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Intelligent Home Ain’t All That Intelligent …

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“Intelligent Home” is a security product from Time Warner. As part of the Charter/Spectrum buyout they are now “stuck” with supporting it.

Alarms and door/window sensors seem to work well; it’s the cameras we have trouble with. We monitor our senior parents and their caretakers remotely. The cameras are frequently “unavailable” or cut out.

It’s been poor to ok-ish for the past three years. I got involved a couple months ago because things got so bad the TV even quit working (major crisis in senior land).

The help desk is not all that helpful.
“Unplug everything, wait 60 seconds, plug everything back in and wait a minute.”

“Uh, OK, but I’m off site trying to view the cameras remotely.”

“Then it must be your network, call your service provider.”​

The onsite tech guys are great but they work mostly at the physical level; cables and signal levels.
  • When the TV cut out they replaced a couple cables, including the one from the pole to the house, and a corroded BNC connector.
  • The next time they came out they re-engineered the cabling and eliminated four splitters.
  • Next time they swapped out the home modem/router and the Intelligent Home Router.
  • And the next time they pulled another cable from the pole to the house and installed a zero gain amp.
  • This time they found a squirrel had chewed into a line over the neighbor’s backyard.
Here’s what I’ve been able to piece together;
  • There’s the basic dual band whole house modem/router.
  • That is cabled to a low end 2.4 GHz Netgear N router. All the wireless cameras connect to it. Installation requires a tedious “pairing” process. Tech support tells me it’s because it’s “point to point” wireless and not WiFi. (I doubt it; I think the “pairing process” is registering MAC addresses for security.)
  • The remote user loads an “app” onto his smart phone or PAD through which one can view what’s happening through the home cameras. When it works it works fairly well.
  • The PC user connects his browser to a website and views the cameras through the website. Even though it’s “live” the view is about a minute behind real time and the motion is choppy … kind of like time lapse photography.
  • As part of the service they install a wireless “touch pad” in the “camera house” and you can view the home cameras from it. Now that part works very well. The tech tells me it goes out through the Internet and then back into the house just like I was using a smart phone. I don’t think so. I think it connects directly to the camera router inside the house.
  • In any case you get a thumbnail view of all the cameras. That seems to take “no” bandwidth. If you click on one of the thumbnails you get a “full” view of that camera. Full views seem to consume about 1 Mbps. They don’t use “multicast” so if two of us kids happen to be viewing cameras at the same time that’s double the bandwidth.
  • We have a 35Mbps x 5 Mbps service. As our parents don’t use computers, Rokus, etc. we should be mostly OK.
I found everything piled on the floor in the furthest corner of the house behind the TV.
  • Pulled everything out about four feet and stood the equipment up on a small table. While doing so I noticed a broken Ethernet clip and a loose wall socket and fixed those issues.
  • The Netgear signals were still weak so I grabbed an Ethernet line and moved it 15’ closer to the cameras.
  • The “touch pad” was in a remote bedroom on the 2nd floor so I moved it to the main floor closer to the camera router.
  • Found an unused 2.4 GHz Roku stick so I unplugged it and removed it from my list of possible issues. Cordless phones were DECT6.
  • Unplugged/rebooted everything and everything looked good.
Sadly, the next couple days showed the cameras are still intermittent.

End of rant, thank you …
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Is it plugged in? (comedy reference)

Its just poor design, theres no such thing as a smart or intelligent product and i have yet seen an AI that exhibits conciousness.

The problem is that everything is connected via wifi rather than powerline or ethernet (ethernet +POE is used for reliability rather than wifi). Many things require internet too and 2.4Ghz wifi has a low practical bandwidth.
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Thank you. As always, I pretty much agree with everything you say!

As an update we may have just gotten lucky ... no failures since the line crew came out and repaired the "squirrel chew" down the street. Everything's been "ok" since. I'd like to think all our other efforts weren't for naught; I'm going to think of them as base hits and that it took repairing the "squirrel chew" to drive the run in.

Our seniors don't use computers, etc. The only thing on 2.4 is "Intelligent Home". Cameras don't seem to use any bandwidth unless someone is viewing one. An "active" camera appears to use about 1 Mbps. It would seem that 2.4GHz should be able to handle our four cameras.

Viewing cameras from the in house wireless touchpad they provided is very good. Connections are instant and motion is real time.

Viewing cameras remotely from smart phones and iPADS is also "pretty good".

Viewing cameras through a browser is now "reliable" but takes awhile to make connections and images are about 30 to 60 seconds behind real time.

I don't know the difference between architectures but it would seem that using a browser should/could be at least nearly as good as using an iPhone?
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