Choosing between a Standard and Boost setup

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Your Sonos system can be configured in either a Standard or BOOST Setup. This article will cover the difference between the two types of setups, as well as scenarios where a BOOST Setup may yield better performance.

General Guidelines:

Use a Standard Setup if your home has a good WiFi network that reaches all the rooms where you want Sonos.
Use a BOOST Setup if your home WiFi network is slow, unreliable or does not reach all the rooms where you want Sonos.

“How are a Standard Setup and BOOST Setup different?”

Standard Setup:

In a Standard Setup, your Sonos products connect to your home’s WiFi network, just like any other wireless devices in your home (such as cell phones and computers). Your WiFi signal is broadcast by your wireless router, which can only handle so much traffic at any given time. If the other wireless devices in your home are very slow to load web pages or stream video, your Sonos products will be competing for attention from your already busy router, and you may experience dropouts or audio interruptions.

How a Standard Setup works

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In the diagram above, the blue lines illustrate how each Sonos product communicates to the wireless router over the same WiFi network as other devices in the home. Sonos will only work in rooms in your home that are within range of your router’s WiFi signal.
BOOST Setup: To overcome these limitations, you can keep one of your Sonos products connected to your router with an Ethernet cable, which will put your system in a BOOST Setup. The wired product will create a dedicated wireless network specifically for your Sonos system, so it will not compete with the other wireless devices in your home for the router’s attention. Additionally, your Sonos products will be able to pass the wireless signal to other Sonos products, which means it’s possible for Sonos to operate in a room that is beyond the reach of your WiFi.

How a BOOST Setup works

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In the diagram above, the green line illustrates how Sonos operates on a dedicated wireless network that is separate from your home’s WiFi network. The PLAY:1 in the room on the left side of the house can still connect, even if it’s out of range of router’s WiFi network, because other Sonos products in the home are able to pass along and extend the dedicated wireless network signal.

“How do I tell if my WiFi is good enough for a Standard Setup?”

If you find that other wireless devices in your home frequently lose connection with your WiFi network, or are very slow to load web pages or stream video, then you may want to consider a BOOST Setup. This is especially true if you plan on adding many Sonos components to your home, or use music services that stream high bitrate files, such as FLAC.

“What do I need for a BOOST Setup?”

In a BOOST Setup, you will need to keep one Sonos product connected to your router with an Ethernet cable. It is perfectly fine to wire any Sonos product to the router, however the Sonos BOOST was designed to provide the strongest wireless stability when acting as the wired product.

“Can I switch my system from a Standard Setup to a BOOST Setup?”

Yes. If you experience frequent dropouts or audio interruptions on one or more Sonos product, you can switch your system from a Standard Setup to a BOOST Setup by simply wiring any of your Sonos products to your router, and your system will switch over automatically. You will need to keep one of your Sonos products wired to your router permanently in this configuration.

Networks that do not support a Standard Setup:

Certain network types do not support a Standard Setup. If you are attempting to set up Sonos on a network that fits one or more of the following criteria, you will need to select BOOST Setup.

– Enterprise access points configured to require certificates or some other form of enterprise authentication

– Routers that operate on only the 5GHz spectrum

– Guest networks or networks that use a portal page to login

– Networks with wireless range extenders

Additional benefits of a BOOST Setup:

A BOOST Setup offers a few additional benefits which do not impact the performance of your Sonos system, but some users might find useful.

– The Ethernet ports on the back of your Sonos products are active when in a BOOST setup and should only be used to connect directly to your network or another Sonos player. We do not recommend using these ports to connect to a networked device like a printer or streaming device.

– Android devices do not need to be in range of the home’s WiFi network to connect to Sonos. These devices have the ability to connect directly to Sonos’ dedicated wireless network to control your music and access the web. To do this, make sure the Android device is connected to your home WiFi network, and enable “Connect to SonosNet” under “Advanced Settings” in the Sonos music menu.