I have been using Openwrt for a while, and i wanted to ask for some advice on optimization for Smart Home and IoT use.
I currently own 3 Archer A6 routers that are running OpenWRT 21.02.
One of the routers runs in router mode (Main router), and the other 2 run in access point mode. The Main router is connected directly to the ISP modem, and functions as router, firewall,dhcp, etc. The other 2 devices are wired to the main router, and are use them to extend my Wireless network.
All 3 routers run 4 Wireless SSIDs:
-1 2.4 GHz wireless for people to connect
-1 5 Ghz wireless for people to connect
-1 2.4 Ghz wireless to connect smart home devices
-1 5Ghz wireless to connect smart home devices
Each SSID traffic is associated with a specific VLAN, in order to keep Smart home traffic separated from user traffic. Additionally, i have looked at selecting the channels used by each SSID so they do not overlap. i do not have much interference from neighboring Wireless networks either.
The setup works fairly well, but i ran into some issues with a couple of remote controls that i built with old tablets, and control things like TVs, AC etc. The remotes send commands to a WiFi enabled IR Blaster that in turn send commands to devices that are not network capable.
For a while, i ran into this intermittent issue with the controls where pressing a button would not do anything, or the action would have a delay of several seconds. This translated into a really poor experience, since the user would not have a clear idea if the command really executed. Sometimes, the command would execute immediately, and sometimes it would take several seconds (even up to 10). Sometimes the user would press several buttons, and all the commands would execute at the same time, 10 seconds after.
This was driving me crazy. i troubleshooted the Smart home software, the tablet control and the IR blaster, and could not find any issues. Until i started capturing traffic and realized that the WiFi connected IR blaster was either not responding to the packets sent by the remote, or taking a long time to do so.
My network is not saturated at all (i have a 100+ MB connection, and i am usually not utilizing more than 10MB acording to the OpenWRT interface graphs). So for a long time i thought the problem was the IR blaster.
Then one day, i went to troubleshoot the issue further, and the control was behaving normally. this was extremely frustrating. At one point, my girlfriend returns home, and as he gets to the house, the remote starts malfunctioning again. My girlfriend has a number of Apple devices, including her phone.
Her phone was connecting to the "people" 2.4Ghz network, so on a hunch, i shut down the phone and the issue disappeared. Since the vast majority of my smart home network is 2.4, i moved all her devices to the 5Ghz network, and deleted the 2.4Ghz profile from the devices. The experience with the smart home network, and specifically, the remotes has improved greatly.
Now, since the "Smart home" and "People" 2.4 Ghz networks share the same radio, it makes sense that the phone could interfere with the smart home network. While the 5Ghz solution works for now, it is possible that i could have people in the house with devices that are not 5Ghz capable. For this reason, i would like to know if anyone has any experience with this kind of problems, and how do they handle them. Specifically:
-Does anyone know what could be running on the Apple devices that is so network-intrusive? i have my Android phone connected to the 2.4Ghz network, and have devices like streaming audio speakers, etc, that are not as invasive. It is specially strange that i do not see bandwidth saturation.
-Is there a way to give "air priority" to a specific client or even a specific SSID?
-Does anyone runs a scenario like this and has any recommendations? I have made sure that devices connect to the SSID with the best signal levels, and locked devices so they can only connect to that SSID. In general, the signal levels for both devices and APs are healthy. I cannot guarantee the same for mobile devices, but i have only 3 of those. everything that can be wired is wired.
-To investigate this further, does anyone now of any software that would help me map wifi "airtime" utilization per device?
-I do not have SQM enabled. I could enable it, but since the problem appears to be with local traffic, i was not sure it would be worth it. I also read SQM could be enabled on LAN interfaces but i am not sure if this would help at all, as it looks like it is design to to be used on the WAN interface?
I appreciate any help and tips, and i also want to thank everyone for producing such a great quality and feature ful product!