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Sonos looks to drop its Bridge hub for total wireless autonomy

Sonos announced today in a blog post that the multi-room audio powerhouse is preparing to thoroughly beta test a new software technology that would effectively make the company’s proprietary SonosNet truly wireless – and also save new converts fifty bucks. Currently, users still need to connect one component, Sonos’ Bridge box, to their routers to construct the wireless “mesh” network that Sonos uses to deliver high-quality audio to component speakers throughout the home. Testing for the new autonomous system is set to begin in the coming weeks.

The SonosNet wireless hi-fi system – which Sonos employed to help pioneer modern multi-room sound – is currently the industry standard. But one of the primary gripes of users is the need for an initial wired connection to the router; there’s no workaround or gadget to bypass this necessity. If all goes according to plan and the upcoming beta tests yield solid results, the software update will simplify the already minimalist system.

Here’s how Sonos sees the slimmed-down system in the near future: “Start with a speaker and your smartphone, enter your Wi-Fi password and Sonos takes care of the rest.” SonosNet’s core functionality will remain the same – the individual speakers within a system will continue to communicate with one another, and operate under control from an all-reaching application on mobile devices and computers to send latency free audio throughout the home.

Once the software update is complete and total wireless functionality becomes accessible, Sonos will still continue production of the Bridge. According to Sonos’ research, some larger homes may still present challenges in terms of establishing a Wi-Fi environment in which all individual speakers are within range — in such cases, users would still need the $50 Bridge to keep music properly synchronized throughout the home.

Today’s announcement comes just one week after Sonos’ integration of Google Play music support — and roughly one month after the makeover of the company’s streaming app, which added universal search and a crisp new UI.

To apply for the upcoming beta test here.

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