A very common challenge when it comes to the HAN sensor is the signal strength. This is usually due to the AMS (energy meter) being placed too far away from the Smarthub and/or other devices, which means that the messages sent by the HAN sensor do not reach the Smarthub. In detached homes, this is typically in the basement with poor wireless coverage. In newer buildings they are usually placed outside and in apartment buildings they can be in technical rooms far away from the apartment. Futurehome HAN sensor communicates via Zigbee, and a great advantage of Zigbee is that all devices that run on mains power will act as signal repeater. Note that these signals should not be confused with Wi-Fi (wireless internet) even though they both operate on the same frequency.
Troubleshooting when suspecting poor signal.
- Move the HAN sensor out of the cabinet.
- Move the Smarthub to a more central position in the home.
- Test with a Zigbee device on main power between the HAN sensor and Smarthub. (Remember that it must be included on the Smarthub to be able to relay the signals).
- Use a longer network cable between the power meter and HAN sensor.
There are several ways to improve the signals between the HAN sensor and Smarthub, and below we will go through some examples of this.
This is an example of a potentially very poor signal. There are several reasons why this can be problematic.
- The HAN sensor is located inside the metal cabinet.
- There are obstacles in both concrete and brick between the sensor and Smarthub.
- The distance becomes too long without an amplifier in between.
Here we see much of the same as in the previous example, but here we are without big obstacles between the HAN sensor and Smarthub.
A simple measure here is to move the HAN sensor out of the metal cabinet, as shown below.
As mentioned, the network structure on Zigbee is a great advantage. This means that messages hop from device to device and eventually to the Smarthub without getting lost along the way. If the maximum range is 10 meters, you can dramatically increase the range with just a few additional devices using this method. Remember that it is devices on mains power, not batteries, that act as repeaters.
The very best way to ensure good signals between the HAN sensor and Smarthub is to run a network cable from the power meter to the immediate vicinity of the Smarthub. This is definitely the preferred method for newer buildings where the power meter is outside the building or in apartments where the meter is, for example, in the basement. Note that the HAN sensor is not intended for outdoor use! In our lab, we have conducted thorough tests with longer cables and can confirm that network cables up to 20 meters will result in no/minimal loss, which will not affect the result in any way.