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Wifi performance poor?


yellowdog

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Has anyone found the wifi performance of the LCD 10.5 panels to be poor? I find that they constantly are losing connection in rooms with WAPs. My laptops show excellent signal strength and data rates in the same locations, but the panels are showing yellow, red and no signal indications in the space of 10 minutes. It happens with all three panels I've tried.

ALso, is the zigbee range really really poor as well? I can't get the handheld remotes to work outside the room with the mediacontroller.

Any ideas? Other experiences?

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first things first - the wifi card in the 10.5" is not that good in my experience :( So you're (unfortunately) not alone.

second, what kind of Access Point are you using, and is there any encryption being used?

Third, do you have any other zigbee devices outside the room the remote is controlling (i.e. in other portions of the house).

Fourth, what kind of walls are you trying to penetrate?

Fifth, very important, is there a 2.4ghz phone in the house? If so, they have to upgrade to 5.8ghz immediately or it will wreak havok on the wifi network.

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There are four linksys 54G WAPs on an extensive 100BT network behind an enterprise class Cisco Router. There is no encryption, since the estate is so large no one can get with a 1/2 mile of the main house.

Thee phone is a panasonic commercial phone switch with 8 wireless extensions at 2.4 Ghz, but there appears to be no appreciable interference. THe wifi network has been up and running for years, first on B and now G. So I don't think that is it, unless the Control4 wifi is really, really bad. In my experience, the only time that is a problem is when the 2.4Ghz phones are really cheap, like the uniden or mot or siemens.

THere are only 4 HTCs, 4 handheld remotes, an audio switch and the media controller.

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sounds like a beautiful setup. a few quick thoughts...

Again, the wifi card in the 10.5" is really *not* powerful. To the point where it's downright upsetting to me. We setup a 10.5" recently with a beautiful MIMO AP that literally covers a 40,000sq. foot warehouse with no problem. Still, the 10.5" doesn't want to pump out enough juice to send signal back. We've been thinking about mod'ing the 10.5" with a more powerful card and what not, and don't really want to step on Control4's toes. Also, we're in a catch-22 because we are pretty reluctant to sell the device to customers when it's performing way less than optimally.

Also, I don't mean to be snotty, and 2.4ghz is 2.4ghz - whether it's mot, uniden, etc. It functions in that radio spectrum regardless of the brand. For troubleshooting purposes, you might want to try unplugging the 2.4ghz devices (base stations, and phones) for troubleshooting purposes. That's one thing.

Another problem we've actually run into is having the AP's too close to the HTC's etc. Since zigbee runs in the 2.4ghz spectrum, it's going to cause interference with the AP. My point is, spread those guys far apart - as far as you can to minimize interference between the 2 devices.

Thirdly, zigbee relies on the mesh to really be solid, which in our case it has been. That really means that you have to get some light switches in the house to bolster the zigbee mesh network. I know Control4 says 100-300' per device and I can tell you with all the interference and obstructions built into these house (metal/wood framework, phones, microwaves, concrete, glass, wood, etc.), your radio gain is bound to be dramatically impeded. So yes, the light switches/dimmers/keypads *really* help the zigbee network. In fact, I wouldn't stress success throughout the house unless you load each room you're travelling too with zigbee devices.

Hope this helps shed some light...

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The most recent newsletter discussed some of the most common and Tech Support issues and the problems with IP networking. In that article they recommend a program called NetStumbler, which when loaded on your laptop allows you to see all wireless networks and their signal strenghts. This might help determine if you are having interference from phones and other devices.

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*nod* netstumbler is a great program. If you have the right card in your laptop, it can show noise levels (aka interference) on channels as well. High noise is bad. Please lookup the card in your laptop to determine if it can detect noise. Generally prism chipsets (older 802.11b chipsets) can detect noise nicely. Newer chipsets, like atheros, don't support noise readings.

Netstumbler:

download - http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/netstumblerinstaller_0_4_0.exe

FAQ - http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/netstumbler_v0.4.0_release_notes.pdf

Forums - http://www.netstumbler.org/

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Fifth, very important, is there a 2.4ghz phone in the house? If so, they have to upgrade to 5.8ghz immediately or it will wreak havok on the wifi network.

Yes / no - changing the channel should solve this problem - plus most WAPs today can automatically change channels (just like phones). We've got 5 2.4GHz cordless phones here and haven't had any problems (and yes, they stumble onto the WIFI channels all the time).

I typically change my default WIFI devices to the extreme high or low end for channel numbers. Remember, only channel 1 (0 on some devices), 6 (5) and 12 (11) don't overlap - all the other channels overlap a to some extent in the spectrum.

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Aslezak is sooooo right on the zigbee issue. We installed a MC in a MEP and HTC remote in a bedroom, it was about 100ft apart if that and it was sketchy. We installed a C4 dimmer in between those devices and the remote work great. The more zigbee you put inline the better the signal is.

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Yes / no - changing the channel should solve this problem - plus most WAPs today can automatically change channels (just like phones). We've got 5 2.4GHz cordless phones here and haven't had any problems (and yes, they stumble onto the WIFI channels all the time).

I would like to clarify my previous statment. As a general rule of thumb, I've seen 2.4ghz phones do some damage to wifi networks. *If* you're experiencing issues with your 10.5" display (which is connected via wifi), then some questions in the troubleshooting process that you can ask yourself are:

Are there any cordless phones 2.4ghz in the home?

How close are they in range?

Could they be the culprit?

Any of these questions should be asked *if* you are experiencing issues. After you ask any of these question, then proceed to temporarily take down the 2.4ghz phones to determine if quality of signal gets better. Obviously use discretion when taking down phones (i.e. do they *only* have cordless phones...hopefully the customer will have a stationary landline phone as a fallback).

Obviously as I said previously, there are many other variables, and this is one possible pitfall. I would simply like to prevent installers from pulling their hair out if this is the case (which I have experienced many times in the past). Just my .02 and YMMV.

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I agree that 2.4 Ghz phones and ovens can be a problem. It is true, though, that radios differ in quality and some manufacturers build radios that splatter more and some have better adjacent channel rejection. Really good radios rarely are an issue, cheap circuit city or radio schak phones are. That was my point.

However, I downloaded netstumbler and checked out the spectrum in question. What I found was very good signal in the rooms in question. So, I support the original hypothesis: the 10.5 LCD's wifi performance is poor.

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  • 2 months later...

I figured this belonged in this thread... I found a tool to analyze the surrounding wireless spectrum. Basically, you can see the "clean" channels in the air and minimize interference conflicts. Definitely a good tool to have in your installation arsenal. $99, too.

Here's a review for more info - http://tomsnetworking.com/2006/02/12/review_wispy/

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