Author Topic: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?  (Read 470 times)

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Offline davefr

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I'm thinking about giving Ambient a try and wonder what typical sensor to console ranges you are seeing?  I know Ambient uses 915 MHz vs Acurite at 433 MHz.  Is one frequency better for range?

I'm out about 125'. (wood home, some minimal vegetation.) I can actually reduce that range about 15' since Ambient uses a console for the receiving end vs a hub. (125' is only reliable with an external antenna attached to the Acurite hub).

Do I stand a chance with Ambient?

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2018, 12:53:06 PM »
Too many variables. Every home (building) is different. Ambient advertises 300 ft direct line of sight connectivity, but typical expected range is 100 to 150 feet. It may work out for you to try Ambient.

The 915 MHz and 433 MHz frequency difference is not enough to compare the two. There are other variables. For example Davis uses 915 MHz and goes 1000 Feet, and Acurite Atlas Elite (as advertised) will use 433 MHz and also go 1000 Feet. So it depends on the transmit power and the ability of the receiving end to fix on the signal depending on its receiving antenna.

In comparing cellular frequencies which are very different the lower the frequency the better the in-building penetration. That is why Verizon and AT&T hog up the more costly wireless real estate and have paid more for their spectrum in government frequency auctions. Also likewise when you compare WiFi that is available on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz often people assume that the 5 GHz bandwidth is better because it is advertised as faster. But that is only true at closer range. How the 5 GHz channels have been set up they are wider so more data can be sent at any given moment. The 2.4 GHz band is lower in frequency and can transmit further and has better wall penetration and wall bounce capability, but much slower only because of the FCC limitation of the channels available and their width. 2.4 GHz can actually be better and faster at longer distance than the attenuation that rapidly occurs to a 5 GHz signal. That is why I set my WiFi SSID to be the same for 2.4 and 5 GHz and let the device decide which band to use.

It is therefore technically possible that 433 MHz is better for distance and wall penetration and wall bounce. But it really depends on all those other factors I mentioned. All things would need to be equal (antenna type, size, transmit power, and bandwidth use, channel width). You can't blindly just on paper compare 433 MHz with 915 MHz and make any determination as to if the Acurite using 433 MHz or the Ambient using 915 MHz is better.

In Europe Ambient's OEM manufacture Fine Offset and its clones use 433 MHz. For some reason Ambient doesn't use 433 MHz in the US and I don't know why that is. I've often heard said that it was because of FCC regulations. But if Acurite is able to use 433 MHz in the US, then I don't understand the logic in Ambient needing to use 915 MHz. I think it is possible that this was done deliberately to reduce gray market sales. As in if you have a 433 MHz station then it wouldn't work with 915 MHz ObserverIP and vise versa and would also work for limiting replacement parts.

« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 01:18:36 PM by galfert »
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Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2018, 12:59:32 PM »
All that and I forgot to directly answer your question (because I don't think it will help you). My WS-2902A station is in my backyard and my display console (and my ObserverIP) is on my kitchen bar counter at about no more than 50 feet. I also have a second ObserverIP (for software testing) at a much further distance and more walls to go through at about 75 feet. So I'm not at the extreme end of the results that you are looking for. I fall within the advertised expected range.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 01:44:30 PM by galfert »
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Offline danoh

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 07:15:47 AM »
I can tell you without a doubt the range of the WS2902A is a lot less than the WS1002-WIFI I have.  Even after I modified the receiving antenna of the WS2902A, it can't hear its sensor array in the exact same location as the WS1002 sensor array (it's a little better after the antenna mod, but still sucks).  They are both 915 MHz.

I had to run a WS2902 until I got my replacement WS1002 array.  I did a direct swap so the 2902 sensor array was in the exact same position as the 1002 array, and the display units were in the exact same position mounted on the side of one of my kitchen cabinets.  The 2902 would very frequently drop to no bars on the display, then get up to 3 bars, then drop to nothing.  WeatherUndergound would show no data received.  The 1002 in the exact same physical location (both array and display) never miss a beat.

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 08:01:09 AM »
danoh,
What was the distance you were at, where you were getting intermittent signal? .....but please don't guess....use Google Maps. Zoom in and switch to Satellite image. Then right click and select, "Measure distance." Then drop the markers to measure the distance.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:02:59 AM by galfert »
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Offline danoh

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2018, 08:03:01 AM »
Around 100 feet (81.42 ft).  Through a window and the side of a kitchen cabinet.  I can see the array from the display unit.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:04:33 AM by danoh »

Offline danoh

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 08:06:16 AM »
yeah about 81 feet.

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 08:19:50 AM »
And just to be sure...Were you looking at the Red circled signal indicator or the Blue circled signal indicator?

 [ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

Red = WiFi signal
Blue = Sensor Array signal
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:45:18 AM by galfert »
WS-2902A | ObserverIP | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
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Offline danoh

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 08:20:23 AM »
the blue... it will decrement or increment one bar per packet lost or received, respectively, from the sensor array.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:21:56 AM by danoh »

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2018, 08:39:17 AM »
Well I guess then WS-2902A display may be inferior to the WS-1002-WiFi display. The good news for those considering the WS-2000 is that it seems to be the same display hardware as the WS-1002-WiFi, just running different firmware and it is black instead of silver.

The WS-2000 may be the solution to signal strength woes. I'll be upgrading to the WS-2000 display once it becomes available separately. Not that I need to for distance performance, but just because it is nicer and offers more information at a glance without touching buttons, and has better viewing angles.

What I find rather strange is that the WS-2000 display console does not indicate signal strength from the sensor array. It only shows WiFi signal strength. Unless it is buried in the setup screens, but I also didn't see it mentioned in the manual. Does the WS-1002-WiFi show signal strength from the sensor array?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:44:05 AM by galfert »
WS-2902A | ObserverIP | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
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Offline Sir_MAK

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2018, 08:46:12 AM »
My Osprey is only about 30 feet away from the WS-2000 display and no issues.  I also have a couple extra T/H sensors that are in my refrigerators.  The one in the basement will cutout occasionally, its about 25 feet away but has a block wall and the floor in the way along with the metal in the fridge.

I'll check but I don't believe there is any signal strength indicator for the sensor signal.
Ambient WS-2000, Central Ohio - WU WC
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Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2018, 08:57:04 AM »
Inside the fridge sensors! Neat idea! Then you can set alerts in ambientweather.net. Awesome...thanks for the tip. I'll be picking up some extra Temp/Hum sensors when I get the WS-2000 display.

The WS-2000 may not have outdoor sensor signal strength because of so many sensor options. Where the WS-2902A only has the one outdoor sensor to worry about. But I still feel that the WS-2000 could have benefited from sensor signal indicator at least in the setup screens.
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Offline Sir_MAK

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2018, 09:18:50 AM »
Inside the fridge sensors! Neat idea! Then you can set alerts in ambientweather.net. Awesome...thanks for the tip. I'll be picking up some extra Temp/Hum sensors when I get the WS-2000 display.

The WS-2000 may not have outdoor sensor signal strength because of so many sensor options. Where the WS-2902A only has the one outdoor sensor to worry about. But I still feel that the WS-2000 could have benefited from sensor signal indicator at least in the setup screens.

I was concern with this since I had an 433mhz Acurite systems before and had occasional LOS.  I was pleased that the 915 Mhz Ambient sensors worked.
I put a T/H sensor in just the refrigerator and not the freezer part.  Since the cold air originates in the freezer (in most of them), having the sensor in the refrigerator portion will pick up either door being left opened. Watch what you sent the high temp alert setting at as you will pickup the defrost cycle.
Ambient WS-2000, Central Ohio - WU WC
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WS-2902, Lake Erie   -    WU WC

Offline davefr

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2018, 09:56:16 AM »
Inside the fridge sensors! Neat idea! Then you can set alerts in ambientweather.net. Awesome...thanks for the tip. I'll be picking up some extra Temp/Hum sensors when I get the WS-2000 display.

The WS-2000 may not have outdoor sensor signal strength because of so many sensor options. Where the WS-2902A only has the one outdoor sensor to worry about. But I still feel that the WS-2000 could have benefited from sensor signal indicator at least in the setup screens.

Lack of a signal strength indicator might be a showstopper.  How can you optimum site location without knowing what kind of signal you're getting.  Is there a back door way to get signal strength like pulling up the IP address of the console?

I'm curious why Davis is the only player with a decent range.  Do they simply throw more $'s into optimizing the RF radios?

If these other players could just squeak out another 100' of "real" range it sure would be better.  (ie up to 200' for most locations would be ideal IMHO.)

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2018, 10:18:00 AM »

Lack of a signal strength indicator might be a showstopper.  How can you optimum site location without knowing what kind of signal you're getting.  Is there a back door way to get signal strength like pulling up the IP address of the console?

I'm curious why Davis is the only player with a decent range.  Do they simply throw more $'s into optimizing the RF radios?

If these other players could just squeak out another 100' of "real" range it sure would be better.  (ie up to 200' for most locations would be ideal IMHO.)

If there is a back door the best person I know that could answer that would be Brian from weather34.com. As a few years ago he customized the firmware for the WS-100x-WiFi and he recently commented on the WS-2000 display saying it was the same hardware just newer firmware. He thinks customizing the WS-2000 should be no issue like it was with the WS-100x-WiFi. He just said it was just a matter of getting a hold of a firmware update file and hacking it.
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=27528.0
https://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=34962.msg358437#msg358437

The firmware bin files are here (ready for hacking):
https://p10.secure.hostingprod.com/@site.ambientweatherstore.com/ssl/ws2000/

But don't use any version older than version 1.0.9 because it bricks the display console after some time running (this is why the WS-2000 release was delayed).
https://www.ambientweather.com/amwewsfidoce.html

Davis is not the only one with 1000 foot range. Well almost. The hopefully soon to be released Acurite Atlas Elite also does 1000 feet.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 10:27:09 AM by galfert »
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Offline weather34

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 02:12:05 AM »
hi i cant help on this i dont own any fine offset or ambient hardware. if the console connected to a windows machine via USB it may appear in the file explorer or file manager i dont know what you call it on windows the device should show up as NAND  looking in the code of the bin file you linked to it indicates
NAND  from the bin file it shows "NandROM Detected hdr page size=%d" .this basically means you dont have to hack the firmware . if the console shows up in windows you should see a listing of folders and files . ps the ws1001 modifications were never firmware hacks just simple file editing and image replacements .

so if anyone owns one and can connect it to there Windows machine and try establish a communication via USB  and capture of screensot of files/folders listed on the console .. it will appear as NAND not drive c,d,e,f etc .sorry cant be of much help these days..
brian

weather34 template download info https://weather34.com/homeweatherstation/

Hardware : Davis Vantage Pro 2 with Meteobridge NanoSD

Offline galfert

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Re: What wireless range are you getting with your Ambient WS-2XXX stations?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2018, 06:49:48 AM »
Brian,
Thank you for that information.
WS-2902A | ObserverIP | WeatherBridge (Meteobridge)
WU: KFLWINTE111  |  PWSweather: KFLWINTE111
CWOP: FW3708  |  AWEKAS: 14814
Tele-Pole flag pole is here (not installed yet)