LIFX Developer Zone

Is the problem HomeKit, or LIFX

Is it just me or does anyone else have issues with HomeKit and LIFX. My HomePod always throws back “there was a problem with one of your devices” etc… and doesn’t turn on a light and then you ask again one or two more times and it works…
Any ideas how I can fix this, what the problem is? I’m on my 3rd router and the issues are the same… it’s so frustrating…
also, I don’t have any issues with my sensibo or August lock. It’s only LIFX lights …

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Which router are you using? I’m using Ubiquiti Unifi gear and my LIFX bulbs are fairly rock solid (I have about 40 of them too). There are also some HomeKit stability improvements in the new 3.50-BULB beta firmware for some of the bulbs (in particular, the Minis which have been historically flaky).

Are you using a single, or multiple, SSIDs and/or VLANs?

I have 3 SSIDs: One for my normal devices (laptops, phones, etc) which is dual-band and two more. The IOT and LIFX SSIDs are restricted to 2.4Ghz only. I don’t use VLANs (tried it, but mDNS Reflection is crappy) so they’re all on a single /24 network.

I know this is a mega delayed reply, how did you go resolving this?

Grab Discovery.app for macOS or iOS (http://www.tildesoft.com/) and you’ll be able to see if things are working from the perspective of your HomePod.

Basically your client (iOS/Mac/whatever) needs to be able to discover and connect to your HomeKit Hub (_homekit.tcp. - preference is Apple TV, HomePod, iPad according to the Apple docs) and your HomeKit Hub needs to be able to not just see the mDNS service (_hap._tcp.) but connect to UDP port 56700.

I think there’s a bit of misunderstanding when it comes to bonjour proxying or discovery in general.

Bonjour unto itself won’t provide connectivity to the service that’s being multicast via mDNS (or broadcast if your access point converts multicast to broadcast / you don’t have an active IGMP querier), it just lets the client know what services are available and IP/port they’re available on.

If you’re truly on the same broadcast domain then the only device that could potentially prevent access to your lights is your access point.

E.g., If you’ve cient/VLAN/access point isolation turned on which, unless you’re experienced with the kit you’re using, is likely to break things.

Alternatively, some of your lights might just have patch connectivity.

Your LIFX SSID should have the following characteristics for reliability sake (this gets more complicated as you add wireless extenders or other access points, especially if they’re different brands and pretty much unaware of each other):

  • 20MHz channel width
  • Limit the available channels from 1 to 11 (depending on device, you’ll have 12, 13 and 14 - turn that range off or expect issues).
  • Set your TX power to maximum.
  • Use a wireless survey/stumbling tool to determine the channel that’s in use the least. Do this from the vantage point of where you’ve installed your lights; your client might not hear a noisy neighbour that one of your lights can.

Signal strength is typically expressed in =<0dBm. The closer to 0 you are, the better (0 being no loss of signal, which is purely a reference point).

What you’ll find is probably a neighboring AP on channel 1, 6 or 11 that’s around the -80 to -90dBm mark, or if you’re really lucky, you’ll have clear air in 1, 6 or 11.

If clear, then choose that one. If not, then choose the one with the highest loss and offset it by 1.

I can explain why another time, but basically if you find channel 11 is pretty quiet then choose 10 or even 9. Ditto with 6 , choose 4, 5, 7 or 8 and if channel 1 seems decent use 2 or 3.

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