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Message 1 of 9

Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Please excuse long post…

In May 2021, this thread (currently 99 pages and including several ‘related’ issues):

https://community.bt.com/t5/Archive-Staging/2-4GHZ-and-5GHZ-Bands-BT-Smart-Hub-2/td-p/1907547

…Discussed problems with 2.4GHz-only smart devices (plugs in my case) being unreachable in Apple Home when the Apple Home hub (HomePod in my case, with Apple TV on standby) connected to 5GHz and not 2.4GHz, but working quite happily when all devices were connected to 2.4GHz. Some might remember that the issue was even reported on the BBC… A firmware update was released (v0.26.04.04227-BT) that fixed the 2.4/5GHz issue for many people, including me.

Somewhen in the last day or so, my Apple Home automations using the same smart plugs stopped working, exactly like before the above mentioned firmware upgrade. Sure enough, if I turn 5GHz off and force 2.4GHz everything works. 

Smart Hub homepage says the hub firmware version is v0.37.00.07084-BT, and was updated 12-Oct-2022, though I could have sworn it said December when I checked first thing today (maybe coffee was required at that point).

Yesterday I had to unplug my Smart Hub 2 and it was fully restarted for the first time in a long time. Is it a coincidence that things went awry after that restart? Has there been a functionality regression in the October firmware I have? Or have I just been really, really, *really* lucky that my HomePod has always chosen 2.4GHz band after restarting, for example, in the last 18 months (it has restarted in that time for OS updates and it consistently chooses 5GHz after every restart today).

I’m “ok” at the moment because if necessary I am able to turn off 5GHz and force Home devices onto the same 2.4GHz band, or force Apple TV (which works because it is connected via Ethernet) to be the Apple Home Hub, though it’s not ideal, as I can’t be sure which hub-capable device would take control after a power cut, for example.

My question is whether anyone else has noticed this change and whether there’s anything I can do to get back seamless operation of my devices, regardless of band chosen by each device in the setup?

Any advice gratefully received. Thanks!

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Message 2 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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… and as an update, I now can’t print to my 2.4GHz printer through AirPrint if the printing device (iPad, iPhone, etc.) is on the 5GHz band, I have to force it (the print-requesting device) onto the 2.4GHz band. 

This is what was happening in 2021.

@NeilO , you were a great help last time; any thoughts on this reoccurrence?

Thanks!

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Message 3 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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In a nutshell, devices can communicate with each other regardless of which band each is connected to as long as the communication is via the hub. If you are trying to connect 2 devices together in ad-hoc mode (i.e directly) then clearly both devices have to be on the same wifi band to communicate.

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Message 4 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Thanks for the reply, liquorice.

The Home automations are through Apple Home and therefore the Apple Home hub. Previously the setup worked whichever band the Home hub was using. Now, if the Home hub is on 5GHz the automations fail. I can recreate this behaviour at will. Likewise, printing through AirPrint (though not using a “hub”), fails if the bands are different, but used to work regardless of band. The same behaviours were fixed last year in the firmware I mention above, so I’m beginning to think this is a regression.

Thanks again.
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Message 5 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Whatever the problem is, it is nothing to do with the firmware version of the hub.

The forum would be filled with complaints if it were. I have no problem connecting devices on different bands with that version of firmware.

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Message 6 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Hi liquorice

Thanks for replying.

Great that your devices work regardless of band; that helps narrow down where I might need to look for a solution.

If there is someone else out there who is having the same problem as me, perhaps common issues between us can help determine a course of action, be that in Apple Home settings or BT SH2 configuration. I only wondered if it could be a regression because the symptoms are exactly the same as last time I had this issue. I’m happy to admit that I have no solid evidence against the firmware in question.

I have reached out to folks with Apple expertise, and will update here if I hear anything useful back from them.

In the meantime, I have turned off the 5GHz band so that everything works as expected. 

Thanks again, I appreciate your taking time to answer.

 

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Message 7 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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I'm not familiar with Apple products at all, but it would appear that you are possibly connecting to one of them in ad-hoc mode rather than via the hub, turning off 5Ghz on the hub forces all devices to use 2.4Ghz to connect.

I very much suspect the problem lies with Apple

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Message 8 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Hi liquorice

As I understand it, Apple Home devices all communicate with the device designated as the “Home hub” and form part of a Thread network. I don’t think any devices in Apple Home communicate directly or in an ad hoc mode, it is rather a central controller that they interact with that sends the on/off commands and to which they report their status, etc. It is this controller’s being on a different band that appears to cause the problem and, indeed, that may turn out to be an Apple-related problem.

As for AirPrint, I’m unsure exactly how that works, but it has been around for many years. I dread to think what any of my non-tech-savvy friends would say if I told them that to get printing working like it did yesterday, they have to open SH configuration, log on and turn off one band… 

Hopefully the Apple experts I’ve reached out to will have some suggestions. 

Thanks  

 

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Message 9 of 9

Re: Apple Home with 2.4GHz-only devices

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Hopefully a final update on this…

Out of curiosity, yesterday I re-enabled 5GHz. All devices except the troublesome smart plugs moved from 2.4GHz to 5GHz… And Apple Home and the automations set up continued to work as expected. I haven’t tried AirPrinting yet, but I hope that will behave itself, too. 

No updates to anything, nothing restarted, no configuration changes made. 

One to chalk up to experience, I guess. 🤷‍♂️

Thanks to all that tried to help. 

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