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joeblough

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 30, 2006
600
411
i've posted before with my problems... things just keep getting weirder and weirder.

i have 3 nanoleaf bulbs, an eve weather, an eve door sensor, a TUO door sensor, a TUO smart button, and a couple of eve energy switches running on thread. the rest of the garbage is wifi or ethernet based. one of the eve energy switches bridges to the eve door sensor as it is too far away from the border router(s).

first, i had an appletv4k serving as a homekit hub and a thread border router, and things seemed to be going ok. eventually though, perhaps after a software update, the appleTV stopped being a border router and refused to pick up the thread network. it worked OK as a homekit hub for all my non-thread devices.

at that point i bought a homepod mini, which seemed to resolve the problem for a number of months. througout this i've left homekit turned on on the appleTV since i want to be able to control it from homekit.

i found that whenever the homepod upgraded, the reboot would apparently cause the appleTV to "take over" and then the thread network would be completely unavailable. so now i unplug the appleTV if i need to work on the homepod.

recently just one of my wifi cameras stopped responding. normally i need to power cycle the camera to get it to come back, but eventually i found i had to reboot the homepod. while not necessarily related, i think it does point to bugs in the homepod's homekit stack.

then yesterday my thread network completely disappeared again. so i unplugged the appletv, applied the latest software update to the homepod, and waited. still no thread network after a whole hour.

on a lark i moved one of the eve energy outlet switches from far away to an outlet very near the homepod... and right away the thread network woke up and everything was connected.

i have no idea why that has fixed it, but at this point i dare not move that eve energy switch!

one funny thing is that the TUO smart button must have queued the press i made at some point when the network was down, because as soon as it came back up, the action attached to the switch suddenly fired.

i've said this before but i really, really wish there were some logs in the homepod or appletv that might illuminate what is going on. i think once someone mentioned that there might be logs for the appleTV if you connect it to Xcode, but i assume you can't connect a homepod to Xcode since there's no way to develop software for it anyway.

one thing i wonder about is the nanoleaf bulbs - i still control these from light switches - and so they are always departing and joining the thread network. i wonder if switching them on and off might cause instability such that the whole thing falls apart.
 

waw74

macrumors 601
May 27, 2008
4,699
966
I've got an older aTV4k (no thread) and a HP mini, the aTV is currently the hub.
I only have one thread device, an onvis button, and it works fine even though the mini isn't the hub

The eve app has a good thread display, it will show you what each device is connected to. It's a second frontend for homekit, it's free and you don't need any Eve devices to use it. Has a couple nice features like being able to drag or copy colors or settings from one device to another. As well as being able to add conditions to automations.

link to to Mac App Store, it runs on the m# chips, but it's available for iPhone and iPad also.

 

joeblough

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 30, 2006
600
411
thanks, yeah Eve is my go-to app for seeing the thread network (or the lack of one.) it's where i saw the network suddenly appear when i plugged in that eve energy.

so if there's no border router, how does your thread switch actually communicate with anything? i assume it is falling back to bluetooth...
 

waw74

macrumors 601
May 27, 2008
4,699
966
I do have a thread border router, it's just not the same device as the active homekit hub.

at least it wasn't yesterday, seems with the update, the HP mini has taken over as the active again.

I still need to update my aTV, From comments here, it seems the highest version number will win out in the active hub choice.
 

joeblough

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 30, 2006
600
411
I do have a thread border router, it's just not the same device as the active homekit hub.

at least it wasn't yesterday, seems with the update, the HP mini has taken over as the active again.

I still need to update my aTV, From comments here, it seems the highest version number will win out in the active hub choice.

ah, interesting, that could explain a lot. the stupid appletv is set to auto-update and the homepod is not, so that could explain why things randomly go south. i need to turn that off on the appletv and then keep the homepod up-to-date by hand.

so there is a software package to be a thread border router? does it run on linux? that might be the answer, though i think the only way to really accomplish it would be to downgrade the appletv to a version without the thread radio and then get rid of the homepod (which i don't use anyway...)
 

waw74

macrumors 601
May 27, 2008
4,699
966
no, to be a thread boarder router requires thread hardware, so it's not just a software update or package.

Comparing software versions applies to how homekit chooses which device is the active homekit hub.
A homekit hub handles (woo triple alliteration) all automations and timers, as well as forwarding commands to your phone when you're away from your house. If you've updated to the new homekit architecture, then that hub also maintains the current status of all of your devices, so when you go into the home app, your phone only has to contact the one home hub, as opposed to polling all of your devices individually.

you can have multiple thread border routers in your system, in theory, they will sort out the best connections for all connected devices, They may all connect to the same TBR with the other TBRs acting as a backup, or your devices might split themselves up to connect to different TBRs. In theory the layout can change over time, automatically and in the background. Also any thread device that is connected to mains power (as opposed to battery power) is required by the thread spec to be a repeater.

If the appleTV is buried in a cabinet or behind a TV, it can affect the signal strength of thread, and could lead to problems. why moving that one plug closer to the TV sorted things out, It's able to pick up the weak signal, and the repeat it to all of it's friends. Being behind the TV can also affect Wi-Fi and bluetooth (Siri Remote). My ATV is just stuck in the wall mount against the back of my TV, There are places where the siri remote doesn't work so well, But sliding the aTV a few inches one way or the other clears it up. My guess is that's where the TV's wireless hardware or other electronics are located, and they're causing interference.
Thread, Bluetooth and 2.4 wifi are all in the same frequency range, so getting devices that use any of these too close to each other could potentially cause interference on them.

In theory, TBRs from multiple manufacturers are supposed to work together, but currently it sounds like you're better off sticking with homepods or aTVs if you're using homekit,
 
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joeblough

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 30, 2006
600
411
no, to be a thread boarder router requires thread hardware, so it's not just a software update or package.

understood, i just thought maybe there were some mini PCs that might have thread radios now. i do see that there is OpenThread from google which could in theory be used to roll your own border router (i think - most of the devices using OT seem to be endpoints or bridges)

Comparing software versions applies to how homekit chooses which device is the active homekit hub.
A homekit hub handles (woo triple alliteration) all automations and timers, as well as forwarding commands to your phone when you're away from your house. If you've updated to the new homekit architecture, then that hub also maintains the current status of all of your devices, so when you go into the home app, your phone only has to contact the one home hub, as opposed to polling all of your devices individually.

you can have multiple thread border routers in your system, in theory, they will sort out the best connections for all connected devices, They may all connect to the same TBR with the other TBRs acting as a backup, or your devices might split themselves up to connect to different TBRs. In theory the layout can change over time, automatically and in the background. Also any thread device that is connected to mains power (as opposed to battery power) is required by the thread spec to be a repeater.

If the appleTV is buried in a cabinet or behind a TV, it can affect the signal strength of thread, and could lead to problems. why moving that one plug closer to the TV sorted things out, It's able to pick up the weak signal, and the repeat it to all of it's friends. Being behind the TV can also affect Wi-Fi and bluetooth (Siri Remote). My ATV is just stuck in the wall mount against the back of my TV, There are places where the siri remote doesn't work so well, But sliding the aTV a few inches one way or the other clears it up. My guess is that's where the TV's wireless hardware or other electronics are located, and they're causing interference.
Thread, Bluetooth and 2.4 wifi are all in the same frequency range, so getting devices that use any of these too close to each other could potentially cause interference on them.

well, i know my first post was long, but i started with an AppleTV 4k as my one and only border router/homekit hub, and it worked great for a very long time. then, as apple devices seem to be fond of doing, a software upgrade must have messed the appleTV up and it would no longer assume the role of the border router. the appleTV apparently just does not see the thread network at all unless the homepod is there too. the Eve app isn't terribly friendly about identifying which border router is which; they just have 2-digit hexadecimal names. i guess perhaps those 2-byte strings correspond to some byte of the MAC address inside the hardware, but not sure which. i can see though that both devices have partitioned the network between them per the Eve app, so something is working in the appleTV, and the appleTV must not be too far away from those devices it is routing.

the appleTV is behind the TV, yes, but for a long time it had no problem communicating with the nearby thread devices. i haven't added any new BT or wifi equipment or even moved anything so an interference problem seems less likely to me.

at the time the appleTV crapped out, i bought a homepod mini to try to fix the problem, and it did work, at least for a while. the homepod mini is near the appleTV but situated off to the side sitting on a subwoofer. as noted when the appleTV gets an upgrade it seems to try to take over the thread network and then the thread network disappears. i've turned off automatic updates in the appleTV and i'll test this theory by upgrading the homepod first and see if life is happy.

before i put that eve switch in, the nearest thread device to the homepod and appleTV was a nanoleaf A19. it is in line-of-sight to the homepod and about 30 feet away. the eve switch is slightly closer to both, but i think both should be in range of the homepod, no problem. if anything, that eve energy switch is farther away from the majority of my thread devices than either the homepod or the appleTV.



In theory, TBRs from multiple manufacturers are supposed to work together, but currently it sounds like you're better off sticking with homepods or aTVs if you're using homekit,

well, i am sticking with both and have never had anything else. my interest in a roll-your-own border router would be to see whatever logs it produces, that might point me to a solution to this problem.
 
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