You’ve been using smart plugs, switches, and the like with the Smart Life app through your smart home devices.
Everything has been running smoothly, then suddenly, all your devices go offline.
What could be wrong, and how do you fix the issue?
Smart Life devices go offline due to overloads in your router when your router renews the LAN/WAN IP address, or if there are errors stored in its cache. Solutions to this problem include clearing the cache or using a dedicated 2.4g WiFi router for Smart Life devices.
Read on for details on these causes of Smart Life devices going offline and actionable tips on fixing the problem.
Understanding Smart Life Devices and Internet Connections
If you have a standard home WiFi router, it is normal for devices to go offline for up to 30 seconds after every 24 hours. This happens because the various devices have to renew IP leases.
What does it mean when a device “renews an IP lease”?
Whenever you connect any device to a WiFi network, it’s assigned an IP address. This address identifies that device on the network and facilitates uninterrupted connection.
Renewing the IP lease assigns a new IP address to the device and refreshes its connection to the WiFi network.
This process fixes minor connection glitches/errors and helps with a bunch of other technical stuff that’s beyond the scope of today’s post.
More often than not, you won’t even notice when your devices go offline during IP lease renewal because it happens in less than a minute.
But while your devices will work fine 99.9% of the time after this process, it doesn’t take much to mess things up.
You see, all hub-less WiFi smart devices (SmartiLife, Tuya, and the like) rely on an internet connection to function and reflect as “online” in the various apps because they rely on China-based servers.
If there’s a blip in the loop from your device to/from China, you can expect problems.
If you’re like most American homeowners, you don’t have a Static IP.
That means your modem and router will always renew their leases every 24 hours to both your LAN/WiFi devices and your WAN internet connection.
Typically, if local devices aren’t disconnected from the WiFi or LAN when the IP lease renews, their local IP addresses will remain the same even after the renewal.
Sometimes, the router will assign a device the same IP address it had when it was last connected regardless of whether the device in question was disconnected from the WiFi or turned off during renewal.
Reading tip: Is the Smart Life App Safe To Use? 5 Safety Facts Revealed
Reasons Smart Life Is Offline
Having established a basic understanding of how Smart Life devices interact with your WiFi router and modem, let’s look at some of the common reasons why yours keep going offline.
Your Router Is Overloaded
Most residential routers will support 15 to 20 devices simultaneously and sometimes more if the devices in question are tablets, laptops, or phones.
So why would a few smart plugs overload a router?
The issue is that Smart Life devices are simplistic Internet of Things (IoT) WiFi devices that rely on a server in China for control.
That means with every bit of action, they’re bombarding your WiFi router with requests after roughly every ten seconds.
This causes router overloads and is why network optimization in the Internet of Things remains a big challenge.
But Smart Life products aren’t the only things taking a toll on your router.
Packet inspection, NAT, firewalls, and DDOS threat analysis are always putting demands on your router in the background.
Combine all these with the constant request bombardment of Smart Life products, and it becomes easy to see why your router may not perform as gracefully as you’d expect.
As a general rule, the more Smart Life devices you have, the more likely it is for your router to get swamped up pretty quickly.
That’s because it’s easier for your router to process a lot of data for a few devices than to process tiny bits of data repeatedly for many devices.
Your Router Is Renewing Its LAN/WAN IP Address
Dual/Tri-band 2.4/5ghz routers tend to cause offline events on Smart Life devices more frequently during the IP lease renewal when you’ve connected several of them.
This is particularly true for routers with 5G band steering.
Errors Are Stored in Your Router’s Cache
The cache refers to the part of your router’s memory that stores the various instructions.
Sometimes, an error may be accidentally stored in your router’s cache, causing malfunctions and internet connection interruptions.
Most commonly, errors end up getting stored in cache when your router runs out of resources when trying to balance between clearing cache and handling numerous requests from multiple devices at once.
It’s likely the cause of your Smart Life devices going offline if you never give your router enough downtime to perform background maintenance without having a device connected and interacting with the internet.
Solutions for Smart Life Going Offline
Now that we know what causes the problem, let’s look at what you can do to fix it.
There are two solutions: clearing the cache and adding a dedicated 2.4g WiFi router for your Smart Life devices.
Clearing the Cache
Clearing your router’s cache helps get rid of errors that may be stored there and causing malfunctions.
Being the simpler solution of the two, you might want to try it first before you look into purchasing a dedicated router for your hubless Smart Life Devices.
To clear the cache on your router, follow these steps:
- Find the “Reset” button. In most routers, you’ll find it on the back, often red in color and a size too small to press with your finger.
- Find a pen, paper clip, pencil, or any other similarly sized object to press and hold down the “Reset” button. Wait until the lights on your router’s front turn off.
- Release your router’s “Reset” button. With the cache cleared, try turning the router back on and see if your Smart Life Devices are working again.
Add a Dedicated 2.4g WiFi Router for Your Smart Life Devices
Unless you have a dedicated hub for your Smart Life devices, there’s no way to prevent them from requiring an internet connection to communicate with their home servers in China.
The only other way to do that would be through advanced firmware flashing and setting up custom servers, but this option requires too much money and time investment that it beats logic to pursue.
A simpler and more affordable solution is to complement your main router with a 2.4G WiFi router and DMZ the secondary router directly to the internet without firewalls.
Then, you can create a separate WiFi network (with a different name, password, and IP) for your Smart Life devices and leave your hub-based devices on the original, non-DMZ WiFi.
For the secondary router, you don’t need anything too expensive.
A cheap option like the Wavlink WiFi Router will do, especially since this particular option comes with a full refund/replacement in case of any quality issues.
If your primary router doesn’t have a DMZ option (though it most likely does), there’s a way to get around that. Set the secondary router WAN IP manually.
Also, manually bypass the firewall for the secondary router to the primary router.
It also makes sense to turn off all firewalls on your secondary router because there’s no reason to firewall a device that’s already insecure and sharing your info with a China-based server anyway.
Adding a secondary router for your hubless IOT smart devices puts them on their dedicated WiFi network and reduces the workload on your primary router.
This way, they can send signals to their China-based server frequently without bogging down your internet connection and causing everything to go offline.
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Although Smart Life occasionally goes offline, the reasons are easily identified and addressed.
The solutions we’ve discussed here should help solve any connection problem and enjoy uninterrupted home automation.
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