How Do You Troubleshoot a Wireless Irrigation Controller?
Do you have clients who have trouble with their wireless controllers? If so, you’re not alone, and you could probably benefit from some tips on how to troubleshoot their devices and WIFI network to resolve the issue. Fortunately, there are several easy steps for irrigation contractors such as yourself to take in order to test their WiFi and get their wireless controllers back in action. At Hydro-Rain we manufacture irrigation products that are built for speed, allowing you to meet the demand of your customers. Let’s take a look at five steps you can take to troubleshoot wireless irrigation controllers.
1) Measure the Signal Strength of Your Wireless Controller
The Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) measures how receptive your wireless device is when receiving a signal from a router or access point. Essentially, this measurement can help you to determine how much signal you are getting. There are apps such as Airport Utility (created by Apple for iPhone users) that allow you to check the RSSI values once you enable the “WIFI Scanner ” setting in your iPhone. Solid objects can actually absorb WIFI signals, including walls and windows, which can cause your signal to be bad (and for you to have low RSSI values). You can even do a much simpler test of seeing how many WIFI bars your smartphone gets when next to your irrigation controller. Measuring the signal strength at the location of your sprinkler controller is important to determine if that is the problem.
2) Move the Location of Your Wireless Devices
The second step you can try piggybacks off of the first. If you find that your device has a very low RSSI value (therefore a bad signal) you should consider moving your devices. If your router or other WIFI device is stowed away under a desk, inside of a closet, or blocked by wall or furniture it weakens the signal strength. Similarly, if your controller is tucked away behind a thick wall or large furniture it will weaken the signal received from the router. If your router is already in an open space in line with your sprinkler controller, you can try simply restarting the router and/or the controller. Sometimes the oldest trick in the book of unplugging, waiting ten seconds, and plugging back in is all devices need. Connected Controllers can even be managed remotely on your smartphone, so the connection of your phone might also improve by putting your router in a more open space.
3) Update Router and WIFI Network
The next step for troubleshooting irrigation controllers is to make sure your clients have updated their WIFI if any of their network settings have changed. Similarly, have them make sure to update their router firmware. Many people purchase routers through an ISP, so they may need to contact them to confirm that the firmware is up-to-date. If the WIFI network and router firmware are updated, you can also try changing both the frequency and channel of the WIFI network.
4) Changing WIFI Frequency
For frequency, while 5G networks have faster speeds, they tend not to have as great a range and are not able to penetrate through solid objects very well. 2.4G on the other hand is not as fast of a signal usually, but it has a wider range. A full strength connection of 2.4G will work better for your sprinkler controller than a weak signal connection of 5G.
5) Changing WIFI Channels
For the channel, it can be helpful to change the channel to prevent interference from occurring by neighboring networks. Each 2.4G frequency has multiple channels (11), but only channels 1, 6, and 11 do not overlap and are therefore a better bet for a solid signal to your device. This shouldn’t be as much of an issue on 5G. Eliminating other networks can help as well. Sometimes wireless devices pickup on nearby WiFi signals, and if you aren’t using them it is best to remove them to prevent any possible interference with your wireless controllers.
Contact Us For The Speed You Need
Hydro-Rain® is built for the speed, and since your customers demand speed, your business must demand it as well. Contact us today for all of your irrigation needs and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Our commitment to the essential values of integrity, lasting relationships, and fair dealing is at the heart of Hydro-Rain®, so let’s work together to bring your customers the best technology in irrigation.