SmartConfig problems with Nexus on b/g/n networks

Hi, we are having problems connecting the Spark to wifi using the SmartConfig protocol on mixed b/g/n networks where all clients are connected via WiFi N.

Three specific instances have failed us.

  • Nexus 5 connected to another Nexus 5 hotspot. SmartConfig will never find the spark in this situation.
  • Mixed mode B/G/N network on a Netgear N900 home router with about 6 clients all connected via N. SmartConfig never succesfully connects the spark.io
  • FritzBox router in mixed mode. SmartConfig will not work unless many tries are attempted. Sometimes 30-40 tries (yes this takes almost an hour to test!) are required.

In all of these cases, forcing the networks to use ONLY B/G (excluding the Nexus 5 case because there is no way to specify the protocol) allows the SmartConfig to work properly.
Sure, we could provide credentials over USB, but this is not a viable solution for a product. Is there any chance the team will be releasing a version of the spark.io using one of the newer CC3100 or CC3200 which support WiFi N? Clearly the CC3000 chip does not do well in mixed mode environments (even when router support is properly configured).

In the mean time we have been looking at switching to the McThing/McRouter as it uses the CC3100 and rolling our own cloud with proper OAuth support.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2016620887/mcthings-tiny-wireless-bluetooth-sensors-and-contr/posts

Any other suggestions/alternatives out there?

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Hi @OrangeOctober,

Yup, we’re researching new modules, and alternative ways of passing your Wi-Fi credentials to the core, so this will be solved in future versions. You can already use the spark-cli ( https://github.com/spark/spark-cli ), or any serial terminal to enter the credentials manually, but SmartConfig does have issues when the device sending the credentials is locked in 802.11n only mode (The nexus in particular is bad about this).

Thanks!
David

Hi @Dave,
Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear you guys are working on things. The sooner you can share your goals and timelines with us the better. I really think the Spark.io has the best “idea” in the now exploding world of IoT platforms and so my criticism are only for the betterment and due to my excitement about the platform. The execution has fallen short in a few cases where the end user isn’t a ‘hacker type’ and I don’t think building a business on one-off ‘hacker types’ makes much sense. I’d love to see you guys succeed and build a product around things which ship lots of units – and it’s not there yet. Cheers to your efforts.

Hi @OrangeOctober,

Thanks, we try to make the experience as easy as possible, and we’re very excited about all the products built on the Spark platform that are shipping in the near future. We’ll always keep improving. :slight_smile:

Thanks,
David

@OrangeOctober I have the same problem and i also working on IoT product with SparkCore heart (SparkCore inside - like intel). Like you said, the way to connect to the internet should be really easy (as typing the wifi code). @Dave, will it be new “deep update” or new hardware?

@Dave, maybe shed some light on it for us?

Heya @itayd100,

I don’t have extra information yet on that, I’ll see if I can get some details from the firmware team. :slight_smile:

Thanks,
David

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Any news welcome - I’d go so far as to say in its current form the Spark Core is useless for a consumer focused (ie production scale) product all the while it doesn’t ‘just work’ with current consumer phones/ tablets etc without techie tweaking… which is a real shame!

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I’d like to +1 this issue as being a deal breaker for the development we are considering.

The API is beautiful. The cloud interaction is awesome. Choosing a chip that cannot see 5GHZ packets was a questionable choice. What are the options for a production ready product besides swapping the wifi chip with another that supports n? Isn’t it the case that SmartConfig will never be able to configure the current spark from a device locked to 5GHZ regardless of firmware updates? If there is an possibility of solving this with software I would be interested to hear about it. From what I have read, it’s not possible with this chip, period.

Can anyone inform us that this is something that is being planned? I would love to continue tinkering with the spark, but if there are not significant plans being discussed to use a different chip that supports b/g/n I need to look elsewhere.

I’m also interested in some feedback from the dev team about why the currently limited chip was chosen over versions that can see 5GHZ.

I only post this as polite feedback! The device is really cool. If you guys are looking to sell 100 of them instead of 1, this issue should be at the very top of your list of development goals.

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Hey @Dave,

Like I said before, I’m working on a product that the SparkCore is the heart of it. We are in the middle of a process and now is the time to decide if we “all in” with the SparkCore or we need to choose something else. I really want to continue with you, I think your product is good and the community you built is great.
The biggest problem I have so far is that “first time smart config”, as you know, you can’t do it with “n” type wifi, mimo or 5GHz routers (unless your smartphone is so old to just have “g” type wifi).

You mention that should be a software solution for the first time config. Can you say when will we see something new?

Cheers,
Itay

Hi @itayd100,

The only solution is new hardware, but don’t worry! It’s in the works, and we will be making an announcement soon.

Z

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@zach please give some info: will it be the same size and pinouts? Need to know for my project … Thx

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It will be drop-in compatible, but some of the pins might be slightly different; we’re still developing the hardware, and working to make it as compatible as possible.

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Hey @zach

Now, after you (pre-)announced the SparkCore2, what will be the “first time smart config” there? It’s going to be the same or as AP (like the CC3200)?

Can we pre-order?

Itay

Set-up will use the Soft AP process rather than Smart Config. Yay for standards!

No pre-orders set up yet but we’ll give you guys the first look for sure!

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will you need beta testers? :wink: