Wifi load of HS110s?

I have one HS110 (on our fridge, working well), and seeing them for $16 a piece today (HS110s are cheaper at Walmart ($15.99)), I am considering getting several for key appliances that may be hard to identify as they have multiple components inside (dishwasher, washing machine) and also for others where monitoring over time would be useful for safety (radon fan, a couple of warm wires around water pipes in a non-insulated crawl space). Perhaps some others.

One concern is how much load having these linked into Sense will put on the Wifi. There are various articles that mention that 20-30 devices on a home Wifi can start to create problems, and we are probably already there because I get more HS110s.

To sense: how often does Sense query these plugs, and could this lead to congestion on the network? (Does having them integrated in Sense lead to more traffic that they would have stand-alone?)

To the more knowledgeable Wifi folks in these forums (@jay.m.basen @samheidie): any thoughts on this issue?

To answer your question, a little more info about your wifi setup might help as that will have more impact on how HS110’s will work in your home.

I think the concept of the “load” is complicated. There is the bandwidth required for it to talk to the Sense and to TP Link’s clouds. Pulling a random number out of a hat, lets pretend each HS110 needs 10Kbps constant stream to send to all the places it sends to. Bandwidth wise, this is quite low. So you could have many of them on an access point without stressing the bandwidth capacity of said Access Point.

Then there is the load on the AP from a wireless / signal perspective.

In an overly simplistic explanation - a wifi access point with only 1 radio in it can only talk to one client at a time. You might have 20 devices connected, but it will talk to one, and then the next and then the next. The more devices you have, the more time it can take for the AP to make the rounds and get back to the first client it talked to.
Then you add in that you have difference devices that can communicate at different speeds. The slower the speed, the longer it takes for that client to finish its chat with the access point. Its not a great article, but check this article about airtime fairness for another example.

So your access point set up will have a lot ot do with this. If you have good even coverage and several AP’s, a bunch of HS110’s shouldn’t be a problem. But if you have one older AP in the middle oof your house and a bunch of HS110’s at the extreme end of your wifi coverage, you may start to see issues. As the signal weakens to the HS110, it will take longer for it to talk to the AP which takes time away from the AP talking to other devices which can degrade your network performance.

Thats my long winded way of saying “it depends”.

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The good news is that the next generation of Wi-Fi is supposed to solve the issue lots of devices loading down a Wi-Fi network. That being said I expect it will, at a minimum, require a new router.

Personally I try and minimize the number of devices on Wi-Fi. If I can get an Ethernet cable to the location of a device then all the better. You’ll have better overall network performance; especially if the device is a laptop where someone is going to be watching streamed video.

I’m also not a fan of the trend towards Wi-Fi based light switches (and similar devices) vs. Z-Wave/Zigbee devices that hide behind a hub. It is true that then next generation of Wi-Fi will accommodate many more Wi-Fi devices on a network but every networked device in a home is a potential target for a hacker to exploit. People are used to installing a light switch and forgetting about it. Five years from now will a Wi-Fi light switch still be supported by the manufacturer with firmware updates to patch security holes?

I’m in the midst of writing an article on this very topic.

Thanks

Jay

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I took a peak at the amount of data our HS110s have transferred since last reboot. It looks to be a static data reporting interval as all of them with 59 days of uptime had similar numbers. Roughly 30 MB/day of upstream data which is basically nothing.

Aside from data transfers, we’re mostly gone from the days of a single device pulling down your entire network perf even if it isn’t actively transmitting.

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When you say “the next generation of Wifi”, is that a new router today? (and if so, which ones?) Or routers that are being developed now, and may be available in a year or two?

Please post the link to your article here when it is published!

Wi-Fi 6, also called 802.11ax, routers have started to be released by some manufacturers. That being said, I haven’t personally tried any so I can’t make a personal recommendation.

I’ll be sure to post a link when the article gets published.

Thanks

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Here is an article about a 802.11ax router already available…

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I seem to remember that back when I was Wiresharking one of my HS110s, the Sense monitor was playing Marco Polo with the HS110s. The Sense monitor would yell “Marco” every 1/2 second via a subnet broadcast packet with this inside:

{“system”:{“get_sysinfo”:null},“emeter”:
{“get_realtime”:null}}

All the HS110s “shout” back their status information, including their power reading.

Then somehow the monitor bundles it up the data to send back to the Sense mothership, along with the monitor data.

Might have changed a bit for the HS300.

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In our smart plug FAQ (https://help.sense.com/hc/en-us/articles/360011987374-Smart-Plugs-Frequently-Asked-Questions), we have the following:

Is there a limit to the number of smart plugs I can connect to Sense?
The number of smart plugs is limited by Wi-Fi network bandwidth. Typical Sense users can use at least 20 smart plugs without issue.

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