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Thread: Auxiliary or Wireless Repeater?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by SparkyCoog View Post
    The problem is that I'm usually not the one who set up the network or even has control of it or can contact the guy who set it uprouter and it's a mess.
    I'm the reverse of you - I only do smart home / av design, install, support.

    But I partner with an electrician and project manage everything. If I can't do that, I will often refuse the job unless I can get a good working relationship with their electrician or builder.

    YMMV, but why not partner with a network/AV company that doesn't have electrician on staff or desire to do so? Reasonable people can work together and agree up-front who sells lucractive fixtures or does the programming so everyone gets a fair share of the job.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpivR View Post
    YMMV, but why not partner with a network/AV company that doesn't have electrician on staff or desire to do so? Reasonable people can work together and agree up-front who sells lucractive fixtures or does the programming so everyone gets a fair share of the job.
    Honeslty I would love that and we have had that on a few houses where the AV guy wants nothing to do with lighting. In this one house he set up several different virtual networks for wired ethernet, wifi, security cameras, etc but forgot to tell me so I got there and connected to wifi and couldn't find my lutron stuff anywhere on the network and I didn't want to break any integration we had done but once I talked to him, he set up a new SSID just for me which was on the same network as the Lutron system. I'm glad we don't have a connect bridge on that job but I digress.

    The problem however is that a lot of people don't even have a regular network guy and they do it themselves or had someone else set it up for them that's no longer around. This new house I'm in had his office assistant go buy some Orbi routers and satellites and throw them around the house. He knew absolutely nothing about networking but was bragging that his network was getting a good 400 Mbits/sec speed and he saved his boss a bunch of money by not hiring a network guy. The setup is that there is a comcast router/modem that has a 10.x.x.x subnet and the security system is connected to that. then from that router it goes to the Orbi which has 192.168.1.x subnet and it's double natted. And I guess the Orbi blocks multicast because I can't connect to the QS processors there unless I use an ethernet cable and connect to the unused port on the QS processor. I've tried explaining to the guy about Multicast but he has no clue what I'm talking about and just shows me the speed test on his phone asking if that's not fast enough.

    On another house that someone just bought they had a Ra2 system with the same thing where they had 2 different networks. I just do what i have to do to make things work and work around their network.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by SparkyCoog View Post
    The problem however is that a lot of people don't even have a regular network guy and they do it themselves or had someone else set it up for them
    I know this may sound arrogant, but if I can't control the network or have a technical working relationship with the 3rd party still responsible, I walk away from the job. When I have violated that principle (either the lure of a big paycheck or the desire to do someone a favor and help them out), it has always turned into a nightmare job and nightmare client. I know turning down work is hard, but when I don't I lose even more money and time having to do it and service it.

    Probably too crude an example, but would an electrician take a job if they were denied access to the main electrical panel and subpanels to do the job properly?

  4. #14
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    As "The AV Guy", we almost always provide the network as well. We will usually walk away from a job if the client wants to use Orbi or Eero or Nest. You are spending tens to hundreds of thousands on a smart home system- you should NOT skimp on your network and install that garbage. We install fully managed solutions that are super fast and reliable. We also work hand in hand with any contractor that needs network access. We do have jobs where they have their own Lutron guy and thats fine- we know how to set it up so he can connect locally or with a VPN and use a bridge if needed. Being on the other side we have learned its best to give you what you need. Unfortunately there are "AV Guys" out there that do not play nice, or the client has his own network people that dont give a crap. Properly setup you shouldnt have these issues. Just dont lump all the AV Guys into the same category :)

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  6. #15
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    As long as we are airing out our grievances between the two trades, I will mention that I've always felt that lighting automation has to be its own standalone thing completely separate from AV. When grandpa wakes up in the middle of the night to go pee for the 4th time, when he pushes the "Bathroom" button, that bathroom light better come on. It shouldn't matter whether the router has crashed, his grandson is downloading a bunch of stuff and is bogging down the network, or someone switched out the network addressing and didn't update it on the Lutron processor. As long as the house has power, the lights should work. If the Audio/Video Engineers (lol sorry, I don't know what term to use that doesn't sound like I have disdain for the profession) want to tie their fancy touch screens and remotes and stuff to the lighting, I feel that they should use a separate standalone system that does it so if it fails, grandpa can still go pee without making a mess.

    Back when we had just Lutron, LiteTouch, and Vantage, this is how it was done. I remember almost all the companies that installed lighting systems were electrical contractors with a few AV companies mixed in who worked closely with whoever was the contractor on the jobs. The benefit there was if a light didn't come on, it was the electrician who got the call about it and went in and fixed it and in most cases, it was due to a short or some other electrical issue. Also, especially in those days before LEDs, load calculations were very important so you really had to know what you were doing to avoid tripping the breakers when you turned on the cove lights in a large house because all those little 5 watt bulbs on a giant magnetic transformer added up. I remember on one job, that someone had worked on, if you hit "all on", all of a sudden you'd start hearing the clicking sounds of the breakers being tripped because they didn't bother making sure they didn't overload a breaker. Now if the electrician did the whole job, they would get the full blame and responsibility to fix it. If it was an AV company and electrician, the finger pointing would begin.

    I was happy with this division of labor and would happily give the AV guys all the integration reports they wanted so they could program in their Crestron systems, but somewhere down the line, the AV companies went to the builders and offered whole home automation which mixed in the lighting with the same system that turned on Fox News for grandpa and pretty much cut out the electrician from the equation. Some electricians were cool with it but in pretty much all of the country, it's the electrician who pulls the permit and is ultimately responsible if the house catches on fire or grandpa can't turn the light on and slips and falls so the lines of who does what have become somewhat blurred and I'll be honest, I don't think a lot of AV companies are qualified to do electrical work and they don't hire licensed contractors to do their electrical work for them. Do THEY turn down a job when they see that the issue 120V wiring?

    As far as turning down jobs, if a house is integrated to the point where they have to use non-Lutron keypads or touch controls to turn on the lights, I walk away. I don't even want to risk being blamed. In those cases, the customer is usually screwed because they have to go find a Lutron dealer who is also a Crestron dealer who also have to hire an electrician just to get a light to work.

    In my experience though, there are MANY houses with older people that have a lighting system that is separate from everything else. A lot of them have an old Homeworks or Ra2 system that's not even connected to the home network or if it is, it's not integrated. In those cases, network functionality isn't a priority so I'll take on those jobs and if the network settings don't match what they have on the software and they want to add a connect bridge to the job, I'll first ask if they have someone who manages their network and if they say no, I just leave things on DHCP or use my own router if it's not even connected to the home network. In most cases, they don't even care about the app. They just want to fix the blinking light that's driving them crazy so all I need is to extract the programming and replace and activate a new devices. I don't need to know everything about a network to do that.

    With the younger people, they often live in smaller houses that don't need the most complicated network. Pretty much everything is on wifi and all integration is cloud based. If they want me to add a Ra3 system to their house, do I REALLY need to know every last thing about that network? I don't think I do. As long as I can locate the processor on the network, that's all I need. Why do I need to add 3 different virtual networks? I replace the switches with the Ra3 dimmers myself. I'm a Master Electrician at a licensed electrical contractor so I know I'll do a better job than any guy an AV company hires (in my experience they hire just a Journeyman doing illegal side work), I can add a keypad anywhere they want and run power to it myself, I do the programming, and it just sits on whatever network they have and we're done. If there is an issue with anything, I get the call. Nobody else. If I get hit by a car next week, whoever comes after me can figure things out too because it's not integrated with 3 other systems.

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