Lots of bulbs on one network

Continuing the discussion from Just a Light Switch?:

Here’s a new thread for it. :smiley:

If the limitation is in the firmware, rather than the hardware, then you could probably get around the limitation by running OpenWrt on your router. If it’s a hardware limitation, though, then that won’t help. (And I don’t know whether it is.)

I run OpenWRT and am very happy with it, but I’m afraid I can’t speak from experience about large numbers of devices. I only have a modest number of devices: 3 LIFX bulbs, 3 phones, 2 laptops, 1 tablet, 3 desktops, and 2 printers.

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I have an Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO and I can’t recommend it enough. I have gotten up to 40 clients on one AP and it still performs like a dream. Right now, I have plans for 24 bulbs (got 12 on the way!)

We use a lot of OpenWRT devices in the LIFX office, and employees homes. This is a good way to work around the overly restrictive maximum clients in some router software. However some routers do get less reliable when flashed with OpenWRT due to the wireless drivers.

We have had a bunch of customers reporting issues with the older Ubiquiti routers, so its good to hear that some of them are fine. We are working on procuring some of the trouble routers (not just Ubiquiti) and testing them so that we can build workarounds.

If you are having issues contact the support team and let them know what router you are using. Our support people regularly collate common router models, ISPs and other common thread between tickets and report them to us in Engineering. We also have processes for escalating customer directly to engineering for really tough cases.

Interesting. I use an EdgeRouter Lite with the UAP-AC-PRO. I have also statically assigned IPs to my bulbs and have not had any drops for an entire week (that I’ve noticed anyways!)

I use ASUS RT-AC68U (https://www.asus.com/in/Networking/RTAC68U/) and so far have 6 bulbs, I have seen that some times on the Android app it takes a while to tell the current status of the bulbs (considerable delay like 5-10 seconds). I am considering buying at-least 12 more, would love to get feedback on this kind of an installation with more that 18 bulbs. If someone can give a first hand feedback, will really appreciate before investing the money.

Cheers

I have been looking for information to assign a static IP to each of my bulbs. Could you please point me to a good resource? Thank you!

What kind of router do you have? I would just look at how to set DHCP
reservations with it. This is how I’ve done it.

I have an Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO as well as an edgerouter, with no issues. Actually the UAP seems to treat the light better than my previous ASUS

I’ve currently got 51 bulbs on one subnet with another 11 planned to go online soon. Its a large 2 story house and my goal was to replace just about all the bulbs with LIFX. I am running Uni-Fi gear with 5 Access Points, a Pro upstairs and 2 Lites, 1 Long Range, and 1 Outdoor AP all downstairs. I had to go overboard on the AP’s as some bulbs just found it difficult to connect to the Lifx Cloud if the Wifi signal was below 30% strength.
DHCP is provided by my Synology NAS and all are reservations.
The most clients one of the AP’s has is 37, with the rest 20 and below plus the network has many other IOT devices and surveillance cams on it also and the usual streaming services like Netflix etc…
I am getting close to using up all my 255 IP addresses on the subnet and have read about VLANs specifically for the bulbs but Unifi doesn’t make it easy to setup on their Gateway. I may just change to a /16 subnet to give me more IP’s when the time comes.

@Vidtec Is that all 802.11ac gear or is it the older 802.11a/b/g/n stuff?

older 802.11a/b/g/n…

And you’re having no worries connecting all the devices?

I have 48 bulbs with a similar setup as @Vidtec.

2x UAP-AC-PROs
3x UAP-AC-LITEs
1x UAP-AC-LR

You’ve got 1 more AP. I’ve added another 8 bulbs recently but have started to hit problems and I suspect its due to too many devices connecting to any 1 AP. I am in the process of working out a strategy to balance them evenly across the 5 AP’s by using WLAN Groups and creating specific SSIDs for each AP, then configuring the bulbs in certain areas of the house to only connect to the AP in their area. Failing that, will need to invest in another AP I think.

The bulbs themselves only support 802.11a/b/g/n anyway.

I have over 60 wifi devices including 35 lifx bulbs and 3 z strips. I can recommend a Cisco CAP-3602E access point to handle this many device it has been up for over a month with no problem…

My old Asus RT-AC3200 couldn’t handle it.

I’ve done some tweaking. For those with a Unifi setup, WLAN Groups may be the answer to stop bulbs from roaming from AP to AP in the event of an AP reboot etc… This was causing to many devices to jump onto an AP and thats when I saw issues. This is what I have done:

Total LIFX bulbs online = 70
Total wifi clients in house = 86
Number of Unifi AP’s = 5

Distribution of clients approx. per AP.
AP1 = 8
AP2 = 20
AP3 = 20
AP4 = 12
AP5 = 21

This gives me some headroom for roaming devices like phones/tablets etc… (assuming 30 clients per AP max).

I had to ensure that bulbs in a certain area only connected to the closest AP and no roaming was happening. Previously, if an AP was rebooted, some bulbs would hop to the next AP and hence increase its client load.
With Unifi, this was achieved by using WLAN Groups:

AP1:
WLAN Group 1
broadcast SSID “Home” as the common SSID (for tablets, phones, laptops)
hidden SSID “downstairs” (for all bulbs located close to this AP)

AP2:
WLAN Group 2
broadcast SSID “Home” as the common SSID (for tablets, phones, laptops)
hidden SSID “upstairs” (for all bulbs located close to this AP)

AP3:
WLAN Group 3
broadcast SSID “Home” as the common SSID (for tablets, phones, laptops)
hidden SSID “back” (for all bulbs located close to this AP)

AP4:
WLAN Group 4
broadcast SSID “Home” as the common SSID (for tablets, phones, laptops)
hidden SSID “garage” (for all bulbs located close to this AP)

AP5:
WLAN Group 5
broadcast SSID “Home” as the common SSID (for tablets, phones, laptops)
hidden SSID “storeroom” (for all bulbs located close to this AP)

I mapped out the locations of all wifi devices (not just bulbs), counted and made sure to evenly distribute them as much as possible using the 5 hidden SSIDs. Bulbs that previously had issues connecting to the Cloud are now working… so far!

I am probably going to do what you did with your WLANs.

Do you have any advanced settings on the APs?

  • Power
  • RSSI

?

Ubiquiti have released their AC Mesh gear now, I wonder how LIFX bulbs would operate on a meshed system?

I did up the power to High on a couple for now, but I will add a 6th AP in the near future as I’ve got a few more bulbs to add before I finish off the house, so when that happens, I can reduce power back to medium and assign some of the distant bulbs to the 6th AP. Each AP is using channel 1, 6 or 11.