Radio Interference

Home automation is much easier now with wireless devices. However, some appliances may create their own radio signals that interfere with the home automation mesh. Or some items may block signals and reduce transmission distance.

Do you have a real life experience where something impacted your ZigBee, Wifi or Z-Wave network? I’m asking the community to contribute their own personal experiences so we all better understand how to avoid this issue.

I am definitely seeing interference problems in the 2.4GHz spectrum, mostly manifesting as range problems.

My Wifi range has noticeably diminished as I have added wireless home automation. Both my Hue and TCP bulbs have ranges far below even conservative exceptions based on “advertised” ranges.

Here is what I have running in the 2.4GHz spectrum:

  • Wifi (both mine and my neighbors [I live in the city])- I have started to force my devices to connect to 5GHz to start freeing up the 2.4GHz range. I have one access point that only transmits in the 5GHz range but I have to leave my router transmitting in both for a few legacy devices. My access point has good reporting tools and I see error and retry rates in the 60% range of total traffic in 2.4GHz but only the 15% range in 5ghz
  • SmartThings (Zigbee)- I only have a few Zigbee sensors and haven’t noticed any issues
    -Hue (Zigbee)- Definitely have range issues. I am not planning on adding anymore Hue bulbs and look forward to migrating my existing bulbs over to directly connect with the ST hub.
    -TCP (JennNet IP)- From what I understand, this is a proprietary IP6 protocol operating on the 2.4GHz spectrum. Similar to Hue, seeing very short ranges. Longer term, plan to migrate to GE Link bulbs to eliminate this source.
    -SonosNet- I have one component hooked directly to Ethernet and the rest through the SonosNet. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen any issues with the Sonos system at all. Whatever wizardry they use to keep the audio in sync compensates for interference as well.
  • Bluetooth- I have a long range bluetooth transmitter hooked up to feed audio to a Jabra Revo headset (great for blasting music when the wife and son are in bed). When the music is turned off, I get a static-y hum but isn’t noticeable when the music is on. I have used this equipment elsewhere and don’t get the hum.

If people are having intermittent issues with devices in the garage, I figured out my issue. Cars move in and out reflecting the signal. Make sure you test all cases.