Question Sonos performance using Netgear RAXE500 with EX8000 extender ?

Mar 20, 2023
Long, long story short, based on weeks, days, and hours on the phone with Sonos and Netgear customer support . . .

On the recommendation of Netgear support, I'd all but decided to replace my Orbi RBR50 router and three Orbi RBS50 satellites mesh system with the Netgear RAXE500 router and Ex8000 extender. I would do this just to get a separate, dedicated, stable 2.4 Ghz network for my Sonos system, which is anything but stable with Orbi. The October 3, 2021 review of the RAXE500 by Jonas DeMuro, now has me concerned, particularly the part describing problems related to network congestion. The last thing I want to do is spend a lot of money on new hardware, go to the trouble of rebuilding my network, only to have the same problems I have now.

Netgear said the problem is mesh systems do not allow dedicating devices to a specific sub network, even with a Sonos Boost, which I have. In my case, my Sonos products were randomly "ping ponging" between the Orbi 2.4 and 5 Ghz networks, resulting in music freezing and speakers dropping off/restarting during play. The Netgear explanation of why this happens sounded logical.

Everything about my network, including the speed of my gig internet, and stability of my streaming TV, works fine. It's the Sonos part that doesn't. I set up a guest 2.4 Ghz network expecting to see all my Sonos product there (because of the Boost connection.) My three satellites are all ethernet connected to my router, and very often, the majority of Sonos products would also appear connected via ethernet, assigned to one of the satellites. But shortly after, their connection would change to the router or a different satellite, 2.4 or 5G, wifi or ethernet, and the problems would reappear.

Will the RAXE500 and EX8000 provide the 2.4Ghz dedicated, stable network I need for Sonos? If not, what equipment will? Do you agree with Netgear saying mesh systems do not allow for a sub network only to be used for Sonos?
My guess would be you will have the same problem.

It is unusual for people who buy mesh/repeater systems to have them attached via ethernet. That is the optimum way to extend wifi. It is how wifi in large corporate installs have been done for many many years. Mesh is just a new marketing term for home users, and most times it is repeater/wireless mode rather than ethernet. No corporate user use silly mesh systems with wifi backhauls.

Your problem is not so much the network but the end devices. The end device not the network decide where and when to connect and they can be very stupid.

Part of your issue is you have too much wifi in your house and the devices are in effect getting too many choices. So if you were to buy just 1 router and 1 extender it might work better but not because the equipment is better but because there are few choices.

This is where you need to do a site survey and measure the signal levels you get from each of your AP and router. You would then adjust the radio power down (hopefully the orbi can do that) so there is as little overlap as possible between the different radio units but still enough to provide good coverage.
Since you now should have a very obvious "best" connection the end devices should behave a bit better.

The other method you can use if the orbi supports it is to assign different SSID to each remote AP. You can than tell the sonos speakers which to connect to and since there is only 1 option they will not jump around between AP.

If you are going to replace equipment I would look at actual AP since you have ethernet cables. Many companies make them but ubiquiti sells models that have professional features but for a home user pricing. You can also use pretty much any router as a AP. I suspect though the orbi can be made to work. There are way to many products all called Orbi with massively different features for me to be sure.
Mar 20, 2023
Thank you both for your replies.

Not sure, but I don't believe I can adjust signal levels on Orbi AP's and router. If so, that's not something Netgear or Sonos customer service has suggested. And, if I could, I might still need greater signal for other non Sonos devices.

Netgear used the term "sub network" when describing the benefit of a router that allowed using all three networks (2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, and 6Ghz) as one, or separately. In my case, that would mean connecting only Sonos in 2.4Ghz, using the 5Ghz network for all other (I don't have any 6Ghz devices.)

Buying new is a crapshoot but it may be time anyway. My Orbi stuff is quite old, and spent most of its years in a salty, sandy environment. The router could occasionally be "hiccuping". If so, when that happens, I have to reboot the modem, router, a switch, and all three satellites to bring things back up. When my Orbi network was new, I didn't have this problem with Sonos in a previous house (salty, sandy environment.) But it's also true that I didn't have as much Sonos as I do now, only one satellite, in a much smaller house. So many moving parts, too many to know for sure what the solution is.

I'm traveling now but will buy a new tri band router ( and see what happens, when I get home. Probably take me the better part of a month to get things back up and tested. When I do, I'll check back in here and update.

Thanks again.
The term subnetwork has a very particular meaning in networking which is I suspect the reason for the question. The 3 radio channel on the router are all the same network/subnet. Only professional routers would support multiple networks.

You have to check and see if it has a radio power option it is fairly common on higher end devices. The key to setting the levels is that you get as much power as you can without overlapping the signals. So would for example turn the power down on a AP that is only providing wifi to devices in a certain room so that less signal gets out of the room. Since the devices in the room are close reducing the power will not reduce their speed. In some cases you might consider moving the AP around to get a better coverage.

Again the problem is you have too much wifi not too little. Your end devices can see too many strong signal sources. In addition these extra signals will cause interference between your AP decreasing the performance of all of them.