Play5 suddenly dropped when wireless

  • 17 January 2017
  • 19 replies

Hello all. I think I have a faulty speaker, but thought I'd check with the community before I try to return it. I bought the Play 5 Nov 28. I also have two Play 1's in my system. Everything worked beautifully until a couple days ago, when I suddenly lost connected to the 5. After trying to reboot it several times, and even changing locations so it's closer to the router, I finally ended up connecting it directly to the router and it was discovered and works fine. Unplug it and it drops. My other two Play1's are working fine throughout. I think I can still exchange it at Best Buy and get a new one, but is there some chance I'm missing something? Thanks in advance! --Nic

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19 replies

Thanks Shark. I really appreciate it. I will do as you suggest (right after I watch my afternoon golf tournament!) I did do the full shutdown this morning. Turned everything off and brought the back online in the suggested order. I'll first try the factory reset on the 5 and then the SonosNet option. I'll post results tomorrow probably. Enjoy your Sunday.
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Clearly seems the play 5 is failing to effectively communicate on the network and that will cause all sorts of oddities in behaviour, potentially skipping songs, playback challenges, etc. etc. I suspect when you solve the problem with the 5, you will solve the problem..

Sounds more and more and more like you have an IP conflict with the 5, but if you've fully shut down everything on your network and then powered everything back up one at a time, then that should be cleaned up your addressing...

At this point, I'd reset the 5... see if that does it...

Then plug in a 1 into the router (keep it at least 5 feet away) and set SonosNet on a different channel from the router and see what happens to the signal where you want the 5.
Not to add to the conundrum, but now that I have a situation where I can play music through the play 5 alone, but not connected as a group to the other two play1's. The play1's play grouped together but when I add the play5 it won't play. I'm sure it's related to my original problem somehow but I don't know how.:?
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Perhaps, but that would be a determination that only the Staff could likely determine.

... you would lose log data if you do a factory reset of the 5... The other devices will retain your preferences data.... but it may be worth trying if you want to try that.... just a thought, but I'd be sure that you submit your diagnostic **before** you do a factory reset...
I didn't try that yet. I'm just so damn baffled by the fact that the Play1 is fine in the living room location but the Play5 isn't. Doesn't that imply that there's something wrong with the wifi hardware in the play5? How are they so different?
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yes... run a diagnostic and the SonosStaff can look and perhaps see what may be causing the problem.

When you submit the diagnostic, record the number and post it here so the staff can take a look and have a way to get back to you...

A note on your complete reboot... Just making sure you shut everything off so all devices that use the internet (computers, pronters, Sonos, etc. etc)along with the router and any modem were all off at the same time... (not just power-cycled each one at a time...) If you have, that should force the router to provide refreshed IP address and if the Play5 were having a problem IP, it should be reassigned a "clean" IP... (FYI - For future - you can assign/reserve IP addresses to specific devices that are typically on your network in your router admin menu to avoid having IP conflicts happen in the future)

hmmm ...

This begs the question if there is something generating wireless interference in the Living Room space... baby monitors, wireless phones, wireless hub products.... Or are there very significant barriers to wireless.... Stone walls, mirrors, that cause severe attenuation... hmmm

Perhaps take your iPhone with the scanner on and place it in the space you have been placing the Play 5 and see what it says about your network signal...

Any luck trying to use SonosNet temporarily?

I do hope you get this solved soon 🙂
I now have my router set to channel 1; it seems to be the best candidate from interference from neighboring routers. I went through the entire reboot sequence with all my devices as suggested above. Same result. The Play5 (named Living Room) doesn't show up when I place it in it's original intended location in the living room but it does when it's a few feet from the router. FYI the router is in the only place they were able to install it that had a working phone line in the entire house. I live in a three level home and it's at the front of the house on the main level. I had a Play 1 (named Studio)in the lower level, furthest point from the router and with the most potential for losing the signal, and it connected flawlessly. I have another play1(named Kitchen) which is the next closest to the router, it connects perfectly. I took Studio and placed it in the location where the play5 should be and it also connects there without an issue. It only seems to be a problem for the 5. Would it help if I run a diagnostic at this stage while the Play5 is connected (even though it's not where I want it)? Thanks again for all the assistance.
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Hi Dutchman.

The networks lists in order of signal strength with the strongest at the top.

The switching is because the reading of relative strength can vary particularly if there are 2 close in strength..

If you walk around you house, the switching up and down will potentially tell you where the networks are coming from 🙂

Channels 1-11 are channels in the 2.4Ghz range of wifi use and are the channels the Sonos system uses for general speaker to speaker communication. Channels like 153, etc are in the 5Ghz ranges. Many routers set up multiple wifif segments with one being 2.4 and another one (or more) being in the 5Ghz range.

There is a lot of overlap between the wifi channels... (think of an FM radio station you want to hear, but a neighbouring station just "beside it on the dial" causes noise/static/interference...) so it is suggest you keep at least 5 channels between your SonosNet channel and the router's. So use 1,6, or 11. (10 where you live? I know there are regional differences at the channels available at the top end, but I don't know exactly what they are... we don't need to worry about it)

Note that a signal of -20 is stronger than -96....

Find the channel that has the weakest, (and ideally fewest, but strength matters a lot here) networks and you will see where you may want to place SonosNet if you decide to use and where you want to place your router...


Just to be ridiculous on the detail 🙂

Here is a screen shot of an app I use on my Mac to provide a visual portrayal

You can see My network ("McDougallNet") I've place SonosNet on "1"... but when I did there was nobody there... they do change from time to time - still, the ones that are there are weak signals so I will leave SonosNet there unless something changes more. (You will also see my Router creating 2 5Ghz segments as well.)

With a physical connection at the router, I don't need to worry about my controllers connecting the 2.4 or 5, because they can all route back to the physically connected boost I have. Pure wifi can sometime be a problem if a controller is on 153 and the Sonos Devices are on 6, depending on the router...
Thanks so much, Shark! I just installed the airport utility app and scanned the neighbors--feels like spying, ha ha-- that's very cool, but it's a little puzzling in that the various routers keep flipping around. So to what do I need to really pay attention in order to select the best channel for my router? Watching it for a minute or so I can see that channels 1, 6 and 10 seem to be the most prevalent with signal strenghts up to around 91 dBm. There are a couple odd ones like 153 and 157. Layman's question: Can I pick any channel or is there a reason that I don't see 4's or 5's etc.? --Dutch
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...can a Play1 device serve as that SonosNet unit? ...

Any Sonos device will work... the Play one will do fine.

As I said, the "Boost" device has been developed almost entirely for this purpose if you decide you don't want to "waste" a speaker in that location. (keep it a good 5-6 feet from your router) As it keeps the cost of doing so down and avoids an unused speaker. Incidentally, the Boost can also be used unwired simply to provide a relay point for the mesh network... something that can go in a physical space between two players to allow the wifi connect through it... as any speaker does.

I will also try changing the router to another channel.

Definitely do this, and I recommend finding a simple app that will show you local networks and their channels and strengths first so you know why you selecting one as opposed to selecting "blind"
- Incidentally, if you have an iPhone, the free AirPort Utility app from Apple can do this... (you do need to set the "Wi-Fi Scanner" to "on" in the Settings for the app once you install it, but it gives a simple display of networks in strength order.).

Also I have a LOT of devices connected to wifi between my sister (who with I share the house) and myself. I added them up: 13! Does that seem excessive for a router to handle? --Dutch

depending on what you are doing with them ....and the demand they place on the router... and the specs of the router...
a bit hard to say, but I suspect strongly this number is not a major concern.

Best of luck, post back and let us know how it goes
Thanks, Shark! That's a lot of info for an old Dutchman to digest in one sitting! No, I do appreciate the help. Ideally I don't have a speaker connected directly because my modem is located in a room where I don't really want a music playing but for the sake of testing this out; can a Play1 device serve as that SonosNet unit? I could make that work I think.I will also try changing the router to another channel. Also I have a LOT of devices connected to wifi between my sister (who with I share the house) and myself. I added them up: 13! Does that seem excessive for a router to handle? --Dutch
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Hi Dutchman, Welcome back,

Unstable networking challenges, network interference, etc. are by far the most common threads I've seen on this board. The advice CapnLes gave above often resolves a significant issue with addressing on networks that shows up a surprising amount.

Your issue seems more likely to suggest that you may be struggling with network interference / wifi noise, etc.

The thing is, depending on where you live, there are always things changing in the 2,4Ghz radio space that your equipment operates in. Routers often have an "auto" mode that lets them change 2.4Ghz wifi channels in an effort to find free/ less noisy/ space. This can mean that, as a simple example, perhaps your neighbours have a router on 6 today, but on 11 tomorrow... and you were great when they were on 6, but the noise they are creating on 11 creates lots of interference, etc. for you... Or maybe even yours moved in error and now occupies a space that a neighbour is on... this can be resolved and typically there are ways to improve the environment that may simply mean being aware of what can create challenges.

Are any of your devices wired permanently to the router? When you do this, you enable the Sonos devices to create their own wifi mesh network among themselves (called "SonosNet"). This is also referred to as a "Boost Setup" (terrible branding name in my opinion) because this is the primary use of the Sonos Boost device. This allows the Sonos devices to take a load of wifi data management off the router, and allows it to move to a different wifif channel to limit the conflicting noise multiple devices on a network can cause each other. If you do set up SonosNet, you can set the channel the SonosNet uses, then log into your router admin page and set the router to a different network to create separation of this wifi noise.

If it isn't practical at this time to wire a player, you can still identify the channel your router is using and consider changing it. You should use 1,6, or 11... there is a lot of overlap on these channels so there are not really 11 different communication tunnels that are isolated... (think of a neighbouring FM radio station causing static on a station you want to listen to).

You can also get simple apps to determine what channels are in use near you are their relative strength... that can help you make an informed selection of a channel to use.

Also recognize that 2.4Ghz phones can cause substantial interference and should not be near a player or router... likewise with wireless baby monitors, home automation hubs, etc., etc.

Try changing your channel on your router, provide distance for any potentially conflicting devices, and post back and let us know how it is going...

Posting a diagnostic from the app and posting the number here will allow a Sonos Staff member to review it eventually and get back to you.... they can often identify noise/interference issues, etc.... But, I think they can only see what the system sees at the time of submission... so having the 5 connected would be better when you submit.
Thanks for the responses. Here's where I'm at now: I did return my Play5 and exchanged it for a new one. Plugged it in and place in the same location. Viola! except that a couple weeks went by and it disappeared again. It happened when my son-in-law came to visit for the weekend and asked for my wifi password so he could surf on his phone. So it made sense after realizing what took place that it was a bandwidth issue or an IP address problem. So I'm back to troubleshooting this thing. I have a CenturyLink supplied router/modem, a Zyxel. This morning I went in and set the option to channel 1. Rebooted the router and went about the process of booting up the play5. It couldn't find it. Tried several times. Finally connected it directly to the router and it identified it. Moved it back to it's original location. Couldn't find it. Moved it closer to the router. Couldn't find it. Moved it right next to the router... found! But why can't I put it in it's original spot? I moved one of my two Play1 speakers to that location and it had no troubling connecting. Any ideas? Thanks in advance. --Dutch
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Rolf.. I'm uncertain why you'd post on here and ignore the advice you apparently asked for... (It looks like the OP resolved their issue I presume) You may be correct... Your wireless in your speaker may be gone... but the advice being recommended (which may have been directed to the OP by the way) is trying to help you eliminate any potential problems to get your system up and running flawlessly as quickly as possible... I presume that is why you are here asking... if I misunderstand your intent perhaps you can explain what you were looking for

But... The idea of a router losing track of IP assignments, or perhaps should better explained more in terms of a client device causing IP assignment error, is a very very common source of challenges somewhat like you may be experiencing. (doesn't typically simply disappear upon being unplugged.)

Yes, obviously the wifi radio in your unit could be fried... but just in case, it is worth trying to eliminate the most common problems

Let's build a scenario for how IP conflicts may materialize... you have a computer that refreshes its IP address with the router... let's just say then your computer goes into hibernation... as far as the router is concerned it is gone...
Now your Sonos Speakers request an IP address (perhaps rebooted, post 7.1 software update) and gets assigned
You wake the computer that was in hibernation.. and it simply tries to communicate over the network... No other devices on the network should have much of an issue... their addresses are working.... it is the challenge of the devices with conflicts that causes problems...

Simply power cycling your router will not necessarily clear IP assignments. It requires all devices on the network be shut off and restarted so they request new IP addresses. You may not believe this, but very very clearly - based on the number of experiences here on this board, this solution solves many networking problems people experience.

If you have other Sonos Devices on your Network... are you running on SonosNet? (e.g. do you keep one permanently connected, or use a boost for this?) If so, look in the app at "About my Sonos System" and see how the problematic Play 5 is identified as running (Wm:0 or Wm:1) ... 0 is on the SonosNet mesh network. It may help to identify the challenge.... I'm also thinking you may wish to submit a diagnostic when the device is not wired *as well* so if the system can see it, the logs may capture what the challenge is in communicating with the device...

Best of luck
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You should post a diagnostic reference for support staff to review, Rolf. Do it whilst the P5 unit is wired.
Im sorry but i do not agree, i have flushed my arp, reset my router, which is a Cisco ASA6506, everything else is working as it should, but there is no way i hell this "one only" play5 will connect wireless. It works with a cable, i have reset the wireless options in the app, to make sure password and everything is correct, and to make sure that the system is able to work wireless.
I have another play5 gen 2 that is working fine wireless. When i look in my router i only se the mac adr. once, and thats when it's connected by cable.
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Hello and welcome to the Sonos community

Odds are there is nothing wrong with your speaker

Connection problems which appear suddenly are often caused by network problems, not Sonos problems. The typical cause is duplicate IP addresses. These often show up after an update or power outage because a reboot requires the device to request a new IP, and the router, having lost track of current IP assignments, issues a new IP that is in use by another device. Rebooting the router may correct this temporarily, but it actually exacerbates the problem because as soon as another IP lease expires, it starts handing out duplicates again. To cure this, do the following:

Reboot/power cycle your devices in the following order:

Switches or hubs
Wired Sonos units
Wireless Sonos units
Wireless devices - phones/tablets etc.

Allow each device to come back up before proceeding to the next. Note that you can permanently prevent duplicate IP addresses by assigning an IP to each device's MAC address in the router setup. See your router manual for details.
I have the exact same problem right now, it works with a network cable, but won't work un the wireless netowork. It Worked until yesterday. I have other Speakers connected and working with my wireless network right now??