I’m seeking some advice from others who have reliable home automation in a world with mixed devices and a unified SSID mesh network. Here’s my situation.
Internet - Xfinity 1.2 Gbps service
Modem - Netgear CM1000 (1 Gbps max speed)
Routers - Linksys Velop AX4200 Wi-Fi 6 mesh with 3 base stations
Network - 1 SSID with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands using WPA2/WPA3 Mixed Personal Security on both
Smart Home Devices
- Ecobee thermostat
- Hue bridge and 2 Hue lights and 1 switch
- Merross bulbs
- Merross plugs
- Eve plugs
- Nanoleaf Essentials bulbs
- Aqara hub
- Aqara sensors
- Aqara buttons
Here’s my essential problem. I recently completely blew away my HomeKit home and all the devices contained in the Merross app, Aqara app, Hue app, and Nanoleaf app. I created a whole new Home. When adding hardware back in, I had the network setup as 1 SSID and they added fine, but when trying to control devices, the Home app and others would show “Updating” on every device when launching the apps for at last 30 seconds. Upon trying to launch a scene or controlling an individual device, some would respond somewhat quickly while others would either not respond at all or respond in 30-40 seconds.
My ask is how others manage a world where many devices need the 2.4 GHz band in their house, but they want to leverage a single SSID that will allow your devices to connect to 2.4 GHz if they need to or 5 GHz if they can, because of speed advantages.
For a test, I split the SSID out, keeping the network name for the 2.4 GHz band and added a 5 to the SSID for the 5 GHz band. Upon doing so, most smart home devices responded quickly. Unfortunately upon doing speed tests of each of the networks, as you might expect, the 2.4 GHz band is significantly slower than the 5 GHz band, so I don’t necessarily want to keep them split out and pick and choose which network I add each device like computers and phones to. I’d kind of like the benefit of a unified SSID.
I’m getting pretty frustrated with how it’s all (not) working and wanted to see if anyone has recommendations as to what to try 1) for setting up new devices, and 2) to maintain a network that offers the highest speeds and reliable connections to all your devices while ensuring that all your smart home devices actually connect, react, and work like you want them to both upon setup and for the long term.
I’d really appreciate the help.
I’m aware this answer won’t help you. Or, in fact, is not an answer to your question at all.
Wifi really isn’t the best protocol for home automation.
I know it exists. And it’s relatively easy to setup. Which is probably it’s sole “raison d’être”. But that’s about it. Zigbee, Z-Wave and Matter are all superior. In many ways.
That was my thought as well. You want to hardwire your hub to your network (no wifi) and then the hub talks to the devices wirelessly via Zigbee, Z-Wave, Matter etc). Of course, when Matter become ubiquitous, then everything could (ideally) all just communicate via that without manufacturer specific hubs. But until then, you either need to suffer through using the less-than-ideal wifi or have a hub for every brand of device you use.
Thanks for replying @vco1 and @waylan . I guess it’s a really hard nut to crack if it’s been taking this long for Matter to actually get out into the wild. I wish there were a simpler/better way. I would sure hope that others are not living with all the same issues I am.
Thank you for the full-featured response. I do run ethernet where I can, to provide as much speed as I can while decreasing congestion. I had tried dangling a cheap router off the side with a separate SSID for only 2.4 GHz in hopes that I could relegate any smart home device that required it over to that network, but as I recall, when trying to control devices there from a phone/iPad that were on the separate (combined) SSID, it seemed as though it could not communicate with those devices. I could be remembering wrong, but perhaps setting up the 3-network solution you mentioned on a single router would eliminate what I experienced. Thanks again for the help.
Do you think the (somewhat similar) 2 SSID situation I described above should have worked? I’m not sure if the Ubiquiti UniFi type device needs to host all three of the networks in the same device to operate better than my dangling a 2.4 GHz router off the Velop main node.
My main question is. If I tried that again, theoretically, if all my smart home devices that needed 2.4 GHz were linked to the IoT SSID on the dangling router while all my other devices were happy traversing 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz SSID as they please on the Velop Mesh, should I still be able to control all my devices in the Apple Home app?
If that theoretically could work, then I’d just have to switch my phone to the IoT SSID each time I need to set up a new device or use something like a Merross app to do firmware updates.
I’m not asking for guarantees. I’m just wondering if what I tried should have worked and if it might be worth trying again. Since this Velop is only 18 months old and is WiFi 6 already, I’m not really in the market to buy a whole new router just yet.
Thanks for all the help.
OK, thank you. I might experiment a bit more, though the hope of Matter may be what eventually is the answer…as long as it finally releases to the public.
Not sure if this is helpful, but have had a number of frustrating issues with “Updating” and “No Response”. I use one of our AppleTV 4k units as the HomeHub. For some reason when this issue pops up; I find that the other AppleTV units have been turned on as HomeHub. After turning all the other units back off everything works like a charm.
It might be worthwhile to check.
Also, I use the Orbi 750 WiFi 6 with a satellite. It automatically routes devices to the 2.4 or 5ghz radio depending on their need. Having to split the bands seems like a Velop issue in your case. Could there be an issue with a satellite station?
In my home, the only lag experienced is with HUE. Given its architecture I have just come to live with the lag.
Additional (expensive) suggestion: replace the WiFi bulbs by Hue bulbs. They work on Zigbee and create their own mesh network, which works great for me.
My Aqara devices already use Zigbee, so they don’t need WiFi either.
I replaced my Belkin WiFi smart plugs (which never worked that good anyway), by cheap IKEA (Zigbee) smart plugs, which work flawless.
For the remaining WiFi devices in my home (Homey, several Raspberry Pi’s, Apple TV, multiple AirPlay speakers, etc.) I dedicated one of the three 2.4 GHz guest networks of my ASUS router as an IoT network. My iOS devices are on my regular network (single SSID for 2.4 and 5 GHz; band steering by router) and can access IoT devices, but IoT devices cannot access my network (as intended).