Sonos 5.1 bypasses Bridge with WiFi setup; Previews Boost hub

Chris Davies - Sep 2, 2014
Sonos 5.1 bypasses Bridge with WiFi setup; Previews Boost hub

Sonos has powered up its much-anticipated wireless setup, removing the need for a Bridge or a wired connection from your router to at least one of its speakers, as well as revealing a new Boost hub coming later in the year. Sonos 5.1 consists both of new firmware for the speakers and a new app, with an updated setup process that uses an existing WiFi network to get online.

Previously, installing a Sonos system required at least one wired connection to link the whole-home speakers to your regular network. That could either be completed by plugging an ethernet cable in-between one of the speakers themselves and your router, or by using Sonos’ Bridge, which also plugged into the router.

Problem was, that required either having a speaker near to wherever your router is – not much good for entertainment if that was under the stairs or in a distant cupboard – or buying another piece of hardware. Recent promotions have seen the Bridge bundled with speakers, but that was only a stop-gap measure until Sonos 5.1.

Sonos says that using a Bridge will still result in “enhanced wireless”; that could be important if your WiFi isn’t strong enough to cover your whole home. Meanwhile, if you have a Sonos 3.1 or 5.1 home theater setup – though not a Playbar – you’ll also need a wired connection.

BOOST-transparent copy

Down the road, meanwhile, the Bridge will be replaced with the new Sonos Boost. Described as “an even more powerful wireless accessory” the full details haven’t been shared yet, but it’ll supposedly as much as double wireless performance compared to the Bridge, using what Sonos claims is enterprise-grade kit. It’ll be priced at $99 and go on sale later this year.

No sign, however, of the Sonos Playbase prematurely named with a trademark application recently.

Sonos 5.1 is available for update now.


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