Signal Strength Updates
To conserve battery performance, signal strength for devices is updated once you have paired the sensor and then at 6-hour intervals so will not change immediately.
One question we do get asked is how will I know if a sensor is out of range from the hub or will it work in a particular area of my home. We now are able to display the signal quality to any sensor or siren directly through the Boundary app which will give an instant indication of the signal strength and if there is an issue with placement!
NB: Range extenders work slightly differently from sensors so we don't provide a signal measurement for them. Their range is impressive though and is used specifically to help your other devices.
So what affects signal strength?
Well, distance is a big factor. The Boundary system uses Zwave to communicate with the sensors and siren so the further away a device is then the lower the signal strength. As contact sensors have a slightly smaller antenna due to their size than a motion sensor, the type of device can also play a part.
Other factors can also reduce signal strength. For example:
- Open space (affects outbuildings and sheds for example)
- Thick exterior or supporting walls
- Reinforced concrete
- Metallic or reflective shielding
- Large amounts of surrounding metal
The above can all have an effect on the range to varying degrees but we do find that on average with the hub installed centrally, a standard-sized 4/5 bedroom home is easily covered.
How will I know what the signal strength is?
In order for us to measure the sensor signal strength, you do need to be on the latest release of our firmware (v3.3.2 or higher) and running the latest version of our mobile app (v100.7.3). You can find this information:
- Hub - Go to the hub menu and select About > Firmware and this will show the current version
- App - Tap the Settings icon and scroll to the bottom
If you have any problems with the version or you are unsure then just drop our customer experience team a message and we will be happy to help.
Once you have the latest releases though, the signal strength is shown on the sensor detail page:
- Login to the Boundary mobile app
- Select Settings > Sensors
- Tap the name of the sensor you are interested in
- The signal strength is shown at the bottom of the screen like so:
- If you want to see the exact signal level hen just tap the strength and it will toggle between the banding below and the actual value.
So what defines a good and bad signal strength?
We measure the signal strength in a very similar way to your home WiFi (even though we don't use WiFi for sensors, we use Zwave, the principle is the same) and calculate the quality of the signal based on the RSSI level. This is a measurement ranging from -1db (excellent) to -100db (no signal). We band these measurements together to form a quality measure:
- Excellent: -1 to -45
- Good: -45 to -65
- Fair: -65 to -80
- Poor: -80 to -100
One of my sensors is showing a poor signal, what can I do?
If a sensor is in the poor range then it will still function but it is more likely to go offline at random times. Virtually every time a sensor goes offline then it will come back online after a short period but occasionally it won't. To address this problem:
- Make sure the battery isn't close to running out by swapping it with a new battery
- If possible, move the hub to a more central location so that the distance between it and any sensor is roughly equal
- Consider a different location for the sensor as it might be affected by the wall/door construction
- Make sure a contact sensor is mounted vertically and not horizontally as this can improve the range
If you are still having range problems then please do get in touch with the customer experience team as we can then check if you may need a range extender.