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-   -   Smart App and Router WiFi Network Issues (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f540/smart-app-and-router-wifi-network-issues-190596.html)

Ephraim 04-13-2019 07:05 PM

A few interesting updates here.

I haven't spoken to Jason yet - he's apparently a pretty busy guy. I did however speak with John. They shutdown the Camp Wifi Feature and my speed jumped from ~2Mb/s to ~4-9Mb/s. When I put my own router in for local WiFi the speeds jumped to ~20Mb/s but was much steadier.

I'm not done as I have some other stuff I want to do which I'll write about later when I try it, but during the course of the conversation a couple of things popped up that I thought were interesting.

I tapped into the power in the left speaker cubby for power to my Dewalt Mobilelock which will be the security system for the trailer. When I opened the cabinet (in which you have to remove the wood cover to the router in order to access the panel for the cubby) My classic had a Czone wireless module in there. A bit of research showed that Airstream is using this device for the Ethernet port to the peplink and that the Czone wireless is turned off.

Airstream said if I wanted to, I could reset the Peplink back to factory default and the AT&T connectivity would be unaffected, but that I would loose the app functionality on the phone. However, Czone is pretty friendly and it may be possible to create a new interface directly to the CZone. I'm mulling this over as I could see adding an additional Czone I/O module to control a couple of other things. Czone has the ability to allow you to build a custom app interface. I like Airstream's interface (including the custom buttons throughout the trailer. I probably won't touch that aspect of it until the factory warranty expires, but it's nice to know that option is there if I want it.

Airstream did say one of the factors that convinced them to move from Firefly to Czone was the ability to customize things. Apparently Czone is better at that.

So far, my only complaint is that the Czone buttons don't have lighted names. You have to memorize their location because in dim lighting, you can't tell what button is what.

Froglips 04-14-2019 08:09 AM

I have followed turk123's instructions to install a TP-Link 1200AP. I have the speaker cover panel off presently.

Did AS give you instructions on how to reset the PEPLink? I am not sure I want to turn off the campground wifi repeater but I am nevertheless interested in the option and process.

I definitely do not want to lose the app access.

turk123 04-14-2019 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Froglips (Post 2230798)
I have followed turk123's instructions to install a TP-Link 1200AP. I have the speaker cover panel off presently.

Did AS give you instructions on how to reset the PEPLink? I am not sure I want to turn off the campground wifi repeater but I am nevertheless interested in the option and process.

I definitely do not want to lose the app access.

I believe the Peplink is reset like most routers, a press of a reset button on the back using something like a paperclip. Do not do this if you do not want to lose your Czone support.

As to the Campground WIFI as WAN, leaving it on will kill your speed as the previous post above confirms once again. Have Airstream turn it off for you and just use your phone to tie into the campground when you need it.

turk123 04-14-2019 08:34 AM

"So far, my only complaint is that the Czone buttons don't have lighted names. You have to memorize their location because in dim lighting, you can't tell what button is what.
Ephraim "


That was my biggest complaint when we got into our Classic! We need a downward facing light that you can press to light up the panel to see. The panel over by the couch has one button that turns on the lights in the whole trailer. My wife's gonna kill me if I hit that one more time while she is sleeping!

Interesting info about the Czone panel and resetting modem. The Airstream app is quite good and I would hate to lose it. Airstream has mentioned improvements to the app, but we probably won't see that for a while. I believe the most sought after improvement would be customizable mood lighting other than the ones offered.

uncle_bob 04-14-2019 09:24 AM

Hi

After two years of doing this - just forget about campground WiFi. It simply isn't worth it. If and when WiFi 6 gets here it may address some of the fundamental issues that pretty much guarantee it will be useless. Then all we'll need to do is upgrade all the hardware in all the campsites and all the RV's ...

Bob

Ephraim 04-14-2019 11:57 AM

@uncle_bob

As part of my "regular" job, I provide the wireless Internet at an RV site. I can tell you that there are multiple problems which is why almost all RV parks stink for camp WiFi.

1) Most RV parts are not in the middle of an Urban area with access to fiber. I actually have to wirelessly connect this park through 4 towers. The closest fiber drop is over 35 miles away. Yes, I can provide 1Gb/s service to the park, but the cost would be sky high.

1a) I have to buy the 1Gb/s service at a commercial rate (~$1000/month). It's that high, because the park would use the full 1Gb/s 24/7 if they could so the company has to guarantee full bandwidth 24/7

1b) Each tower costs ~$60,000 (because three of them are solar powered). I can resell bandwidth off of them to other customers (i do) but any bandwidth guaranteed to the RV park is lost to me for resale.

1a) Because the towers are solar powered and in high wind areas, they require frequent maintenance. ~ 1/3 of a full time tech which costs me ~90,000/yr after pay and benefits are factored in so you're looking at ~30,000/yr, not including equipment lost to lightning or 75 mph gusty winds.

1c) Don't forget these are towers so I have to have qualified personnel and insurance to cover that. Insurance count tower work as "high risk". I pay alot for insurance.

2) RV park owners tend to be cheap. They forget that they are out in the boonies. This one is willing to pay me $350/mo for his Internet. He has almost 45 full time spots and about 25 overnight spots.

3) The RV park owner doesn't want to suffer the same problems that the campers do so he has me devot half of the bandwidth to his office and his house.

4) The rest of the park splits 4Mb/s between all of the campers. Remember that a Netfix movie on an HD TV requires about 5Mb/s

It would cost me almost $6000/mo to deliver 1Gb/s guaranteed service to him and that is before I figure ANY profit for me into the situation. I don't do this out of the kindness of my heart. I have to eat too.

Lets say if he paid me $7000/mo, he'd have the best Internet service of any park in NM.

Not a likely situation.

We compromise. I charge him the amount that makes him wince and then I deliver the best Internet I can for that price. Technology is constantly changing though. Five years ago, I delivered 500kb/s service for $200/mo. Now I deliver 7Mb/s service for $350/mo. Later this year, when we finish the backbone upgrade, his service level will increase again.

Remember that "Unlimited" doesn't mean as much as you want at the full speed. "Unlimited" just means they won't shut you off. They may slow you down to give other users a chance at the bandwidth.

Note that this park has full time RV spots. I do have customers in that park that purchase separate Internet from me so they don't have to suffer along with everyone else because the RV owners decisions.

uncle_bob 04-15-2019 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ephraim (Post 2230884)
@uncle_bob

As part of my "regular" job, I provide the wireless Internet at an RV site. I can tell you that there are multiple problems which is why almost all RV parks stink for camp WiFi.

1) Most RV parts are not in the middle of an Urban area with access to fiber. I actually have to wirelessly connect this park through 4 towers. The closest fiber drop is over 35 miles away. Yes, I can provide 1Gb/s service to the park, but the cost would be sky high.

1a) I have to buy the 1Gb/s service at a commercial rate (~$1000/month). It's that high, because the park would use the full 1Gb/s 24/7 if they could so the company has to guarantee full bandwidth 24/7

1b) Each tower costs ~$60,000 (because three of them are solar powered). I can resell bandwidth off of them to other customers (i do) but any bandwidth guaranteed to the RV park is lost to me for resale.

1a) Because the towers are solar powered and in high wind areas, they require frequent maintenance. ~ 1/3 of a full time tech which costs me ~90,000/yr after pay and benefits are factored in so you're looking at ~30,000/yr, not including equipment lost to lightning or 75 mph gusty winds.

1c) Don't forget these are towers so I have to have qualified personnel and insurance to cover that. Insurance count tower work as "high risk". I pay alot for insurance.

2) RV park owners tend to be cheap. They forget that they are out in the boonies. This one is willing to pay me $350/mo for his Internet. He has almost 45 full time spots and about 25 overnight spots.

3) The RV park owner doesn't want to suffer the same problems that the campers do so he has me devot half of the bandwidth to his office and his house.

4) The rest of the park splits 4Mb/s between all of the campers. Remember that a Netfix movie on an HD TV requires about 5Mb/s

It would cost me almost $6000/mo to deliver 1Gb/s guaranteed service to him and that is before I figure ANY profit for me into the situation. I don't do this out of the kindness of my heart. I have to eat too.

Lets say if he paid me $7000/mo, he'd have the best Internet service of any park in NM.

Not a likely situation.

We compromise. I charge him the amount that makes him wince and then I deliver the best Internet I can for that price. Technology is constantly changing though. Five years ago, I delivered 500kb/s service for $200/mo. Now I deliver 7Mb/s service for $350/mo. Later this year, when we finish the backbone upgrade, his service level will increase again.

Remember that "Unlimited" doesn't mean as much as you want at the full speed. "Unlimited" just means they won't shut you off. They may slow you down to give other users a chance at the bandwidth.

Note that this park has full time RV spots. I do have customers in that park that purchase separate Internet from me so they don't have to suffer along with everyone else because the RV owners decisions.

Hi

Actually it's worse than that. If you dig into the WiFi 6 propaganda, they now are starting to talk about the way WiFi handles a large group of "customers". It's not pretty. Think of going back to the end of one big long line every time you blink ....

If each of those campsites has a dozen or so devices at it. Your 40 site campground is trying to handle around 500 data "customers" My guess is that a dozen is a low number these days. WiFi just was not designed to handle that sort of crowd. Having all 500 spend 10 ms "in line" ... hmmm .... that's 5 seconds between data service events ..... yikes .... Even split 4 ways it still is far to long for decent service.

Again take a look at the WiFi 6 propaganda to see why even a device that uses next to no data still gets in line every time.

Just for reference, we are old folks without much interest in computer stuff :) ... we are well over the "dozen" number when we pull in. I spent time counting it up when I could not find enough USB charge outlets.

Bob

Froglips 04-15-2019 07:23 AM

I am in a very unusual situation. Part of the year, my Airstream becomes an auxiliary residence on my horse farm. We rent out the main house and live in the AS from January through April. There is wifi on the farm but the signal is too weak to penetrate the AS. The repeater works well enough to watch streaming TV.

Ephraim 04-15-2019 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle_bob (Post 2231151)
Hi

Actually it's worse than that. If you dig into the WiFi 6 propaganda, they now are starting to talk about the way WiFi handles a large group of "customers". It's not pretty. Think of going back to the end of one big long line every time you blink ....

Bob

Bob,

We currently see that issue, but there are ways to mitigate it. Taking queues from how cell phone coverage works, we use a mesh system inside the park. It's like having mini-towers and if you walk a couple spaces over, you switch towers. It requires a person with some wireless knowledge to set it up and the first thing you do is turn the power down to minimum on each node. Rather than having 5000 clients on a single node, we can bring it down to a very reasonable and manageable number.

Sadly, most RV parks don't hire knowledgeable IT people. They just buy the most powerful router they can find and put it in the center of the park. When we started to supply this park, we had them put in a 20' metal pole every 4 spaces. The entire park is covered with only 6 poles. He's got a good foundation with the mesh system, he just won't give it the bandwidth that it needs.

By the way, nothing is free. While the mesh system mitigates the situation you are talking about, it adds latency to the connection. The larger the mesh, the more difficult skyping becomes.

Our biggest issue is that we have to supply Internet on the 2.4GHz band because that's what the vast majority of devices expect, but at any one time, there are about 350 rogue SSID in the park. Every hotspot, every vehicle, every trailer, every satellite system seems to provide their own SSID which really clutters things up. Ideally, we would provide only 5.8GHz and each trailer would link into that and provide a local 2.4GHz signal for their own stuff... But that's like herding cats.

turk123 04-15-2019 09:01 AM

We were in a park in Ft. Meyers Florida and they attempted to do an excellent job with the internet. They had a mesh system and about 5 - 6 poles with equipment. It was a bit hodge-podge, but it worked.

I got to know the gentleman who was running the system. What he explained to me was disheartening. Not only where residences using the internet for small businesses, but they were also "gaming" the system and stealing bandwidth. I had an attack the first day I was there that ask for my Mac address. He also monitored for PlayStation and Xbox (prohibited in the park for online gaming) and would kill their access when he discovered it.

He also warded off attacks from "outside the fence" with people setting up stations to steal as much bandwidth as they can from him. He said it is a constant battle to keep what they had for their guests.

The internet there was fast enough to stream most of the time. He spent a lot of time keeping it this way. I can see why most RV parks just give up and provide very little.

UnConnected 05-04-2019 04:02 PM

Airstream UnConnected
 
After spending $150K on a 2019 30nclassic, it has spent more time in the dealer service bay than on the road. The Smart Control worked for 2 weeks then has not worked since.

Airstream nor their dealer can fix it, and at one time, they told me to take the trailer to ATT and let them fix it!

Airstream chose ATT as their partner and buyers have no choice of service provider.

Airstream needs to own this problem, fix it and stop telling owners they are trying to figure this out!

Buyers beware.....

uncle_bob 05-05-2019 07:09 AM

Hi

Well I can tell you that AT&T as a service provider ( = cell signals ) does a pretty good job. It's very rare to find a location they don't cover. At least that's been our experience in the last few years of camping. That said, if the cell phone says "no service" you aren't going to stream movies tonight .... So first step, every time we pull in is *still* to check the number of bars on the cell phone. Trust but verify .... :)

That said, the WiFi side of any of these gizmos - just forget about getting it to hook to anything. Other than parked in the drive at home (when I can hit the home WiFi anyway), zero use. My suggestion there would be to shut down as much of that side of the gizmo as you can.

Bob

Froglips 05-06-2019 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnConnected (Post 2237945)
After spending $150K on a 2019 30nclassic, it has spent more time in the dealer service bay than on the road. The Smart Control worked for 2 weeks then has not worked since.

Airstream nor their dealer can fix it, and at one time, they told me to take the trailer to ATT and let them fix it!

Airstream chose ATT as their partner and buyers have no choice of a service provider.

Airstream needs to own this problem, fix it and stop telling owners they are trying to figure this out!

Buyers beware.....

I will echo Uncle Bob on this one. ATT as a service provider is quite good. This is an AS problem. That said, it appears that this is a first generation, early adopter issue (did you know you are an early adopter?). Based on all my reading in the forum, it appears that AS's hardware choice, the PEP Link, was a poor one. The real solution would be to replace the current router/modem/cell link with a newer generation. I don't know how many Classic 30s they have sold but probably enough to give some bean counter pause at implementing this solution. BTW, my system works fine both on cell and WiFi with the addition of an external router. Turk123 gets all the credit for this $49 solution.

It sounds like you have a similar issue to mine, just a lousy AS dealer. Unfortunately, complaints to AS about your dealer will fall on deaf ears. As you have a new Classic 30, as do I, you should consider looking for another dealer within reasonable driving distance. I have found that driving one time two hours each way to drop my AS off for service at a competent dealer instead of a 30-minute drive to a Three Stooges adventure is much more efficient than four trips to get a single problem fixed (typical for my purchase dealer).

UnConnected 05-06-2019 07:01 AM

AT & T and Airstream Connect
 
Thanks Bob, et all:

BUT, perhaps I mislead: all issues with the Airstream router are with good ATT signals, on my iphone, ipad and laptop. And, with moving the Classic 30 to many other locations.

For some unknown reason, the unit worked fine, then stopped and has never worked since.

AirStream is baffled, seams easy for Airstream to ship replacement unit and make needed corrections.....but they have yet to resolve this.

Hope this gets resolved soon!

turk123 05-06-2019 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnConnected (Post 2238493)
Thanks Bob, et all:

BUT, perhaps I mislead: all issues with the Airstream router are with good ATT signals, on my iphone, ipad and laptop. And, with moving the Classic 30 to many other locations.

For some unknown reason, the unit worked fine, then stopped and has never worked since.

AirStream is baffled, seems easy for Airstream to ship replacement unit and make needed corrections.....but they have yet to resolve this.

Hope this gets resolved soon!

It sounds like a complete failure of the equipment. Did the dealer have the Peplink out to look at? Are all four antenna leads attached and tightened on the back? Did they re-download the firmware to the Peplink?

Did you try plugging your laptop into the available Ethernet port on the Peplink to see if you can get internet? This would bypass the wifi radio in the Peplink.

Did the dealer try replacing the Peplink?

If it worked for a short time and stopped, something failed.

One more thing, did you signup with ATT and get an account? The dealer cannot do this for you. The trailer comes with one hour of service for the dealer to test and show the customer how it works. It expires after one hour of use. This particular event has happened to some customers. The customer uses WiFi for a few days and it quits. Find out later that dealer did not show you how to sign up with ATT.

Just some thoughts.

AirstreamInc 05-06-2019 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnConnected (Post 2237945)
After spending $150K on a 2019 30nclassic, it has spent more time in the dealer service bay than on the road. The Smart Control worked for 2 weeks then has not worked since.

Airstream nor their dealer can fix it, and at one time, they told me to take the trailer to ATT and let them fix it!

Airstream chose ATT as their partner and buyers have no choice of service provider.

Airstream needs to own this problem, fix it and stop telling owners they are trying to figure this out!

Buyers beware.....

Hi UnConnected,

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

Thank you.*

Froglips 05-07-2019 05:59 AM

Unconnected,
There is some confusion on your side. AT&T does not own nor is responsible for any of the equipment in your AS. While AT&T could be part of the problem in your case (somehow your logon has become corrupted, etc.), it is important to realize that your PepLink modem is just a cell phone in a box. If you have your cell phone inside the trailer and it is getting reception then AT&T is doing most of its job. This is clearly a hardware problem and Airstream's responsibility.

UnConnected 05-07-2019 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AirstreamInc (Post 2238587)
Hi UnConnected,

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

Thank you.*

Glad AirStream monitor's their customer frustrations!
Yes, i have been on the phone with Air Stream, Kyle Kindle is very nice and wants to help - but Kyle says all AirStream "stuff" works, must be something else.

Dealer is left in the dark, trying to assist, but without any luck.

THINKING, that AirStream would just ship a modem, have the dealer install and let's call this a day - but AirSteam thinks that is just too complicated!

AirStream: take ownership of this issue, I am NOT the only unit out there with problems.

UnConnected 05-07-2019 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Froglips (Post 2238859)
Unconnected,
There is some confusion on your side. AT&T does not own nor is responsible for any of the equipment in your AS. While AT&T could be part of the problem in your case (somehow your logon has become corrupted, etc.), it is important to realize that your PepLink modem is just a cell phone in a box. If you have your cell phone inside the trailer and it is getting reception then AT&T is doing most of its job. This is clearly a hardware problem and Airstream's responsibility.

Thanks for your assist.
One point lost in this issue, is a reminder that AIRSTREAM chose THEIR PARTNER, as AT&T. Airstream should own this issue, get with AT&T, resolve it with a recall, etc....
Airstream is loosing customers over this simple issue!

uncle_bob 05-08-2019 07:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UnConnected (Post 2238879)
Thanks for your assist.
One point lost in this issue, is a reminder that AIRSTREAM chose THEIR PARTNER, as AT&T. Airstream should own this issue, get with AT&T, resolve it with a recall, etc....
Airstream is loosing customers over this simple issue!

Hi

Wait a second here. AT&T no more made the modem in the Airstream than they made an iPhone. When the screen on your iPhone cracks, you take it back to Apple. AT&T (or Verizon) is *not* going to fix that broken screen. Same thing here, what's broke needs to be fixed by the folks that made it (Peplink).

Bob


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