Mutiple ethernet connections are bogus and not in use (except for one)


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Hopefully someone from Sonos tech support will respond. A clarification provided by actual Sonos tech support would be helpful for all of us.

Please also note the recommendation at the bottom of this post, which comments on the grossly inadequate setup instructions on your main web site, and why so many are confused as to how Sonos works.

There are many posts from Sonos users who are plugging multiple speakers and Connects into ethernet and clearly believe that they are utilizing a hardwire ethernet signal with each one. Is that correct? From what I can tell, the belief of many users -- based on posts in this forum -- that every device plugged into ethernet is using ethernet is not correct. They may have the emotional belief to reassure themselves that they have the advantage of hardwire speed, but in fact, they are NOT using ethernet on all of those Sonos devices. It appears that the multiple ethernet connections used by many Sonos owners are completely and utterly useless, except for one such connection that performs the boost function, as explained below. All of the rest of the ethernet connections might as well be unplugged. And anyone with one device connected to ethernet should not go to the trouble to plug any additional Sonos devices into ethernet as the hardwired connection won't be used.

If I'm wrong, Sonos tech support can respond to this posting and to the specific questions posed below.

In my case I have three Connects hardwired to ethernet, and a Play 3 hardwired to ethernet, with another Play 3 using Sonos wireless as a stereo pair. I have one Sonos 5 playing wirelessly, and it drops out on occasion, probably due to a house with plaster walls and a basement with concrete block construction.

(1). Based on my own tests, and from reading this forum, my understanding is that a single Connect if plugged into ethernet creates a Boost mode, and after that, all Sonos devices are interacting by using the Sonos proprietary network, aka SonosNet, which is NOT the same as your home network.

Is that correct?

(For anyone with multiple ethernet connections, just unplug them one by one and they will play continuously with no drops outs, because they are not using ethernet in the first place. Leave each one unplugged until you get to the last Connect acting as a Boost, and when you unplug that, the system will stop playing. If you want to confirm that it it is the Sonos wireless system that Boost uses, just disable your network wireless within Sonos by returning it to default, so your own network is not used. Do that first, which will confirm that your home network is not used when using a single Sonos device plugged into ethernet, because that single Sonos device is acting as the Boost and then triggering the SonosNet. If you have a single Connect, you will also see that everything is labelled as WM 0 -- that all devices are using the SonosNet.)

(2). Does that mean that all the ethernet connections that I now have plugged in are completely useless and not used by Sonos, except for one, which is serving as the Booster?

Is that correct?

(3). It is impossible to tell which Connect is performing that function, since all devices are labeled as WM 0 which simply means that they are all using SonosNet? And I presume if one Connect is removed, then another immediately takes over as the Boost function?

Is that correct?

(4). Does Sonos ever default to using the ethernet connection on a specific device if SonosNet wireless drops the connection? As far as I can, it does NOT do so even if ethernet is connected to that Sonos device running from the router.

Is that correct?

(5). Does Sonos ever default to using the home network on a device if SonosNet wireless drops the connection if the home network has been activated? Again, as far as I can tell, it does NOT do so.

Is that correct?

(6). Finally, if a wireless Sonos device, using SonosNet, is suffering from drop outs when using a Connect and thus Boost, there is nothing that can be done. The owners of Sonos are screwed in that scenario. It is not possible to direct one device that is suffering from drop outs to use ethernet even if it is plugged in, or to use the home network. Once a single Connect is plugged in (or a Sonos wireless speaker that uses ethernet) then the SonosNet wireless system takes over; SonosNet is then used for all devices; and in fact, the Sonos owner does NOT have the option to override the SonosNet system and let a single device use either ethernet or the home network.

Is that correct?

SUMMARY -- If the above is correct, it would be really helpful if Sonos would actually create an up-to-date set up page that explains to everyone how ethernet is used -- or not; when the home network is used versus the Sonos network; what WM 0 versus WM 1 means; and whether with Boost an individual Sonos component can be directed to NOT use the Sonos network and instead use ethernet. The answer may be no, but Sonos should nonetheless provide a page at the top of its setup directions that covers these topics.

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I am not sure why you have adopted such an aggressive tone, especially as yiu are wrong on almost every count. But I don't suppose you will believe me, as I am not Sonos tech.
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Because it is impossible to find a Sonos setup page that covers these questions. If you know of one, please provide the link.

It simply should not be necessary for a Sonos owner to plow through page after page in this forum to discover how the devices work. Any properly managed company can provide those answers in the main support section.

I posted so that Sonos tech support can clarify these questions. This forum is filled with completely contradictory information. That is in large part because Sonos does not provide a single set up page that covers these questions.

There are posts that lead you to believe that every ethernet connection, to every device, is active and utilized. There are posts that say the opposite, that if one device is connected to the ethernet, then the Boost mode and SonosNet is activated, and is then used by all other devices. Which would mean that ethernet is not used on those devices.

Which is correct? I posted a series of questions asking Sonos tech support to clarify.

One thing is clear: the Sonos app does not clearly tell you what type of connection each device is using, other than WM 0 which means Boost mode.
This is all anyone needs to know

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3046/~/choosing-between-a-standard-and-boost-setup

Setup is a simple matter of following on screen instructions in 99.99% of cases
You are confusing two different things. This is very simple:
1. Only one device needs to be wired to make SonosNet active, in which case all WIRELESS communications between Sonos devices will use SonosNet not WiFi,
2. Where there is a wired path the network will almost certainly prefer it to a wireless alternative.

So the wired connections are not 'bogus'

That essentially answers all of your questions
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That web page does not respond to my questions, or clarify the issues raised in my post. It does strongly imply that my statements were in fact correct.

I'll wait for a response from Sonos tech support.
Please read my last post. You are totally wrong.
You have confused how many Ethernet connections it takes to make SonosNet active (one) and how many are used for data transfer (all of them)
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Since there is not a single official Sonos document that says that, I'll wait for a response from Sonos tech support. If your assertion is correct, then unplugging the ethernet cable would cause a drop out in the music. (This assumes the use of multiple Connects or devices, all plugged into ethernet, with one acting as the Booster.) It might be slight, it might be momentary, but there would be a drop out while that device switches over to SonosNet. That simply does not happen. When multiple devices are plugged into ethernet, and one is unplugged from ethernet, it continues to seamlessly play with absolutely no drop out, not even for a second. Why? Because the device is not using ethernet in the first place.

I won't respond to you again, and will wait for Sonos tech support to provide an official response. Of course, assuming that Sonos tech support responds to questions on their own support forum may be another fallacious assumption on my part.

An answer from them to my questions would be useful for many of us, since their support documents do not speak to those questions and issues.
Have you never heard of a cache? Of buffering? Are you aware that the cables are carrying packets of digital data not music? Music would stop when cable disconnected? Jeez. Is this actually a wind-up? I'm definitely outahere.
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As I said, you did not read my post or perform the same test. When you unplug each Connect or speaker from ethernet one at a time, they will all keep playing continuously with no drop outs at all, strongly suggesting they are connected to SonosNet and not to ethernet. All of the official Sonos docs strongly suggest that is the case -- that a single device connected to ethernet is the booster, and all others then are forced on to SonosNet -- but Sonos only implies that, and does not explicitly explain how the system works.

And when you get to the last device and unplug it from ethernet, the data stream and music INSTANTLY stops. (I had my network disabled on Sonos, because the purpose of the test was to determine if ethernet devices were using ethernet or SonosNet.).

So much for your assertion of a cache or buffering. The last device would continue to play if it used a cache or a buffer. It does not.

Hopefully Sonos will respond on Monday.
Hopefully Sonos will respond on Monday.
In the meantime perhaps you should read this thread. Google for the terms there that you don't understand, in particular 'spanning tree protocol', and do some background reading. After that you might wish to reflect on your incorrect assumptions.
You can see the Sonos Network Matrix at:
http://(sonosip):1400/support/review
Any connection that's using Ethernet between the zone & root bridge will be grey instead of coloured. There's plenty of threads on here about the matrix and what everything means.

You can turn the wifi off on an individual zone with http://(sonosip):1400/wifictrl?wifi=persist-off which will force it to only use Ethernet.
(MOD EDIT: This is not advised and is, in fact, unsupported)

The zones will constantly monitor the wireless paths to each other zone. STP is pretty quick at re-routing so when you disconnect your Ethernet cable the wireless can take over without interrupting your music.
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Thanks for your response. The links you provided don't work. Any particular threads you recommend? I searched under quite a few words and phrases, but did not know to search under matrix.
The links got mangled when I posted. Replace (sonosip) with the IP address of a zone.
Thanks for your response. The links you provided don't work. Any particular threads you recommend? I searched under quite a few words and phrases, but did not know to search under matrix.You have to substitute the IP address of a Sonos player for sonosiip, not just click the link.
Although turning off wireless is not recommended.
Never have so many assumptions been made based on so much that just isn't so, with such an unmatched level of false assuredness.

Stop now, before you embarrass yourself further.
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Ok. Apologies to all. I should have posted a simple set of questions. Allow me to do so, and I'd appreciate it if Ratty, agatie, or rjlawson can respond. For what it's worth, I did extensive searches, but did not know to search under the word "matrix."

It is true that the Sonos docs don't respond to the questions I posed, and the document that Ratty referred me to is not that useful or accessible for the average Sonos user. But since I posted an undiplomatic set of questions, I suppose I deserved condescending responses. So may I again apologize and start over with two initial questions?

(1). When using a Boost mode with multiple Connects and speakers connected to ethernet, are all ethernet connections active and receiving data? The Sonos docs and their diagrams appear to imply that is not the case.

(2). When using Boost mode, with a home network configured within Sonos, and one device not connected using ethernet -- would that device only connect using SonosNet or would it also use the signal from the router if that is stronger?

Many thanks for any responses to those two initial questions.
!) STP routing will always choose the most efficient route for the data, which will be the wired over the wireless route 99.9 % of the time.

2) Unless the WiFi credentials are configured and there is no connection to a Sonosnet node possible, it will always connect to Sonosnet.
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Many thanks! And thanks to rjlawson for the link to the Matrix. I researched that within the forum and learned how to read the various colors and references to secondary versus tertiary. And in the process confirmed that everything connected with ethernet is, in fact, using ethernet. As jgatie also confirmed.

!) Unless the WiFi credentials are configured and there is no connection to a Sonosnet node possible, it will always connect to Sonosnet.

If WiFi configured and if the connection to Sonosnet is not as strong as WiFi, will it defer to WiFi or will it use the weaker SonosNet connection?
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It will still defer to SonosNet as long as it is able to communicate with another Sonos device via SonosNet, even if the WiFi signal is stronger.
Not sure what it would do in that case. A dual WiFi/Sonosnet mode system is not recommended.
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If WiFi configured and if the connection to Sonosnet is not as strong as WiFi, will it defer to WiFi or will it use the weaker SonosNet connection?


The article linked above states that it is recommended to remove wifi credentials when setting up a SonosNet / Boost setup. Therefore preventing reconnection to wifi (directly). This is a step I had in fact missed when I set up mine. But from a simple matrix review it seems to be a good recommendation as I have much more green on my matrix than before and less issues with room grouping. So I would concluded based on my experience this weekend that devices that were happily connecting to Boost (whilst the system was unintentionally configured in mixed mode), would indeed use wifi where the boost signal was not strong enough. But this can bring some strange behaviour to stream continuity when grouping and ungrouping rooms as I discovered. I previously had the boost and router close together (not best practice but recently moved into a new home and awaiting work done so made do). Since said work is completed I moved the router and boost to what I thought were better, more optimal locations and then found that some sonos units were connecting to wifi and others to the boost. Both are located in same room, just now at opposite ends). Since removing the wifi credentials boost has worked much better - so it seems so far.
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Although turning off wireless is not recommended.

I had turned WiFi back on based on JohnB, who also referred me to a basic Sonos setup page that doesn't address any of these questions.

Not sure what it would do in that case. A dual WiFi/Sonosnet mode system is not recommended.

I will now turn it off again, which is easy enough by just telling Sonos to revert to the defaults.
the document that Ratty referred me to is not that useful or accessible for the average Sonos user.
It was never intended to be. For the average Sonos user it all 'just works'. The magic of spanning trees -- or indeed of peer-to-peer direct routing in groups/bonds -- goes on in the background.

My intention was, in part, to help you understand that there's more sophistication to this stuff than you'd first assumed.