SmartThings Hub vs SmartThings Connect 3pk - complicated scenario


#1

Folks, I’m sorta beating my head against a wall trying to sort out if I can meet all the rqts for my home automation scenario with one or both of these devices. I’m going to lay out the rqts below, if anyone’s got experience here, feedback is greatly appreciated!

Scenario - 3 level home, deployed a mix of Iris + Samsung sensors, all integrated / reporting into a SmartThings hub. SmartThings hub is physically plugged into Ethernet port of wifi router, thus is close to wifi router. Home is not wired, will not be wired, with Ethernet/physical network cabling. Existing wifi router supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, set up with both active, and provides sufficient signal strength to all areas of home.

PROBLEM 1
- Many of the Iris and/or Samsung door sensors (multisensors) lose connectivity with the SmartThings hub, often for long periods of time. I’ve enabled a SmartApp that polls the sensors for connectivity periodically, but all that really does is waste my time, since there’s no automated/easy way to fix the problem - seems to be either wait for sensors to magically reconnect, or go pull battery/reset sensor. I gather that there are Zigbee/ZWave repeater devices such as outlet sensors that may help with this, but may not - especially if SmartThings hub is effectively next to my wifi router since it requires a physical network connection (STUPID), and I don’t have/can’t set up long physical network cables to create distance between wifi router / SmartThings hub wireless radio(s).

PROBLEM 2

  • Currently all of my compute devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc) are all wifi enabled, and with current wifi router providing sufficient coverage across house, all is good. I am going to be adding a desktop or two, and I’d like to move them all to Linux - but where Linux-compatible wifi cards/USB cards are either non-existent or really $$$, so realistically I need to provide the desktops with a physical jack network connection. I can pick up a few wifi extenders with Ethernet jacks to solve that, but haven;'t yet found any (let alone affordable) wifi extender, including using open firmware like ddwrt on wifi router, that will also act as Zigbee/Zwave repeater.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION 1 …UNTIL I saw the Samsung Connect devices, which act as wifi extender/mesh network, have Ethernet jacks to let me plug in my remote Linux desktops yet still use wifi as the house network system, and act as Zigbee/ZWave repeaters. So, even though a tad pricey, was thinking hey I’ll just buy a 3pk and solve both problems above with single device system. BUT… here are my open questions:

  1. Reviews of SmartThings Connect 3pk seem to say that you can only manage those with a SmartConnect app, not “usual” SmartThings app, which means very limited relative functionality esp around custom apps and scenes, both of which I use today with SmartThings Hub. So, can I continue to use my SmartThings Hub as the actual home automation mgmt device, and simply have the SmartConnect boxes play role of Zigbee/ZWave repeater for the sensors back into the SmartThings Hub?

  2. Reviews of SmartThings Connect 3pk seem to say that you don’t necessarily need to have one of them act as “master” wifi node, that instead all 3 can extend an existing wifi network (SSID). True? Even if the ‘primary’ SmartThings Connect node needs to be physically connected via Ethernet to the “real” wifi router? And if they can, there’s something about that the `primary’ SmartThings Connect hub can connect to existing wifi network via 5Ghz, but then the other 2 SmartThings Connect boxes connect to the ‘primary’ via 2.4Ghz? Accurate?

IDEAL SOLUTION:
- Continue to use existing Netgear router as “real” wifi router, supported housewide both 5ghz and 2.4Ghz wifi
network with their own SSIDs
- Physically plug SmartThings Connect ‘primary’ node and existing SmartThings Hub into Netgear router
- SmartThings Hub continues to be the mgmt system (w/ rich app, developer/custom SmartApps) for
home automation devices (ZigBee/ZWave)
- SmartThings Connect ‘primary’ node extends the Netgear 5Ghz wifi SSID
- Place the other two (‘secondary’) SmartThings Connect nodes on the other two floors of my house
- Act as Zigbee/ZWave repeater for sensors/devices, which are managed by SmartThings Hub
- provide physical Ethernet jacks for the Linux desktops on those house floors

REALLY long post. If you made it this far, thanks even if you don’t have any feedback!


(Mark) #2

I can’t say much about the Samsung connect home WiFi mesh devices. But problem #1, as you’ve described it, is almost certainly due to a weak zigbee mesh.

So whatever solution you decide on, make sure you strengthen your zigbee mesh, either with the Samsung connect home devices, or zigbee devices that plug into an outlet or are directly wired to your electrical mains.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #3

I do not think this is accurate.

While you will need to use the new SmartThings (Connect) App to set-up your WiFi and Hub; you can then switch to the SmartThings (Classic) App for regular usage … while that App still exists.

To use the Classic App: When you are prompted to log in, simply choose ‘New to SmartThings’ (even though you are not) and ‘I have a Samsung Account’.


(MarkTr) #4

The Connect boxes will not act as extenders for your existing ST hub, but my understanding is that they will extend each other. I’m not sure whether one is designated as the “primary” hub or they somehow share that responsibility (what happens if you set up Connect A, then B then C, and then unplug A? Will your devices that were connected to B or C still function? Will the devices that had connected to A reroute to B/C, assuming they’re within range?).

You can use both ST Classic and STSC app with the V2 hub. I wonder whether, once you’ve configured the Connect system using STSC, you can access it through the Classic app.


(Andy) #5

Yes, One hub is the primary and is connected to your internet source. The others extend your network.

Here’s the big problem. You can only setup and manage your network with the new ST App (Sometimes referred to as V2). You can set it up with V2 and then go back to you classic app and install your devices BUT the first thing the classic app does if find your new router and install it. Show up as Wifi or something. Once that happens you can no longer connect to it with the new app (V2). I opened a case with Samsung about this and they told me to only use the new application. The problem with that is that it wont find all of the devices that I had already setup in classic. My keen smart vent is easily found in classic but not the new app. Very frustrating.


#6

thanks to all for the feedback. Unfortunately doesn’t sound like adding SmartThings Connect 3pk to my existnig setup will implement my desired scenario.