Network Planning for Wi-Fi Devices

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The Devicebook Hub emits a secure Wi-Fi LAN. In almost all cases, Wi-Fi devices in the smart home will be configured to connect to this secure LAN. 

To avoid unexpected Wi-Fi device installation problems, survey their installation locations before actual installation. The following explains how to use the “Airport Utility” on iOS to determine Wi-Fi signal strength. Similar apps are available on Android.

 

 

1. Download the AirPort Utility App from the Apple App Store.

2. Go to your Settings in your Mobile Device, Find the Airport Utility in the list of Apps and press on it to get to the AirPort Utility Settings Screen.

3. Turn on the Wi-Fi Scanner

4. Standing next to Devicebook Hub, open the AirPort Utility App and tap on the blue “Wi-Fi Scan” button on the top right.

5. Enter “DH” in the search box to filter to the devicebook hub's SSID.

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6. Move the “Scan duration: …” slide bar to infinite

7. Tap on the “Scan” button on the top right.

8. Check that one Devicebook Hub is found. RSSI should be no more than 30 dBm while standing next to the Hub.

Continue running the AirPort utility. Go to each location in which you plan to install (or have already installed) a Wi-Fi device, and check the RSSI. Be sure to put the iPhone/iPad at exactly where the device will be installed, because the signal strength is affected by the material of and in walls, cabinets, and other objects. The RSSI can vary greatly even if the position is only off a few inches, e.g., when there is metal behind the wall.

How to Classify Wi-Fi Signal Strength

Use the following table to convert the RSSI measurement to Signal Strength. Wi-Fi devices will function normally if signal strength is Excellent, Good, and OK. If signal strength is poor or the connection is unreliable, consider using devices with external Wi-Fi antennas to boost the range, moving the device, or switching to a hard-wired device model.

RSSI Signal Strength
-25 to -50 Excellent
-51 to -60 Good
-61 to -70 OK
-71 to -80 Poor/Unreliable
> -81 Unusable
 

Limits on Number of Low-Bandwidth Wi-Fi devices

The Devicebook Hub can support up to 32 low-bandwidth Wi-Fi devices. That is, devices that communicate infrequently with the Hub but don't require constant communication for general use, such as light switches or sensors.

 

Limits on Number of High-Bandwidth Wi-Fi devices

High-Bandwidth devices are ones which require constant streaming communication for general use. Right now, the only such devices are streaming video cameras.

We recommend keeping the number of Wi-Fi cameras to four or less, to minimize network bandwidth usage.

 

A note about perimeter Surveillance Cameras

A common use case for the Devicebook Surveillance solution is for home perimeter monitoring. For such cameras which are located outside the home, consider using PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) cameras instead of Wi-Fi cameras.

Exterior walls are constructed with different material than internal walls, and will induce stronger attenuation than interior walls, resulting in weak camera signal strength. Since the typical installation of these cameras is at the edges of the home, where Wi-Fi reception can be marginal, the use of Wi-Fi cameras in these situations may result in a poor user experience.

Wi-Fi Signal Strength Issues (Important)

If devices are installed in areas with "Poor/Unreliable" or worse signal strength, then such devices can cause intermittent connectivity issues in daily use. These devices can slow down the network and even other Wi-Fi devices on the network with good signal strength can experience connectivity issues because of noise interference from the poor signal devices.

It is strongly recommended to position the Devicebook Hub correctly and only install devices in locations with at least "Ok" signal strength. 

 

Next: Learn to set up Wi-Fi devices using House Check

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