Friday, February 22, 2019

Telling a Device to Use a Certain Plume Pod or SuperPod

The Plume SuperPod mesh WI-fi network has been amazing.  See Guitarwarp's previous post and review.

But recently my NordicTrack treadmill, with a built in Android tablet that only takes 2.4Ghz,  insisted on jumping from the SuperPod literally 6 feet away where it had an "excellent" connection to the Gateway pod in my upstairs office where it only had a "fair" connection--and the device would not work properly.

I went to Plume's support site and used to "contact us" feature to write in.  Within hours I received an email that they were looking at it.  Then an hour later a tech wrote that they saw the device making that jump.  They had researched and found that when the NordicTrack treadmill begins to operate it causes interference and that fools Plume's "client steering" feature at times.  Here is what the tech at Plume wrote:

In this case, I was monitoring the network and waited the Nordictrack to make connection back to the closest Pod. When it made connection back with the Garage Pod, I turned off the client steering on Nordictrack Treadmill and the Health jumped up to excellent again. Now, this will hold the connection to the closest pod.

 I had recycled the WiFi in the treadmill off/on and it reconnected to the nearby SuperPod.  That's when the tech saw it jump back to the proper pod and switched off the client steering for that one device.  Pretty slick!

So while you can't do this yourself, Plume support is able to assist you for a device that misbehaves this way.

NordicTrack / iFit
By the way, the funky Android tablet in the NordicTrack iFit system only runs on 2.4Ghz and needs a whopping 30Mbs solid connection in order to stream lowly 480p video ("high" quality in their wording).  Oh, and that "30" is when you tap into the hidden Android desktop and run a speed test from within the treadmill tablet.  I can tell you that other 2.4Mhz devices right next to the treadmill test at more than double that.

Full 1080p HD video streaming from Netflix or YouTube takes less than 5Mbs. So there is a lot of overhead (and probably some wonkiness) going on in the iFit Cardio (Android OS) to make it stream video and control the treadmill in real time.

How to "tap into" the hidden Android OS on your NordicTrack iFit console:
  • Go to settings > maintenance.  
  • Tap 10 times quickly in any white space on the screen.
  • Wait a full 5 seconds.
  • Then tap 10 more times.
  • Then drag up from the extreme lower edge of the screen to reveal a pull up menu.
  • Tap the white circle to get the Android screen.
  • Then tap the white circle with six dots to get the Android Apps.
You can use the Browse app to do a Google search for "speed test ookla" and then.

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