gammowt's profile

Wed, Mar 16, 2022 3:37 PM

Cameras Disconnecting on Mesh Network

I have installed a TPLink Deco M9 Plus mesh net in our home, six nodes.  Internet link to master is gigabit fiber.  Each node is placed within six feet of a SS camera/doorbell.  A central hub is given a cat6 gig link back to the master to boost the 5mhz connect band.  Streaming TV is supported by cat6 gig link to ethernet switch connected to main node.  There is no node connection with more than one hop, others go direct to main node.

I am experiencing doorbell disconnects, camera disconnects.  So far I have replaced one doorbell (made no difference - it just disconnected again) and support is sending another for the front door now.  Why?  I don't know.  Tech had no other answer.  Except "your wifi signal from the router is too weak".  Sorry, wrong answer.  I can connect to that node statically and run speed test 30 ft away in the front yard and get 200mbps up and down or over.  Beside that the speed test from SS software for that camera shows -44dbm and 8-12mbps upload, clearly adequate and within the guidelines.  It disconnected this AM when I looked.

I have disabled "mesh" connect on every camera in the Deco net which statically connects them directly to their nearby node - less than six feet away in each case.   The home is wood frame - no brick, no stucco.  No camera must pass wifi through more than one single wall to reach the router.  Further, since I set static connect in the Deco software the connect test of SS software on each camera runs -28dbm to -44dbm with speeds from 8mbps upload to 14mbps upload.  Still...the cameras disconnect and show disconnected in the SS software app.  After a while, seconds to minutes, they renegotiate and reconnect.  I also turned on QOS and gave the SS base station and the doorbell pros "high" allocation.  That made no difference either.  Actually the home is older so no "tinfoil" weather cladding to pass through either underneath the wood siding.  The house is single story rancher, long and that's why I went mesh.

Important thoughts perhaps...TPLink Deco M9 has one SSID only.  Each device connects at 2.4 or 5 speed at connect, it is not a separate SSID,  Speed or subnetwork allocation.

Many calls to tech support, some are great, some just don't want to deal with it or try to understand, just repeat catch phrases etc.  I asked for escalation and the tech lady said "done, be sure and wait for that call".   It never came.  I sent an email to the support contact at SS, Dave replied and said it would be handled - so far no response from "Dave" or his tech staff.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, perhaps some tidbit of help?

49 Messages

Il y a 5 m

I don't have any useful suggestions but can sympathize, I've been fighting the same problems for more than a year.

Today I spoke with tech support to troubleshoot this issue, some of the things they said were:

"The doorbell is trying to use the 5 GHz band" - No, the only SSID available to it is 2.4 GHz

"It's trying to use the 5 GHz band because they have the same name" - No, they don't

"It's trying to use the 5 GHz band because they have the same password" - No, they don't

"The doorbell is trying to switch to a different node" - Why? The node is less than 10 feet away from the doorbell

"Do you have a WiFi extender?" - Of course not, I have a mesh network

"Have you tried removing it and re-adding it?" - Many times

I got the impression the person I was speaking to was reading from a script and looking up tech articles. Maybe Googling for answers, too. :/

They are sending me a replacement doorbell, this will be the 3rd one. I don't expect it to make a difference but I'm gonna give it a try anyway. 

One of the nodes for my WiFi network is about 8 feet away from the doorbell, the signal strength is -41 dBm and the upload speed is around 10 mbps. Yet it still throws the "We've lost this part of recording due to some internet issues with your camera" very often. 

We tested it - I went outside and rang the bell and made a lot of noise then viewed the video in the app. It showed that same error. Checking the WiFi shows that the doorbell had disconnected from the network about the same time that error was reported. 

(edited)

49 Messages

@mb43​ I had hoped that the replacement doorbell camera would fix my issues but the new one does the same as the old one - "We've lost this part of recording due to some internet issues with your camera".

There are no Internet issues, the camera shows the signal is -39 dBm and the upload speed is 9.23 mbps. Yet it can't seem to record an entire video.

What good is a video doorbell that doesn't reliably record video? No good whatsoever.

11 Messages

Il y a 5 m

OK, that's enough for me!  Exactly the runaround I've been getting.   Back to Ring - they work and moving on to Wyze 3 externals or even the cheap Chinese from Lowes.  The ones from Lowes are $49 - oh, as a veteran I get 10% off, the Wyse are about $35.   My own son installed the cameras from Lowes about 3 months ago - they work great!   Fast response, the online app is functional and easy and with the 128GB uSD card they record as long as you want.  I took a lot of friendly jest about my high priced non-functional cameras from SS.  Perhaps a return call or any - ANY - indication they are working on a correction would be helpful instead of ignoring my requests and feeding the same lines when I call.  Exactly what you reported.

28 Messages

Il y a 5 m

Similar issues here. Five cameras working well and one or two will all of the sudden be unreachable via the app via the very sturdy mesh network. I’m interested in doing more diagnosis to see where exactly the problem lies, but there is no evidence the network itself is responsible. One camera that has failed is 5’ from the main wifi router, and this happens when no one is home using the network. I’d be very interested in knowing the specifics of the handshakes that go on between the cameras, the base station, and SS. Something would seem architecturally flawed.

11 Messages

@galenwork​ Thanks for sharing your experience.  Yes, I am interested in how the SS cameras handshake with the network as well.  Mesh networking is now ubiquitous in the USA.  If you have a good fiber internet or high speed connection you probably have a mesh network.  I felt somewhat like I was talking to a person needing basic network training with some of the tech support people on the phone and others seemed to have a good grasp of the concepts but no information on handshake or protocols involved.

One possibility that entered my mind is the camera software targeted at the new battery operated outside camera.  If I followed the updates properly they now intentionally disconnect the camera completely when not active to preserve battery.  Did that get moved into our doorbell pros?

I don't want to sound like I'm bashing SS at all.  We have had a very good security system at a decent monthly fee now for some time - two years working.  Only two entry sensors replaced.  The doorlock takes batteries about every 4 to 6 months but I like it now.  I understand their approach to cameras is from the security side of the property and their attempt to integrate the cameras from that viewpoint.

I'm not really unhappy with the price increase either, I think the 24x7 monitor is worth the money because we live very rural with no close neighbors.

I would expect some response indicating they are working on the issue though.  Mesh networking is not going away but growing.  Unless you live in a one bedroom efficiency apt. you probably want a mesh now that prices are reasonable.   I saw the Deco M9 Plus 3 pack refurbished for $139 at B&H.  That is a lot of network if refurbished doesn't scare you (and you don't want wifi6).

My favorite tech support question " have you installed a network extender"  usually asked right after I explain the 6 node mesh net and each camera within 6ft of a node.

I'm not dumping my doorbell pros yet.  The disconnect does render them worthless if someone actually walks up while they are disconnected.  The doorbell will ring the chime if they push it however.  Then by the time you get up the camera may be online and you can see who is there - not always.  This happened to me two days ago and renewed my efforts to get an answer.  No alert from app on phone, person standing at front door.  Then they pushed the doorbell, it rang the chime and I picked up my phone - then a notification.  Camera offline.  Looking at my phone and walking to the door it came online.  Many times the UPS delivers a package and there is no notification, no video recorded but sometimes I get their back as they are leaving.

I am going to install some basic cameras outside to cover the SS failures however.  I just don't think SS is a player in outside cameras - yet - based on this long adventure.  I wanted the SS cameras to work because the video storage is included in the monthly fee and only one app to use on the cell phone - but sometimes things just don't work out.

28 Messages

I’ve got too much invested, and the devices appear to work well, when all the communications  are running smooth.  But the communications protocols, or the motivations behind them seem flawed at the moment. I’ve resisted comparison to my Dad’s  single Blink camera, but whatever Amazon is doing to retain battery on wireless cameras, remain responsive to trigger events, and accessible to user interfaces appears to work really well. I’ve never seen any of the failings seen in SS. That said. I believe if they’ve prioritized battery life over (always) working communications protocols, that could be a downfall. The most recent clue in that regard came this morning when the iOS app started (after receiving a notification) and immediately rendered a “ Simplisafe app cannot operate at this time” (or some such) from the app itself, not iOS. Under what circumstances should an app tell you it’s failing? That’s another question for SS, and another point. They need to get the folks who designed how the control panel in the same room with the app people. My impression is the control panel works even when the app might stumble.

11 Messages

Since posting this originally I have spent several full days working on the wifi issues.  Here it is.  Replaced the other doorbell pro, same problem.  Then I thought, try my old wifi extender.  Moved the mesh node to a remote bedroom, let it stabilize.   Plugged up the extender.  Set it up.  Great signal.  Doorbell disconnected.  Then I had a thought, the signal is TOO darned good!  Yes.  I watch my syslog on the Linux lappy negotiate DOWN to 1/3 speed when too near a node.  OK, Moved the extender back about six feet from doorbell and success.  Doorbell now works great, records and does not (or has not yet) dropped out.  I have seen no network instability from the extended 2.4 band on the mesh at this time.  The doorbell operation internally is a mystery, I don't know but guess it can not negotiate down speed or strength - the signal has to be "just right" like the porridge.

My advice to anyone fighting this phenom is to give up and buy POE doorbells.  These little wifi doorbells are plain finicky and just not worth the hassle.

BTW, my mesh nodes are all mounted high, ie. above obstacles like windows and furniture and appliances.  In hindsight I should have ceiling mounted them and pulled cat6 for gig backhaul to each one.  Regardless the mesh is very robust with one node backhauled with gig and a star with two behind that, the others 5Ghz back to master.  Only one hop max.

The mesh runs with BEAMFORMING OFF and FAST ROAMING OFF.  Like others the 2.4Ghz band is on a separate VLAN and SSID with no 5Ghz on that VPN/SSID.

As others noted at the price point invested in the doorbell pros I wanted to get a few years more service from them.  The little simplicam cameras work great, once in a while I get the "no video" or recording just a few seconds but never drops/disconnects.

To summarize, moved the powerful node away, 40 ft at least from your doorbell, and try  playing with an extender.  When you find the sweet spot it probably will work fine.  A strong node blasting the things does not work well.  When the extender was very near the doorbell it connected at -18dbm but the speed dropped to 1.2Mbps.   Moved to the sweet spot it shows -42dbm and 4Mbps.  Working great so far.  When the mesh node was six feet away the thing showed -32dbm and 10Mbps but dropped constantly - could not take the heat!

11 Messages

Note, typo.  Not VPN/SSID but VLAN/SSID please.  My fingers will not listen to my brain sometimes...

49 Messages

@gammowt​ So you're saying if the doorbell has TOO GOOD of a signal it will drop the connection?  

Before you moved your nodes, did you try reducing the transmit power for your 2.4 GHz SSID to see if that had any impact? 

The only option I have on mine is 100%, 50% or 25%. Previously it was set to 100%, I've just reduced it to 50% and will see if that makes a difference. 

(edited)

11 Messages

Il y a 2 m

To clarify the original post and efforts made to get SS cameras working on the mesh.  

1.  Disable beamforming and fast roaming

2.  Activate the "guest" net on a separate SSID and only turn on the 2.4 Ghz band

3.  Do not place a camera near a mesh node or turn down power for that node or run that camera on a net extender to avoid overpowering it.

4. On the main SSID mesh, only run 5Ghz band.

Once this is done and the mesh has "settled" down, stops changing channels etc. you should be good.  I haven't had a camera drop out or disconnect in months now.  I have found several other devices that simply will not play on the mesh unless I do the above, not just SimpliSafe cameras but other brands and other devices.  A few even state "the device will not work on a multiband mesh network".   

One can guess it is the handshake protocols and simple little devices are not cell phones and laptops which always work.  FWIW I once went on a cruise with a new cellphone - just three years ago.  It was a top of the line  phone from VZ.  The wifi connected everywhere except to the ship net - it simply would not.  We chased the rabbit with engineers from VZ and the cell phone company - real product engineers.  The thing was resolved when it also failed to connect on my son's router at his home.  Bam!  We were finally able to really debug the thing.  The answer was a bad flash of a component which reloading the phone from scratch could not correct.  New phone sent and problem gone.  Point of the story is without knowing more details than we have it is impossible to guess what issue is behind the problems.  The sad thing is I had to endure all the "stuff" from our party members with iOS devices - you've heard it I know.  Of course their phones all worked on the ship but then so did everyone's android phone - just my new phone would not play.  I gave my prepaid network plan to a family member for the cruise and enjoyed the scenery and had fun.  Sometimes NOT having a phone is a good thing...