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Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help me!

ddigler
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Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help me!

I am offering $1k USD to anyone who can help me. To be certain that statement is a JK but if someone could actually help me I might actually do it lol. I am pretty tech savy and have been PLAGUED by this issue, out of the clear blue, for the last year or so.

 

I have an Orbi setup, with the router in basement, 1 sat first level and 1 sat second level. Additionally, I have (4) amazon echo plusses in my home basement, first and second levels. The echo plusses have built in z-wave bridges that control my 40 philips hue smart bulbs. 

 

Things work perfectly say 90% of the time. However out of nowhere all certain lights become 'unresponsive' and don't work. When th is happens its always several, random lights that go down at once. I have tried everything to determine the cause but have been unsuccesful. 

 

It may seem odd to post this here but you guys have always helped me with Orbi issues previously. The 'wireless tech' knowledge here is vast and I'm hoping for the best. Pleasehelp a guy who is ready to jump from second story window (this is 100% a JK and not even funny but this thing has been tremendously frustrating). 

 

My wife is at Best Buy picking up a hue bridge as I type. I don't know if controlling the lights with this will help or not butI"m trying anything at this point. 

 

Should I be using a certain wifi channel within Orbi? Hours of research have resulted in very little help... I sincerly thank any human being who can help a guy out. 

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 1 of 14
CrimpOn
Sensei

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help


@ddigler wrote:

My wife is at Best Buy picking up a hue bridge as I type. I don't know if controlling the lights with this will help or not butI"m trying anything at this point. 


Was fascinated by the review by Craig Moore on the Amazon Echo Plus:

https://www.amazon.com/All-new-Echo-Plus-2nd-built/dp/B0794W1SKP?th=1 

He mentions a difference between Zigbee and Z-Wave. and that the Phillips Hue lights do some things, but not other things unless there is a Phillips Hue hub.

 

My thought is that there appears to be no need to have more than a single Z-Wave hub because the individual devices 'mesh' with each other.  Have no idea what happens if there are 4 hubs in a single house.

 

My guess is that Orbi has zero to do with the problem.  All my lights being only one color (Daylight white) and at maximum brightness, I lack any competence with "Hue".

I love my Orbi.
Message 2 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

thank you for taking a minute Crimp!

 

Your thinking I should start by removing 2 of the 3 echo plus's so I have only one z-wave bridge?

Message 3 of 14
CrimpOn
Sensei

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

Have read more, and remain ignorant.

 

  • Both Amazon Echo Plus and Philips Hue use Zigbee, not Z-wave.  So I was incorrect to even mention Z-wave.
  • Zigbee uses 2.4GHz frequencies which cover exactly the same band as 2.4G WiFi.  (Z-wave uses 900mhz.)
  • It appears that some Zigbee hubs are "frequency agile". Found an article describing how the Samsung "Smart Things" Zigbee hub is configured with a Zigbee channel at the factory and cannot be changed.
  • There are tons of articles on the web about interference between Zigbee and 2.4G WiFi.
  • Most of the articles do not take into account that Netgear's Orbi system assigns the same 2.4G channel to all Orbi units.  If the setting is "Channel 1", then they are all on channel 1.
  • I have found nothing about Amazon Echo Plus Zigbee channel settings. Agile? Settable?  No idea.
  • What I can say is that the 2.4G default ("Auto") means that the Orbi periodically surveys the WiFi neighborhood and switches 2.4G channels.  My guess is that this might wreak havoc with the Philips Hue bulbs.
  • I also have no idea if the Amazon Echo Plus can be told to "turn off Zigbee" on some units but leave it on for other units.

It seems to me that the best advice will come from some combination of Amazon Echo techies and Philips Hue techies.

Maybe involving something like setting the Orbi 2.4G WiFi channel and the Zigbee channels where they cannot overlap and cannot change. (no "auto")

I love my Orbi.
Message 4 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

I really appreciate the input Crimp.

 

To me your theory is the most plausible as it explains clearly how I could intermittently lose 5-8 lights out of the clear blue and in the absence of any obvious cause. If my Orbi router, which is set to 'auto' channel selection for 2.4ghz wifi, decides to switch itself and the (2) sats, for whatever reason, understanding the documeted interference between zigbee and 2.4ghz wifi, this could explain the dropping lights. 

 

On the Amazon Echo Plus support forum, a user nice enough to try to help me holds a different theory and subsequent thoughts regarding how to fix:

 

'No, zwave and zigbee are low power wireless mesh networks. It's very rare that wifi will interfere.

As I mentioned, you have a zigbee network and need to strengthen your zigbee mesh. If you strategically place zigbee smart plugs throughout your home, it will create a robust zigbee mesh network and your bulbs will stabilize.'

 

So, I've got a couple suggestions, but to me Crimp, yours sounds closer. 

 

Figuring the i. Echo Plus can not deactivate its zigbee signal & ii.it does not allow one to change zigbee channel:

 

Should I start by forcing Orbi to a specific 2.4 wifi channel and see how it goes for awhile? What channel should I use for Orbi?

 

 

Message 5 of 14
CrimpOn
Sensei

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

That advice is straight out of the Zigbee instructions.  Unlike what the industry calls "mesh" in terms of WiFi systems (which is actually a master/slave relationship), it appears that Zigbee is a true "mesh" where each of the devices communicates with devices near it.  If there is a gap in the mesh, communication is more difficult so the recommendation is to have Zigbee devices in lots of places.

 

Despite more searches, I cannot find any information on Amazon Echo Plus Zigbee channels.  This post seems to indicate that the Philips hub is able to define which channel to use:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tradfri/comments/9mnlwr/changing_zigbee_channel_due_to_interference/ 

This is where my total lack of hands on experience with Zigbee is frustrating.  My sense of it is that Zigbee devices will follow the hub to a new channel unless they have to be paired again.

 

So there are now two criteria for selecting which 2.4G WiFi channel to use:

  • To avoid interference from all the neighbor WiFi systems, select a channel that is not dominated by neighbors' WiFi systems.
  • Then set the Philips hub to a Zigbee channel that does not overlap with the Orbi WiFi.
    Note the comment by JDRoberts in this post:
    https://community.smartthings.com/t/faq-networking-and-reducing-channel-interference-between-wifi-an... 
    The context of that post regards Samsung Smart Things hubs which cannot be changed once they leave the factory, but the principle remains the same.  If Orbi WiFi is set to any channel from 1-6, then set the Zigbee to the high end.  If Orbi is set to any channel from 6-11 (North America. to 13 in the rest of the world), then set Zigbee to the loweest channel.

 

I love my Orbi.
Message 6 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help


This is all good information Crimp thank you.

 

To your point, I have not been able to locate any info in terms of what zigbee chanel echo plus uses or whether or not it is a static channel or can vary. Whereas the hue bridge allows one to establish a specific, static zigbee channel to use, the Echo Plus does not (atleast I am not aware of an option to accomplish this). 

 

Understanding that your theory relates to Orbi auto switching 2.4ghz channels, thereby causing sudden zigbee overlap/interference and subsequent lights failing, all at once: 

 

Is there a way to identify which 2.4Ghz channel Orbi is currently using while set to 'auto'? Does it make sense to track this channel from time to time and certainly after a light failure to see if I can identify the channel that is screwing up the program? 

 

Or just buy a few zigbee repeaters? But this option seems like a bit of a bandaid IMO...

Message 7 of 14
CrimpOn
Sensei

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help


@ddigler wrote:

Is there a way to identify which 2.4Ghz channel Orbi is currently using while set to 'auto'? Does it make sense to track this channel from time to time and certainly after a light failure to see if I can identify the channel that is screwing up the program?

Or just buy a few zigbee repeaters? But this option seems like a bit of a bandaid IMO...


The Zigbee devices themselves should create enough of a 'web' to communicate (once they are scattered all over the house).

 

There are any number of WiFi tools that will  display the channel of every WiFi access point they can find.

For Android, I typically use the WiFi Analyzer App by Kevin Yuan. (There must be a dozen similar apps.)

On Windows, I like WiFiInfoView from nirsoft, one from Lizard Systems, and one from Matthafner.com

Most of these have settings to avoid showing all of the nearby WiFi systems, such as restricting to certain channels, certain power levels, etc.

 

Did that Philips Hue hub show up?

 

 

I love my Orbi.
Message 8 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

Yep the hub showed up. Its sitting in the kitchen on the counter lol. Lights are working perfectly and I'm trying not to open the damn hub lol

 

The hub should be a win compared to the Echo Plus's as it allows for establishing a particular zigbee channel to use. My hesitation (and I apologize as it is increasingly off topic) is the integration of the hub with Alexa voice commands. Reading the poor reviews of the skill required to link the hub with Echo voice commands gives me pause...

 

For now I'm going to check the network analyzer tools you suggested - thank you for those. When (it will happen) the lights fail again I'll see if I can identify a switch in channel that may have caused it. If so I plan to force Orbi to a specific 2.4ghz channel that doesn't cause problems with zigbee. If I cannot ientify any problem with channels I plan to break open the Hue hub or purchase a few zigbee repeaters. 

 

does this sound lke a reasonable approach in your mind?

Message 9 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

I forced my home office workstation to 2.4ghz connection. WifiInfoView indicates Orbi is using channel 7 for 2.4ghz. All of my hue lights are working flawlessly ATM. 

Message 10 of 14
CrimpOn
Sensei

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

If the 2.4G setting in Advanced Wireless Settings is "auto", then the 2.4G channel can change. If you notice the bulbs no longer working and see that the 2.4G channel is no longer 7, itmight be a good idea to manually set it to 7.

I love my Orbi.
Message 11 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

I'll check back and advise on the results of this little experiment. Thank you for your guidance which has got me this far. Time will tell shortly...

Message 12 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

Still working like a charm these lights are Smiley Wink

 

They'll drop any day now - always do. I'll check back!

Message 13 of 14
ddigler
Aspirant

Re: Orbi RBR40 w/ 2 sats. My z-wave hue lights are always going unresponsive please God someone help

can't explain it - the lights are still working liking a champ. they'll go down, I just know it lol....

Message 14 of 14
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