Device (Zigbee/ZWave/Wifi) signal levels
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6 posts in this topic

After reading about folks' disconnection of devices, I seem to recall there was a signal level indicator for each wireless device for V1's Devices page.  Unless I'm not digging deep enough into the app., I don't see it anywhere in the V2 app.

Signal levels can be used to determine if a disconnection is due to distance and/or obstructions and not the doing of the hub...

pavalov, Dan8785 and bh241 like this

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I believe a signal level meter or indicator would only be useful for direct connections between the hub and a device.

When operating in a mesh network unless there is provision to report signal levels at each hop you wouldn't

gain much.

 

This could be done but would have to be built into each device that repeats data packets and that device

would then have to append signal quality data to each packet repeated through it (even if this was done

by adding one character at each hop the packet size would grow). Then you would have the necessary

information to evaluate signal quality between each device in the path between the hub and the end

device. The downside is communication efficiency would be impacted because each data packet would

grow in size (requires more time to send a longer string of data) and for the few milliseconds needed to

append the signal quality data to each packet which would increase the time for information to reach the hub.

Milliseconds yes but it all adds up.

 

Oh, you also need some software to read the data in each packet and present it in a meaningful way that

the user will understand.

 

In V1 we had the option to 'Reoptimize the Network' by clicking a button in the web-based app. That option

is not available any longer. I thought I read somewhere that the system now continuously optimizes network

paths between devices. That my be the intent but it was nice to be able to force it to do so when repositioning

devices so that newer and more efficient paths could be discovered by the system.

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I believe a signal level meter or indicator would only be useful for direct connections between the hub and a device.

When operating in a mesh network unless there is provision to report signal levels at each hop you wouldn't

gain much.

 

This could be done but would have to be built into each device that repeats data packets and that device

would then have to append signal quality data to each packet repeated through it (even if this was done

by adding one character at each hop the packet size would grow). Then you would have the necessary

information to evaluate signal quality between each device in the path between the hub and the end

device. The downside is communication efficiency would be impacted because each data packet would

grow in size (requires more time to send a longer string of data) and for the few milliseconds needed to

append the signal quality data to each packet which would increase the time for information to reach the hub.

Milliseconds yes but it all adds up.

 

Oh, you also need some software to read the data in each packet and present it in a meaningful way that

the user will understand.

 

In V1 we had the option to 'Reoptimize the Network' by clicking a button in the web-based app. That option

is not available any longer. I thought I read somewhere that the system now continuously optimizes network

paths between devices. That my be the intent but it was nice to be able to force it to do so when repositioning

devices so that newer and more efficient paths could be discovered by the system.

 

You could probably just do a node poll initiated by the hub - query each node that has an ability to perform signal repeating (a specific message query) and have it tell the controller which devices are traversing through that part of the mesh, including signal quality for all of those devices.  Go through all those nodes, then build a graph.

 

I believe that's actually how Z-Wave works - the individual nodes actually report to the controller its neighbors in a Z-Wave message and with that information, the controller can then build a routing table eventually forming the Z-Wave mesh.  This table represents the best routes to each device, ultimately optimizing the battery life of battery devices.

 

As for the original simple signal indicator - a truly disconnected device would still present itself as a loss of signal to the hub, even if the signal was relayed through another device.  The remedy would still be the same, either move it closer to the hub, or at least closer to a device that can perform signal relaying.  If the low signal issue originated from a relaying device, then a low signal warning would (or should) be presented for all devices that would have been routed through the relaying device, including the relaying device itself.  In all cases, the controller should be able to optimize the network continually and finding optimal routes to each device, so that if a device is truly disconnected from the controller it means no other device can report the disconnected unit as a neighbor.  And the end-result would still be a low signal warning indicator for that device which should be sufficient.

 

So I guess, then, what we're really asking for is a GUI that shows us the mapping of our devices with illustrated routing paths to each device and the signal indicator for each device.  :D

rdisom, TWilliams and sparc like this

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I believe a signal level meter or indicator would only be useful for direct connections between the hub and a device.

When operating in a mesh network unless there is provision to report signal levels at each hop you wouldn't

gain much.

 

The feature was included in v1 and I found it useful.  Zigbee sensors report the signal strength of their first routing node.  In practice that's really all you need to know.  If a device shows good signal strength but is disconnecting then you need to look at devices showing low signal strength that it may be routing through. 

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"If a device shows good signal strength but is disconnecting

then you need to look at devices showing low signal strength

that it may be routing through. "

Yes, just need to know which devices those are. And ZigBee is

only half of the problem, you would need the same information

for Z-Wave devices which of late have been my poor performers.

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