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Wanting to go wireless

Started by JonD, June 20, 2023, 08:27:10 AM

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JonD

I was thinking about moving towards wireless this year.  I am loosing my free child labor (our baby is heading to college this fall), and looking to minimize the installation/teardown workload.  If I went wireless, I would eliminate 15 50-100ft network cables.  You know... the ones that never lay flat from being curled up in storage. :)

Looking at some cheap POE outdoor access points, cable tying them to my gutters, place an SD card in all my controllers, and put the controllers in remote mode.  The furthest controller would be around 110 feet from the closest AP.  All of the controllers would have clear line of sight to the APs.

Outdoor Wireless AP

Assuming the wifi is not that great in the controllers, add the distance, and the fastest connection is probably going to be at 2.4ghz anyway?  Would I gain anything buying an AC/AX AP? 

I will include a crude layout for reference.  I do use Remote Falcon website voting, and have at least 20-30 sequences that will have to be transferred to 14 or so controllers.  Anybody want to talk me out of this, or have any suggestions?

You cannot view this attachment.

MikeKrebs

Most of the WiFi modules have 2.4G so no need for anything AC/AX/6 unless you put your own WiFi on the controllers. So, first, check what wifi is on your controllers and then pick your access points.
Second, make sure SDcard playback is supported on the products at the version you have installed or load up newer firmware.

I think it looks like a good plan!

dkulp


Actually, the Wifi adapters I sell and recommend for the Beagles are dual band.   My own show network is only broadcast on the 5ghz band.   It's one of the reasons I don't use the PixelRadio thing for my show as it's only 2.4ghz.   If you are in an area with congested 2.4ghz bands, the 5ghz can definitely help, but it does mean the various ESP devices are not an option.  That would also include the wifi things built into the various Falcons.
Daniel Kulp - https://kulplights.com

JonD

The Pi4 on the Kulp controllers would support 5Ghz.  In general 2.4ghz is a much stronger frequency that travels further and through walls better.  The 5ghz frequency travels between two points faster and has twice the frequency range allowing for more data to be transferred.  All wireless transfer rates reduce the further away you get from the AP.  There is a sweet spot distance from the AP that 2.4Ghz will be the better connection.  The place where the 5ghz signal starts to degrade, and the 2.4ghz is still going strong.  Ideally you would want to use the 5Ghz range, provided you have a strong enough signal you will benefit from the additional transfer speeds.  110 feet is pretty far out, and I was wondering if I would be past the sweet spot and be transferring at 2.4ghz anyway.  Sounds like a 5ghz connection is possible and it would make sense to go with the AC model.  It is only $30.00 more for the AC model which will support both frequencies. 

Thanks for the feedback!

JonD

What should I expect on transfer time?  Right now everything is connected Cat6.  When I FPP connect it probably take 4-5 minutes to upload to the single FPP player.  Assuming it will soon be transferring everything to 14-15 controllers via wifi.  Will it take 1 hour and a half to upload everything?   I have been uploading new songs in the evening during the show prior.  I will I be able to continue to do that, or will I have to wait to do this after hours now?

k6ccc

Unless you are seriously in the sticks, 2.4 GHz is MASSIVELY more congested.  Although in the open with no other signals, 2.4 GHz will get farther than 5 GHz, in a RF congested urban environment, 2.5 GHz may be garbage.  Remember, it's not just WiFi, the majority of baby monitors, and security video cameras use 2.4 GHz - along with A LOT of other stuff...
My standard recommendation is to use 5 GHz as opposed to 2.4 GHz for anything that use it.
BTW, in case you are wondering, I was massively opposed to the FCC creating the 6 GHz WiFi band because of the interference it causes to point to point licensed microwave users.  Therefore, I can not recommend use of it...  Longer explanation available if desired.
Using LOR (mostly SuperStar) for all sequencing - using FPP only to drive P5 and P10 panels.
My show website:  http://newburghlights.org

Jim

JonD

Quote from: k6ccc on June 21, 2023, 07:57:19 AMUnless you are seriously in the sticks, 2.4 GHz is MASSIVELY more congested. 
Thanks Jim,

I live in rural Iowa on a dead end road, so I suppose many would consider that seriously in the sticks! ;)  No 2.4 congestion issues.

In theory the 5ghz frequency should have around a 200 feet line of sight range, but my existing Pi4's only connect at half the rate most other devices do.  When testing around the house they will often connect at 2.4Ghz instead of 5Ghz.  This suggests to me that the card in the Pi4 does not have the best reception.  Based on real world experience, I feared the Pi4 would prefer the 2.4Ghz connect at 100ft and was not sure of how strong the Falcon connection was, and even if it supported 5Ghz as that is not listed in the manual.  I decided to spend the extra $30 (times 4 or 5) regardless.  That way I always have 5Ghz as an option, even if I only end up using 2.4ghz for the current equipment.

jnealand

I run my show 100% using FPP master remote.  I have a Pi or Beagle on every controller.  I do not use wifi on any controller as they are typically not a full featured wifi and not a full featured FPP player.  For instance most do not support the v2 sparse file format which greatly cuts down the memory needed and the time to transfer data.  I know what the upload and transfer used to be since I have used FPP since the original came out.  v2 sparse significantly cuts down transfer time and if you tweak a prop after the inital upload you really only need to re-upload to the controller that prop is connected to.  I have 12 remotes.  My show wifi router and radio transmitter are inside my house in a closet that is located along the front wall of house.  I get good wifi coverage in my whole front yard, my side yard (corner lot), inside the house, and inside my basement (where my workshop and office are).  I even get good wifi coverage on my back deck where I like to put a small 8ft pixel tree and even across the street from my front yard which is where I take videos.  I can use my phone to start and stop sequences for videoing sequences as I desire.  My only bad spot seems to be along side the garage and I attribute that to the signal having to pass thru two vehicles, so I put an access point in the garage and it seems to help. 
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

JonD

#8
All my controllers are Falcon F4V3, Falcon F16v3, Falcon F16v4, and Kulp K8-Pi.  I have excellent Wifi indoors, but my steel siding acts as a faraday cage.  I will have no choice but to install outdoor APs in order to connect everything.
Quote from: jnealand on June 21, 2023, 09:57:43 AMI do not use wifi on any controller as they are typically not a full featured wifi and not a full featured FPP player.
You are scaring me a bit.  I have a FPP player in the basement I was going to use as the master, and then place a SD card in the Falcons and use them as remotes.  Are you suggesting this is not going to be a good option?  I believe you are saying... if you have a Falcon controller, that you have a Pi in the same box used strictly as a remote FPP to feed the Falcon.  I don't have room in the Falcon controller boxes for another Pi, nor was I planning on trying to acquire over a dozen Pi's during the shortage.

Xlights defaults to v2, and some of my sequences are almost 100mb.  20-30 songs, I suspect 40-50mb each on average between 800mb and 1gb worth of data.  If you are suggesting I will have to export things in v1, the files will be larger than that.

jnealand

xlights may default to v2, but that does not mean that the controllers support it.  The time is now to try uploading to all those different controllers and see what happens.  with the Falcon F16v3 I believe you have to remove the SD card and take it to a computer to upload sequences to them.  I know the v4s improved some areas, but I have not investigated as I have no interest or need to use the built in wifi.  You might see what others folks real (not expected) experience has been, maybe you will get more responses in this thread.  I lnow that my use works great and has no issues, but yes I do have a Pi or Beagle in every case.  I do not use receivers and I do not load controllers beyond 16 ports so I have plenty of room for a Pi with all my Falcons, plus I use a number of PiCaps.
Jim Nealand
Kennesaw, GA all Falcon controllers, all 12v Master Remote Multisync with Pi and BBB P10 and P5

JonD

Thanks Jim, I have seen you post that you were completely wireless 100 times, but this is the first I realized you were placing a Pi in with your Falcons to make that happen.  Sounds like placing the Falcon's in remote mode is a bad idea.  I was looking to make things easier not harder.  Thanks for your feedback!

dkulp

v4's as remotes work OK.   They support the FSEQ v2 format and FPP Connect can upload to them.   I believe there are some extra pixel count restrictions when running in remote mode (less pixels per string), but I'm not sure what the limit is.    v3's do require v1 format, sneaker net to install the sequences, etc...   I'd definitely put a Pi or Beagle next to them.

That said, if you have a K8 or other FPP based controller "near" the Falcons, they can be configured to output e1.31 via eithernet to the falcons, run their own pixels locally, and sync via Wifi.   
Daniel Kulp - https://kulplights.com

JonD

Quote from: dkulp on June 21, 2023, 04:14:19 PMThat said, if you have a K8 or other FPP based controller "near" the Falcons, they can be configured to output e1.31 via eithernet to the falcons, run their own pixels locally, and sync via Wifi.   
Thanks for the suggestion,  I will have to take another look at things.  The F16s next to the house are not a deal breaker.  I would still like to get rid of the ethernet cables in the front yard.  People have been known to get out of their cars and walk in the yard to check things out.  The power and Ray Wu cables lay flat in the yard, but the ethernet cables do like to curl up into tripping hazards.  However, it will probably work well for you, as I will most likely just replace the entire controller! :)

Poporacer

Quote from: JonD on June 21, 2023, 07:37:31 AMWhen I FPP connect it probably take 4-5 minutes to upload to the single FPP player.
That does not sound right. Are you using the V2 sequence in xLights? Are you using V2Sparse format? 
The reason I ask, is I just deleted all the files on my player and uploaded 43 sequences over Wi-Fi and it took a minute and 6 seconds.
I am not sure if you caught the reference to "sneaker net" in regard to the V3 controllers? To run the V3 controllers as a remote, you need to change the sequence protocol in xLights to be V1 (and they are HUGE file sizes) and you have to remove the SD card from the controller and bring it in to your computer and load them on the SD card and then put the SD card back in the controller.
Using a Pi to act as the "bridge" from the Wi-fi to the Falcon controllers greatly simplifies things. Or like Dan mentioned, if you have an FPP based controller like the Kulps near the Falcons, the FPP based controller can be a remote controller AND output the DDP/E1.31 data to the Falcon, so you would only need a network cable from the Kulp to the Falcon.
I use 8 controllers on Wi-Fi and no special networking, just the router's Wi-Fi.
If to err is human, I am more human than most people.

JonD

Quote from: Poporacer on June 21, 2023, 10:52:11 PMThat does not sound right. Are you using the V2 sequence in xLights? Are you using V2Sparse format?
Using the V2 ZSTD (Default) setting.  The largest sequence is 95mb in V2 format and if I compile in V1 format it is 1.2gb.   Using the default v2 format, all sequences/mp3s are around 900mb to 1.2gb total.  I haven't put a clock to it and it could just seem like 4-5 minutes, but I can certainly get up, go to the bathroom, get a cup of coffee, and sit back down before it finishes transferring.

The controllers are 100ft away from each other.   If I have to run an ethernet cord, it would be less work to leave it coming from the house as I have been doing.  Less to go wrong, and easier to manage the Falcon directly instead of trying to access the management page in bridge mode.  Instead of trying to fit a Pi in the current box, it would probably make sense just to pull the falcon board and replace it with another Kulp controller.  You are going to have to buy the Pi either way, and another Kulp would simply the configuration with less to go wrong.

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