Recognizing & Reducing Radio Frequency Interference

    Learn about how Radio Frequency Interference affect wireless devices, and ways to reduce it:

    What is Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?
    How will I know if my Scout is experiencing Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?
    Why do my other devices not show signs of interference?
    What causes Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?
    Can building materials affect Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?
    How can I reduce RFI at my Scout location?


    What is Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?

    Radio frequency interference (RFI) is the conduction or radiation of radio frequency energy emitted by electrical and electronic devices at levels that interfere with the operation of other equipment. In layman's terms, it’s electronic noise that makes is harder for wireless devices to communicate.

    RFI is emitted by most electronic devices, including ZigBee, Z-Wave, and WiFi devices. RFI can disrupt the normal functioning of electronic and electrical devices, so it’s very important to limit its presence in your home.

    How will I know if my Scout is experiencing Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?

    If severe RFI is present in your home, your sensors will send notifications often that they have “timed out” and “reconnected.” These notifications indicate that your sensor is working harder to communicate with your hub, due to RFI. Sensors adhered to metal, or next to devices emitting RFI can also expereience a reduced range.

    Why do my other devices not show signs of interference?

    Scout requires each sensor to send strictly timed reports to the hub; these protocols are set to maintain network security, and ensure that you’re notified of any sensor issues right away. This means that Scout tends to be the “canary in the coal mine” for any RFI in your home because the hub quickly recognizes if something is preventing the sensors from communicating on time.

    What causes Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?

    Below is a list of the most common household devices that cause RFI:

    • Cell phones and cordless phones
    • Wi-Fi access points, including routers and modems
    • Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee devices
    • Wireless remotes and game controllers
    • Bluetooth speakers
    • Baby monitors
    • Microwaves
    • Fluorescent lighting
    • Any devices that run on 2.4GHz or 5GHz

    Can building materials affect Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)?

    Yes, below is a chart of common building materials and their effect on RFI.

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    How can I reduce RFI at my Scout location?

    There are three effective options for reducing RFI in your home:

    Coordinate your Channels

    Your Home's WiFi and Scout ZigBee networks both operate on a 2.4 GHz band, and coordinating the channels is an effective way to reduce interference. Please reach out to support@scoutalarm.com for further assistance.

    Move your Scout Hub

    We recommend installing your hub in the center of your home, ideally not contained in a cabinet or closet, in a basement, or installed on or in heavy metal.

    If your hub is in a centralized location, and experiencing RFI, you’ll want to add distance between your Scout hub and your router. Use another port in your home, or a longer ethernet cord to move the hub while maintaining its ethernet connection. We’ve found 10ft of distance or greater between the Scout hub and routers to be ideal.

    Add a Repeater

    A ZigBee repeater helps your hub to communicate with sensors experiencing strong RFI. Install it halfway between your hub and any sensors having trouble communicating with your hub.

    To order and install a repeater, contact support@scoutalarm.com.

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