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Boring_Joe's profile

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022 2:48 PM

Protection against Wi-Fi jamming, congestion, interference

How does the system protect against wi-fi signal jamming, congestion, or interference?  I'm referring to the signal between base station and wi-fi router.  I understand that the system can detect and alert of RF interference/jamming between sensors and base station, but that's not what I'm asking about.

Is the system able to detect and send alerts (via cellular) when the wifi signal is being jammed or the moment the connection is lost?  What if there's congestion on the wifi channel being used by the system and router, that slows throughput so much that the base station can't send an alert?  Will the system recognize this condition and immediately send any alarm alerts over cellular?

Does the base station keep an always on connection to the SS server and the moment this connection to the server is disrupted, it immediately switches to cellular and alerts of the dropped wifi connection?  Is such a switchover from wifi to cellular immediate and seamless or is there a delay?  If so, how long is the delay?

Ultimately, is there any scenario where the wifi connection can fail due to wifi signal issues and the cellular backup, provided its connection is functional, does NOT kick in immediately to send alerts, resulting in delayed alerts or no alerts at all?

I'm disappointed that the base station doesn't include an ethernet port.  A wired connection to the router would eliminate any potential system failures related to wi-fi.  Perhaps include an ethernet port in future iterations of the base station?

Community Admin

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5.2K Messages

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20 Points

1 year ago

Hi @Boring_Joe,

 

Yes, if WiFi ever goes down, and assuming that the cell connection is active, it should take over immediately. There shouldn't be an in-between state where neither are available.

 

I would recommend testing your cell connection at least once, if not regularly, by removing the WiFi connection from your Keypad Menu, then sending a Test Signal. So long as cell is able to connect, there should be no disruption to the link with Monitoring.

75 Messages

@davey_d​ Thank you for the response.  Could you please define what constitutes "Wi-Fi ever goes down?"  Does this include the conditions I mentioned, including RF interference/jamming and congestion?

I can test the condition of completely dropped/disconnected Wi-Fi by turning off Wi-Fi on my router immediately after triggering an alarm and see if the alerts come through.  What I cannot easily test is the scenario where a burglar jams the Wi-Fi signal or the scenario where there is congestion (from neighbors' Wi-Fi activity) on the specific Wi-Fi channel being used by the base station and router.  Would both of those scenarios also result in the base station immediately realizing that Wi-Fi is not working properly and immediately sending any alerts over cellular?  Or does the base station continue to try to send alerts only over Wi-Fi during these two scenarios because the Wi-Fi itself isn't actually turned off or disconnected?

Also, do any of these three Wi-Fi related conditions (Wi-Fi signal dropped / Wi-Fi signal jammed - Wi-Fi signal congested) trigger any warning push notifications and SMS alerts alerting the user?

Finally, any plans to include an ethernet port in a future version of the base station?  A wired connection to the router would be more secure than a Wi-Fi connection.

Thanks.

Advocate

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923 Messages

1 year ago

If someone tries to jam it you will get a notification and if your base station looses wifi for any reason it will automatically connect to the cell chip and you will get that notification as well, not sure what happens if the wifi signal is to congested as I don't believe I have ever had that lol

75 Messages

@lance843​ As I understand it, the system only notifies when the signal between base station and sensors is jammed.  I don't believe it notifies when the Wi-Fi signal between base station and router is jammed.  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as Wi-Fi congestion is concerned, the problem there is that the base station connects only at 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, which has very limited number of available channels.  If a neighbor's or multiple neighbors'  Wi-Fi routers are actively using the same channel as your router, it may cause your Wi-Fi to slow down considerably, potentially even preventing your base station from being able to send data/alerts.  The base station may not even realize that the Wi-Fi has been "cut off" for lack of a better term.  And I'm not sure if under such circumstances, the SS system recognizes that Wi-Fi isn't working (alerts can't go out) and immediately sends the alerts over cellular, and if there's any delay.

Community Admin

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5.2K Messages

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20 Points

@Boring_Joe​ congestion shouldn't be too much of an issue. The signals sent by your Base Station are literally just very tiny packets of text data, so it would be easier to push through.

Regarding warning notifications: WiFi Disconnected and Wireless Interference Detected (for radio jamming) are two separate warnings. If WiFi was jammed, cell should be taking over, which is how the WiFi Disconnect signal is sent. So it's super important to keep that backup connection stable.

Advocate

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724 Messages

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20 Points

1 year ago

Something disconnected my Base Station's Wi-Fi on 12/7/22 (Wi-Fi Disconnected in the Timeline), and I did not receive a notification via the app. It was one of the rare times it happened without notice, and it worries me due to the time of year (i.e., holidays). It was also odd as I was not home prior, and I set the alarm to Away. Four minutes after returning, the Wi-Fi went down and was not restored for over an hour (Wi-Fi Connection Restored). Again, I did not receive any notification; I merely happened to check my Timeline randomly. I had eight packages waiting at my doorstep and was notified of someone I had never seen going to the side of my home office window by Deep Sentinel before leaving (I was in the shower). I was gone for only 30 minutes.

I often test my system by purposely disconnecting my router, and I will immediately receive an alert of disconnection and restoration. So I am uncertain if it is an app issue @davey_d (a few Android updates have come quickly lately).

I am leaving for vacation soon, and after a decade with SimpliSafe, I do not feel safe after what happened. Yes, it did revert to cellular (I know from the Timeline's activity), but what if I am away and it does not?

This comment has been converted into a post

Community Admin

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5.2K Messages

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20 Points

@shiherlis​ to clarify, you did see a Wi-Fi Disconnected message on your Timeline exactly when you expected it?

If so, that means the connection between your Base Station and the Monitoring Service was okay. And you might be right, the actual issue is just that the app didn't produce a notification when it should have.

Should there have been an actual alarm event in this scenario, you might not have gotten the popup message on your phone, but you would still get the phone call from Monitoring, and of course we would dispatch the authorities if you were not able to answer.

The not-so-good news is that I haven't heard of any (widespread) issues recently that would affect Push Notifications, so it's harder to pinpoint the cause of this incident. And as you said, our app team is establishing a very regular cadence for app updates, so if there were bugs detected, we can fix them faster.

Since you mention heading for vacation soon, I'm requested a call from one of our Specialists to do a check-up with you. So we can make sure that your system is in good shape before you go away.

(edited)

Advocate

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724 Messages

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20 Points

@davey_d to clarify, you did see a Wi-Fi Disconnected message on your Timeline exactly when you expected it?

I know this will likely not be read until Monday, but I did not expect it. My Wi-Fi was working the entire time with all other components. I was streaming, accessing Google Home, and using my PC without issue. I honestly would have never known had I not reviewed my Timeline (and within seven days).

 

Thank you for putting in a request for one of the Specialists to call. I will order extra entry sensors just in case (I will hide some that will trigger in unexpected places).

75 Messages

1 year ago

So, I'm still not sure exactly how SS gen 3 handles Wi-Fi jamming, interference, and congestion.  Therefore, I think I'll just leave this thread with a suggestion for improvement that hopefully can be implemented in the next generation base station:

1.  Add an ethernet port to the base station.  That way the system doesn't have to rely on Wi-Fi at all and can be plugged into one's router instead.

2.  Keep Wi-Fi as an option for those that may want/need it for a number of reasons, but include 5 GHz Wi-Fi and WPA3.  The additional channels available with 5 GHz Wi-Fi should make congestion much less of a possibility.  Also, I hear WPA3 should make it more difficult for an attacker to knock the system off of Wi-Fi.

Advocate

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724 Messages

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20 Points

@Boring_Joe

SS2 (the previous generation) did have a telephone jack as an alternative to the wireless connection to the Dispatch Service so that one could connect it to a landline. Still, it also did not have Wi-Fi capability (it was cellular only).

 

I think it is an excellent idea as I prefer an Ethernet port on all of my Wi-Fi devices and have them connected as such, but unfortunately, a new SimpliSafe system will not be coming anytime soon.

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