Hubitat in the attic - poor range?

I have installed my Hubitat in the attic, on my bungalow house. There is 5 cm of glass fibre insulation. Hubitat is unable to communicate with the Aeotec Door/Window Sensor 7, located approximately 8 meters away from Hubitat, two concrete walls in the path. The devices are working fine as I have tested them in short range.

How to improve the range on scenarios like this? A range extender seem to be the cheaper solution, but it will require one for Zigbee devices and other for ZWave.

What is your experience improving the Hubitat's range?

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You need to build mesh networks. That’s the best way to improve “range”.

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26/27 feet of distance and two concrete walls definitely could be a problem. A device that repeats, installed somewhere in the middle would probably help a lot. Are you having problems with both the Zigbee and the Z-Wave devices? They use different frequencies and so sometimes one does better than the other.

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What the heck, get two Z-Wave repeaters, one on each concrete wall. That would give you just less than 3 meters on each hop. You don’t want it to just barely work, you want it to work.

I wouldn’t think the fiberglass insulation would be a problem unless it has foil backing, in which case there are going to be serious issues getting signals outside a Faraday cage.

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I had major issues getting a wave to work I ended up with a couple of aeotec repeaters, they make it stable, zigbee seems to travel a lot better but you could just put in a couple of ikea outlets and also use them to automate things, the more items you have the less drama you have, I have around 196 items now,

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How hot does your attic get? If it gets above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, I would be a little concerned. I keep my Hubitat hubs in fully conditioned space (70-78 degF), with a fan blowing across them and all of my network hardware. Heat is the enemy of electronics... :wink:

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Excellent thought. Mine gets really hot. I even worry about the POE switch up there.

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No.. don't do it..

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hubitat should be centrally located in a house anyway for best performance if possible.. ie never in attic or basement.

If you need to put it on a different floor from the router, there are wifi dongles avail. or I recommend a cable run with these devices.

Amazon.com: goCoax MoCA 2.5 Adapter for Ethernet Over Coax(Single Pack). MoCA 2.5. 1x GbE Port. Provide 2.5Gbps Bandwidth with existing coaxial Cables. Best Companion for Home mesh Wi-Fi, White(WF-803M): Electronics

you also can put a switch behind them if you need more connections.. I have 4 in my house..

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NO! I have spoken. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I'll try putting one IKEA outlet in each room, let's see how it goes. I was experimenting different places for the Hubitat, trying to maximise the RF range for both ZigBee and ZWave. The central place in the attic seems a rational choice for a single Hubitat.

You have a good number of devices, 196, not too bad.

Really? I have found that the location in the attic has maximized the range, except for some of the devices, like Aeotec Door Sensor.

My thoughts were that placing in the attic there are less concrete walls for the RF to travel. The ceiling is made of drywall.

Thanks for informing this. I'll retest with different locations on the ground floor.

In the summer, it can easily pass 85F. During my tests now, it's around 42F.

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That would not be a great temperature for the Hubitat.

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Based on what exactly? What is the spec for operating temperature? Common consumer electronics are typically rated to operate at 40C (104F).

Even at 85C (185F), cheap electrolytic capacitors are derated about 2% per year. Seriously, what failure mechanism are folks seeing on a warm day?

Don't get me wrong. You (designers) need to understand heat sources and thermal conductivity. But 85F? C'mon, man. I keep my AC at 78-79F, so my router closet spends most of the AZ summer at 85F. Let me know if the circuit is so marginal that I need to apply some thermal paste and a chunk of aluminum.

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Hi aaiyar, I don't think 85°F (29.4°C) is a problem to Hubitat. As Hatallica has mentioned, this temperature is in the operational range of all consumer electronics.

The typical upper limit for consumer electronics is 158°F (70°C)!
Ref: At what temperature do conventional electronics packages fail? - TWI

I appreciate that you have drawn attention to this, I agree with you that we should respect the operating temperature. Btw, I haven't found the technical specification describing the operating temperature for Hubitat. So our best guess is the typical range for consumer electronics, with some margin. I would say with good confidence that Hubitat can operate in the range 41°F to 122°F or 5°C to 50°C.

Hi Eric, thanks for your comments. I still haven't had issues with Zigbee yet.

I understand that we tend to focus on the operating RF frequencies in order to guess which one will have a better range, but in practice, it's a confluence of factors: the sensitivity and power of RF radios, the obstacles in the path between Hubitat and devices, etc.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record... Things like outlets are SUPPOSED to repeat, but many of us have found that even with a house full of (allegedly) repeating devices our networks magically settled down and became stable when we added just a couple of dedicated (that's all they do) repeaters to the mix.

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Exactly. I live in Phoenix and keep my AC at the same 78/79. No issues with my electronics.

What Zigbee and ZWave repeaters do you recommend?

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