- Alan Beard
Connecting Zappi to WiFi Networks Hints and Tips
Updated: Jan 15
The Zappi charger in my opinion is one of the better units for connecting to home WiFi networks but they can still be fussy.
The general issue is that whilst WiFi technology is constantly developing it doesn't seem to be a high priority for the charger manufacturers to keep up. For example all the chargers I have worked with only support 2.4 GhZ connection, this shouldn't be an issue but they also struggle in many cases with connecting to mixed 5GHz/2.4GHz networks. Don't get mobile phone 3g, 4g and 5g mixed up with WiFi frequencies.
This is an issue with many different chargers and isn't just limited to Zappi
The symptoms are that either the charger fails to see the network (most common) or when it finds the network it then fails to connect. With this article I am talking about issues beyond signal strength. Therefore the first step is to prove with a mobile app that there is a reasonable signal strength exactly where the charger is, a few cm can make a significant difference.
Some things to try.
First of all try as a test to just turn the 5Ghz of and force the network to 2.4Ghz only. Not a good final solution as it reduces the performance of the WIFI network but does let you know if there is an issue in this area.
I also found with mobile phone hot spot sharing with both an Android and Apple device still did not work as the Zappi could not see the network. But then with the Apple device at least when I typed in the network name and password it connected, unfortunately I didn't do the same test with the Android device. Note I know the network ID was being broadcast because I could see it on other devices and also I don't know which versions of operating system thi swould apply to.
Going back to more traditional home network WiFi devices.
So if forcing just 2.4Ghz operation solves the problem the question is can we get the system to work without loosing performance with disabling the 5Ghz Network.
If your router has a guest network option you could enable the guest network and force it to 2.4Ghz operation only, a good solution if you have the feature.
My understanding is that the technology and standards for network discovery are advancing with new features being added. I have found some routers that have the option to select a less advanced operating mode, a bit less performance but more compatibility. One router had operating modes 1,2,3 and moving back one step solved the problem.
Another option is to set up separate 5GHz and 2.4GHz WIFI networks on your router. The issue with this is that while devices will switch between them there is a good chance data will be interrupted during the switch. It ,may also be challenging to get devices on 5Ghz to communicate with devices on the 2.4Ghz network. I suspect in the end everything will end up on the 2.4Ghz network to keep things simple.
If none of the above solve the problem or aren't good for you the ultimate solution is to make hardwired connection to the internet router. If this isn't practical it's possible to buy WiFi extenders including an ethernet port that can be connected directly to the charger.
I am regularly installing Zappi chargers in and around the North Wiltshire area, I will be updating this article and providing more specific information as I find it. Follow me to get updates as I add them. I also welcome input from others that I can use to enhance this article,
If you want in depth information about the developments and changes in wireless networking this Wikipedia page has lots and lots.
This information is intended to hopefully help others but I am not an networking expert and can't gaurantee any suggestions I make will solve your WIFI problems.