Wireless Issues

  • 23 January 2013
  • 17 replies
  • 3691 views

I purchased my second Sonos unit (a Play 3) last week to accompany my Play 5 I bought in April. However, in the Matrix I’m noticing that there are wireless issues I am trying to eliminate.

Just a brief rundown on what I've setup.

• I have the Play 5 wired to my Time Capsule and a USB drive connected to my Time Capsule where my music library is.
• The Play 3 is in another room connected wirelessly.
• Play 5 is the root bridge
• Time Capsule has Wide Channels disabled
• All wireless devices in my house have DHCP reservations ( to avoid duplicate IP addresses - as suggested by users on the Sonos forum)
• I have changed the TC to Channel 6 and Sonos to Channel 11 and vice versa. I have also done combinations of Channels 1 and 11 vice versa and 1 and 6 vice versa (during these tests both units were in Red and sometimes Orange and Yellow)
• The Play 5 is 3 feet away from the TC
• I use the following wireless devices (Apple TV, iPad and iPhone, Laptop that's wireless and a 2.5 GHz phone which I have shut off in my tests – but have turned back on)

So far, I have not experienced any audio drop outs, even when in party mode - although I am concerned that I am always in the "red" in the matrix. I bought a second Play 5 a couple months ago but it had horrible performance due to interference and I had to return it before I could get thorough assistance from Sonos (I was almost at the end of the return period).

As a side note, I do have a microwave but I have not used it in several days (I have heard people to say this can be an issue).

I've also attached a screen shot of the wireless activity around me (I have been running it for a day) in case there may be something in there to explain my wireless interference as well as a rough draft of the layout of my condo.

I have talked with Sonos Tier 2 Support – but no concrete response aside from the fact that other residents most likely have auto channels selecting which means their routers are constantly scanning and affecting my network. But is this not a reality for people living in a condo?

*** Raziel Central, Raziel Central 5GHZ Network and Raziel Central's Guest Network are mine.

http://picpaste.com/Networks-zxLu5F6E.png

http://picpaste.com/Layout-xEgXjm6S.png

17 replies

Userlevel 1
Dizzy Panda isn't you then? That looks like a very strong signal on Channel 11, which would make it difficult to use for you, I'd stick to 1 and 6 looking at that.

FBI Surveillance Van #27! Quality...
Dizzy Panda isn't you then? That looks like a very strong signal on Channel 11, which would make it difficult to use for you, I'd stick to 1 and 6 looking at that.

FBI Surveillance Van #27! Quality...


Raziel Central networks are mine. But on all my channels I have the same results in the matrix.
The radio environment looks very busy, and a lot of SSIDs are on channels which will inject noise into 1, 6 or 11.

Can you take a screen grab of your matrix? I'd suggest you blot out the MAC addresses for privacy.
The radio environment looks very busy, and a lot of SSIDs are on channels which will inject noise into 1, 6 or 11.

Can you take a screen grab of your matrix? I'd suggest you blot out the MAC addresses for privacy.


Hi Ratty. Here is the link for the screen capture of my matrix. Suprisingly, I'm in yellow/orange (as opposed to red for both units).

http://picpaste.com/matrix-T7d2ZIib.jpg

*** Edit - I forgot mention Sonos is on channel 1 and my TC is on channel 11
Signal strength is good, but the Players are clearly seeing a fair bit of noise. The fact that you're not seeing any dropouts suggests they're doing a decent job of noise rejection, despite complaining about it in the Matrix.

Is your cordless phone still alive? You say it's '2.5GHz'. Is that really 2.4GHz? Those can be bad news for Sonos. I take it you've eliminated wireless cameras, mice, etc from consideration.

Is there any electronics in close proximity to either Player?

Your wireless scan is missing a key piece of information: channel width. I'd bet one or two of those 802.11n SSIDs are 40MHz/wide channels. You could try a scan with inSSIDer.

If you wanted to be really serious you'd need a scan of everything in the 2.4GHz band, not just WiFi. This would require some extra hardware.

At the end of the day, the Sonos diagnostics will give the clearest indication of how each Players' transceivers see things.
Signal strength is good, but the Players are clearly seeing a fair bit of noise. The fact that you're not seeing any dropouts suggests they're doing a decent job of noise rejection, despite complaining about it in the Matrix.

Is your cordless phone still alive? You say it's '2.5GHz'. Is that really 2.4GHz? Those can be bad news for Sonos. I take it you've eliminated wireless cameras, mice, etc from consideration.

Is there any electronics in close proximity to either Player?

Your wireless scan is missing a key piece of information: channel width. I'd bet one or two of those 802.11n SSIDs are 40MHz/wide channels. You could try a scan with inSSIDer.

If you wanted to be really serious you'd need a scan of everything in the 2.4GHz band, not just WiFi. This would require some extra hardware.

At the end of the day, the Sonos diagnostics will give the clearest indication of how each Players' transceivers see things.


The phone is now back on and yes it is 2.4 GHz.

I don't have any wireless devices aside from those mentioned in my first post (and a BT mouse that's at my laptop station).

I have a TV (and my apple tv) on the opposide side of the wall where the Play 3 is. My router and laptop are at least 3 -6 feet away from the Play 5.

I guess I'm more concerned because I want to add additional players I just don't know if that will cause issues with these wireless problems.
The 2.4GHz phones are frowned upon. https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1063

Bluetooth can potentially intrude on account of its frequency agility, and TV/PC monitors can cause issues if very close to Sonos boxes.

Do you get precisely the same matrix picture of all the above are off? Eliminate any potential interferers inside your apartment from suspicion.

You can also have look at the /proc/ath_rincon/phyerr item for each Player in /support/review. This is a histogram of physical errors seen over the last 20 minutes. Excessive counts in the 10000 column and especially the 10000+ column are not welcome.
The 2.4GHz phones are frowned upon. https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1063

Bluetooth can potentially intrude on account of its frequency agility, and TV/PC monitors can cause issues if very close to Sonos boxes.

Do you get precisely the same matrix picture of all the above are off? Eliminate any potential interferers inside your apartment from suspicion.

You can also have look at the /proc/ath_rincon/phyerr item for each Player in /support/review. This is a histogram of physical errors seen over the last 20 minutes. Excessive counts in the 10000 column and especially the 10000+ column are not welcome.


I disconnected the phone for a couple days and still saw the same info in the matrix so I don't feel the phone is the issue.

However, when I get home tonight I'll unplug my TV and switch off my BT mouse - run the Sonos system for 20 minutes and see what the Matrix shows. I'll report back then.
Okay - unplugged TV phone and Apple TV (since they are in the vicinity of the Play 3) and disabled BT on the mouse and the laptop.

Posted the Matrix after 20 min of playing and the histogram of physical errors for the Play 3 and 5.

http://picpaste.com/second_matrix-VKh9FjC8.png

Play 3 Info
http://picpaste.com/Play_3-yIjoQ4Fp.jpg

Play 5 Info
http://picpaste.com/Play_5-ITdzDDdH.jpg
Canadaboi,

Were you experiencing any audible problems in the 20 minute window? A few errors in the 5000 column are not usually an issue, but I start to get nervous when there are entries in this column.

Start keeping a written log of issues because you may discover unexpected correlations. I once had a "random" issue that turned out to be not so random after a little logging.
Those phyerr logs look pretty innocuous to me. The high ANI level in the bedroom Play:3 remains a mystery.

It might be interesting to try repositioning the P:3 in different locations around the apartment.
Canadaboi,

Were you experiencing any audible problems in the 20 minute window? A few errors in the 5000 column are not usually an issue, but I start to get nervous when there are entries in this column.

Start keeping a written log of issues because you may discover unexpected correlations. I once had a "random" issue that turned out to be not so random after a little logging.


Buzz, I experienced no audible problems. Music from my iTunes library, as well as internet radio worked without any issues. However, I'm still concerned, especially since I have plans to purchase more units in the future and want to minimize or fix the issue altogether.

Ratty, I will do that tonight and post what I see in different locations.
Well I moved the Play 3 (Master Bedroom in Matrix) to 3 other locations in my condo - not much luck I still see poor wireless.

Location # 2

http://picpaste.com/Matrix_copy-CBLnLLWB.jpg

http://picpaste.com/play3-84QPnRjs.jpg

Location # 3

http://picpaste.com/matrix-EolPU89b.jpg

http://picpaste.com/play3-3tYvacQc.jpg

Location # 4

http://picpaste.com/matrix-5PZbOh6a.jpg

http://picpaste.com/play_3-x7rk1Dtj.jpg
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However, I'm still concerned, especially since I have plans to purchase more units in the future and want to minimize or fix the issue altogether.
One great advantage of mesh networks like Sonosnet is that more nodes tend to make the network more robust. More units may fix your (perceived, not actual) problem...
Well I moved the Play 3 (Master Bedroom in Matrix) to 3 other locations in my condo - not much luck I still see poor wireless.
Presumably it's a function of the WiFi congestion that your earlier scan showed up. BTW did you ever try running inSSIDer to identify whether any of the neighbouring WiFis are 40MHz/wide channels?

The fact that you're not encountering any audio breakup suggests that the wireless is not exactly 'poor', though it could be 'challenging'. The Ambient Noise Immunity (for this is what ANI stands for) is ramping up and dealing with things.

The colouring in the matrix is perhaps slightly alarming, but then one shouldn't lose sight of the fact that these are diagnostics not intended for user consumption.

As mikewu99 validly observes, the great thing about the SonosNet mesh is it's self-reinforcing as more units are added. And to be honest the original signal strength readings between your two Players were very good.
Thanks everyone. The fact that adding more units can make the Sonos network more robust is reassuring. I've moved the unit back to its original spot and hope I don't become negatively impacted by the wireless signals of everyone's router in my building.

I didn't use inssider because I use a Mac, and I didn't want to pay for an app I would just use for this one purpose.
I didn't use inssider because I use a Mac, and I didn't want to pay for an app I would just use for this one purpose.
Ah, okay. It's free for Windows and Android.

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