Apologies for the long post, but after struggling with dropping rooms and playback dropping out, I started trawling the net for solutions. I still see so many posts about issues and it seems to still be problematic for many. Keep in mind that SONOS is a wireless system and it is using the similar frequencies as standard WIFI. Therefore, there is likely going to be interference and this is going to cause problems.
Using your home WIFI to communicate with players is a no-no. Regardless
if SONOS says it can be done, the system is far too reliant on a pristine signal to talk to each device – even if it is only ONE player. Yes I have tried it many times and yes it was constantly failing.
WIFI in general is a mashup of many devices all querying devices and sending info – all conspiring to interrupt the signal – and it will. Many of us live in high density areas with hundreds of wifi signals bouncing around. I constantly had issues where the system said there was not enough bandwidth to playback. WTF. I can stream Netflix without issue – pretty sure Netflix is using far more bandwidth. Again, this seems to be a common issue and thought process.
I have implemented the below strategy on a number of systems now and it is holding up nicely. Sure there will be some hybrid setups out there that are going to test the limits of STP etc – if this is your issue then check for compatible routers/switches etc. Extensive and complex networks can cause other issues if not implemented correctly (yes some of you are probably network peeps).
If this doesn’t help then definitely get hold of SONOS support as there may be other issues at hand.
Couple of things:
If you are going to have a wireless SONOS system of more than one player, get a BOOST – regardless if you are connecting one of your units to a network outlet. They are easier to move around (explained later) and seem to have better signal transmission than some of the older units. You may also do this without a BOOST and have success – again, you just want to eliminate wifi and use the SONOSNET mesh network.
If you have one player, make sure it is plugged in to your network. For multi-unit setups with a BOOST, read on:
1. Connect up the Sonos units as per the instructions. You should have at least one device hardwired to the network at this point – This ideally will be a BOOST.
2. Once connected, open up your APP where you will be able to see the connected units under ‘About my System’
3. Use this information to assign a fixed IP address to EACH AND EVERY Sonos device – Including the BOOST. You will need to check with your router instructions (Google etc) on how to do this.
Simplest practice is to set a fixed DHCP range for roaming devices (phones, tablets etc) For example – 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.150 – this gives 50 addresses for devices to connect. This will also help prevent duplicate IP addresses being handed out – at least to SONOS devices anyway. Once you have done this, allocate the fixed IP addresses for SONOS outside this fixed range you have set up. This is an example of what I do and works. You may of course set it up however you wish with whichever IP range you choose. Just ensure that you have the fixed IP’s outside your standard DHCP range.
4. Unplug the SONOS devices. Restart the Router. Once it is back up, re-power the BOOST first. Then once it is up, re-power each SONOS device in turn.
5. Go back in to your SONOS app and check that each device now has the correct corresponding fixed IP address you have allocated. If not, double check everything carefully.
6. While you are in the SONOS app, check to see that each device has WM:0 against its listing. This is showing that it is using SONOSNET. If any are showing WM:1 then it is using your wifi. This is to be avoided.
7. If all above is done then open up a browser window and go to address:
the stars represent the IP address of one of your SONOS Players (not the BOOST)
This lists all of your SONOS devices and all of your controller devices. There’s some interesting info under each one but the best view is the “Network Matrix”.
Below is a screenshot example.
Sonos Local Diagnostics Network Matrix
There’s a few things to note here:
The Root Bridge
In the left column, one device will say “Root Bridge”. Sonos support inform me that this device is best set as the one which is most central to the premises and is hardwired to the network. This can be any Sonos device, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Sonos Boost. To change the Root Bridge, follow these steps:
In your web browser, go to http://:1400/advconfig.htm and “disable” the “FirstZP”. in this case is the IP address of your current Root Bridge. It doesn’t appear that this page reflects the current state so it’ll likely already have “disabled” selected. Just press the “Submit” button.
In your web browser, go to http://:1400/advconfig.htm and “enable” the “FirstZP”. in this case is the IP address of your desired Root Bridge.
In your web browser, go to http://:1400/reboot to reboot system system. in this case is the IP address of your desired Root Bridge.
The colours in the leftmost column indicate the level of noise and interference directly affecting that Sonos device. The colours go Red, Orange, Yellow and Green to signify a scale of really bad to really good respectively. The colours on the main cells of the table indicate which Sonos device is connecting to which other device in order to form the Sonos mesh network. In the screenshot above, you’ll see that Master Bedroom is connecting to Back Bedroom with a very good connection.
This is where the ability to move things around helps – IE the BOOST.
You’ll also see that the noise and interference surrounding living room, master bedroom and bathroom is very bad. The most common solution to this, so I’m told, is to change the wifi channel. This assumes you’ve already set the best device as the root bridge.
You can change the wifi channel in the Sonos desktop controller application by going to Manage->Settings->Advanced.
In my case, changing the channel from 1 to 11 improved things massively:
Credit to Phil Lavin For the above diagnostics images
OFDM signal level figures explained:
OFDM ANI level is a measurement of how well your Sonos components are coping with interference in your wireless environment. The lower your score the better. 0 is best, 9 is worst.
Depending on the age of your SONOS equipment, you’ll see either a OFDM Weak Signal or a OFDM ANI level recorded in the snapshot. This is a single digit number which runs from 0 to 9 and indicates how well the speaker can cope with local noise levels. Confusingly, the scores work in opposite directions for the two OFDM indicators when considering quality.
For OFDM Weak Signal, higher is better: 5 is best, zero is poor. For OFDM ANI, it works the opposite way, with 0 best and 9 the worst.
8. If you are showing RED on any device, then it is best to move them around to clear any interference as much as possible – the idea being to have them GREEN - or at least YELLOW. Hence why having a BOOST makes life easy. It is easy to move this around as it is not actually playing anything.
Finally, I would be very surprised if you have any issues following this setup. This has worked for me and may help others. Whilst SONOS is generally plug and play as they advertise, sometimes it just doesn’t want to play ball – and this is probably going to be caused by your own environment. Especially with everything wifi these days. As I said, this has worked for me and the setups I have done for others. I totally get the frustrations when it doesn’t work. I can now walk into any of these homes with the setups I have created, join the network, open Spotify and choose the playback device. Rock solid lockup and playing every time without dropouts and skipped tracks. There will of course be some areas that are just far too plagued with too many wifi signals – you may just have to run cables and be done with it.
Anyways, hope this helps.