Welcome to Question of the Day! These posts help you get comfortable integrating different technologies with Pinoccio, and easily find what you need in our documentation.
Pinoccio's radio mesh (Lightweight Mesh) has a maximum line-of-sight range of about 10 meters. In practice, however, you may find that this is diminished. Here are a few common causes of reduced signal strength, and how you can improve them:
We're running in a sea of 2.4GHz communications, including WiFi access points and Bluetooth connections. If you're curious, grab a spectrum analyzer and check out the traffic density. Too much interference can disrupt communication between your Scouts.
What to do? The Lightweight Mesh protocol allows you to switch channels, and on Pinoccio, that's available as mesh.setchannel . You can pick anything from the low end at 11, all the way up to 26 (0x0b – 0x1a). A few of the higher channels are actually above the range that WiFi can legally use, so your radios may do better up there.
In networking terms, humans are traditionally referred to as "vertical columns of water", which can obstruct a wireless signal. People, walls, and anything else in the way will reduce your signal strength.
Help me out? The great thing about mesh networks is that nodes in the middle can relay commands to others that would otherwise be out of range. So, if one Scout is around a corner and can't connect, try putting another Scout at the corner. This will connect the wanderer to its herd. Of course, you could also move the wayward Scout closer.
You might not be able to diagnose the issue, but that doesn't mean you're out of tools.
Try... setting the datarate as low as possible, which will make the connection a tiny bit slower, but it'll buy you some better range.
Or, trade a bit of battery life for superior range, by setting the mesh power high.
Hope this gives you some ideas! Here's more info on our radios:
Mesh All the Things! – A friendly, comprehensive introduction to the ecosystem.
Mesh Networking docs – More in-depth, technical details.
"How many Scouts can a single troop support?" – Working with large networks.
This information is now part of our "Going Deeper" documentation.
"Mesh Networking" image created by our own Jake, and is now part of the Noun Project!