LIFX Developer Zone

LIFX - OK for hobby toy, not ready for real world

We’ve been playing around a lot with a bunch of LIFX products. We had high hopes for them but have determined that LIFX is a great idea that has been quite poorly implemented. On the surface we like LIFX better than HUE but HUE is at least highly reliable.

LIFX products are much too unreliable to depend on for daily use—unless you are a hobbyist or tinkerer who doesn’t mind constant connectivity problems.

At one point we hoped that these problems might be surmountable through a better WiFi network. We started with a single Unifi AP AC Pro mounted in the upper hallway of our 2500 sq ft test house. We’ve added AP’s, we put one in the attic hoping it would help w/ GU10’s in ceiling enclosures, we tried an AP-HD, and even did a few days of Ruckus. We reduced the total number of WiFi devices to 22 (basically LIFX plus a couple of laptops and phones). We could never achieve anywhere near acceptable reliability.

Sometimes some will work great and sometimes not. There doesn’t appear to be any consistency in when though. It doesn’t appear to be ToD, DoW or anything else but seemingly purely random. At one point we thought that with each connection problem that turning the light off and back on would work but we’ve found that while that often works, it does not work consistently (and even if it did it would be unacceptable).

Has anyone achieved high reliability with a network of these?

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Yes. Using Google wifi I have 7 original bulbs 2 Z strips and 2 GU10 bulbs and they are all very reliable for me. I mention original bulbs because the later generations might be a problem

Yes, using a pure UniFi network, I have zero dropouts across my fleet of LIFX bulbs (9x GU10, 12x LIFX Mini, 1x LIFX Original 1000). These are all usually controlled by HomeKit/Siri using two HomePods and two Apple TV 4 as the various Home Hubs scattered around the house. Alexa works too, though I rarely use her for lighting.

I also have Philips Hue bulbs, motion sensors and dimmer switches included in my HomeKit setup and the sensors and switches tend to control both Hue and LIFX bulbs. Occasionally there is a delay as the HomeKit scene is triggered from the Hue accessory to the LIFX bulbs, but this is infrequent. 99% of the time it’s just a delay with very rare occurrences of a bulb not responding at all.

I have done a fair amount of tuning of the UniFi wireless networking though, which includes complete separation of the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz SSIDs as well as individual network tuning. In particular, the radio configuration for the UniFi-AP-Pro needs to be seriously tweaked if you have more than one AP in a relatively small space (i.e. a residential home), or they will overpower the LIFX bulbs making them drop off the network.

For example, my 2.4Ghz radios are set to low power and my 5G radios are on medium. I did a lot of work to find uncontested channels in my neighborhood too. Band steering can be enabled (because the LIFX bulbs don’t do 5Ghz anyway) but Airtime Fairness should be disabled because that will just delay packets to the bulb. I was planning to do minimum RSSI tuning but found after doing the previous stuff that my bulbs just never dropped off.

Hope that helps!

Edited to add that that I have a LIFX bulb that has now been connected for 31 days while most of the others have uptimes between 15-19 days.

I have 19 Lifx bulbs and 2 Lifx-Z strips throughout my home. I used to have an Asus RT AT68P and a Netgear extender upstairs and would constantly lose some bulbs. No matter what I did, 4-7 random bulbs would just drop off. Was VERY annoying.

I upgraded my wifi set up to an Orbi about an month ago and haven’t lost a single bulb even once. Love my Lifx bulbs.

Yeah, I just recently upgraded to the Google Wi-Fi and it has been flawless since. Though I did have drop-off problems with one of my Lifx Mini bulbs and occasional unresponsiveness from a gen1 bulb when I was using a D-Link DIR879. Plus adding a bulb to my network often times just did not work. It has only been a few days on the Google Wi-Fi mesh network, everything has worked flawlessly. Adding all of my lights again to the new network worked right away with zero retries. I had read of others have success with the Google Wi-Fi so I figured I would give it a try. I remain optimistic that it will continue to perform well.

Yelp…me too! Had lots of problems with dropping at first. Upgraded to Orbi and also increased my internet bandwidth from my internet supplier from 30 to 120 and that seems to have solved it.

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I have 21 lights and 2 strips. At first, I had tons of problems with network reliability. Bulbs would just disappear, and if I powered them off and back on, they would kick someone else off.

Using Unifi gear has completely resolved it for me, using 3 wireless networks, each with it’s own VLAN.

  • First is a main wifi network for family, with a vlan like 192.168.0.0/24, and a dedicated SSID.

  • Second is guest network, with a vlan like 10.0.0.0/24, and a dedicated SSID. Guests use this, along with some devices like TVs.

  • Third is an IoT specific network. Dedicated SSID, with a vlan of 172.16.0.0/24, and a default rate limit of 1mbps, Lifx, Wemo, Logitech, and SmartThings devices all live in this network.

Ever since I moved all the IoT devices to their own VLAN/SSID, they have been rock solid.

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I just started using LIFX and after the exchange below with LIFX technical support, I totally agree with the sentiment expressed by the OP, and that it is not to be used as a serious real world solution :

me to support@lifx.com
Apr 8
Hi,

When using Scenes on the Android App I set “Action” under “Lighting” to “Leave Unchanged”.

When I save it (Tick Mark) it shows “Unchanged” under “Schedules”. However the light does not behave like that and when I re-open that Schedule and edity it, it shows “Turn On” under “Action” in "Lighting.

The previous schedule already turns the light “On”, This one is meant to just adjust brightness.

Do you have a forum ?

Regards,

Apr 9, 13:34 PDT

Hi xxxx

Yes, we do have a forum: https://community.lifx.com
**> **
**> Have you tried reinstalling your LIFX app? **
>
Apr 8, 00:11 PDT

me to LIFX
7:35 AM
Hi,

Yes I have.

Regards,

xxxxxx

We’re hoping to try the dedicated vlan sometime this week. Theoretically I don’t think that should make a difference as vlans are a security separation but all share the same radio’s. We’ll see.

We’d really like to make this work but it has to be pretty much bullet-proof.

Tim, how does your Logitech hub work from your phone app with it on a separate SSID to your home devices? Or do you just never use the phone remote app?

Also, with the LIFX bulbs on a different SSID, I guess you can only control them if you are cloud connected? Eg if your internet connection went down, the LIFX app on your phone would show all the lights offline?

Good question. I haven’t had an internet outage in a long time, so I assume that your supposition is correct. I’ll test that this week when nobody is home.

I had 25 lights on a DIY network with several different APs and that was shared with other devices on our network. Had lots of struggles with some of the bulbs. Put the bulbs on their own VLAN on the appropriate channel and got better results. Recently went straight Ubiquity with three Unifi AP AC Pro’s giving the now 22 A19’s 8 BR30’s and 3 Z-strips their own VLAN consistently across the entire house and have about 99.9% reliability. Did have 3 lights that occasionally but consistently fall off the network, but they were replaced by LIFX and I have not seen that problem since.