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Author Topic: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)  (Read 18559 times)

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Offline WatsonIT

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Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« on: May 11, 2015, 12:46:53 am »
I was so excited when I backed the project.
It was delayed seemly for a year past the estimated ship date, which I would admit may not be reality. When I received the unit it was hampered with issues, most notably bad ports that wouldn't accept standard CAT 5e ends. To Securifi's credit recently they offered to replace the unit as this was apparently and early production issue. WIFI has been horrible with all Apple products. Yes I know they don't have a great track record with WIFI but they currently do better on Asus WAPs than the current A+ does.

SmartThing does 90% better at controlling my Smarthome. Progress is extremely slow with the A+. Much slower than I'd ever anticipated. I admit I have reached a point of frustration and have looked elsewhere for what I suspect is less expensive than what the A+ will retail for.

The idea of a WAP or a Gateway/Firewall paired with a SmartHub is so awesome and I still believe that people will want it. But I think it's a bigger undertaking than once thought. So far it's par to poor at both at least in my particular application.

Am I giving up?  No, I'll pay attention albeit at a much more occasional pace. I'm disappointed but not angry. That's what backing a project is all about. I hope it surprises me down the road. As a beta tester for the past 15 years of Microsoft products I'd like to think I have a strong stomach for this. But is the A+ any type of Tech I am playing with actively anymore, no, sadly not.

Offline Ashok

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 06:17:15 pm »
@ WatsonIT,

If you could let us know the devices which are connected to Almond+ has slow response, may be we can try and sort it out. On the other hand, there are very few customers who are having issues with the Apple devices. If you could provide some more info like they are not working on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz or on both bands that would more helpful. Like many users you backed our idea, so thank you for that and would assure you we are doing every thing possible to make it better and better with every new firmware by adding more features and also adding support to all the sensors.



Offline WatsonIT

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2015, 01:42:06 am »
I had lots of issues with my Scalage lock.  As for WiFi I have has a lot of issues with IPhones and iPads and at time a Macbook Air with connectivity on 5GHz.  I don't have as many issues with Asus WAPs.  They just drop a lot particularly when using Cisco AnyConnect outbound. The A+ is a WAP only.  I had lots of issues also when connected to A+ with Lync 2013 Voice on both a Windows 8.1 client (Lenovo Carbon X1 2014) as well as the Macbook Air.  I had tons of problems with Polycom RealPresence as well.  All of these issues did not exist when connected to Asus RT-68u.  BTW I have a 50 up 10 down Comcast Business Internet Line so I do not think that the issues I had were related to my ISP.  I also had much more dramatic range issues on Wifi in comparison related to the furthest rooms.  I would also note that ROKU III did not perform as well.  I also noticed that air print (and PC based wifi printing) was much slower on the A+ vs. the Asus.

The physical mold of the unit was lesser quality as I have problems with 9 out of 10 cables connecting properly.  I've actually broken several ends trying to play with the clip.   Thankfully I own my own crimper and I can put new ends on fubar ends.  This has been very frustrating but I've frankly been too lazy to contact support and get a new unit.

When I tried to run this unit in parallel with an ASUS unit they did not play well together providing very unpredictable behavior so I bought a second ASUS to maintain full coverage where I needed it.

To top it off I had lots of issues with the A+ Screen.  I think a lot of that is just beta glitches and therefore I was mostly tolerant of that.  Such examples is the Weather app would die for days at a time.  Most of that is currently resolved but has been off and on in the past.  In an of itself is not that big of a deal, but added to other frustrations and it ended up icing on the cake.

Is this more helpful?

The A+ will probably not graduate to production and remain test only as I've invested in other tech.  I apologize for the blunt crummy news on that.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 01:45:01 am by WatsonIT »

Offline Ab

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2015, 07:13:23 am »
Have you used a WiFi tool like the INSSIDER app (Android/Windows) which will identify if a neighbors wifi channel (or another) is interfering with yours. I've found this extremely useful as I had similar problems with my Netgear and occasionally my A+. Changing the channel on the problem band (2.4 or 5 Ghz) and/or relocating the WAP to a higher location (allows for a umbrella like spread) also helped my situation.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=INSSIDER&pc=MOZI&form=MOZLBR

Amritendu

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2015, 10:21:37 am »
@WatsonIT, Well its not really surprising that Apple products tend to play well with either their own Routers (apple airport extreme etc.) or routers which has similar AC chipset (probably the Asus in reference has). Most of the other applications you have mentioned are mostly  applications for streaming, conferencing, Voice, which might has to do with ports that are not pre configured on the A+. It might not be fair to judge a developing product when we take the percentage against users, backers or not who doesn't have any issues with Wi-Fi specially after the recent updates. But does that mean we are claiming the A+ to be a perfect product?No. There is a long way to go and you are absolutely right about the initial design issues with the LAN/WAN ports that has been rectified in the subsequent batches and anyone who has contacted us regarding that have received a replacement and has no similar complaints. You being an advanced user and a pro in the IT field, probably that's why you may find it a little less tolerable towards the bugs and fixes which surely taking its time. But, that's what backing a Kick Starter project is all about, you invest in an idea and see it grow. We won't have released the product in retail if we were not confident that it delivers the basics as reviews on e-commerce portals are much more harsh and critical than on a community forum! What's worth, its probably not possible for everyone to wait and walk along the product during its development stage and we are happy that you found a product worth your time and effort. We value your critical observations and take it as a positive input to improvise.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 10:31:20 am by Amritendu »

Offline BFH

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2015, 10:53:39 am »
@Amritendu: What a ridiculous post. The Almond+ went up on Kickstarter more than two years ago. It is currently available on Amazon. And it is completely half-baked. Wifi and basic router functions have been constant complaints on the forum. I myself have had many problems with wifi, primarily on my Mac, but also whith many phones and Windows PCs. The router also seems to be much more sensitive to interference than other products.

The automation subsystem is also a joke. I have one smartbulb manufactured by Cree. It barely works. The Almond+ can't hold onto the dimming settings of the bulb or even if it's on or off. I need to repeatedly hit the button in the app to manually turn it on or off, and making rules for it is an unreliable exercise of trial and error.

The router can't even hold onto the appropriate time of day for automation purposes.

On top of that, you are using a highly outdated version of OpenWRT, have not compiled any extra packages, and show no interest in fixing the problem.

The lack of public roadmap and unapologetically poor manner in which you treat your customers makes me unlikely to ever buy another Securifi product, and I will give you guys a poor review on amazon soon if you don't at least provide a roadmap for fixing the myriad issues with the router. The only Securifi employee around here who actually listened and tried to provide good information to us was Lars, and it didn't look like he was provided much information (or listened to, for that matter). Maybe that's why he decided to leave your sorry operation.

Offline chevyman142000

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2015, 11:28:58 am »
Everyone that has written or replied here so far. I appreciate it as I am also frustrated with the A+. Currently I am only using it for Wifi, not routing as there were way too many issues with it. I've spent too much time trying to make it work, but cannot since it causes issues for my girlfriend who runs a business out of the home. I'm also frustrated that you are proud that you are replacing people's routes that had issues with plugging in ethernet cables. When were you going to let everyone who was a Kickstarter backer that you were doing this? I've had this issue since day one. I'm on this forum as well as the beta forum and have not seen an announcement you were doing so. Again, I appreciate the responses and Securifi taking the time to acknowledge and respond to this.

Jeff

Amritendu

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2015, 11:43:45 am »
@ BFH I am sorry if you found this post offensive, but all I am trying to do is accept there are flaws against certain things which are working fine for many users. Again, please don't misinterpret any of the posts here. We are equally interested and responsive to any discussion and its passed on to the developers as in when possible. All your grievances which is related to any hardware flaw would be surely addressed by our support team. The other features are surely going to be there. I would personally try and get a roadmap for the upcoming fixes from the developers but not sure how soon we can get it.

Offline grouter

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2015, 12:06:15 pm »
fwiw, I use a MacBook Pro daily with it's built-in IPSec VPN client over 5GHz (and sometimes 2.4) A+ wifi and haven't seen issues since the firmware release that fixed the VPN problem.

Regardless, I also believe the Almond+ to be half-baked and am looking into and testing other HA controller solutions. Maybe the A+'s advertised feature set will be fully realized and maybe not, but I'm not waiting any longer for a working HA solution in my house. If the A+ can be a part of it that's great. Time will tell...

Offline Fire69

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2015, 12:27:08 pm »
To be honest, I was totally surprised it went for sale on Amazon already...
Except for the basic router functions, nothing is available. Only a handful of HA devices are supported, Hue support is horrible (if you get it to work)...

I get this was a kickstarter, and I waited very patiently for everything to become ok, but once you started selling it my patience was over...
We've been waiting for 2 years now, things have changed a little, but so many basic things are still just missing...

Do you have a structured way of adding things? Will we ever see a roadmap? It's just all so frustrating not knowing what is going on!!

Offline BFH

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2015, 12:30:46 pm »
@Amritendu,

With all due respect, I think these issues are a lot more common than you are claiming. Just because many people have less than 15 mbps on their WAN connection, no static IP devices, no Macs, no need to see a complete list of currently connected devices, etc. and don't notice a problem doesn't indicate a lack of problems on their devices.

For instance, I have a 300x20 internet connection that is sometimes up to 350x25 on wired connections in my home. It almost never goes above 150x15 mbps on my AC network and often dips below 50 up, sometimes going as low as 10. With an average speed in the US of 36x11, maybe the speed problems are less noticeable for most people.

I posit that most people (a.) haven't noticed a problem because they're barely utilizing the router, (b.) don't like to make waves and haven't complained, or (c.) exist in a perfect use case of exactly the right devices in a location 100% free of interference.

And please don't claim that things are easily fixable hardware flaws when they are likely due to poor design decisions or poor programming in the firmware. I've looked into the workings of the fimware on my unit, and it's a mess. What people have been asking for is a roadmap on getting the core features for any router firmware fixed, and the promised features implemented, because we've seen precious-few user facing changes in the supplied firmware recently, and we want to know if there are even plans to address our problems. If there is a big issue that is occupying the developers, it would be nice to know that too.

Offline BFH

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2015, 12:35:33 pm »
@grouter:

Do you live in a house or in an apartment? I think that a part of my wifi problems is due to Almond+'s absolute inability to play nice with any other networks in the area. The WiFi standard is designed for interoperability, but I don't think the Almond+ drivers are.

Offline grouter

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2015, 12:51:54 pm »
@BFH, I'm in a house and can see a number of my neighbor networks using Wifi Analyzer on my phone, but my Mac doesn't see them. My WAN speeds are also considerably slower than yours, clocking in at a whopping 10 down and 1 up.

I did have a major interference issue early on with a Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Transmitter sitting too close to the A+. Took a while to pinpoint that, but wireless has been good since then.

Offline psixilambda

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2015, 05:03:43 pm »
I have to crosspost a post a made in a differnt thread a while ago as is fits here and Securifi seems to be reading in this thread. I support the statement that the Almond+ is disappointing. All issues mentioned above are true and I especially would like to see Almond+ move to a recent OpenWRT version to be able to get stable networking out of it and I would like to add a few (first posted on March 19 in Almond+ section, no response from Securifi).

original post:

Deeply disappointed - Almond+ vs. Almond 2015

I must voice my concern and ultimately disappointment about the launch of the Almond 2015.

At the current state of the backer financed Almond+ it seems ironic to launch another product. Basic functionality that had been implied or plainly promised is not there yet:

VLAN tagging: explicitly marked as supported - still unavailable and no ETA
Scenes, Groups, Associations - features required by a lot of Zwave devices to implement secondary functions (like 2nd switch input on fibraro 2*1,5k switch)
custom parameters for zwave devices: i.e. enable custom wake up times on setpoint thermostats (wake up time lager than default 300s) or enable different switch behavior (mono - bistable switches)
danfoss LC13 (latest firmware) still shown as unsupported device in WEB interface, shown as supported in ANDROID-app but not working, shown as supported and working in LCD UI --- inconsistent behavior across different paths shows me that team lacks dedication for correct implementation of basic functionality. The thermostat works but is useless as it can not be used in rules, scenes.

The current product is (regarding home automation) miles away from the Vera 3 it had originally been pitched against. (Remember the original Kickstarter???)

Now with the Almond 2015 what are the future plans for the Almond+ platform? I would very much appreciate some comments.

Thanks Alex

Offline mathomas3

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Re: Almond+ is disappointing (Editorial)
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2015, 05:11:38 pm »
I will say this...

My + has been rock solid... the range is great and the speed is good... Just wish that the software side of the house would catch up to the hardware a bit... but for my uses it works very well...


 

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