I’ve now untangled several home networks which were brought to a grinding halt due to network “broadcast storms” caused by Sonos music players. This is avoidable and stupid network engineering on Sonos’s part. Here’s more about why this happens:
With networks, it has always been best practice to connect devices via Ethernet cable, whenever possible. Ethernet cabling is faster and more reliable because it is impervious to radio/WiFi interference. Ethernet performance does not degrade over distance like WiFi.
Devices which are capable of being connected via Ethernet should be designed to disable WiFi (preferably automatically) when connected with a cable. This avoids loops in the network, which create “broadcast storms” and bring the network down. The video below explains this phenomenon and also introduces a technology known as “Spanning Tree Protocol” – something we find in more expensive, business-class Ethernet switches, not the usual “unmanaged” Ethernet gear most users have in their homes:
The problem here is two-fold:
- Sonos’s engineering team has made the decision to keep the “SonosNet” wireless network active, even when their device is connected via Ethernet. This is almost certainly going to cause broadcast storms on the user’s network.
- This requires the user/installer for a HOME network product to be network savvy and have the knowledge and forethought to avoid this serious problem.
If you have Sonos gear on your network and it is connected via Ethernet (as it should be, when possible), you might consider disabling WiFi on your Sonos products as described in the article here:
Sonos seems to think keeping WiFi enabled on Ethernet connected devices provides some type of redundancy (I guess in case the Ethernet cable gets unplugged?), but I think it is ridiculous and irresponsible to propose the “fix” to be an expensive business-class Ethernet switch in a home environment. Google search for “Sonos Network Storm” and you’ll see how many users this dumb design has impacted. Here, I’ll do it for you: