Mesh analyzer solving a lot of issues

So how many issues HE get accused off are actually a mesh issues (tagging @bobbyD to give us an estimate on that)? I recon a lot. And again and again people are pointed to the documentation and some to the zigbee routing table. But for the average Joe this is difficult to deal with. And before you know it you are pointed to get a sniffer or an xbee. But, that is just not the solution in my opinion. Because it's far too advanced for average Joe.

So my question is this, wouldn't it be a fantastic thing if HE made us a build in tool for both meshes to analyze them and give us some proper and understandable sense of what's going on? I think that would save the community and HE support a ton of issues. And yes, I know it's a long turn investment unlike a lot of other new features. But it would mean that support wouldn't have to grow in resources exponentially when more customers arrive from other platforms. Which has all kinds of benefits in the long run.

To give an example I'll show how this is done by Athom Homey: https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/3584214/35084193-106c945e-fc23-11e7-8876-23a44b1f4d92.png

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@bcopeland maybe here is the big hairy challenge you've been looking for? :grinning:

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I recently added functionality to the MonaLisa Zigbee board ($20) to let you probe all the mesh connections too. So you don't need an (expensive!) xbee anymore.


But I agree it would be awesome to have this integrated in the hub, but wouldn't even know where to start with that. For starters, the hub zigbee firmware would have to know how to issue the relevant management LQI request commands and then parse the received management LQI responses. This is non trivial, and what has been added to the MonaLisa firmware.

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Thanks for the info, I'll look into that. For what I can see at a glance it looks like another dyi technical solution. To be honest I'm not convinced this is the way to go. I also don't think the price is that important. It's just that the average Joe is just not expecting to be this technical to solve this issue. Which in my opinion shouldn't be this difficult.

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Thank you for your feedback. I would say that up to 60% of support inquiries have some underlying mesh related issues. While I understand the need of network mapping tools, and this is something that has been on our radar, the reality is, that following basic rules when building the networks should eliminate the need of such tools.

Take my case for example, I have fairly large networks, and I don't use any tools to maintain them. I don't even use the Zigbee routing table to investigate any problems. Instead I follow these rules:

  • only use reputable manufacturers that strictly follow the Zigbee/Z-Wave protocol and are known to be reliable.
  • have sufficient quality repeaters.
  • when adding new devices, only add one device at the time, then observe how the mesh is behaving - if I see slowdowns, I immediately remove the device.
  • use Z-Wave repair every time a new device is added or when devices are moved around - screening logs to make sure that every device completes the repair successfully, is probably the most underutilized tool available.
  • pair devices in their permanent location
  • never force remove a Z-Wave device

Following these tips helps build healthy networks.

I don't want to downplay the usefulness of mapping tools, but in my opinion, understanding the basics of building mesh networks goes a long way, and the majority of users would not need to spend time troubleshooting mesh networks.

Afterall, the beauty of home automation is to make things more convenient, not to add more chorus to an already busy life.

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I might add.. Pair your mains powered devices before your battery powered.. As this is the basis of your mesh..

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And .. Make sure there are multiple mains powered routes back to your hub for resiliency..

Ex: in the same room as my hub, I have 2 z-wave and 2 zigbee repeaters on opposite ends of the room.. So there is always 2 paths to my hub... I have more than that.. But this is the main designed route for me..

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Except maybe if they are battery powered but also have a powered option (usb adapter) like the Aeotec MultisSensor 6's... Still working out some issues with those devices as repeaters.

I am going to re-pair them with a battery first then hook them up to usb. They seem to be very erratic/slow when repeating.

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I have so many mains powered devices it makes up for an occasional problematic repeater...

You can never have too many repeaters

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Just want to point out @bobbyD added a link to drzwave’s blog.. This is a great resource of information..

Everyone should read this article

This was one of the first things I read when starting out my mesh design

It was so long ago .. I forgot about that article

The guy that writes that blog actually recently went to work for silabs the z-wave chip manufacturer .. That should give you some info on his credibility

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And, although I admire all your effort, this is and still is a feature request. Not a request to repeat what is already in the documentation. I'm well aware of how to build a solid mesh. So I'd like this topic to not become the next "how to build a solid mesh" topic. Also I don't want to discus single brand/model devices here because everybody seams to have different experiences with them anyway (with some exceptions).

@bobbyd thank you for the answer and I really hope HE will reconsider creating something like this because it might be easy for you to create/maintain a solid mesh, but it's not so easy for everybody. For example: not everybody can buy certified stuff because not every country is as filled with suppliers as the US. Also not everybody has the money to buy only the stuff that is considered "perfect". And last but not least, most of us come from one or more different systems which worked perfect until transferring parts over to HE.
I'm not trying to argue about the quality of HE, because there are numerous positives about it, but I just would like to have it a little easier here and there.

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Message received @frits ..

My only point to expanding the discussion was to help others who use the search feature of the forums to help them in troubleshooting .. But I will not add anything more to this thread..

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Good diagnostic reports can help reduce the amount of support calls either directly by allowing users to resolve issues themselves or by providing the community with better data in order to help the users help themselves..

Support always seems to be the "Achilles heal" of small businesses. Maybe the concern is discovering a flaw in the system that cannot be rectified without replacing the hubs. dunno.

I say this meaning NO disrespect to @bobbyD etc and the staff at HE. I am talking about in terms consuming business resources etc - actually doing the support work is often an under appreciated time consuming job that can have a major impact on a products perceived value. It's very hard from the consumer standpoint to appreciate what goes on in that murky world. :beers:

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How do do section 7 of your link on HE?

Certified huh? Ok.....

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It is done for you during the nightly task that runs in the background every night. The most important thing, is to make sure that any device that is no longer used, doesn't remain powered on - you must either disconnect it (if it's mains powered) or take the batteries out - doing so will allow the radio to flag the device as dead and subsequently be removed.

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Cool so ghost nodes are removed every night

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If I came across wrong, I didn't mean it that way. And you are still more then welcome to comment on this. I only have a lot of respect for all the time and effort you take for the community and HE!

I just wanted to make sure it wasn't heading the same way as a lot of other topics. Not that that is wrong either, but this topic isn't about solving a mesh problem. It's about helping people to solve their own problems in the future.

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You didn’t .. It’s my normal instinct to continue a discussion on a subject I have knowledge on... TBH I didn’t even notice this was posted as a Feature Request until your comment..
And I understand the desire to keep the topic on track

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While at some level I do agree that something like what you posted in the first post could be helpful in some cases, it still requires a lot of understanding and interpretation. I don't necessarily think that a pretty layout with the route something takes or the RSSI levels will help someone fix a mesh problem. I doubt it would directly help the Average Joe self diagnose a problem. It takes lots of diligent detective work of which a route is just a tiny part. And routes could change with a slight rearrangement of the furniture, the refrigerator door open or lots of people in the room at mealtimes.
For the very occasional use, I'm not sure I would want the burden on the HE hub. While not as convenient as something built-in, external tools don't add extra stress to the HE hub and don't alter results when running.
I could see a package with all the tools being made available for occasional use. That could mean users in a region sharing the cost of the pieces and mailing them back and forth as needed. Even with the full complement of tools, it will still require the Average Joe to do lots of reading and understanding of how mesh networks operate and how the layout of your home affects that mesh.

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