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Tutor

Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

I have the Orbi RBR20 which is not listed in the model drop down.  I also have an Android phone runing Oreo.  I have bought two wi-fi plugs to connect to Alexa and a La Crosse weather station that uses the ineternet.  All require 2.4 ghz connection and are setup using a phone provided by the manufacturer of the device.  Google has removed the ability to tell the phone to connect at 2.4 or 5 ghz in its settings.  The phone will only connect at 5 ghz.  The phone has to be on the 2.4 ghz or the app will not set up the network name and password in the device.  There is no setting in the router to disable the 5 ghz temporarily so that the phone will connect at 2.4 ghz.  The only way I have been able to configure my devices has been to turn off the Orbi and acitvate an old router which seperates 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz into sperate SSIDs.  Once configured, I restart the Orbi and everything connects.

 

Given that there are millions of devices sold that require this type of setup, Netgear needs to provide a solution to allow device configuration.

Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 1 of 22
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Turn down the power on the 5Ghz radio from 100 to 25% on the Orbi router. Leave 2.4Ghz at 100%

Find this under Advanced Tab/Advanced Settings/Wireless Settings. 

Save the change and apply. 

I would power off or disable the wifi radio on the Android after you make the change on the router. Re-enable wifi on the device and it should connect to the 2.4Ghz radio if your far enough away from the router. 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>Orbi RBK50 v2.5.1.16(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200, Orbi CBK40, Orbi RBK50/RBK853, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 2 of 22
Highlighted
Tutor

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

I tried powering down the 5g to 25%.  It didn't work.  A 0% option is needed.

Message 3 of 22
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

How far was the device from the router when you turned it down? Did you turn OFF the satellites as well while you did this? 

When you do this, turn OFF all satellites leaving just the router. Then go out as far as possible with the device from the router and see if it will connect to the 2.4Ghz long enough to do the setup...


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>Orbi RBK50 v2.5.1.16(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200, Orbi CBK40, Orbi RBK50/RBK853, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 4 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Please use the following suggestion from another user:

https://community.netgear.com/t5/Orbi/Orbi-Home-Wifi-amp-LA-Crosse-Weather-Station-Alarm-Clock-2-4GH...

If this does not help I can lead you through how to reduce the power of the 5GHz band to around 0.

My Setup Internet Fiber ONT 250↓/250↑ISP Telenor | Wifi Router Orbi RBK50 AC3000, Router Mode, Wired Backhaul / Orbi RBK852 AX6000, Router Mode, Wireless Backhaul | Switches Netgear GS208Time Zone CET (Sweden)

Message 5 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Could you please identify the brand/model of WiFi plug you want to install?  There are numerous Community members who have experience with specific brands who might be able to help. I, for example, was able to install TP-Link "Mini Smart Plug" with no problems, even though my phone was connected to the Orbi at 5G.  I did not have to change the SSID, turn off 5G, or turn down the power of 5G. 

 

What are you trying to connect?

I love my Orbi.
Message 6 of 22
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Generally these types of WiFi devices connect like this:

 

1. The phone connects to the device by either Bluetooth, or more likely by a private WiFi network. You can see this in setup as your phone will connect to an SSID that usually has the device's brand name in it.  This step does not involve the Orbi at all.

2. The phone programs the device with the connection info for your WiFi. In this step you are still connected to the device's private network and you enter your WiFi SSID and passsword. The device uses its 2.4 Ghz Wifi to connect to your network.

3. Your phone switchs back to your WiFi network and confirms it can see the newly setup device.

 

What part of the setup are you failing on?

 

Step one only involves your phone directly connecting to the device. If this is not working you should troubleshoot the phone's ability to directly connect to it. The Orbi is not involved yet.

Step 2 only involves the device connecting to your WiFi and as it only has a 2.4 Ghz radio it does not even see the 5 Ghz signal. If this is failing, then the device is having problems connecting to your Orbi. As the device only has a 2.4 Ghz radio nothing you do to the 5 Ghz signal will affect this. Troubleshoot the 2.4 Ghz network, possibly change the channel or look for something that could be interfering.

Step 3 involves your WiFi. The Orbi should be able to bridge the two networks and allow a phone on 5 Ghz to talk to a device on 2.4 Ghz. You can prove this by your ability to connect to any 2.4 Ghz resource on your network. 

Message 7 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Very good description.  Vendor descriptions of "must have 2.4G WiFi" are like saying, "requires two AA batteries".  Without a 2.4G WiFi, it cannot ever connect - never.  5G has nothing to do with the product.

 

There is no disputing that people experience problems connecting Internet of Things devices to their WiFi, just as people experience problems with their Orbi's (and with every brand of electronics).

 

Thanks for the excellent summary.

I love my Orbi.
Message 8 of 22
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Virtuoso

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

This is true stuff. I have connected up many 2.4 GHz devices while using Orbi without any hiccups whatsoever. What is so strange is that reading the device instructions is where many panic and begin trying to figure out how to separate the Orbi SSID into two networks (and by design if you want two separate network SSID why did you buy Orbi? The single SSID is a feature. There are other solutions for coverage for dual band with SSID differences.)

For example of confusing Orbi customers, from one TP Link Kasa  instruction with some italics and some colored bold (same type of blurb for lights and switches and plugs)

"Connect your mobile device to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network. NoteThe Smart XXX only support the 2.4GHz network."

In this case I plunged ahead anyway and hooked up my lights. Later my switches. Later plugs. Same was true with the garage door opener hub.

Message 9 of 22
Highlighted
Tutor

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

I know some people cannot help but patronize on these sites.  I am not a neophite with hardware/software setup.  I have tried to connect two brands of plug, one was TP Link and a La Crosse weather station.  The device instructions for all three devices basically say down load our app and follow the isntructions.  They have not required Bluetooth conection.  They reach a point where you select a network and input the password.  This step is supposed to give the device the network name and password.  It times out over and over and over.  

 

There are posts on the community which agree that if your phone is not connected at 2.4 ghz you cannot complete this step.  The only way I have been able to connect my devices is to turn off the Orbi and turn on an old router where the 2.4 and 5 ghz are seperate networks.  I connect my phone to 2.4 and the devices have configured on the first try.  This - and the device information through the Orbi attached devices screen accessed via the dashboard on the router which shows my phone connected at 5 ghz - is why I am making the conclusion that I am making.

 

More power to those have been able to connect using their phones connected at 5 ghz.  Were you using a Galaxy S9 running Oreo?  You say the Orbi handled the bridge between the two.  My experience says it doesn't.  Netgear needs to provide a simple way to accomplish this.  Until they do, I will keep my old router to connect new devices.

Message 10 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Can you please specify the models of smart plugs and La Crosse weather station which you were connectingt?

 

The comment about bluetooth was generic, not specific to your situation.  One of the smart plugs apps addressed by a community post specifically mentions that the default (for that plug) is to use bluetooth and if the user does not want to use bluetooth, they were to hold the button down longer until the blue light flashed slower.  So, there are a lot of factors in play, and every situation seems to be different.

 

Is it the case that now that your devices are connected, you can control them with their respective smartphone apps when your phone is connected to 5G?

I love my Orbi.
Message 11 of 22
Highlighted
Virtuoso

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Galaxy S8+ OS Android 8.0.0 (Oreo). 2.4GHz devices: TP Link plugs (2), switches (2), lights (6). Chamberlain garage door opener hub. Direct set up no changes in phone hook up or on Orbi.

Message 12 of 22
Highlighted
Virtuoso

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Galaxy S8+ OS Android 8.0.0 (Oreo). 2.4GHz devices: TP Link plugs (2), switches (2), lights (6). Chamberlain garage door opener hub. Direct set up no changes in phone hook up or on Orbi.

Regarding the LaCrosse station, I see on Play Store reviews that others have gotten help from LaCrosse support. I also see on the Google Play App page on the latest app updates this:

WHAT'S NEW

Alarm feature UI design edits
Performance improvement to refresh sensor status
Sensor page /UI design improvement
Data export file names and start times updated
2.4GHz footnote and support page link for Connect Wi-Fi page
other generic bug fixes
Message 13 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

LaCrosse.JPG

Looks (to me) that LaCrosse does not anticipate problems with the main players in mesh networking.  Since people DO run into problems, there's a problem somewhere.  Their support talks about the weather station being connected to the router before users load the smartphone app.  Not having one, I have no idea when or how the user inputs SSID and password information into the weather station.

I love my Orbi.
Message 14 of 22
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Does this device have it's own set up web page by chance? I know that some devices do and allows for a wired or wireless PC to connect directly to the device for setup along with having mobile app services as well. 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>Orbi RBK50 v2.5.1.16(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200, Orbi CBK40, Orbi RBK50/RBK853, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 15 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

No one has ever mentioned devices like this having ethernet jacks.  Since the majority of them are intended to connect to WiFi, it appears that they tend to use WiFi for setup.  I should have thought of trying to connect with a web browser before using their dedicated app.  Won't know until someone tries it, but would be interesting to know if they do anything to "secure" the WiFi connection (like a password).  They seem to hide the details within their app.  For example, does the app acquire a temporary IP address from the smart plug and then connect to a web server at some sepecific IP address?  I'll see if I can reset my TP-Link smart plug to factgory and see what happens.

I love my Orbi.
Message 16 of 22
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Ya, though not necessarty to have a LAN jack, some devices might have onboard web page setup programs like routers do. Would be nice if you could get this and set it up there. Worth a try. Smiley Wink


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>Orbi RBK50 v2.5.1.16(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200, Orbi CBK40, Orbi RBK50/RBK853, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 17 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Well, I tried.  No Joy.  I reset my TP-Link Mini Smart Plug HS105 to factory settings by holding the button for 12 seconds (light flashes quickly).  My laptop sees the TP-Link WiFi host and "connects".  My laptop gets an IP of 192.168.0.100 and the plug is 192.168.0.1.  Did a basic IP scan and those are the only two devices (the plug and my laptop).  If I open a web browser to 192.169.0.1, I get no response (times out).  My guess is the TP-Link smartphone app "talks WiFi" with the adapter but is not doing http.  Tried Telnet, and that got no response, either. (I have no idea how many IP or UDP protocols there are, but for sure there are many.  UDP protocols are probably easier to implement.)  Would have been fun if it was a web host.

 

I don't even know what kind of WiFi sniffer it would take to capture WiFi traffic between the smart device and smartphone.  It's for certain nothing I have access to.  My usual trick of mirroring an Orbi port or a port on a switch that I hang off the Orbi won't work because my laptop is wirelessly connected directly to the plug and only to the plug.

 

I keep coming back to the problem being some combination of the smartphone and the vendor app.  We seem to have evidence that Samsung S9 Oreo failed, Samsung S8 Oreo worked, and Moto e4 Nougat (my $130 phone) worked. 

I love my Orbi.
Message 18 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

p.s. My results do not mean that NO smart device sets up a web host for configuration, only that my TP-Link HS105 apprears not to.

I love my Orbi.
Message 19 of 22
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

Have you asked TP-Link for information on there product and compatibility with NG Orbi? 


@CrimpOn wrote:

p.s. My results do not mean that NO smart device sets up a web host for configuration, only that my TP-Link HS105 apprears not to.


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>Orbi RBK50 v2.5.1.16(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200, Orbi CBK40, Orbi RBK50/RBK853, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 20 of 22
Highlighted
Master

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

I did some experiments trying to learn "what goes on" when a smart plug is configured to work on a WiFi network.  I now have three smart plugs: TP-Link HS-105, Belkin Wemo mini smart plug, and Aukey SH-PA1 mini smart plug. The goal was to use Wireshark to capture the packets which go back and forth across the network and see how they connect.  

TP-Link HS-105 mini smart plug.  

There was an immediate problem: my Orbi 2.4G network was on channel 11 and the TP-Link plug created a WiFi access point on channel 6 ("TP-Link_Smart Plug_171F", where 17:1F is the last two octets of the MAC address).  Alas, a WiFi adapter used with Wireshark can monitor only one channel, so I did not get packets between phone and plug.  However, this did confirm my belief that the existing smartphone connection was irrelevant,  The smartphone TP-Link Kasa app connected to the TP-Link smart plug even though it
was on a different WiFi channel.  And, once the SSID and password were sent to the plug, the plug was able to find my Orbi on channel 11.  TP-Link printed the plug MAC address on the case, so I forced Orbi to channel 6 and was able to capture the entire process.  The STRANGE thing was that I did NOT capture any packets directly between the smart plug and my smartphone.  All I saw were broadcast packets.  It was also clear that the smartphone app encrypted my Orbi SSID and password before sending them to the smart plug.

Belkin Wemo mini smart plug.

Configuring the Belkin Wemo mini smart plug went about the same way, except it was a lot more complicated and confusing.  Belkin printed the MAC address on plug so I was able to configure a Wireshark capture on channel 6.  The app complained about my Android phone being too cavalier about changing WiF networks, and it spent a LONG time "looking".  Eventually, the Wemo app turns the plug on and off as it should.  Once again, the Wireshark captured almost entirely broadcast packets.  i.e. the phone does not seem to talk directly to the Wemo.  During the process, my phone remained connected to Orbi at 5G and simultaneously talked 2.4G on channel 6. Wemo also appears to encrypt data that goes to the smart plug.

Aukey SH-PA1 mini smart plug.

It appears that the Aukey did NOT create a WiFi SSID.  The Aukey app was similar to Belkin Wemo in complaining about "must be connected to 2.4G".  I ignored the complaint and clicked "Continue".  App found the plug and it turns on and off as expected.  Aukey did not print the device MAC address on the product, so after it was working, I went to Orbi's attached devices and learned the MAC address.  Reset the plug to factory and did a Wireshark capture.  THIS TIME, the Aukey app asked if I wanted to use Bluetooth to find and configure the plug.  "What the heck.  Why not?"  Went smoothly and the plug works fine.  (Maybe it asked about bluetooth the first time and I just didn't see the message.)  Aukey also seems to communicate using only broadcast packets and encrypts data.

I have noticed that all three smart plugs make a distinctive "snapping" sound when they turn on and off.  I guess to support 15 amps, they need to switch a physical relay.

So, what have I learned (besides how difficult it is to use Wireshark on WiFi networks)?

I now have three brands of smart plug (a) that all say they require a 2.4G network, (b) that managed to get connected even though my phone was connected to an Orbi 5G channel, (c) that seem to communicate using only broadcast packets, and (d) that I really like using bluetooth to connect devices.  I still have no clue how the plugs can be controlled remotely.  (Does Orbi have a way to report when devices open ports to remote hosts?)

I remain convinced that "Orbi isn't the problem" when devices cannot be connected, but I am no closer to learning what IS the problem.

I love my Orbi.
Message 21 of 22
Virtuoso

Re: Adding 2.4 ghz devices to Orbi

After installing several TP Link devices, including switches and lights as well as plugs, while disregarding the "Set you mobile device to 2.4GHz" instruction and never having any problem, I am convinced that Orbi is both the problem and the solution. The initial search for the Kasa device on the app is between the device and phone. You need to be there, near the Kasa device for that to properly work. Especially true with a switch in the wall. Before setting up devices, people read the 2.4GHz requirement and try to figure out how to do this with the Orbi and run into a wall. However, I believe that the instruction has more to do with connecting the device to the network. In a some non mesh router, your device chooses between bands in a manner that is actually switching networks though you may have set the SSID to a single name. Some do not. If your phone is connected to 5GHz but with the common name, when you choose the network for the Kasa to hook up to it will look for that.and falter. To prevent this, the instructions are specific to insure your device is connected to your 2.4GHz network so you can properly tell the Kasa device the right band network. With Orbi the SSID base is inherently common for either network. Telling the Kasa device to hook up to you Orbi network it is slam dunk. It sees the 2.4GHz Orbi network SSID and connects. Bottom line on Kasa, the instructions for the mobile device hook up to the wifi are more for the Kasa network hook up section for non mesh type routers. When hooking the Kasa device to the network your phone may only be giving you the network option that your phone is currently on with conventional dual band routers. With Orbi that is no problem.

Message 22 of 22