist, the controller response to a replace queue command is an error in selecting tracks message, nothing moves to the queue, and no music plays in response to the command.
All Sonos units have reserved IP addresses in the router. Sonos support also asked me to provide 50 cms separation between the router and Bridge - I have about 40 cms vertical separation, so that should be enough.
I do suffer occasional power outages, but Sonos usually copes, rebooting on its own when the generator kicks in. All I have to then do is reselect the required playlist and replace it in the queue. The TC/wifi always copes with these successfully.
I have sent diagnostics to Sonos, but the only response to this has been a change of channel to 6 from 1 for Sonos - after being told that the TC is set to channel 11 for 2.5ghz, and automatic for 5ghz. That didn't do much, so currently I am back to 1 for Sonos and 11 for TC.
The last music session from the NAS was flawless.
Before I go ahead with doing something like replacing the NAS, does anyone have any alternates to propose?
Thank in advance.

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34 replies

Posting here because I did not want to open a new thread,

Yesterday my Connect, that is just a few metres line of sight to the Boost, became a brick for some time. After a Connect reboot, it was back to normal, but I suspect that reboot was not the reason for this.

This has happened in the past, and looking up my support history, I notice a Sonos Support surprise expressed at why this happens even with a strong signal - high 50s - to the Connect. Packet error rates seem to suddenly rise and Support wanted to have a call to investigate, but since the problem went away, we did not pursue the matter further back in August.

My question: in what part of the matrix will this rise in packet error rates be visible?

For any Sonos staff reading this, 7014240 is the diagnostic at the time three grouped zones and one independent zone were working fine, but the Connect was not responding.
No sign of recurrence, and a frustrating thing about this is that one can't force it to happen either!
In the meanwhile, the play 1 has come home, and it took more time to update software than to get added. Playing flawlessly, and I am pleased with it.
Sonos has a marketing brochure in the box, and I have to say in the light of the various posts I have read here, it isn't as honest as it ought to be. IMO.
For one, the play 1 page has a photo of it without any mains wire visible - nor are they visible on the other product pages, but one could justify that by saying that the furniture on which products are placed can be used to conceal the wire. Not so for the play 1 photo on a bath stool next to a bath tub.
And the blurb at the end - All the music on earth, in every room, wirelessly. Not quite honest, is it? One can't even get the music off the home computer to Sonos that way, leave alone from the rest of the earth.
Nothing to post because all is well, even when backing up, with the Mac and the play 5 in the bedroom. When things change, I will post with status information.
You'd better look in /status/dmesg for that Player as well.


I assume you are referring to: /bin/dmesg
I could not see any status/dmesg, there is another one named lockup.dmesg.

When these backups occur are they unattended or are you busy working at the machine, and if the latter are your keyboard and/or mouse wireless? I

It would be interesting to figure out why there's a correlation between backups and performance on that one bedroom Player.


I do the back ups when I am at the machine, but it is a Macbook Pro, no separate attachments needed.

The next time this happens, I will report the new information you have pointed me to.
In theory, the proximity of the Mac and the player should not matter, I would think.
The proximity could matter just as much as that between a router and a Bridge, but with your channel separation the impact ought to be minimal assuming the WiFi adapters are behaving themselves.

When these backups occur are they unattended or are you busy working at the machine, and if the latter are your keyboard and/or mouse wireless? I ask because these are often spread-spectrum devices which throw low-level noise all over the 2.4GHz band. I've seen their effect on the OFDM ANI Level in the newer Sonos units, but not in the older OFDM Weak signal level measurement.

It would be interesting to figure out why there's a correlation between backups and performance on that one bedroom Player.
Aha. You'd better look in /status/dmesg for that Player as well.

BTW which channels are WiFi and Sonos using?

Wifi is channel 11 for 2.4 and automatic for 5. No wide or turbo option. Sonos is on 1. At the instance of Sonos support, I moved Sonos to 6, but it did not help, so the last week or so it is back on 1 where it has been for a long time.
In theory, the proximity of the Mac and the player should not matter, I would think.
My current solution is to not do back ups when music is playing - easily done.
Yes, back ups are over wifi, with the Mac sitting about 2 feet from the player in the bedroom.
Aha. You'd better look in /status/dmesg for that Player as well.

BTW which channels are WiFi and Sonos using?
Yes, back ups are over wifi, with the Mac sitting about 2 feet from the player in the bedroom.
I will look for the data you refer to, thanks.
Are your backups running over WiFi? About the only logical connection I can find between backups and performance suffering on just that one Player would be if the backups are hammering the WiFi and it's upsetting the marginal SonosNet wireless signal to the bedroom.

One other bit of data you could gather. Look in /status/dmesg for the Bridge and see if there are lots of TX jams. The timestamp won't mean much, it's seconds since boot. Just look for a mass of TX jams at the end of the log following a dropout.
Before changing the PSU variable:
The troubled player usually sits in the bedroom, while the other zones and Bridge/router are in an adjacent open plan space.
Currently the player is sited near the Bridge wired to it, and the Matrix read out for it is in yellow, as under:
Bedroom
Secondary Node
Noise Floor: -89, -93, -88
OFDM Weak signal level: 5

Very similar to the readouts when it is in the bedroom, except that signal levels are up to 63 from the usual 28-30. The Bridge has Noise floor of -109 and is green.

Given that no incidents have occurred for some time now, I want to rule out wireless interference as cause.

If I were to start playing a zone in the open space, shift the bedroom player back to the bedroom, and then add it on via grouping, am I right in thinking that if wireless interference was the reason given its further location, it would be the one to shut down, and the open space zone player would keep playing? That one always shows green by the way, with signal levels of 60/61.
I would have preferred a test wired directly to the TC because if the PSU on the Bridge is failing, even the switch-based traffic in it might be affected.
The switching is in hardware. My experience with a dodgy Bridge PSU was flaky wireless performance.
I have tried both - first to the TC and now to the Bridge. Done Mac backups, downloaded some tracks from iTunes, wirelessly copy/pasted them to the HDD, updated the music index - when as is normal, the music stopped - and am now playing the new music playlist. All with flawless music play, except during reindexing. Will leave it like that today and see how things go.
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Yes sir, and with things electrical, you can't see much except maybe on instruments.
The disc analysis is done, no issues, and the player is running wired to the Bridge now. Time will tell, else the PSU change is the next step.
Amazon US restarted shipments to India, with free shipping, and my play 1 is on the way for a fifth free floating zone. Would be nice to have this fixed before it gets home:), because when the system works, which is 99% of the time in the last 30 months, it is a fantastic addition to the home.


I would have preferred a test wired directly to the TC because if the PSU on the Bridge is failing, even the switch-based traffic in it might be affected.
Kumar,

With respect to cable reliability, anything can break any time it pleases and mother nature is not always fair.

Yes sir, and with things electrical, you can't see much except maybe on instruments.
The disc analysis is done, no issues, and the player is running wired to the Bridge now. Time will tell, else the PSU change is the next step.
Amazon US restarted shipments to India, with free shipping, and my play 1 is on the way for a fifth free floating zone. Would be nice to have this fixed before it gets home:), because when the system works, which is 99% of the time in the last 30 months, it is a fantastic addition to the home.
Kumar,

With respect to cable reliability, anything can break any time it pleases and mother nature is not always fair. If the crimping tool used to prepare the cable was worn or mis-adjusted, the cable might be set up to fail at a later date. A small nick on the conductor can cause later failure after the cable is flexed or goes through temperature cycles. I have also struggled with hidden cables that were damaged during some remodeling construction.

When in diagnostic mode, after assuming that the problem must be [ ... ] or cannot be [...], one can be blind sided. Certainly, one should play the percentages. In a SONOS "skipping" context, defective wires are not at the top of my list, but this is always on my list.

Apart from avoiding doing backups, the low hanging fruit here is to change the Bridge PSU. I suggest you try that and see how it goes.

Will do, thanks.
I would start with trying some sort of disk analyze of your WD passport if possible.

If you consider buying new hardware, I would probably buy another router (Airport extreme?) with a USB-slot, and degrade the time capsule to backup duty only. Perhaps the new time capsule is a lot better, but I would prefer to have it dedicated to not strain other services. Also, an airport extreme is cheaper than a new TC. Which version do you have today? I have dealed with the first revision and I wasn't impressed then.

To try and exclude network related issues, I would consider wiring one of your players directly to the TC and see if you still experience this issue. That could rule out some potential problems.

Disk analysis can be easily done, will do it asap.
My TC is from one generation before the current vertical model. I thought of moving to a CPU equipped NAS because of the experiences today of music stopping within half a minute of my commanding a back up and this happened three times. I remembered your comment about the TC CPU getting overburdened maybe.
I will wire the player to the TC, easily done to test it out. I assume once I do that, it will automatically use the wired connection with no other action needed.
Thanks.
I will have to introduce one variable at a time, so I will report once I have something useful...
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I would start with trying some sort of disk analyze of your WD passport if possible. It may have issues on certain areas of the disk, however if that were the case I would expect it to choke constantly on the same files, but you never know. It is usually a good practice and it's free :)

If you consider buying new hardware, I would probably buy another router (Airport extreme?) with a USB-slot, and degrade the time capsule to backup duty only. Perhaps the new time capsule is a lot better, but I would prefer to have it dedicated to not strain other services. Also, an airport extreme is cheaper than a new TC. Which version do you have today? I have dealed with the first revision and I wasn't impressed then.

To try and exclude network related issues, I would consider wiring one of your players directly to the TC and see if you still experience this issue. That could rule out some potential problems.
The stream is being disrupted somehow. ERROR_CORRUPT_FILE suggests packet loss. ERROR_NO_RESOURCE says the Player can't find the file (or maybe the TC itself).

Apart from avoiding doing backups, the low hanging fruit here is to change the Bridge PSU. I suggest you try that and see how it goes.

Are you using your TC for time machine backup? You are sure that the Time machine job wasn't active on your Mac when this issue occur?

Since my time machine back ups only happen on command, I am pretty sure this wasn't active yesterday.
However:
Thrice today the play stopped after I ordered back ups, with the same error no resource messages I have reported above.
I will make sure that this is a pattern - there are so many red herring possibilities - but if so, what is the solution out of the following three?
1. Buy a new Time Capsule - I would prefer to go the Apple route for a new router
2. Install a mains powered ethernet wired to TC NAS like the WD ones recommended here - will these take the load away from the TC CPU allowing back ups and music play to coexist - given that the TC seems to be doing all other things ok
3. Any other
For now of course the obvious solution seems to be not to order back ups when music is playing and see how things go.
PS: If 2, would this work:
http://www.amazon.in/WD-Book-Network-Attached-Storage/dp/B004RZVCQU/ref=sr_1_3?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1398326615&sr=1-3
1 TB is ample for my needs.
About 6 months ago, Sonos support solved a similar problem by asking me to replace the ethernet wire from the TC to Bridge. I have done that again now, and will see what happens before doing anything else.
I would have thought that undisturbed wires should remain ok - and any wire related issue would affect internet radio as well.
Anyway...fingers crossed. If this doesn't work, I have to look to the Bridge PSU next.


Did you ever try and wire your Mac to the Sonos player that was struggling with playback with a LAN cable (and turning of WiFi on your Mac)? Doing the same copy test would give you an estimate of the wireless link quality for that player and might give you a different result (I got the impression that your Mac was using your WiFi).

Are you using your TC for time machine backup? You are sure that the Time machine job wasn't active on your Mac when this issue occur?

When I did as you suggested, wiring the Mac to the play 5 unit and using that for connecting to the router/HDD wirelessly, the same 180 mb file took about 105 seconds to transfer to the Mac. Perhaps that is because the wired to router Bridge is version 1.0 of Sonosnet, equal to G spec wifi, instead of the N spec wifi connection between the Mac and TC?
I use TC for back up, but it is not set to automatic, it only does back ups when I click the icon. So no, it wasn't doing any back ups at the time.
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I copied a 180mb music file from the USB drive that
is wired to TC to my Mac, wirelessly. It took about 37 seconds. The Mac is in the same location as the Sonos player.
I tried to do this by wiring the drive to my Mac, but it wouldn't open. It might be that the drive isn't Mac formatted, I don't remember. Certainly it has been around from before I moved to a Mac. So I don't have a comparison, but does the 37 seconds over wifi sound reasonable?
As far as TC being overloaded, all I can say is that when the music stuttered the only other use being made of the TC was for reading the Sonos forum.
Thanks for your help.
PS: I have a Mac formatted HDD that is used for back up of my music files. The same file copied from this HDD wired to the Mac, took 7 seconds.
PPS: I was able to open the drive after all, and file transfer wired to the Mac took the same 7 seconds.


Well, that gives you around 4 MB/s in transfer rate, approx 40Mbit which sounds normal over WiFi. The drive seems to be fine as well, and the TC seemed to have worked when you tested this out.

Did you ever try and wire your Mac to the Sonos player that was struggling with playback with a LAN cable (and turning of WiFi on your Mac)? Doing the same copy test would give you an estimate of the wireless link quality for that player and might give you a different result (I got the impression that your Mac was using your WiFi).

Are you using your TC for time machine backup? You are sure that the Time machine job wasn't active on your Mac when this issue occur?
You could also try and wire a laptop or similar to the player that is struggling, and try and copy a file from your TC HDD and see what speed you get.

Compare that with the speed you get from a wired connection to the TC or similar (or maybe try that first).

It may very well be that your drive is about to give up on life (I have seen that behavior on a few portable harddrives).

Also compare it with the drive plugged into your computer, you should see similar speeds.

Or maybe it is just that your TC is overloaded and can't cope with serving files as well. I don't think the TC is very beefy CPU wise.

I copied a 180mb music file from the USB drive that
is wired to TC to my Mac, wirelessly. It took about 37 seconds. The Mac is in the same location as the Sonos player.
I tried to do this by wiring the drive to my Mac, but it wouldn't open. It might be that the drive isn't Mac formatted, I don't remember. Certainly it has been around from before I moved to a Mac. So I don't have a comparison, but does the 37 seconds over wifi sound reasonable?
As far as TC being overloaded, all I can say is that when the music stuttered the only other use being made of the TC was for reading the Sonos forum.
Thanks for your help.
PS: I have a Mac formatted HDD that is used for back up of my music files. The same file copied from this HDD wired to the Mac, took 7 seconds.
PPS: I was able to open the drive after all, and file transfer wired to the Mac took the same 7 seconds.
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You could also try and wire a laptop or similar to the player that is struggling, and try and copy a file from your TC HDD and see what speed you get.

Compare that with the speed you get from a wired connection to the TC or similar (or maybe try that first).

It may very well be that your drive is about to give up on life (I have seen that behavior on a few portable harddrives).

Also compare it with the drive plugged into your computer, you should see similar speeds.

Or maybe it is just that your TC is overloaded and can't cope with serving files as well. I don't think the TC is very beefy CPU wise.