Mesh WiFi Demons

Hi there, we have well over a hundred mesh wifi hubs deployed all over the country for our property management company. They live across different accounts, locations etc. Overall, it’s been fairly reliable at scale but I keep encountering a few repeated issues:

  1. At one property only as of late 3 of our mesh hubs (separate networks) keep disconnecting from the ISP modem randomly. A power cycle of the hub fixes it every time. Very annoying.

  2. Z-wave was really strong and reliable for months until recently, now we have smart locks going offline in waves daily. Always cured with reboots.

  3. Lack of support on SmartThings side. Plume is great and super helpful but Samsung provides virtually nothing with these products and I’m not sure they respond to submitted support issues.

  4. Very hard to determine if the z-wave mesh between hubs is as strong as the wifi mesh.

Anyone have similar issues with these? I know there was a big outage last week that seems to still be lingering.

For an operation of that size, I would definitely get the Z wave Products toolbox. This is a small device that a professional installer can take with them from one location to another that can map the Z wave network and has a bunch of diagnostic tools. It lists at $250, but is often on sale for about $150. Since smartthings does not provide users with anyway to map their own Z wave networks, you have to add third-party products to get those capabilities. And this is a good one. :sunglasses:

(Fair warning: it’s not intended for end-users and it’s not particularly consumer friendly as far as explaining what everything is and labeling all the charts and that sort of thing. But for a pro installer or field tech, it has a lot of information. )

Z-Wave ToolBox - ZWP-TBX — ZWaveProducts

Community discussion thread:

That’s fantastic, thanks for the tip. I’ll be getting one for sure.

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As to #4, zwave mesh and WiFi mesh are totally separate. I would expect their strength to be different.

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Right, it’s just odd that there’s no tool in SmartThings to measure that. WiFi range will be much greater than Z-Wave, so if I have a puck on the boundaries I’d assume Z-Wave would be very unreliable at the same distance. Unless each puck acts as its own zwave hub and not a repeaters.

I think you got it down. One puck is the hub, the others are merely repeaters.

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There’s a FAQ for that. :wink:

FAQ: Does using a Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi mesh network expand the range of my Z wave and Zigbee devices farther than the usual zwave/zigbee range?

The first sentence of the FAQ is confusing to me. :dizzy_face: The ‘no’ in the first sentence seems pretty definitive. But it seems more like a “Yes and no”. It will extend the range as a repeater, but that means that the sub hub must be in range of the z-wave/zigbee mesh.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it officially answered, but I’m guessing that means that the sub hubs must be in mesh range for each radio and purely act as another mains powered zigbee/z-wave device on the mesh and don’t have any fancy magic where they could backhaul / bridge the connection over the LAN/Wifi.

Yes, that’s right.

You don’t get any special range improvements because it’s part of a sub hub. Or any longer range. But the sub hub does have a Z wave radio and does act as a regular repeater just like a Z wave light switch would in the same physical location.

Like all smartthings hubs, the Wi-Fi mesh device is a plastic box with multiple different radios inside of it. Each protocol forms its own independent network, so you have a Z wave network, a zigbee network, and in the case of the Wi-Fi mesh models, a WiFi network.

So that’s why the first paragraph has two sentences:

Unfortunately, no. At least not any more than any other Z wave or zigbee device would.

I’ve updated that to the following, which hopefully will be a little clearer:

Unfortunately, no. At least not any more than any other Z wave or zigbee device would in the same physical location.

To me, if the question is “Does using a Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi mesh network expand the range of my Z wave and Zigbee devices?” the answer is yes.

Yes, it can extend the range of your Zigbee and Z-wave devices in the way that a normal Zigbee/Z-wave mains powered device acts as a repeater. Since it acts as a repeater to extend your network, it must be in range of the related mesh. For example, to extend your Zigbee mesh, the sub hub would need to be in range of your Zigbee mesh. And similarly, the subhub would need to be in range of your Z-wave mesh to extend your Z-wave mesh.

The “no” part around not backhauling / bridging the connection over the network seems like the exception to the answer rather than the core of it. :man_shrugging:

Though perhaps that better answers the question “Can using a Samsung SmartThings Wi-Fi mesh… expand the range?”

I understand what you’re saying, but based on forum history I would say that 95% of the time the person asking the question wants to know whether using the Wi-Fi mesh model will mean that they can get Wi-Fi range distances for their Z wave or zigbee devices. And I’d say that 60% of the questions are in the context of automating an outbuilding.

So the FAQ is literally “if I have a Samsung Wi-Fi mesh router, does that mean I can get z wave signal to a location which is more than 150 feet away?“

And that answer is definitely no.

Again, I understand what you’re saying, which is a slightly different question of whether the subhub contains a functioning z wave repeater . When the models were first released, that functionality was turned off, but they added it in after a couple of months.

Let me think about the wording and see what I can do with it. :sunglasses:

Update

Ok, I changed the FAQ title to the long but hopefully less confusing title

FAQ: Does-using-a-samsung-smartthings-wi-fi-mesh-network-expand-the-range-of-my-z-wave-and-zigbee-devices-farther-than-the-usual-zwave-zigbee-range?

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