Set Up Your Sonos System Without a Sonos Bridge

January 22, 2020

NOTE Before you start, make sure you are using the correct Sonos app — there are two now, and they are not interchangeable. We have a guide to that here.

Since Sonos announced that it will be dropping support for its Bridge (among other things), many users have wondered where that leaves them and their setups. The quick answer to this question is, "Don't worry, everything is going to be fine." This guide will explain how to transition away from the Bridge in favor of one of the newer configurations that Sonos offers.

When Sonos first hit the market, the Bridge was a necessary part of its ecosystem, providing a . . . well, a bridge between your home network and the company's speakers and zone players. Although the Bridge still works -- and although it will until May 2020 at least -- it is no longer mandatory. Nowadays, Sonos users have two alternative options, neither of which involves a Bridge. They can either (a) use one of their non-Bridge Sonos products as a "virtual" bridge, by wiring it into their network and allowing it to communicate directly with the other Sonos units, or (b) connect all their Sonos products directly to their Wi-Fi.

Per Sonos's advice, users should:

Use a wired setup if your home WiFi network is slow, unreliable or does not reach all the rooms where you want Sonos.

Use a wireless setup if your home has a good WiFi network that reaches all the rooms where you want Sonos.

The option you choose will depend on your particular setup and the details of your home network.

That said . . .

ABW: Always Be Wiring

Here at The Home of the Future, we are big fans of using wired connections wherever possible. Which means that, however incredible your Wi-Fi is, we’d still strongly recommend choosing the wired option if you can. In addition to providing a more stable connection, this arrangement has the distinct advantage of requiring less work to set up. If you’ve been using a Bridge up until now, your Sonos system already knows which speakers and zone players should be attached to it, which means that the simple act of connecting one of them to your router (either directly, or via a switch) will complete the transfer automatically.

Or, put another way: If you are currently using a Sonos Bridge, all you need to do in order to switch to a wired setup without that Bridge is to unplug the cable that is running into the Bridge and plug it into one of the speakers or zone units within your system. That’s it. The newly wired in speaker will do the job the Bridge once did, and everything will work perfectly.

Yeah, but . . .

If you can’t do that, or would prefer not to do that, or have kick-ass, blanket-coverage, blazin’-fast Wi-Fi that you’re just desperate to show off, then you can choose the second option and connect all your Sonos products directly to your Wi-Fi network.

To achieve this, you’ll still have to connect one of your speakers to your network with an ethernet cable, but, unlike with the first option, you’ll be able to unplug that ethernet cable once the setup is complete.

Temporarily connect one of your Sonos units to your router

On the back of each Sonos unit there is an ethernet (RJ45) port. Connect one end of your ethernet cable to that port, and connect the other end to one of the ports on your router or switch.

Hand off the connection to your Wi-Fi

Open the Sonos app on your phone or tablet and navigate to SettingsSystemNetwork → Wireless Setup.

Click Continue.

Choose your Wi-Fi network from the list provided. When prompted, enter the password for your wireless network.

Once the app has confirmed that you are connected, unplug the ethernet cable from the back of the unit you used for setup.

Now, all your Sonos units should be directly connected to your Wi-Fi.

Notice an error?

Have we got something wrong? Please let us know and we’ll fix it right away.


15 responses to “Set Up Your Sonos System Without a Sonos Bridge

  1. What I joke! As I look at my calendar I noticed the year is 2020, however Sonos engineering (or lack there of) did not. I have three Sonos devices models 1, 3 and 5 in setting them up I see Sonos included a power cord for each ? well done Sonos. But their installation requires a ethernet cable, which for you kids and Sonos engineering was popular back in the 80s and 90s.....40 f***ing years ago. I bought a "wireless" speaker that requires 1980 technology to install. The tech asked if my HP printer, MacBook, Apple Watch, Echo, Google Minis, iPad, television had a ethernet cable attached? WTF really who uses 10/100 cables in 2020? I just bought a home printer and I am glad HP (a real tech company) did not ask me to plug is a RS-232 cable (look it up children). Sonos look for $2,000 worth of useless boxes heading to returns this month. Hello Bose!

  2. I’m just going to pick up my sonos 1 speaker, carry it into the room where the ethernet cable comes in, temporarily attach cable to speaker and follow rest of the instructions. Then I’ll carry the speaker back to its usual place. I assume the speaker and my sound bar will then be set up. I’m 85, but still resilient. If it doesn’t work, I’ll be furious.

    1. I did exactly what Deborah described and it worked. I also update to the new app and have pulled my bridge off the network completely. No issues.

  3. Does anyone know if I will lose my Sonos if I do updates to my app? My system was installed in 2013 and I didn't use Sonos speakers however I just purchased a pair of the Sonos One SL. I'm wireless and I run the whole house with no issues. My 10 speakers play beautifully through Pandora. I'm just so afraid I update and things start to go wrong.

    1. Hi Amy,

      To clarify: Are the ten existing speakers Sonos speakers? If so, you'll likely need to use the Sonos S1 app, which allows you to combine new and old Sonos products. If not, updating the app shouldn't have any affect on your new Sonos One SLs.


  4. Hi Charles, thanks for your advice. However, despite having a fully wired Sonos system it KEEPS stuttering and stopping when playing music (e.g. it may play a couple of songs then simply stop). I've had 3-4 calls with Sonos support (who advised everything from resetting to moving to a 1 wired/ everything else on SonosNet) but nothing seems to work. The last Sonos adviser (the least friendly) just told me I must have some interference somewhere. Not helpful. Any pearls of wisdom, please?! I'm getting ready to ditch Sonos and get another system that can work over ethernet only!

    1. Hi Damian,

      When I wired in my Sonos system a few years back, I had the same problem. I subsequently discovered that, although everything was ostensibly running over ethernet, Sonos was actually defaulting to WiFi. I'd check that first, because, except in extremely rare circumstances, there isn't really such a thing as interference over a wired network. You should be able to use the app to turn off the WiFi capacity of the speaker, and force it to use ethernet. This guide shows you how to do it easily: Let me know if that helps.


  5. I had issues setting up my old PLAY1 speaker again. Followed the instructions above after disconnecting my bridge and hey presto! Thanks for the clear instructions on how to set up wireless. Issue solved!

  6. Thank you for the guide to set up my Play 5 unit. The instructions given and second by Deborah on August 4, 2020 worked great and my unit is playing wireless with no issues.

  7. Followed the instructions and it didn't work for me. Got thru the instructions and my Sonos connected wirelessly, but got "unable to browse music" errors and then an error that "wifi isn't connected". Repeated. Got the same errors. Not happy

  8. We tried this too. Works until I unplug the speaker from the network. Once I unplug the speaker it kills the whole setup. Any help is appreciated

  9. Thank you!

    I just left a nasty review on the Sonos website, which could not help me after my bridge suddenly stopped working.

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