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Minimize Wireless Frequency Interference

Wireless Interference - how to minimize & troubleshoot

Understanding what can cause RF interference
 The gateway is the centralized hub which connects all of the connected devices to the abode services. It is extremely powerful and communicates wirelessly to the various devices using three different secured protocols to communicate with the devices (433MHz RF, ZigBee 2.4GHz, Z-Wave 908.4 MHz & LAN-ethernet/Wi-Fi).

The abode security devices such as the door sensors, key fobs, keypads and motion cameras utilize either our proprietary 433MHz encrypted frequency or the ZigBee protocol. Our RF has an extremely long range of more than 1,000 feet line of site. Inside the home, we expect a 200-300 foot range from the abode gateway. 

The abode motion cameras utilize ZigBee because of its bandwidth that supports the transmitting of images to the gateway. Both Z-Wave and ZigBee are used to support the various home automation devices which can have a range of over 100 feet, but different construction materials can affect their range considerably.

Wood and drywall is easier for signals to get through than a concrete wall, but it will not stop all communications. Placing your gateway close to the center of your home is important for maintaining the best range to all devices. If you have a basement, it’s best to locate the gateway on the first floor to improve range instead of placing on lower floors. If you have issues with range for some of your devices, abode offers range extenders (repeaters) for those ZigBee and Z-Wave devices that might experience interference with other wireless devices in the home.

In most homes there are several wireless signals being used by various appliances and devices. The human ear is not capable of hearing them but some of your wireless devices can and the interference can affect them from operating properly.

Below is a list of some common wireless devices found in the home that can interfere with each
other.
  • Cell phones (including abode cell back-up)
  • Bluetooth
  • Baby monitors
  • Wireless game controllers
  • Some wireless remotes for stereos and TV’s
  • Cordless phones
  • Wireless weather stations and outdoor temperature gauges
  • Wi-Fi access points (both yours and your neighbor’s)
  • abode streaming cameras
  • Microwave ovens
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Security systems narrow band (abode 433MHz RF, ZigBee & Z-Wave )
Most home automation devices use either Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

When a wireless device has interference that is affecting its performance, there are a few actions
that you can take to help to lower that interference.

Move the device
The abode motion cameras use the ZigBee protocol to communicate with the gateway because of its
wide bandwidth, which allows the motion camera to send images to the gateway. ZigBee is also very
secure; however, both ZigBee and Z-Wave have a limited operating range. In line of sight, their range
can reach 300’ but inside the home, building materials, appliances and other interfering frequencies
can greatly reduce this range to 20 to 60’. When this occurs, moving the device closer to the gateway
can sometimes greatly improve the performance of the device.
 
Move the abode gateway:
Although it may be convenient to place the gateway next to your internet router, a wireless type
router, 802.11 can interfere with the abode motion cameras that use the ZigBee frequencies.
(Ethernet power line (PLC) adapters are great for extending your internet ethernet connection to
almost anywhere inside the home.)
 
The further away you can keep wireless devices from a Wi-Fi router, the less noise from one will
interfere with the other.
 
Change your Wi-Fi routers channel
The 2.4 GHz frequency used by Wi-Fi and ZigBee actually comprise a range of channels, just like
broadcast TV. If you can move your Wi-Fi channel to be farther away from your gateway’s ZigBee
channel, it will go a long way toward reducing the noise. Try changing the Wi-Fi channel. The router
instruction guide usually explains how this is done.
 
Add a repeater
A repeater repeats a specific frequency and they are available for ZigBee and Z-Wave. Typically you would place the repeater within 20 to 50 feet from the gateway in a location that would be between the gateway and the wireless devices. These repeaters act as a relay point, so a device
that is too far from the gateway can talk to a repeater that is closer, and the repeater relays the
messages back and forth to the gateway.

Most Z-Wave and ZigBee devices that are powered by electricity from your home such as home automation SmartPower outlets, lighting dimmers and wall switches have a repeater built inside. Because ZigBee and Z-Wave are two different wireless languages, a ZigBee device only acts as a repeater for other ZigBee devices; and a Z-Wave device only acts as a repeater for other Z-Wave devices.
 
Abode has repeaters and some also have a built-in siren with battery backup. Visit goabode.com
for more details.
 
When adding a ZigBee repeater to an existing abode system, you will need to install the repeater then
shut off the gateway for 5 to 10 minutes. When the gateway is powered up, it will locate the
repeater and route its wireless traffic through it. When powering down the gateway, be sure to also
turn off the battery switch, then turn it back on after powering the gateway back up.

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