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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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.
I think you have misinterpreted what was being said. @rjlawson's post was not about turning off wifi on your router, but disabling the wireless card on an individual ZP. Therefore so were my responses. Incidentally, @jgatie was referring to the undesirability of having some Sonos units connect over SonosNet and some over WiFi. The solution to this is to remove the WiFi credentials from Sonos (which may or may not be what you are saying).

As @ratty has implied in another post, this stuff is not covered on the Sonos website because 99.99% of users aren't interested in it and 0% of users actually need to know any of this. You are perfectly entitled to want to understand better, but what is on the Sonos website is what users actually need to get set up, which is exactly what should be there - no more and no less.
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Hi everyone, thanks for jumping in and answering questions. Some great information here from the regulars.

One thing that might help clear things up, WM:1 means that the player is connected to your home wireless network, WM:0 means it's either wired into the network or connected to a SonosNet connection through a Sonos device that's wired into your network. It's more rare to see both WM:1 and WM:0 on the same system as it would usually indicate a mixed mode configuration that we find can have routing trouble.

To post an official answer for you, when you have multiple Sonos players wired into the network they will be using Spanning Tree Protocol to determine the best route to the music, which usually means the wired players go through the wired network, and the wireless players connect to the closest wired device. The other connections stay active still, but minimal data passes over there unless it needs to, such as if you unplugged an ethernet cable.

I hope you've gotten most of your questions answered at this point, but let us know if any others come up.
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Hi everyone, thanks for jumping in and answering questions. Some great information here from the regulars.

One thing that might help clear things up, WM:1 means that the player is connected to your home wireless network, WM:0 means it's either wired into the network or connected to a SonosNet connection through a Sonos device that's wired into your network. It's more rare to see both WM:1 and WM:0 on the same system as it would usually indicate a mixed mode configuration that we find can have routing trouble.

To post an official answer for you, when you have multiple Sonos players wired into the network they will be using Spanning Tree Protocol to determine the best route to the music, which usually means the wired players go through the wired network, and the wireless players connect to the closest wired device. The other connections stay active still, but minimal data passes over there unless it needs to, such as if you unplugged an ethernet cable.

I hope you've gotten most of your questions answered at this point, but let us know if any others come up.



I am running some tests as I am having network loopback issues with multiple wired speakers and what you are stating appears to not be working. I have my managed switch as my root bridge with the lowest priority and one of the sonos directly attached to it. Once a second sonos gets connected, it appears to be prioritizing the sonosnet connection even though the path is obviously longer and therefore causes a loopback and crashes my network. My switch have loopback prevention preventing this but then the sonos remains on sonos net. If I reboot the sonos, it will start by prioritizing the sonos net.
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.


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.

Those questions are not agressive, they show the arrogance of the Sonos techs who don't even consider to answer. And yes, not being a Sonos tech makes youbless credible.

I have about 16 Sonos units and this is not a stable system. Even with Ethernet, it does not manage to play songs uninterrupted. The assumption that it "should just work" was why I bought it. In stead I am burning hours on tech support and sorting through piles of useless feedback and info on the Sonos community where the techs themselves don't deign to respond.

Looking forward to getting rid of the system and installing something that actually will work.
Userlevel 7
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I have about 16 Sonos units and this is not a stable system. Even with Ethernet, it does not manage to play songs uninterrupted. The assumption that it "should just work" was why I bought it. In stead I am burning hours on tech support and sorting through piles of useless feedback and info on the Sonos community where the techs themselves don't deign to respond.

Looking forward to getting rid of the system and installing something that actually will work.

Most people find Sonos quite stable, even with numerous devices. My Sonos setups are extremely reliable.

If you want some help on the forum, it would be worth knowing more about your problem and Sonos setup:

Under what conditions are you experiencing interruptions? What source are you streaming from, and to how many speakers are you streaming? Are they grouped? What Sonos devices do you have? What is your network architecture: how are things connected, and what's your network equipment? What upstream bandwidth do you have?