Home network stability and a few tips to help resolve many issues

  • 13 August 2018
  • 7 replies

Those here in the Sonos community, who may still be having one or two stability issues with their Sonos System, in almost all cases in my experience, may just need to take a few steps to get their system stable.

There is however a small proviso and that is a user may sometimes need to know a tiny little bit about wireless networking and if they don’t, then perhaps it’s best to find a mate, or relative, who understands these things.

You could of course call Sonos Support and maybe seek their professional advice.

Anyhow here are those steps that I think will help a good many people with bringing network stability to their Sonos system...

1. Download free WiFi scanner software (like Wifiinfoview or InSSIDer, for example) to your PC or mobile device and scan to see what wireless channels are 'least-used' around your home... in my case, my wife did this on her laptop for me and found that most of our neighbours use WiFi channel 6.

2. Next set your own routers 2.4ghz WiFi channel well away from your neighbours channel. I set mine to channel 11. I had to read how to do this in my router manual, but it was a simple change done via a web browser page on my router. In fact my routers WiFi channel could be set to auto-find the best WiFi channel for me, but I read somewhere it’s best to turn that feature off and fix a a static channel myself...that stops it auto-changing channel by itself, when the router is rebooted.

3. This next step is simple .. set the SonosNet channel to a completely different channel. This is in advanced settings in the Sonos App. In my case, I set it well apart from the others, at channel 1

Even with just the 3 simple steps above, I found that my Sonos system was already very stable, but there are some other things to do, if you really want it 'top notch' with real robust connectivity and stability. I have given these three additional steps the letters A, B, C below:

A. The first is to switch the Sonos system over to SonosNet... to do that you just need to use an Ethernet cable and connect one Sonos device to your local network. I personally chose to plug a Play 1 into my router.

I strongly recommend this step too, particularly if you are using a mesh WiFi system at home, such as Orbi, Velop or Google Hubs etc.

Some folk buy a Sonos Boost to do this switchover, but you can just cable-in any Sonos Speaker. It’s worth doing this switchover, because the Sonos WiFi signal works much better than some central-based routers... just look at this sonos support page and you will quickly see why that is.

Choosing between a Standard and BOOST Setup

B. When you successfully switch the system over to SonosNet, it’s advisable to then goto 'Advanced Settings/Wireless Setup' in the Sonos App and reset/remove your WiFi credentials... this will stop your speakers switching back and forth between the SonosNet WiFi signal and your routers WiFi signal. You just want everything on SonosNet.

Note: You can easily tell if all your Sonos devices are running on SonosNet. Just goto 'About my Sonos System' in the Sonos App Settings, where you will see a list of all your speakers etc. Each will have WM: 0 if the device is on SonosNet.
If you do see WM:1 that means it’s still using your routers WiFi signal.

C. Next comes the most complicated bit, but the good news here, is this step is completely optional. However, I strongly recommend you try to get this done, if you can. This is where a slight bit of networking knowledge is now needed.

The main router in a home network often has thing built into it called a DHCP server... this dishes out the IP addresses to all devices connected to the local network. You may have noticed the IP addresses assigned to all your Sonos devices in the 'About my Sonos System' list in the Sonos App Settings.

We want the DHCP Server to always give a Sonos device the same assigned IP address, every time. To do that we can use the routers DHCP Reservation Table.

Sadly all routers are not the same and the method of adding your Sonos devices to its DHCP Reservation table can vary. It means you probably have to read your router user manual, or look up how to do this via google, or quite often you may find a helpful video on YouTube, which explains how to do this for your particular brand of router.

In my case I had to log-into my router via a web browser using the username and password shown on the back of my router. I quickly found the page called DHCP Reservation and I just had to select my Sonos Devices in the list and assign them an IP address and set them to 'fixed' or 'static'. I had to save each entry and also the table/page itself.

I had a number of speakers to add to my DHCP Reservation Table and I chose to fix them in sequence, similar to the following:

Sonos Lounge Play-5 (Left)
Sonos Lounge Play-5 (Right)
Sonos Kitchen Play-1 (Left)
Sonos Kitchen Play-1 (Right)
Sonos Bedroom Play-1 (Left)
Sonos Bedroom Play-1 (Right)

Here too is an image from another routers DHCP Reservation Table, which was posted in the community recently, just as an example, by Stanley_4.. in order to give some users an idea of the type of thing they may see, but remember that these configuration pages can and do vary by brand/model of router.

And that’s almost it, but there’s one further thing that can cause lots of problems and interference for many Sonos users and that’s other wireless broadcasting devices in the home, such as WiFi extenders, repeaters and powerline adapters. They can be a real pain sometimes.

It is recommended that these are all set to the same 2.4ghz WiFi channel as your main router wifi channel, whilst running your Sonos speakers on SonosNet.

If possible though, I would suggest changing their broadcast SSID name, so that it’s an entirely different name to the main router SSID ...and perhaps even better still, switch off the 2.4ghz band wifi altogether and just use their 5ghz band instead.

Many of these things mentioned above, of course, are 'out of the hands' of Sonos and are just a means of providing a very stable core network and wireless platform onto which the Sonos Speaker System can then sit happily and trouble free from signal interference.

Other common problems are, failing old Sonos Bridge power supplies, where voltage drops below 5.1v. If you have that issue, replace the Bridge with another Sonos device, or replace the power supply or you could of course switch back to 'Standard WiFi Mode', but you are probably better off remaining on SonosNet IMHO.

The link below is just one example of a Bridge replacement power supply on Amazon, but make sure to get the right plug fitting for your country.

Bridge Power Supply - Replacement (Example Only).

Sometimes local firewalls can be an issue, so checkout this Support article for your particular firewall and check its configuration settings:

Configuring your firewall to work with Sonos

Some iPhone users can also encounter problems with 'WiFi Assist' on their device, particularly if playing music, or other audio source, directly from the iOS device to Sonos speakers, so switching off that feature is perhaps worthwhile. See this support page for further information:

Wi-Fi Assist and Sonos

If you take your time and follow steps 1, 2, 3 and A, B, C above, which are not really that difficult, in most cases, then I’m confident, if done correctly, you will end up with a far more stable system, where all Sonos devices will always play nicely together for many years to come.

Remember, if you really do not know how to do these things, then find a friend that can help !

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7 replies

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That is a very helpful post, Sonos should consider cribbing it for their Support FAQ!

A few questions for anyone, on which Sonos device to connect to Ethernet when moving to Boost Mode.

If you have devices from each SonosNet generation in your system will the old gear force everything to the 1.0 mode?

Is the SonosNet 1.0 versus 2.0 use going to make a difference in lower RF noise environments or only in noisier ones?

Where is the line on SonosNet 1.0 versus 2.0 in the Sonos devices? I know the old Bridge and Zone Players only offer SonosNet 1.0 while the newer Boost and devices offer SonosNet 2.0 but I don't know where the change was and I'm failing to find it now.

Is there an optimal connection strategy for what to connect to Ethernet?

Either I'm getting worse at searching or the answers to the above aren't in the Sonos FAQ.
Thought this might be useful to add to this thread...

Here is a quick way to find out what non-hidden WiFi channels are in use locally, using these Microsoft DOS commands (needs wifi card connection on Windows PC or laptop)...

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid |^
findstr /I /R "^ssid | channel | signal"

pause (just add this for batch file purposes only).

It does work, I’ve just tried it.
Thought this might be useful to add to this thread...

Here is a quick way to find out what non-hidden WiFi channels are in use locally, using these Microsoft DOS commands (needs wifi card connection on Windows PC or laptop)...

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid |^
findstr /I /R "^ssid | channel | signal"

pause (just add this for batch file purposes only).

It does work, I’ve just tried it.

Yikes. It's a lot simpler to just use NirSoft's WifiInfoView. No installation required. Depending on the wireless card it also displays all the hidden SSIDs.

FWIW on Android I'd recommend WiFiAnalyzer.
Yes, I use WifiInfoView too, the zipped standalone executable version, which comes with the help file. I’ve seen WifiAnalyser for Windows 10, but not tried that.

The only one I’ve seen for iOS is a 'hidden' feature in the Apple Airport Utility App, but not seen anything on the Apple App Store.

I assume Apple (sadly) don’t approve the kind of Apps, that scan outside of the local LAN.
I believe that iOS deliberately blocks these types of scanner apps. Even the ever-useful Fing app is no longer able to get MAC address info -- on the local LAN.
This is an excellent, helpful article. FYI, Mac has an excellent WiFi scanner built in to IOS. Just hover cursor over WiFi logo/bars at top of page, click option, click on wireless diagnostics, ignore (do not delete) screen that comes up, go to window menu and click on scan. Interestingly, Verizon Fios says it will only allow static IP addresses on business accounts, but that on an ethernet network, like SonosNet, it always returns to the same IP address for each device. If using an iPhone as a controller, turn WiFi assist off: settings, cellular, go to very bottom of page, turn off WiFi assist. Reason: if iPhone detects weak WiFi signal and goes to cellular data, Sonos seems to get confused because controller is no longer on the same WiFi network as Sonos and shuts down. Hope this helps.
Big windstorm last week knocked out power for an hour. After resetting my router, the Echo and Google devices failed to reconnect, but all my Sonos devices, connected to the Bridge in SonosNet mode, all started right up. I did have to unpair/re-pair the Ones in the kitchen, but everything else was fine.

Had to power cycle every Echo Dot/Show and Google Home/Hub. Wemo switch never did recover, grrrr.