Need help understanding Sonos wifi connection to router

  • 2 March 2018
  • 5 replies

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I have a PLAYBAR system with two PLAY:1 rear surrounds and a sub. Everything is connected wirelessly, no BRIDGE/BOOST or ethernet connected speakers. I recently had a power failure, and when my system came back up my devices got new IP addresses. I've been monitoring noise on my Sonos system, and noticed the IP had changed when the status pages failed to load. I went into my router and got the new IP address, but then I noticed that the phyerr statistics weren't matching up (I have the support/review page up as well as one specifically for the noise). Come to find out that the IP address handed out by my router was now for the LR surround, so I had been comparing that to the PLAYBAR. If I look at the Zone Players link, I can see the IP addresses of all the other components. But the router is only showing one of these. This is confusing me to no end. Why would the router only show one of those IPs as being in use, yet somehow additional IPs were handed out to the other components? Performance has been....inconsistent today, and I'm wondering if this is somehow caused by the PLAYBAR not having the IP address which is shown by the router. Any insight to why I'm seeing things like this, what problems this may cause, and how to fix would be appreciated!

Edit: I just noticed that the IP address listed in my router status page is changing before my eyes. Randomly picking up one of the 5 IP addresses for the Sonos components, I presume. But the MAC address isn't changing, which is the MAC address of the PLAYBAR. Very strange.

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5 replies

Why go into the router to ascertain the IP addresses? They're all available via About My Sonos System in any controller.

Routers differ, and I don't know what exactly yours is displaying. However the PLAYBAR is bridging its satellites (SUB, surrounds) onto the network, so it's not unexpected to find the PLAYBAR's MAC address being the one that's listed. Perhaps the router is instantaneously showing the source IP it last saw from that MAC, and it changes as the individual units issue packets.

As for why you might have been seeing inconsistent performance, the router reboot following the recent power failure could have left some IP addresses in use which the router's now lost track of. As a result it could have unknowingly issued conflicting/duplicate IPs subsequently. These should clear on their own within a day or so as leases renew.

By the way, reserving fixed IPs in your router is a good way of avoiding the possibilities of duplication. It's also handy to keep IPs fixed if you regularly refer to the internal status pages.
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I guess I'm just used to having to check the router device list for other devices that don't have controllers. This is the first time I've seen something like this, where devices have independent IP addresses but are somehow associated to only one MAC address. I understand the bridging; my Yamaha receiver in connected via an Airport Express, but both have their own MAC addresses listed. Really more curious than anything. I thought that ONLY the PLAYBAR was connecting to my wifi, and the speakers were connecting only to the PLAYBAR on its own 5GHz network.

I used to use DHCP reservations for all my devices, but when I changed routers I only set up a few for things I truly need to know where they are at all times (e.g. my NAS, RPi, certain home automation devices, etc). It was just too much to go through and set up 40 reservations that I don't really need for functional reasons :-)

As for the performance issues, I'm not sure they're related. I've had a lot of issues with cutouts but haven't been able to nail down any specific cause. It sounds like this arrangement of IP address and MAC is normal for the Sonos system and thus unlikely to be causing the dropouts.
I thought that ONLY the PLAYBAR was connecting to my wifi, and the speakers were connecting only to the PLAYBAR on its own 5GHz network.
That is indeed the case. Strictly speaking the PLAYBAR-satellite connections aren't a seperate network, just a separate segment of the same network. To the rest of the network it tends to look rather like a dual-band extender: 2.4GHz in and 5GHz out to its own client stations.
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It seems my confusion is probably more due to the router web UI than anything. If I'm understanding correctly, the PLAYBAR is bridging the connection (through it's private 5GHz network) but still getting the IP addresses from the router. The PLAYBAR is only reporting back its MAC address to the router, and since the router UI isn't designed to handle this, it's just showing me one of the IP addresses from the PLAYBAR system at random.

One of these days I should actually call tech support and see if they can sort through the setup and dropouts I'm experiencing. But most days it's not too bad (1-2 drops, usually surrounds/sub only) so I've just been dealing with it.

Thanks for your input!
Bridging is a network layer 2 operation. IP is at layer 3.