LIFX Developer Zone

Realiable mesh wifi system for LIFX bulbs?

Hi,

I have 40 wifi clients connected to my router, 15 lifx lights among them. I’m experiencing connection problems so, does anyone here have a realiably working network with lifx bulbs? which router are you using? any help will be much appreciated.

Firstly I purchased an asus router. Ended up returning it 2 months after since I’m not expercienced with routers and that one was overwhelming, I couldn’t get it to run stably and I wasn’t up to learn, I wanted something easier

Later I purchased Tenda Nova MW6 because it’s plug and play. Every now and then I entered a room the light would delay a few seconds to turn on. It wasn’t that annoying but I ended up returning it because there were connection drops while playing and in other use case scenarios.

Lastly I purchased the TP link deco m9 because of the good reviews and because it was still plug and play. I works really well generally but with lifx bulbs. My Lifx Mini bulbs randomly disconnect for 1-15 minutes and the majority of the times connect back. The rest of the lights don’t get that problem.

This time I’m open to learn so any suggestion will be welcome.

thanks in advanced

It really depends on your budget, size of your house, and what materials your house is made up of.

If you’re willing to run cables, I’d run cat6 to to a room or two in your house and go with something like a Ubiquiti system. I use This router and This access point

There’s a bit of a learning curve but they’re pretty reliable. Although it’s a bit pricey.

What router are you using now and how many LIFX bulbs do you own? About how many are having connection issues and is it only the LIFX bulbs or other clients having issues?

I’m personally not a fan of wireless nesh networks and find wired access points to be more reliable however, I know wired isn’t always an option.

This is a pretty good mesh router and you buy additional mesh access points depending on your needs.

If you happen to have an extra router laying around, it’s possible to use it as an access point.

Thanks a lot for your input.

I currently have a tp-link deco m9, 2 pucks in a 700 sqft flat. There are a couple of walls between them but walls aren’t thick at all. I’m only having issues with my 4 lifx mini bulbs which are connected to the slave, not the main unit. 9 lifx lights total. The rest of lights are fine. Sadly wired is not an option, my main router is in the worst spot possible and the flat is not mine, I live in a rented flat.

I though of that router, the second one you suggested. Tbh, I would like to spent the least possible. My internet needs are minimal and I kind of hate spending 600€ to fix a bunch of bulbs that are bugging me.

What do you think about asus? I was between that Ubiquiti and a couple of RT-AC68U. Are they both as customizable? I mean, do they both have tons of settings to tweak?

Being honest I believe that for 60 more € I’ll go with your suggestion, the ubiquiti. I only read good things about it, people seem to have zero problems.

well, thanks again

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I haven’t had any problems with my Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine and they have really good customer support. In fact, the range on that router alone covers my whole first floor and alot of my backyard. Definitely beats tp oink by far. Asus routers have good range too but, i don’t have firsthand experience with any but I would consider them a reliable consumer grade router.

Ubiquiti is a prosumer brand and if you have a 700 sqare foot apartment, I don’t think you would see huge benefits with a mesh system but you did say your main router was in a bad location. Is there a way you can extend the cable to a more centralized location? If so, you’ll be able to use a single router without additional extenders. This would be my first recommendation before buying additional items unless you can still return your pucks. If so, I’d swap them with the Ubiquiti

If you can manage to move your tp link pucks around or move your router, you might be able to get close enough to the bulbs to maintain a reliable connection to your affected LIFX bulbs. Be careful because moving the access points can improve the affected lights but cause other devices to have flakey connection. You’ll just have to trial and error to find the right spot Check out the settings and see if you can boost the tx power. It’s possible tweaking the settings may be the only thing that you need to do.

As far as Asus is concerned, they’re good and you can customize alot or settings however, Ubiquiti has loads of features and options and their hardware is much better.

In any case, I highly recommend you get familiar with advanced router settings as sometimes, all you need to do is adjust a router / access point setting to fix an issue.

Feel free to look through the features and manuals of the routers I mentioned and read up on them if you’re interested in learning more.

Tplink, Netgear and Belkin Linksys routers are unreliable in my experience and I would stay away from any of those routers. Their mesh systems almost always underperform as you have seen firsthand, and WiFi range and configuration options are bare minimum.

If you use Discord, Ubiquiti has a server there and people there can be extremely helpful sometimes https://discord.gg/VkF9G6zucJ

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Wow, thanks a lot… yep, I believe I definetely need to learn a lot about routers, I must.

I’ll catch your words, do some thinking and make a move in the coming months. I really appreciate!

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Anytime man! Love to help😀

Susprisingly it’ll do it for now. I moved the slave router 3 meters closer to the bulbs and it has significantly improved (the slave was really close to a mirror, silly me). During the last 3 days I’ve only had a 30 seconds dropout from one bulb which, for the newbie that I’m and for my needs, sounds like a stable enough network. Prior to that I had 10-20 minutes a day of dropouts.

I’m sorry you elaborated so much just for such a silly fix but I’ll keep your suggestions just in case my network goes nuts anytime :=). Thanks a lot!

I only have 5 LIFX bulbs, but also had stability problems for a while. It started with a Draytek router (without Wifi) and one Ubiquity and one ZyXEL access point. I replaced Draytek and ZyXEL with more Ubiquity stuff. Problems were still not gone. Then I created a separate 2.4Ghz only WiFi network with its own SSID. Now I experience no problems anymore. Looks like LIFX doesn’t mix very well on a more crowded dual band WiFi. Of course there can be many other sources of disturbance such as WiFi interference, dead spots etc.

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We have 2 Google Wifi points here - the older ones, not the newer “Nest Wifi” ones, because I did have the ability to hardwire them, and you can’t do that with the new ones.

Got around 20 LIFX bulbs (I’ve genuinely lost count), a bunch of smart switches, smart speakers, phones and ancillaries - easily 40-60 connected devices on the weekends (albeit some are wired). There’s also a fair number of Zigbee devices around the place, which could cause issues before we got the mesh routers.

The only issues I have are with older bulbs that have been, to be honest, a tad mistreated over the years (e.g. one was resurrected after a pipe burst and drained into it while it was on).

Any decent quality mesh network should handle things fine. As @groenerik points out, if you’ve got a quality system, you actually have more power to tweak your network to fix any issues that do arise.

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AP’s too close together can interfere with each other and cancel signals. How are your walls constructed? A thin wall with metal studs can kill a signal much more than a thick wall of wood studs.

Typically in a space as small as yours a single good AP will be your best option. Second best might be two AP’s spaced far apart (like opposite outside walls). Ubiquity is a good option for both.

Make sure you have a long DHCP lease (I use 4381 hrs).

Given their traffic pattern a dedicated VLAN for LIFX can help considerably but you need to make sure that everything can see what it needs to.

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I have a rather large home, with approximately 175 WiFi clients (plus another 50-60 wired clients) This includes, slightly over 100 LIFX bulbs. (With plans to add more, whenever LIFX gets past their back order/pre-order status and resumes offering discounted bulk packages). I use a Ubiquiti Edgerouter Pro (setup with supernetting, to permit a pool of over 1000 clients). For the WiFi, I use several eero pro mesh units, in bridged mode. Each is hard-wired, via Cat-5e/6e to a switch, off of the main router. This gives me good coverage over my home, external buildings and outdoors, on a 2-1/2 acre lot. There is some noticeable latency, if I control the lights via cloud services, but anything using local caching of IP addresses (Apple HomeKit) is virtually instantaneous.

I also assign static IP addresses for as many devices as possible. This includes all LIFX bulbs.

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