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Sonos brings wireless to multi-room music rigs

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Multi-room digital music streaming specialist Sonos has finally gone completely wireless. Today, it rolled out the ZoneBridge BR100, a WLAN add-on for the company's ZonePlayer units that replaces the system's last wired link.

Sonos ZoneBridge BR100
Sonos' ZoneBridge BR100: wireless adaptor

You'll need one BR100 to connect to your broadband router. With the BR100 in place, a simple button push gets it communicating wirelessly with however many ZonePlayers you have installed. The music data is encrypted to AES standard and sent over the same proprietary mesh network that connects the ZonePlayers to each other and to Sonos' handheld Controller.

ZonePlayers have always communicated wirelessly, but until now have always used a cable to make the last link of the chain, into the router. Sonos has avoided using Wi-Fi - the obvious solution to the problem - because it believes the standard isn't sufficiently secure.

Sonos currently offers two ZonePlayers: the ZP80 - reviewed here - which is designed to be hooked up to a hi-fi or powered speakers, and the ZP100, which has its own, on-board 50W-per-channel amp.

Sonos ZoneBridge BR100
Dual-port switching

Sonos also announced today integration with Napster, allowing its customers to access the online music service directly from their Controllers. New Sonos kit will come with a 30-day free trial, after which customers who want to stay with the service can pay £9.95 a month to do so.

The BR100 is available now and costs £69/$99/€99.

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