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Leak of the day: Sonos ZoneBridge BR100

The repeater should help Sonos owners plug deadspots in their wireless coverage without having to invest in a more expensive ZonePlayer.

Sonos ZoneBridge BR100 product shot
The ZoneBridge is a network accessory for Sonos users. Automated Home

If last week's FCC leak wasn't proof enough, the UK's Automated Home (via Gizmodo) has pretty much filled in all the details on an as-yet-unannounced networking accessory for the Sonos Digital Music System. The Sonos ZoneBridge BR100 will act as a wireless bridge between other ZonePlayers in the Sonos' proprietary mesh network. That's useful because the Sonos system requires at least one of its boxes to be tethered to a wired network connection. Previously, that meant one of the two included base stations of the Sonos system would need to be near an Ethernet port, or you'd have to invest in another ZP80 or ZP100 unit--not an inconsequential expense, at $350 and $500, respectively. The integration of the ZoneBridge--which is rumored to cost only $100 when it goes on sale later this fall--into a Sonos-ized household means that it can handle the wired-to-wireless network handoff, freeing up one of those ZonePlayers for duty in a nearby room better suited to music (bedroom, den, etc.).

ZoneBridge demo graphic
The ZoneBridge in action Automated Home

Like the Sonos ZonePlayers, the ZoneBridge includes two Ethernet ports, so it won't monopolize an Ethernet connection that's already in use for something else. But that puts us in mind of another alternative: a powerline Ethernet adapter. We've used these in the past for getting a variety of wired-only networked gadgets online--TiVo, Xbox 360, Slingbox, and even the Sonos. A two-adapter set can cost anywhere from $80 to $150, but if you get one with a built-in four-port switch--or simply attach an inexpensive hub--you'll be able to have a quartet of devices on the Net without having to deal with any wireless setup headaches.