Do All Sonos Speakers Require Wi-Fi?

Written by Jonah Matthes
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The most wonderful feature of all Sonos speakers is their ability to connect together via a mesh network. With Sonos devices, you can play audio to a single speaker, enjoy high-fidelity audio in multiple rooms of your house, or you can set up a surround sound system. With various Sonos speaker models - from units that mount in the ceiling to portable speakers and soundbars - your possible configurations are endless. If you want to create a group of Sonos speakers, what type of connections can you use? Do all Sonos speakers require WiFi?

Almost all Sonos speakers need to be connected to a WiFi network or directly to the network with an ethernet cable in order to stream audio. The Sonos Roam and Sonos Move are the only Sonos speakers with Bluetooth built-in, so you can stream music without WiFi.

The entire premise and way the Sonos speakers work is to provide crisp, synched music and other audio from multiple devices simultaneously. The best way to provide simultaneous wireless audio to numerous devices is through a WiFi connection, which is precisely how all Sonos devices work. To learn all the ins and outs about all Sonos speakers requiring WiFi, keep reading!

How a Sonos Speaker System Works

Sonos Arc, Gen3 Sub, and 2 One SLs

Sonos speakers work by using a WiFi connection to stream music in your home. All you need to get them set up is a power connection for each speaker, a WiFi connection, and the Sonos app on your mobile device.  

As we talked about in our guide on having just one Sonos speaker, If you have multiple Sonos speakers, you can group them together to play your audio simultaneously in multiple rooms of your house. Alternatively, you can set up speakers in a stereo configuration. Whatever way you plan to configure your speakers, accessing them and just playing on the ones you want is easy in the Sonos app. 

The entire setup process of getting the Sonos speakers on the network, grouping them, and streaming audio for the first time takes no longer than 15 minutes. It’s quick and intuitive - the Sonos app walks you through it step-by-step. Some Sonos Speakers can be connected with an ethernet connection if they have an ethernet port. We’ll touch on Sonos speakers over ethernet more in-depth later in this article. 

Do Sonos Speakers Require Wi-Fi to Work?

Pair of Sonos Five Speakers and Sonos Sub in a room.

Almost all Sonos speakers require Wi-Fi to work. If you want all the fantastic features, like high fidelity sound in multiple rooms and stereo speaker arrangements, you will need to use WiFi and the Sonos Controller application. 

The only Sonos speakers that do not require a WiFi or ethernet connection to play music are the Sonos Move (on Amazon) and Sonos Roam. However, they do need to be connected to WiFi for the initial setup. As you can see, if you don’t even have a WiFi network, to begin with, this non-WiFi setup is not a viable option.

If for some reason, you don’t want to enable audio streaming with WiFi, this can be disabled for the Sonos Move and Sonos Roam in the Sonos app. However, you lose out on great features like volume control through your phone, multi-room audio streaming, and other special benefits.

Can you Run a Sonos System on Ethernet?

Sonos speakers can use an ethernet connection to operate, in fact, it's one of the reasons why we recommend Sonos products for home theaters. However, not all Sonos devices have ethernet ports. So, even though it is a way around the whole WiFi setup, it does limit you by required ethernet wires running to each room in your house that has speakers and to each speaker in the room. 

For an advanced setup with many speakers in your home, connecting every speaker to an ethernet cable is just not feasible. Bringing an ethernet connection to each speaker is certainly possible if you have an ethernet wall jack in every room or by using a network switch. However, plugging in ethernet cables to every speaker just really erases one of the large benefits of Sonos devices, their ease-of-install, and unrestricted speaker location.

Can Sonos Speakers Work on Separate Wireless Networks?

Sonos speakers might be able to use their own dedicated network if you have an extra router lying around. You can create a secondary “wireless” network just for them. However, you will need to connect your mobile device to the same network to stream music and other audio. Using a separate router with Sonos devices is possible but not practical.

It really doesn’t make sense and just possesses more limitations than necessary. It’s best to connect the Sonos devices to your primary wireless network. If you are running into latency issues with your network, then consider upgrading to a better router that can handle more devices at one time.

What About Sonos Speakers with Bluetooth?

Two Room Sonos Move - Battery-Powered Smart Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa Built-in

As stated early, Sonos speakers work through a WiFi connection, and you might wonder if grouping devices together with Bluetooth is possible. However, Bluetooth grouping with Sonos speakers isn’t possible. 

For example, the Sonos Roam or the Sonos Move do have Bluetooth connections that can be paired to your phone to stream music from it, just like a standard Bluetooth speaker. As such, their Bluetooth modes have the same limitations Bluetooth connections always have, such as:

  • Range limitations: Bluetooth usually only works well up to 30 feet away- and that’s without obstructions, like walls. 
  • Plays all audio from your phone: Not only will it play music, but it will also play every sound from your mobile device, including notifications, key taps when you’re texting, and phone calls. 
  • Needs to reconnect every time: When you’re done listening to music through Bluetooth, you can disconnect, but you’ll have to reconnect to the Bluetooth connection later. 
  • Battery drain: Streaming audio straight from your mobile device eats up the battery life rather quickly.
  • Limited amount of connections: With Bluetooth, you can only play audio through one Sonos speaker at a time and not multiple devices. 

Conclusion

All Sonos speakers require a WIfi connection to be able to use all of their features. Some Sonos devices can be set up with wired ethernet connections; however, it only works with the speakers with an ethernet port. Ethernet is not always the best choice if you’re using multiple speakers in various rooms.

Bluetooth is a feature only on the Sonos Move and Roam but is solely for streaming audio from one device to the speaker it is connected to through Bluetooth and not an entire group. All Sonos speakers require a WiFi or ethernet connection for setup, so don’t expect to use them without a network connection. 

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About Me

Hi! I’m Jonah. I grew up addicted to different electronics. I began working for an Audio/Video installation company years ago and realized my passion for Home Theaters! The Home Theater DIY is a place for me to share my different findings and experiences about home theaters and home electronics. For more information, check out my about me page!

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