Tips: Running Sonos wired and wireless in a pure Unifi (Ubiquiti) network environment

  • 20 September 2018
  • 3 replies
  • 1588 views

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Background:

I live in 4 floor concrete house a wifi dead zone. I run a full Unifi setup with one access point per floor(AC-PROs). I have Sonos in 4 rooms. With all 4 rooms wireless I had a few issues. I was suffering with dropouts, rooms would disappear. It sucked.

So I hardwired a speaker. Stability improved massively. No more missing rooms some dropouts. However, I noticed that all of my Sonos speakers were connecting to the network via the single speaker which was sub optimal.

So next I wired up a few more speakers but they refused to connect over the wired cable preferring to mesh with their buddy. So after much gnashing of teeth and lots of pawing through community pages I did some tweaking on the spanning tree settings. Below are some tips for running a mixed wired and wireless setup.

My Network Topology:

A) Service provider fibre modem -> USG -> US-8-150W -> Sonos One {hardwired}
😎 Service provider fibre modem -> USG -> US-8-150W -> US-8-150W -> Sonos One (or Sonos Beam) {hardwired}

Configuration tips for Unifi and Sonos:

- Unifi Access Point settings
- Multi-AP environment settings
---> Transmit power 'medium' or (better) 'low' never 'high' and not 'auto'(auto sets high by default)

- Switch settings
--> Services
---> Spanning Tree set to 'STP' not 'RSTP'
---> Priority '4096'

What the settings above do:

Switches - Without getting into spanning tree. Changing the switch settings on the managed switch means that a wired Sonos device will connect via the wired connection then if it can't it will connect wirelessly via an access point or via Sonos mesh(through a visible wired Sonos device).

APs - Access points have powerful radios(loud voices). Most devices using Wifi don't(quiet voices). By dropping Transmit power down to 'low' or 'medium' it means that a wireless device will (most of the time) chose the closest Access Point. This prevents the following scenario: a Sonos speaker(quiet voice) on the second floor hearing and connecting to a basement AP(loud voice) but not having the power to broadcast to the basement AP.

3 replies

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Did some vetting with Sonos Support today on new network design. To be clear, I'm a hobbyist in this regard and have a design approach now, but this will need validation on set-up. Grateful for any comments, particularly if design may be or is broken.

Ubiquiti environment will look like following link except there will be two POE (US8-150W) serial switches after EdgeRouter X (ERX) on port 4 to allow multiple UAP-AC-IW/LR/PRO:

https://github.com/mjp66/Ubiquiti/blob/master/Ubiquiti%20Project%20Brochure.pdf
Reference: https://github.com/mjp66/Ubiquiti/blob/master/Ubiquiti%20Home%20Network.pdf

Sonos implementation:

Connect one Sonos Player and one Sonos bridge to ERX port 3. Player needs hardwire ethernet internet connection and Sonos bridge expands Sonosnet based on Sonos Support advice.

Configure Sonos units using Sonosnet (not wireless network). Set/force Sonosnet to use one of 2.4GHz channels, other 2.4 GHz devices on remaining channels. Use 5GHz as much as possible on other devices that have 5GHz capability.

On the switches, disable RSTP, enable STP, first switch set at 4096, second serially attached switch at 8192. Sonos Support staff stated they are not aware that RSTP is supported

Kudos to all those who have posted or made these resources available.
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Congratulations. Unifi and Sonos is awesome. I love my setup. I need to update this post I left a few things out. Good point on the downstream switch priority. As you state that needs to be set to 8192. Yep no RSTP support.

Can I recommend two things to you? Do an RF scan using the AP. Then set the AP channels manually not auto based on what's not in use. Also try and stick with non-DFS channels for both 2.4 and 5 ghz

I'll add in some stuff on putting your SONOS on secure VLANs later as well.
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Thanks for recommendations. Had been exploring RF scan with other devices, but ill give it a shot using APs. Wise advice on channels.

I like the secure VLAN idea for Sonos, No actual work yet, but exploring putting all ER traffic behind VPN, in my case PIA:

https://medium.com/@mbmccormick/put-your-home-network-behind-a-vpn-using-private-internet-access-and-an-edgerouter-x-741c84a44e42

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9dXiKhDVl0

Thx
- CK

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