The news of Sonos adding Google Play Music support last week has nothing on this latest revelation. The wireless speaker maker has formally announced that it will be transitioning its SonosNet system to a total wireless setup, at least when possible, finally doing away with any need for network cables.
While Sonos markets wireless audio equipment, due to technical constraints at the time of its conception, it required users to have at least one Ethernet cable attached to a home router or modem. When a single Sonos player is present, the speaker connects directly to the router. But when two or more are there, owners will have to purchase a separate Sonos BRIDGE that connects to the router via a cable and then coordinates communication between the speakers.
Now that wireless technology has advanced sufficiently, Sonos will soon be able to do away with such a requirement. With an upcoming software upgrade, SonosNet will connect directly to a local network via WiFi. Simply plug in a speaker to a power outlet, enter the router password from the Sonos mobile app, and you're done. The speakers will still need to communicate with each other in order to keep in sync, but they will be doing so directly rather than through the BRIDGE. The new network is still in a testing stage, so until it finally rolls out to users, the cable requirement still stands.
Switching to a totally wireless network and moving away from BRIDGE will have financial benefits for both consumers and Sonos. But Sonos BRIDGE isn't going away entirely even when the new system is in place. Although Sonos believes that, for most home networks, the device is redundant, there will be instances, like in larger homes or more complicated network configurations, where BRIDGE will still be able to find a need and a home.