Any Zwift Tech Ninjas out there: Losing signal so many times Im gonna go postal

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

Hello. Im new to Zwift and its not working right.
Im losing both Watts and Cadence signals via bluetooth regularly, up to 20 times per session.
1) Ive read their " My mobile link Bluetooth Connection is dropping" and have been careful to eliminate any interferance.
2) Im running a Kinetic Road Smart trainer with a Decathlon Bluetooth Cadence speed sensor. Im using Zwift mobile link. Ive a Garmin HRM linked through with ANT+ directly to my PC. PC running windows 10, all most recent versions of software including Kinetic app.
3) NO crosstalk with the Kinetic Fit APP as the same issues happen having deleted that app from my phone
4) Its not a phone issue per se as Ive used an IOS phone (IPHONE 5s) and a Android (HTC somethingor other) and had the same issues. Have also tried deleting and reinstaling the Mobile app, and the ZWIFT desktop softwares
5) I dont think its a hardware issue as both the cadence sensor and the trainer drop repeatedly. Ive also removed the cadence sensor (from the room) and the trainer continues to have issues
6) DOnt think its an internet issue as ive not had the other riders disappear from the screen ever.
7) This is really annoying! Signal doesnt drop at the same time, and its normally 10 minutes into the ride before t start happening.
8) Ive also tried moving the phone around in case it needed to be LOS with the trainer.
I have posted the same inquiry to Zwift but dont hold much hope out for them to fix it..
Thanks in advance

CarlosFerreiro
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by CarlosFerreiro

I think the one that solved my ANT+ issues was locking the wifi router to channel 1 instead of letting it "roam".
edit: The other more obscure one, if all else fails, is to check the power management settings and make sure that the USBs are set to never power off for your profile.

For me I got a better, longer, USB cable - no difference. Stopped the USBs powering down - no difference. Locked the Wifi to channel 1 - all good.
On the other hand the exact same setup had had no issue for a year straight before that, so hard to tell much for certain.

kulivontot
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by kulivontot

In my experience if you don't have a USB extension cable zwift is unworkable. Drop the usb stick under your bottom bracket and you'll be all good.

mvnsnd
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by mvnsnd

One thing you can try is to connect to Zwift and start your ride. Then turn off your wireless router and wifi altogether. You should still be on zwift, but riding alone now. If you still get dropouts, its something else with your setup. You can restore wifi before you end the ride and it will upload normally. I wouldn't worry about the usb extension cable since you're primarily concerned with Bluetooth, and I run Zwift with no extension cable with all sensors within about a meter from the ANT dongle on my laptop.

You should only have one Bluetooth connection attempting to link to the trainer and cadence sensor at a time, so if you are using your phone, make sure you don't have Bluetooth running on your PC. Zwift will make the link within the app using your phone to connect the trainer and cadence sensor, you don't need a specific connection with the phone. You should see the phone icon with Bluetooth having a signal in the select equipment page in Zwift, and I suspect you have that since it works fine for a while.

My first thought is interference of some kind, so eliminate the sources of interference, and wifi can be one. Is there an electric motor nearby that starts running when you experience the signal loss?

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

mvnsnd wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:50 pm
One thing you can try is to connect to Zwift and start your ride. Then turn off your wireless router and wifi altogether. You should still be on zwift, but riding alone now. If you still get dropouts, its something else with your setup. You can restore wifi before you end the ride and it will upload normally. I wouldn't worry about the usb extension cable since you're primarily concerned with Bluetooth, and I run Zwift with no extension cable with all sensors within about a meter from the ANT dongle on my laptop.

You should only have one Bluetooth connection attempting to link to the trainer and cadence sensor at a time, so if you are using your phone, make sure you don't have Bluetooth running on your PC. Zwift will make the link within the app using your phone to connect the trainer and cadence sensor, you don't need a specific connection with the phone. You should see the phone icon with Bluetooth having a signal in the select equipment page in Zwift, and I suspect you have that since it works fine for a while.

My first thought is interference of some kind, so eliminate the sources of interference, and wifi can be one. Is there an electric motor nearby that starts running when you experience the signal loss?
Its not a USB issue as Im not running ANT+ (apart from the HRM, which when I remove it and the ANT+ dongle it makes no difference), so its a bluetooth/ mobile zwift to zwift issue. I may try and locate the phone below the BB, it could be interference from my fan but Ive also dropped signal with the fan is off.

Bluetooth on the PC is off. (good point, that one)

Interestingly, today I ran ZWIFT straight off my IPhone without PC and all worked fine (but Im too old to read the workout numbers on a 3" screen whilst sweating!) so think Ill just buy a lightning AV adapter to send the iphone screen images to a TV.
FWIW, I think the real issue is trainer to bluetooth to phone to wifi to pc and then back again is just too many links, each with their own lag, to ever work well. WISH Id realized Kinetic trainers didn't have ANT+, or the implications of that.

mattr
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by mattr

kulivontot wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:57 pm
In my experience if you don't have a USB extension cable zwift is unworkable. Drop the usb stick under your bottom bracket and you'll be all good.
Really, mine works perfectly without one. Garmin ANT+ stick in the laptop and mobile link on. (Everything is connected Via ANT+ to the laptop, the phone is only used as laptop touchpads are useless with sweaty fingers!)

And the problems i have had with drop outs were fixed by deleting or completely shutting down the apps and/or unpairing any connections that weren't needed. So the bluetooth connection to the trainer that i did use once needed stopping to prevent any problems/interference.

Basically, only have one connection available to/from each device. If that makes sense.

nismosr
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by nismosr

kulivontot wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:57 pm
In my experience if you don't have a USB extension cable zwift is unworkable. Drop the usb stick under your bottom bracket and you'll be all good.
I suggest doing this .. extension cable will solve your signal drop. I had this problem before and getting a 6-10ft cable solved it.

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

Thanks for all the ideas. Three people have now mentioned bringing the USB cable closer to the BB (and hence the trainer and cadence sensor), but, unless I'm being very dense, I'm not clear how this helps my setup as its a BLUETOOTH issue, not really using ANT+?

FWIW, Zwift reckons Ive an issue with my "ping speed" , even though the internet is over 20mpbs via the wifi, and Ive had no problems with overall internet drops (which would cause the other riders to disappear). Interestingly last night (just running the game straight off my iPhone as I got fed up with their Mobile app losing signal) with LOADS of riders on the transmittal of power to and from the trainer was so jerky to make training useless for some 40/20s

So a follow up question- given I could not care less about the "social" aspect of trainers and prefer to race outside, does trainer road, for example, suffer from the same sort of connectivity issues or does this tend to be a uniquely Zwift issue?
Thanks again.

mattr
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by mattr

Leviathan wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:04 am
Thanks for all the ideas. Three people have now mentioned bringing the USB cable closer to the BB (and hence the trainer and cadence sensor), but, unless I'm being very dense, I'm not clear how this helps my setup as its a BLUETOOTH issue, not really using ANT+?
TBH, the digging I did suggested that the only time moving the dongle closer will help is if you've got an utterly ancient dongle, are using a cheap arse/out of date USB port, or some horrendous amount of interference. (I.e. completely fried/un earthed house electrics). Or Bluetooth 1.0.
Anything remotely modern *shouldn't* have any issues. I mean, my ANT+ works through the floor (I can run zwift on the PC in the living room while I have the trainer in the basement........ Bluetooth works too. Can't see the screen though.)
Leviathon wrote:FWIW, Zwift reckons Ive an issue with my "ping speed" , even though the internet is over 20mpbs via the wifi, and Ive had no problems with overall internet drops (which would cause the other riders to disappear).
Ping speed is not the same as download/upload speed. I have 20mbps on my network connection. I can get that on any device in the house, ping varies from 7 ms (wired PC, fast network card) to 25+ms (Wi-Fi, "cheap" work laptop) so don't discount it. (And we have one of the fastest/most powerful home routers available, but 18 months old. It makes our work network look positively glacial.)

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

mattr wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:27 pm
Leviathan wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:04 am
Thanks for all the ideas. Three people have now mentioned bringing the USB cable closer to the BB (and hence the trainer and cadence sensor), but, unless I'm being very dense, I'm not clear how this helps my setup as its a BLUETOOTH issue, not really using ANT+?
TBH, the digging I did suggested that the only time moving the dongle closer will help is if you've got an utterly ancient dongle, are using a cheap arse/out of date USB port, or some horrendous amount of interference. (I.e. completely fried/un earthed house electrics). Or Bluetooth 1.0.
Anything remotely modern *shouldn't* have any issues. I mean, my ANT+ works through the floor (I can run zwift on the PC in the living room while I have the trainer in the basement........ Bluetooth works too. Can't see the screen though.)
Leviathon wrote:FWIW, Zwift reckons Ive an issue with my "ping speed" , even though the internet is over 20mpbs via the wifi, and Ive had no problems with overall internet drops (which would cause the other riders to disappear).
Ping speed is not the same as download/upload speed. I have 20mbps on my network connection. I can get that on any device in the house, ping varies from 7 ms (wired PC, fast network card) to 25+ms (Wi-Fi, "cheap" work laptop) so don't discount it. (And we have one of the fastest/most powerful home routers available, but 18 months old. It makes our work network look positively glacial.)
So my "ping speed" is at 19ms connecting to my local server, but 250+ms to one in LA (which is what Zwift asked me to test). Hadnt ever realized that this was a requirement so looks like Ill be hassling my IT guy again...

kulivontot
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by kulivontot

You're simply wrong here. Dropouts are reception related. Polling on a computer at 1sec intervals is not taxing to a PC at any level compared to the rendering of zwift.
Suggestions to shut down other connections are not a bad idea, but work to the same goal of reducing 2.4ghz interference. But there's nothing you can do to reduce the interference of your neighbor's routers, Bluetooth, or home automation systems. Most power meters were designed to be used outside where interference is less of a problem and transmit strength was traded away for battery life and compact design.
As for Bluetooth issues i can't offer much help. I believe that the reliability of the Bluetooth connections is heavily dependent on the specific power meter, laptop, phone, and operating system. Most power meters were designed with Bluetooth as an afterthought and are not as rigorously tested. You're at the mercy of how the vendor decided to implement the software stack. ANT+ tends to be more reliable because the hardware is really only made by one or two vendors with the same software drivers that aren't shared with keyboards and wireless headsets.
Try a $5 extender and a $12 ant key (the knockoffs have the same chipset and drivers as the Garmin ones) and see if it fixes you're problem.

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

Dont see how an ant key fixes the problem as, as written three times above, my trainer doesnt have an ant+ output, only bluetooth. Agree that connection is not reliable...

Given my nearest neighbour is 1km away I dont think thats an issue.

I dont really have a power meter, only the power estimation of the kinetic smart trainer (which indeed is also an issue as its pretty lumpy) Curiously the "ping time" to a local (Mallorca) server is quite fast, but that to LA is very slow, apparently cos "the internet here has issues of congestion when it leaves the island" (!), so I think its just something Ill have to live with

moyboy
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by moyboy

have you tried getting a new router? the new AC routers are more stable and even help with N series networks.

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Leviathan
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by Leviathan

Could a new router help given the ping time to "my" server in Inca is fine but the ping time to Los Angeles seems to be the issue??

mattr
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by mattr

Not really.

Just a nice shiny new toy....... which is always good.
I only upgraded mine for higher speeds on the home network. The old one would have worked fine as far as the actual internet went

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