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Apprentice

Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

I see that all the smart plugs on the market are limited to the 2.4GHz WiFi band. Are there any recommendations for smart plugs that set up easily with the Orbi system, and don't require any "workarounds" because of their 2.4GHz limitation?

 

I'm looking for a smart plug compatible with both my Orbi system and Alexa, but am a bit gun shy now, since my Whirlpool appliance simply will not set up properly with my Orbi.  (Different thread, but Whirlpool tech support has had this ticket open for several months, and has tried numerous times to get it to work).

 

I thought I'd check here first before purchasing anything.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 1 of 38
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Virtuoso

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

I am using TP Link Kasa plugs. Also lights and switches. All set up quickly and immediately. I use Google Honme, and that works fine with Orbi and the Kasa devices. Alexa should be fine also.

Message 2 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Thanks Joe!

 

I'll get one of those plugs, then.

 

My concern, as stated previously, is that the Orbi system is set up such that the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands use the same SSID, and I've been unable to connect my Whirlpool applicance because both the applicance and my iPhone must be on the same 2.4GHz network during setup.  There's no means I've found of "forcing" my phone to connect to the 2.4GHz band...it always connects to the 5GHz band.  And, even when I'm able to temporarily shut off the 5GHz band (and verify my phone and applicance are both connected to the 2.4GHz band) I'm not able to complete the setup on my iPhone.

 

Thanks again for the recommendation!

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 3 of 38
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Virtuoso

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

First, I had no problem that way for the Kasa set up even though it is the same potential 2.4GHz issue. With your appliance, the issue is one that appears often with Orbi being both networks on same SSID and setting up some finicky devices. One thing you may try is turning your 5GHz singnal down very low in Orbi while you are attempting the appliance set up. On web interface for Orbi, Advanced>Advanced Setup>Wireless Settings under 5GHz. If you are near a satellite you may want to power it down. If you are near the router take the 5GHz signal down to perhaps 25%. One other thing you may do to help you in this is download WiFi Analyzer. You can see signal strength on your phone so can get a feeling when your phone will perfer the 2.4GHz band because the 5GHz is so low at the point you are located. This will also help you determine how low to set the 5GHz output to inssure your phone is connected to 2.4GHz only.

Message 4 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

I've tried the suggestions you posted before, but they really didn't work for me (or the applicance).  The only thing I haven't tried, and just thought of, is to temporarily turn off the 5GHz band, then perform a Reset Network settings on my phone...then try to connect this appliance to the phone.  (I'm thinking that maybe, when I ensured both the phone and applicance were connected to the 2.4GHz band, my phone still thinks it's on a different network than the applicance?).

 

Anyway...that's a subject for a different thread, not this one.  I've ordered the TP Link plug recommended earlier...it should arrive Tuesday.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 5 of 38
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Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Can one of the experts please explain what this obsession with 2.4G vs. 5G is?

 

I confess to not having much experience, but it seems to me that a device with ONLY a 2.4G radio in it can only connect to ANY WiFi host (including Orbi) at 2.4G.  It shouldn't matter what SSID is being broadcast on 5G. The device simply CANNOT SEE IT.  The WiFi host is not going to "see" a signal at 5G.  It isn't going to try to connect at 5G.  5G has nothing to do with this device.

 

Likewise, when a person has an app on their phone, tablet, laptop etc. that is connected to the router at any speed (2.4G, 5G, or ethernet), that should have nothing to do with "connecting" to a device that is connected to the same WiFi router (or Access Point).  Each device talks to the WiFi host. They do NOT "talk to each other."

 

What am I too dense to understand?

I love my Orbi.
Model: RBR50| Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi (Router Only)
Message 6 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Good questions...for which I really don't have a definitive answer.  (I'm not a programmer or network admin type, either).

 

Your thoughts are the same as mine when I was first unable to connect my Whirlpool applicance's app on my iPhone.  The appliance itself is connected to the 2.4GHz band on my Orbi, and my iPhone is connected (usually) to the 5GHz band of the Orbi...but both are on the same "network", as both bands use the same SSID.  In my case, Whirlpool makes it clear in their app that the appliance and the iPhone must be connected to the same 2.4GHz network. 

 

So I can only surmise that the 2.4GHz band and 5GHz bands are somehow, on a technical level, two separate networks that use the same SSID.

 

The above being said, this seems to be problem limited mostly to "unusual" or low volume products.  I've read reports here that LaCrosse weather stations can't be set up in the mobile app if the phone is on the Orbi's 5GHz band and the LaCrosse device is on the 2.4GHz band.

 

Why this is a problem is something I really don't understand, as it's not a problem for all devices.  My Rachio irrigation controller, for example, uses the 2.4GHz band, but I'm able to set it up with my iPhone when my iPhone is on the 5GHz band.

 

So I really don't know if this issue is caused by poor programming or something else.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 7 of 38
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Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

It seems crazy to me, but could it be possible that the Whirlpool appliance is somehow acting as an Access Point instead of an (end node?)?

 

When you run WiFi Analyzer (iPhone equivalent), you don't see an access point that is obviously the Whirlpool appliance?

 

I just cannot understand how this situation can be possible.  (Obviously, other people confront this issue because there are numerous pleas in the forum for "how can I turn 5G off so I can set up my xxx device on 2.4G?")  I will be SO RELIEVED when a "smart person" explains this to us.

I love my Orbi.
Message 8 of 38
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Virtuoso

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

https://www.whirlpool.com/content/dam/global/documents/201708/JobAid-W10785366A(CA-02).pdf

So strange. They also talk in this document about using the appliance as a hotspot. And under the manual method they talk about finding the appliance by its SSID which is its mac address.

There are currently three possible methods for connecting an appliance with the consumer’s Home Area Network (HAN) wireless router. In order of priority, these are:  Whirlpool App Setup Method (Preferred) - the app will walk the consumer through the process of connecting their appliance to the wireless network in their home.

If preferred, the consumer may also view the manual connection steps.

WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) Method - the user simply pushes a button, either an actual or virtual one, on both the Wireless Router and the Smart Appliance. Support of this mode is mandatory for the router and optional for connecting devices. NOTE: Router must support WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) and WPA-2 security.

Manual Setup Method: SSID/Passphrase Method – the user enters the SSID and Passphrase of the Router into the Smart Appliance.

Message 9 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

I'm able to connect the appliance to the WiFi network (and can verify in the Orbi app that it's connected to the 2.4GHz band).

 

The issue, in all three different connections methods (Whirlpool has tried all of them with me) is that the last steps are done on my iPhone, and all end up with an error message telling me my phone is unable to connect to the appliance's network.

 

I echo another comment made earlier, in that I'd love to learn why this happens with some devices (e.g. Whirlpool appliances, LaCrosse weather stations) but not others. Is it programming or hardware related?

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 10 of 38
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Guru

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

You have the right idea. 

ANY device that only has a 2.4Ghz radio and support, will NOT see or attempt to connect to any 5Ghz wifi AT ALL. There two completely different frequencys and hardware. Users should not have to separate the smart connect single SSID name on any MESH system to get there 2.4Ghz only devices connected. I've never had to do with with my Orbi system whatsoever! 2.4Ghz devices will not connect ever to any 5Ghz frequency!!! Period!. So theres Zero reason behing trying to separate the Orbi SSID and use different SSIDs. It's not how the Orbi was intended to operate. It does work as intended using a single SSID. Most the devices trying to get connected is not handling the process correctly and mostly a device fault. Not the Orbi. 

 

The real reason behind some devices are not getting connected is due to the wifi drivers and wifi handshaking and handling on the device and at the Orbi wifi is where the problems are happening. Its either a wifi driver thats not compatible with Orbis wifi or the beaconing and CTS adjustments or requirements on the device are different from what is set on the Orbi system. Some have had good luck in changing these settings for some Apple device to get them connected to the Orbi:

Advanced Wireless Settings both 2.4GHz and 5GHz changed CTS/RTS Threshold to 2307.
https://community.netgear.com/t5/Orbi/Orbi-RBR40-RBS40-V2-1-4-16-mesh-network-drops-connection-to/m-...
https://community.netgear.com/t5/Orbi/Have-to-keep-rebooting-my-RBR50/m-p/1658603/highlight/false#M4...
Change the CTR/RTS threshold values for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (2341 and 2345 respectively), changed preamble modes to long preamble, and Set 20/40Mhz Coexistence to 40Mhz only.

 

Also, Not all wifi devices adhear to wifi standards so depending on where the devices are made, designed and tested and wifi drivers used, will impact how they get connected to router wifi like the Orbi. I've seen various issues over the years with wifi drivers that are used in devices, and since there is sooo many devices out theres, I presume it's hard for router Mfrs to test everything. Reason why there are wifi standards that most Mfrs adhear to so there should be compatibility across product lines with devices. 


@CrimpOn wrote:

Can one of the experts please explain what this obsession with 2.4G vs. 5G is?

 

I confess to not having much experience, but it seems to me that a device with ONLY a 2.4G radio in it can only connect to ANY WiFi host (including Orbi) at 2.4G.  It shouldn't matter what SSID is being broadcast on 5G. The device simply CANNOT SEE IT.  The WiFi host is not going to "see" a signal at 5G.  It isn't going to try to connect at 5G.  5G has nothing to do with this device.

 

Likewise, when a person has an app on their phone, tablet, laptop etc. that is connected to the router at any speed (2.4G, 5G, or ethernet), that should have nothing to do with "connecting" to a device that is connected to the same WiFi router (or Access Point).  Each device talks to the WiFi host. They do NOT "talk to each other."

 

What am I too dense to understand?


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 11 of 38
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Aspirant

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Hi, I've been using 20+ of the cheapo wi-fi plugs you can find on Amazon for anywhere from $5-10 without any issues. They all connect to the 2.4 and happily stay there. I also have a few D-Link plugs that work without issue as well. Good luck.

Message 12 of 38
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Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

The document provided by JoeCymru may provide the answer.  Starting on page 8, it describes the process of adding a new Whirlpool appliance to the user's Whirlpool web account using the Whirlpool app or a WiFi connected device.  WPS, which the Orbi supports is the clear winner.  If WPS does NOT work, the user must disconnect his device from WiFi and connect to the appliance's WiFi. Then, connect to the appliance at 192.168.10.1 and tell the appliance about the Orbi's WiFi SSID and password so that the appliance can log on.  This is obviously because appliances do not have keyboards or key pads which can be used to enter the Orbi information directly.  What a drag!

 

What this means is that your iPhone would not be using 5G during this process because it will only find the appliances SSID on 2.4G.  (It also seems to indicate that Whirlpool customers will have a bunch of 2.4G SSID's broadcasting constantly as they show in the document.  Just what we need, dozens of more SSID's cluttering up our air waves!)

 

So, the Whirlpool folks actually walked you through the steps to try WPS and this direct connect method?

 

p.s. I realize we've strayed from the original "Smart Plug" thread, but this is sort of the same concept.

I love my Orbi.
Message 13 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Thanks for your detailed analysis!

 

Yes, Whirlpool has tried all three connection methods, and none seem to work. Connecting the appliance to the network always works, putting the appliance into "beaconing mode", then pressing the Sync button on the back of either the router or satellite (we tried this method with the satellite off, using the Sync button on the router...and with the satellite on, using the Sync button on the back of the satellite. In both cases, the appliance gets connected to the network just fine...and I can confirm it's on the 2.4GHz band via the Orbi app. We've done this with the 5GHz radio turned off temporarily and my phone connected to the 2.4GHz band (again, verified in the Orbi app).

 

But no matter what we've done, the end result is always the same....the iPhone says it's unable to connect to the appliance's network.  And, of course, without the iPhone connected to the appliance's network, I'm not able to do anything at all with the appliance's network connectivity.

 

It's been in this condition for several months now, since purchasing the appliance in February 2018. 

 

As I've never spoken directly to a software engineer, I suspect the software Whirlpool uses was developed in Asia or eastern Europe. Instead, all interaction with Whirlpool is conducted with their IoT support team in Benton Harbor, MI (a very small team of only 4).

 

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 14 of 38
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Sounds like and issue between the iphone and the appliance device if the iphone can't even connect to the devices setup wifi signal. 


Do you have a previously used router by chance? 

 


@OzzzieMike wrote:

Thanks for your detailed analysis!

 

Yes, Whirlpool has tried all three connection methods, and none seem to work. Connecting the appliance to the network always works, putting the appliance into "beaconing mode", then pressing the Sync button on the back of either the router or satellite (we tried this method with the satellite off, using the Sync button on the router...and with the satellite on, using the Sync button on the back of the satellite. In both cases, the appliance gets connected to the network just fine...and I can confirm it's on the 2.4GHz band via the Orbi app. We've done this with the 5GHz radio turned off temporarily and my phone connected to the 2.4GHz band (again, verified in the Orbi app).

 

But no matter what we've done, the end result is always the same....the iPhone says it's unable to connect to the appliance's network.  And, of course, without the iPhone connected to the appliance's network, I'm not able to do anything at all with the appliance's network connectivity.

 

It's been in this condition for several months now, since purchasing the appliance in February 2018. 

 

As I've never spoken directly to a software engineer, I suspect the software Whirlpool uses was developed in Asia or eastern Europe. Instead, all interaction with Whirlpool is conducted with their IoT support team in Benton Harbor, MI (a very small team of only 4).

 


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 15 of 38
Highlighted
Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Page 2-12 of the Whirlpool document says to select, "already connected to WiFi" (which it is) and enter the SAID from the label on the appliance.  It doesn't say anything about "connecting to the appliance."

 

I often put my ethernet traffic capture program into "promiscuous mode" and capture all the traffic on my LAN (the Orbi has an option to copy everything out one of the ethernet ports).  It would be fun to see if the appliance is talking to Whirlpool's cloud service.  It could be that once you got an IP address for the appliance, it contacted Whirlpool and said, "Hey, this SAID is alive and well.  No idea where I am or who owns me."  Then, when you "register", the Whirlpool cloud says, "oh, yes.  we know that appliance.  We'll add it to your account."

 

It also might be fun to use a web browser to connect to the appliance through the IP address that it got from the Orbi router.  i.e. when the appliance is broadcasting its own SSID, it has a web server listening at 192.168.10.1.  Wonder if that same server is listening at the new IP?

I love my Orbi.
Message 16 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Alas, no...I do not have another router available.

 

I've never experienced an issue with the phone's WiFi performance, no matter the location, so although I certainly can't rule it out, I doubt the issue is with my iPhone 8, running the current Apple iOS.

 

I've attached a couple of screen shots from the phone to show what happens when the phone attempts to connect to the Whirlpool's network. These two screen shots demonstrate what happens every time, no matter the procedure used to connect.

Message 17 of 38
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Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

For some reason, only one photo was uploaded before.

 

Here's the other one that's seen before the failure to join message appears.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 18 of 38
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

I would presume this is a problem with the appliance device and the iPhone. Something the appliance Mfr will have to sort out...

Find a different device, a friends android or a different model iPhone or an iPad and see if you can get any of these connected to the appliance wifi. 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 19 of 38
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

LOL...everyone in my family has iPhones, but there are different models, so I may try using my wife's iPhone 6 and see if the results are different.  (But it's kind of a pain, since I'd still have to turn off the 5GHz radio temporarily even with that phone...and my wife isn't thrilled if she doesn't have her phone available at all times...LOL).

 

I don't think this is an iOS or iPhone issue or there'd be a TON of complaints out there. I am almost certain it's an issue with mesh routers and/or the Orbi system in particular (but, of course, I don't have the requisite knowledge to confirm this).

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 20 of 38
Highlighted
Guru

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

Try the beaconing and CTS adjustments I mentioned and see if this might help. 

Also set manual channel 1 or 11 on 2.4Ghz. 

 

Well tell the wife that you need to disable 5Ghz for just a few minutes while you try and get this device attached, if possible. 

Lower the power output of the 5Ghz radio is all you need to do. Leaving the 2.4Ghz radio at 100%. 

 

I presume this is more like a appliance device issue. Possible that there drivers don't like MESH wifi. Again, something the devices Mfr will have too look at. 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 21 of 38
Highlighted
Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

It's been my experience with IT that it's always the "simple things" that persistently go wrong and take hours (and hours) to resolve.  Pretty ambitious for a microwave to be Internet connected.

 

I'm still hung up on, "why attempt to connect to the MICRO_xxxxx network in the first place?"  The thing is connected to the router, has an IP, and can talk to Whirlpool if it wants to.  That's how my security cameras allow access without setting up dynamic IP.  They open an connection to the camera company which allows it to know where they are.

 

Is there a way to "add a device" WITHOUT connecting to it?  i.e. Page 2-8 and page 2-12 say the same thing: check the box that says, "already connected to the Internet", enter the SAID, and go on? 

 

Not to beat the 5G dead horse, but do you DISCONNECT your iPhone from WiFi completely BEFORE trying to connect to the microwave?  I notice the message says "Whirlpool is attempting..."  I know that apps can listen to WiFi, but I don't know that an app can connect to a different AP at the same time the iPhone is connected to a different AP.

I love my Orbi.
Message 22 of 38
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

To answer a couple of questions here....

 

  • After temporarily turning off the 5GHz radio, I made sure I rebooted my phone, after which it connected to the 2.4GHz band.
  • I may try all of this again using my wife's phone, but will probably have to wait until the weekend for that.

At this point, though, I have to weigh the benefits of working on this more or just letting it die and operate the microwave just as I have been....as a regular microwave. LOL.

 

I've looked at the iOS app store reviews for the Whirlpool app, and it doesn't fare well. Seems to be a lot of disconnects, app not connecting, updates breaking things, latency issues...just to name a few. So I don't think I'm the only one having issues with it...but I don't see a ton of issues in the app store regarding connecting the phone to the appliance.

 

The sad thing is that, several months ago when I was in a support session with Whirlpool, their tech told me she was pretty sure they had an Orbi system where she was located. If Whirlpool truly cared to find out if Orbi is the problem or not, they'd be able to test it easily...but since they haven't, I suspect it's not on their priority radar screen.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 23 of 38
Highlighted
Sensei

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

When you rebooted your phone and it connected to 2.4G, did you "disconnect" so that it was not connected to ANY access point before trying to run the Whirlpool app?

 

p.s. I looked at the Android Whirlpool app.  Same thing.  1 star reviews outnumber 4-5 stars 10 to 1.  NOT a good sign.  With that many unhappy users, it looks like you indeed have an "ordinary microwave."

I love my Orbi.
Message 24 of 38
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: Orbi-Compatible Smart Plugs?

By "disconnect", I assume you mean that, after rebooting, I should turn WiFi off on my phone, and not turn it on again until I'm ready to go thru the iPhone setup process?  (Because it's never been able to "connect" to the appliance, which is what I've been faced with thus far).

 

If that's what you mean, I'll try that during my next session with Whirlpool. (Though I'm not sure if there's any difference between doing that and rebooting the phone after turning off the 5GHz radio, in which case the phone will automatically connect to the 2.4GHz band?)

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 25 of 38
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