A few days back I wrote about Tidal and how I’m kind of enraptured by it.

With the added bandwidth of the FLAC compression (non-lossy, remember) playing music now requires around 1440kbps * 0.7 (compression factor?). Let’s call it an even 1Mbps.

So… the “problem” I have is that I have too many Sonos products. I won’t enumerate them… just say that I have too many.

Up until last weekend I had one Sonos plugged into my wired ethernet — the root node that is my Sonos PLAYBAR. The rest of the ad hoc mesh network (which is 802.11b with a proprietary wrapper for the most part). 802.11b runs at 11 Mbps on a good day. This isn’t a good day for networking since my house is absolutely flooded with RF.

All this coupled with the fact the Sonos nodes were receiving then rebroadcasting all over the place I’m sure hampered things.

When I chose “Select All – Party Mode” I had some zones drop out of the system.

The data rate was just too much.

Pulling the piece of spaghetti that is my network… I plugged the Sonos in my office into the switch. Instantly the network dropped in a flood of STP packets as the new topology of the network tried to figure itself out. It spasmed to a halt as the switches weren’t understanding the protocol. STP, or Spanning Tree Protocol, looks for “loops” on the network — places where data can flow multiple ways to the same destination. Since the Sonos advertises itself as an ethernet bridge suddenly there was another route from my office to the family room.

With a newer switch in the office and another piece of ethernet wiring in one of the living room speakers I think I have the problem whipped. Since the wired networking is all at least 100Mbps (the trunks are 1Gbps) the added load is easily absorbed into copper.

Now “Party Mode” works without a hitch!