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[Best Buy] TP-Link HS200 Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch $24.99

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  • Dec 23rd, 2018 2:22 pm
Deal Addict
Mar 5, 2007
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blue dragon wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:03 am
I run a rotating capture on all the traffic leaving my network . I know exactly what vlan means. I'm CCIE certified and work as a network engineering manager for one of the large pension funds. Prior to that I built out low latency networks for two institutional brokerages that do HFT. Wireless is a contention media, that doesn't mean having 12 devices will cause interference.

Here are the amounts of data transferred by my tp-link switches for today (taken from my meraki dashboard)

Image

If I were to look at the utilization for one, it is in bytes per second

Image

There is no way this will cause interference
I am genuinely curious where this FUD of 'smart home devices will bring your wifi network to it's knees', any idea?

Thanks for the data!
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Jul 3, 2017
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repatch wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:10 am
If you have a dozen smart home devices that cause 'interference', you have either faulty smart home devices, or have a completely crap router. WIFI isn't as fragile as you're trying to make it out to be.

FWIW, I have 11 of these TP-Link devices, along with about a dozen other 'smart home' devices (plugs, thermostats, sensors, WIFI bulbs, etc) and I don't experience any hint of 'interference'.
Everything you add to your WiFi network increases the mutual interference on the channel, even if only by a small amount. If your home WiFi network is relatively healthy, you won't normally notice the extra load of few more smart home devices. Even if you have any occasional problems, you would probably dismiss it as your neighbours interfering or your router acting up or just a momentary glitch. But every time one device is communicating on the channel, all the others have to wait. If your router steers the beam forming to favour one device in a distant location, it has to re-orient when another device wants to send. All I'm saying is that the more devices you add, the more likely that the effect is going to become noticeable, and these smart home devices communicate a lot more than people realize.

I have equally many WiFi smart home devices, and I don't normally notice any problems with my WiFi except the usual signal strength issues in distant locations. It just concerns me the amount of traffic I see from these devices on Wireshark - much more than I expected, leading me to realize that they are certainly having some effect on my home WiFi capacity. Enough to be concerned about the wisdom of continuing to add WiFi smart home devices.
Hehe, then put those devices on their own network. Almost every router out there has 'guest network' functionality, or spend $10 and buy a 2.4GHz router for your IOT devices.
It is a good idea for security to isolate your smart home devices on a separate network, although it might not be as easy as that. Many routers do not support a separate guest network or VLAN, and even assuming you can find an acceptable cheap router for $10, adding a second router is likely to cause more interference issues, as it will either cause channel hopping or channel overlap interference.
Frankly, this is FUD anyways, most smart home devices are made by companies making equipment you probably already use in your house. Heck, TP-Link is one of the most popular router manufacturers right now.
A lot of my smart home gear is TP-Link too, but while popularity helps assure better security, it doesn't eliminate the concern. Every brand has turned out to have lots of security issues - hence the constant flow of new security updates. The more different models and brands of gear you add, the harder it is to manage the security.

In any case, I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy WiFi smart home devices. I have plenty of them, and I'm not getting rid of them. This is an awareness thing. Concerns to think about if you are planning your future smart home network that will likely have many more smart home devices, and many more hackers attempting to exploit the popularity of smart home devices.
Last edited by Exp315 on Dec 16th, 2018 11:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
Member
Mar 30, 2013
228 posts
50 upvotes
Petawawa
wallet is safe i guess. Why would some homes be wired this way out of curiosity? I guess the alternative is to hire an electrician?
Gee wrote:
Dec 15th, 2018 10:52 pm
You can't use it. It requires a neutral wire to keep the switched powered.

There are 4 wires. Ground, Line, Load and Neutral

You can ground to anything in the box. Line and Load is obvious, but without a neutral, it will not work.
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Mar 5, 2007
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mrpricematch wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:43 am
wallet is safe i guess. Why would some homes be wired this way out of curiosity? I guess the alternative is to hire an electrician?
As is always the case: it could be cheaper. Instead of running power to each switch, you run power to each fixture, and then have only two wires going to the switch box. Depending on how your house is set up, where the breaker/fuse box is, and where the fixtures are, this style of wiring could result in less wiring being used.

Code has forced a change in many jurisdictions (from dedicated circuits for lighting, more outlets per room, etc.), as has the proliferation of more lighting and more 3 way switches. Most homes in most areas built in the last 20 years will have neutrals in most boxes, but it's not always guaranteed. Only way to know is to open things up.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
29828 posts
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East Gwillimbury
repatch wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:01 am
Why? What advantage does Z-Wave have over Wifi in this case?
I consider Z-Wave better than WiFi and Zigbee. Mainly because it doesn’t use 2.4 GHz, Power was never a consideration. The 2.4 GHz band is already crowded and the last thing you need is more chatter on the network. WiFi is a collision domain and if your switches are constantly broadcasting, it’s excess noise that I don’t need.

As for the hub requirement, that’s is a plus in my book. I don’t need to rely on someone else’s cloud. Even if I was to use WiFi, I would still get a hub just to avoid the cloud. A hub centralizes all your devices. Who wants to run multiple apps just to control various devices?

Cost? I’ll be the first to admit it. The most expensive route for automation is Z-Wave. It’s double the price of anything WiFi, Zigbee is probably second and WiFi is the most economical. Zigbee is also using 2.4 GHz and that’s why I didn’t consider it. It’s not very popular in North America. Mainly used in Europe.

I’m not telling anyone to not use WiFi. There’s nothing wrong with it and it works fine. But run WireShark and monitor the traffic on your WiFi network. I don’t need the chatter and I don’t need to be broadcasting constantly. More importantly, I don’t need to be in the cloud.
Jr. Member
Jun 21, 2009
153 posts
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Gee wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 12:04 pm
I consider Z-Wave better than WiFi and Zigbee. Mainly because it doesn’t use 2.4 GHz, Power was never a consideration. The 2.4 GHz band is already crowded and the last thing you need is more chatter on the network. WiFi is a collision domain and if your switches are constantly broadcasting, it’s excess noise that I don’t need.
I think you are mixing up ethernet broadcast on a switch with what happens in wireless. Ethernet broadcasts (BUM - broadcast, unknow unicast, and multicast get replicated out any port in that vlan (Assuming that IGMP is not enabled). For the ports facing your APs, you should have storm control configured https://documentation.meraki.com/MS/Oth ... rol_for_MS

Any RF device can only transmit or receive on the same frequency, it can't do both, thats what you are referring to as a collision domain. When you use a tool like Cisco prime or DNA, one of the things that you can check is your channel utilization. The lower the better, this means that endpoints are transmitting quicker freeing up more time for other endpoints to transmit. These TP-link switches transmit minimal amounts of data, if you look at the data I provided, their channel utilization would be extremely low.

Most APs will employ some sort of filtering to limit ethernet broadcast traffic from making it into your wireless network. Meraki does proxy arp and does broadcast multicast suppression https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiF ... ess_Points

Any AP from Aruba, Cisco, Mist etc can do this.
Exp315 wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:37 am
Everything you add to your WiFi network increases the mutual interference on the channel, even if only by a small amount. If your home WiFi network is relatively healthy, you won't normally notice the extra load of few more smart home devices. Even if you have any occasional problems, you would probably dismiss it as your neighbours interfering or your router acting up or just a momentary glitch. But every time one device is communicating on the channel, all the others have to wait. If your router steers the beam forming to favour one device in a distant location, it has to re-orient when another device wants to send. All I'm saying is that the more devices you add, the more likely that the effect is going to become noticeable, and these smart home devices communicate a lot more than people realize.
Again you are wrong there. Beam forming works with single user mimo or multi user mimo devices. These TP link smart switches only have 1 transmit and one receive antenna, so they cannot do beam forming https://www.tp-link.com/us/products/det ... ifications
If your device did have multiple antennas and did 802.1ac, then you can do multi user mimo and send multiple spacial streams to multiple devices at once https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiF ... eamforming
There is no requirement to reorient as you say.

I have equally many WiFi smart home devices, and I don't normally notice any problems with my WiFi except the usual signal strength issues in distant locations. It just concerns me the amount of traffic I see from these devices on Wireshark - much more than I expected, leading me to realize that they are certainly having some effect on my home WiFi capacity. Enough to be concerned about the wisdom of continuing to add WiFi smart home devices.
Post your wireshark captures for a day, and I'll post mine. I've showed you how little these devices transmit, so I am not sure what your idea of a lot is.
It is a good idea for security to isolate your smart home devices on a separate network, although it might not be as easy as that. Many routers do not support a separate guest network or VLAN, and even assuming you can find an acceptable cheap router for $10, adding a second router is likely to cause more interference issues, as it will either cause channel hopping or channel overlap interference.
If you chose to run a cheap router at home, you open yourself up to getting hacked, don't do it.
A lot of my smart home gear is TP-Link too, but while popularity helps assure better security, it doesn't eliminate the concern. Every brand has turned out to have lots of security issues - hence the constant flow of new security updates. The more different models and brands of gear you add, the harder it is to manage the security.

In any case, I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy WiFi smart home devices. I have plenty of them, and I'm not getting rid of them. This is an awareness thing. Concerns to think about if you are planning your future smart home network that will likely have many more smart home devices, and many more hackers attempting to exploit the popularity of smart home devices.
Absolutely correct here. The palo alto firewall I run at home has advanced malware detection, intrusion prevention etc. https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/produc ... 800-series. I run the 820.
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May 21, 2004
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GTA
mrpricematch wrote:
Dec 15th, 2018 10:07 pm
Can I install this if my switch only has two wires? or, will it require some extra rigging and adding extra wires? I think, the TP link has 4 wires from the reviews?
No, you need 3 wires as a minimum. The 4th optional wire is the ground.
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Britex wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 3:38 pm
No, you need 3 wires as a minimum. The 4th optional wire is the ground.
?? No. You need to connect ALL 4 WIRES for it to work and be safe.

Neutral is required since the switch needs power 24/7 for WIFI.

Ground is REQUIRED since you probably don't want to kill anyone?

The two 'hots' are required, well, because that's what's being switched and nothing will work otherwise.
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Jul 3, 2017
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repatch wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 3:42 pm
?? No. You need to connect ALL 4 WIRES for it to work and be safe.

Neutral is required since the switch needs power 24/7 for WIFI.

Ground is REQUIRED since you probably don't want to kill anyone?

The two 'hots' are required, well, because that's what's being switched and nothing will work otherwise.
The ground wire has no effect on the function of the switch. The only purpose of the ground wire is to connect any exposed metal parts of the casing to ground, just in case some internal fault should cause the hot lead to accidentally touch a metal part of the case inside. But the TP-Link switch does not have exposed metal parts, and needs a ground wire no more than an ordinary light switch needs a ground wire.

The two black leads are the hot lead and the switched lead. The TP-Link switch doesn't care which way around you connect them - it will work either way.
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Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
blue dragon wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 3:14 pm
I think you are mixing up ethernet broadcast on a switch with what happens in wireless. Ethernet broadcasts (BUM - broadcast, unknow unicast, and multicast get replicated out any port in that vlan (Assuming that IGMP is not enabled). For the ports facing your APs, you should have storm control configured https://documentation.meraki.com/MS/Oth ... rol_for_MS
Switches don't broadcast. Switches store and forward directly to a MAC address. Repeaters (Hubs) broadcast and I haven't seen one of those in over 20 years.

https://www.wlanpros.com/resources/reme ... domain-is/

Granted, a computer does broadcast when it makes a request because there is no specific destination (MAC Address). In WiFi, the entire channel is a collision domain. Unless your access point supports Wave 2, you're broadcasting to every device.

I do agree that the amount of traffic used by WiFi switches are minimal and barely moves the needle. But the more devices you have on your network, the more chatter you will have.
Jr. Member
Jun 21, 2009
153 posts
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Gee wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 3:55 pm
Switches don't broadcast. Switches store and forward directly to a MAC address. Repeaters (Hubs) broadcast and I haven't seen one of those in over 20 years.

https://www.wlanpros.com/resources/reme ... domain-is/

Granted, a computer does broadcast when it makes a request because there is no specific destination (MAC Address). In WiFi, the entire channel is a collision domain. Unless your access point supports Wave 2, you're broadcasting to every device.
Yes, I didn't say switches broadcast, I said broadcast traffic gets replicated out every port on that vlan. In my case, the only devices that are on that vlan are the smart home devices themselves, and the AP which acts as the layer 3 gateway. Broadcasts do not cross a layer 3 boundary, so by proper design, you reduce your collision domain. You cannot completely eliminate it, but that is the nature of any RF devices. Transmit or receive, not both at the same time.

Also, any current switch does not do store and forward, they do cut through switching to reduce latency. ;) The article you posted is right when it says to "measure" I have used the exact tool with the four different adapters (air magnet pro) to do the heatmap of my home. I used it for signal strength, interference, throughput testing etc).
Last edited by blue dragon on Dec 16th, 2018 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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repatch wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 11:17 am
I am genuinely curious where this FUD of 'smart home devices will bring your wifi network to it's knees', any idea?

Thanks for the data!
It came from you. Nobody else said anything like 'smart home devices will bring your wifi network to it's knees'.

I don't think anyone would say that the total volume of data generated by smart home WiFi devices is a significant fraction of your WiFi network capacity. Just that there's a lot of extra messaging going on when you add a bunch of smart home WiFi devices, more than you might have expected given their function. Can a lot of extra messaging from a lot of extra devices impact your WiFi network in some significant way? Maybe, maybe not - there are a lot of factors to consider. I don't notice a significant impact with up to a dozen smart home devices, but I haven't done any careful testing, for example to see if my router is hopping between channels more often.
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Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
blue dragon wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 4:00 pm
Yes, I didn't say switches broadcast, I said broadcast traffic gets replicated out every port on that vlan. In my case, the only devices that are on that vlan are the smart home devices themselves, and the AP which acts as the layer 3 gateway. Broadcasts do not cross a layer 3 boundary, so by proper design, you reduce your collision domain. You cannot completely eliminate it, but that is the nature of any RF devices. Transmit or receive, not both at the same time.

Also, any current switch does not do store and forward, they do cut through switching to reduce latency. ;)
You're the exception

Not everyone has a Meraki network at home. Most people don't even know what a VLAN is. I have also isolated my network with VLAN's, but if I can avoid WiFi, I will. I only have WiFi at home simply because you can't plug ethernet into a cell phone. With that said, I still invested in a Wave 2 access point. (Cisco Aironet 1852)

Didn't want to pay the Meraki licencing fees. Plus, it is back to the cloud which I am not a fan.
Jr. Member
Jun 21, 2009
153 posts
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So you are running the mobility express firmware? We run Cisco WLCs and the 4800 series APs at work, but its the CAPWAP version of the firmware. The Meraki stuff I got for free with 3 year licenses, so when that time is up, I'm sure I would have already replaced it with something else.
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Aug 2, 2004
29828 posts
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East Gwillimbury
blue dragon wrote:
Dec 16th, 2018 4:10 pm
So you are running the mobility express firmware? We run Cisco WLCs and the 4800 series APs at work, but its the CAPWAP version of the firmware. The Meraki stuff I got for free with 3 year licenses, so when that time is up, I'm sure I would have already replaced it with something else.
You took the course eh? You can get an extension after the 3 years. I actually have a full stack of Meraki gear but I prefer the Cisco stuff.

Yes I am running the Mobility Express Firmware. I actually have two access points, but one access point was able to cover the entire house.

I have box of Cisco access points in my garage including controller. Just don't have a use for it right now.

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