With a simple software upgrade, wireless audio pioneer Sonos is getting rid of the need for a Sonos Bridge. Instead, users will now be able to directly connect Sonos's multi-room wireless speakers to their Wi-Fi network.
Prior to the release of Sonos 5.1, users needed the Sonos Bridge, a small unit that had to be connected between a router and Sonos' wireless speakers, creating a mesh network for connecting the speakers wirelessly around the home.
The fact that Sonos is now able to eliminate its Bridge speaks to how much home networking technology has evolved since the company's 2002 debut. In those days, home Wi-Fi was nowhere near as common, and the systems that existed lacked the speed and data throughput we've become accustomed to these days. As a result, it made sense for Sonos to include the Bridge in its wireless audio systems, because that unit ensured that the system had access to a reliable, robust wireless network.
Sonos began beta-testing an all-wireless approach back in April.
Even though you can skip the Bridge, it remains Sonos's preferred wireless backbone for supporting its audio devices. "The vast majority of new customers will now be able to use the Wi-Fi setup, which works for all speakers within range of the WiFi router," according to the Sonos blog post. "But the dedicated Sonos network, which is only obtained through a wired connection to your router, remains the best way to ensure the most bulletproof experience."
Sonos recommends sticking with the Bridge in situations where Wi-Fi doesn't cover every room in which users want to put Sonos speakers. As well, Sonos 3.1 and 5.1 home theater setups still require wired connections, although a standalone wireless HiFi Playbar does not.