Remote app reliability issues

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Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jul 24 2017 8:23 PM

We have had reliability issues with the Remote app from day 1, and I would really like to figure out how to make it work better, if possible.

We exclusively use it to control the service, so when it goes out, it really causes problems. I cannot think of a week that we have NOT had a problem, and it doesn't seem much about it is consistent, so its hard to predict or fix.

For instance, we have a few iPads that are available to control, and when one has a problem, we will usually try a different one. But the problem that shows up on the 2nd one is a different problem than the first. So, we try a third, and meet a 3rd problem. And so on.

This past week it was:

iPad #1 - crashed on opening

iPad #2 - wouldn't load the images

iPad #3 - loaded them, but loaded text as block letters

iPad #4 - worked, but not with the local wifi option

iPad #5 - only loaded some of the images, and refused to load them all after several restarts

This is not uncommon at all. It is just a combination of this every week and it is frustrating to have to find the special combination for that week, EVERY week.

Is there something I can do to improve this? 

- Do i need a new router? I currently have a ISP supplied decent AC router, that is only ~30ft away from the remotes

- Newer computer? It's running on a 2011 MacBook Pro with 8gb ram, hard wired to the router

- Less network traffic? We don't really have all that much

- Better iPads? Doesn't seem to make much of a difference. Sometimes the oldest one works, and sometimes it's the new one.

I realize that wireless will inevitably have issues no matter what, but this seems excessive, and looking through other's posts, I don't seem to be the only one. For a presentation app, if it cant be controlled reliably, all the other good features it may have are moot.

So, are there any things that can be done to cut down on these issues?? Using Proclaim is a huge stress reliever and productivity booster....until Sunday, and then it is quite the opposite.

Posts 169
Michael Wright | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 25 2017 5:03 AM

There could be a number of issues at play.

  • First, I would check for excessive WIFI density in your area. That is, how many other people near you are using the same WIFI channel as you. Overcrowding can cause problems, and the Proclaim app is not very resilient when it comes to network interruptions. I had to download a WIFI analyzer app so I could tune my router to a clean channel. Google can provide you with a wealth of information on the subject.
  • You say the WIFI router provided by your ISP is only 30 feet from your iPads. Are there any walls in between, and what is their construction? Brick, cement, dense insulation, and even humans can impede WIFI signals. Your router should be mounted somewhere up high, but even then, it will not penetrate cinder block walls very well. I have thick brick, and cinder block, walls at my location, and had to use several PowerLine Network adapters to get the signal out of the brick bunker into the big room where we worship. 
  • Those WIFI devices provided by your ISP are notoriously bad. Try plugging in a better WIFI router. I use an Apple Airport Express with great success.
  • Don't allow your members to use the same WIFI that you use for your worship systems. Let them use a guest network, or an entirely different WIFI; let them use the WIFI router from your ISP.
  • You could be trying to connect too many iPad remotes. 

We use a rented space surrounded by thick brick walls with dense WIFI saturation. I have one PowerLine adapter hardwired directly into the first WIFI adapter provided by the land lords ISP and located in a thickly walled brick bunker - it will survive a nuclear attack! It is plugged into the same electrical outlet where the ISP's device is plugged. I plug the second PowerLine adapter into an electrical outlet in the big room where the sound board and MacBook are plugged in. I then hard wire an Apple Airport Express directly into that second PowerLine adapter. This effectively creates a private WIFI network which I use solely for our worship systems. I also plug a small 5 port switch into the Airport Express so I can hard wire the MacBook and sound board. I then use use two iPads, with the local WIFI option, to control Proclaim, one of them is also used to control the sound board remotely. It works quite well. I haven't had a remote disconnect or crash during a service in months.

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 25 2017 5:27 AM

I would not be surprised if the wifi channel was crowded. I have an app or two that test the channels, so I could fire one of those up. 

Also, the walls are solid concrete, so yeah, really tough on wifi, but the router is in the same room. I will get it up off the floor and try and find a better position for it.

I also agree that I need to separate guest network for visitors. I am not sure how many are on it during services. I actually have a Disney circle set up that turns off the internet on a schedule for guests (because i am a Nazi), but I haven't really done much testing of if that works in a long while.

We usually only have 1-2 remotes connected at a time. But bring in others as backups, so I don't think that's probably it.

I dont really want to buy a new router just to test, but it sounds like I can do a lot to improve the wifi signal - and it sounds like that might really help with our issues. I am glad to hear that its stable for you. That gives me hope that it really could be the wifi causing it. I cant imagine it causing as many problens as we have, but maybe so.

Thanks!

Posts 144
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Christian Villapando | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 25 2017 12:38 PM

Hello Phillip,

Thank you very much for your very through post, we really appreciate the amount of information that was provided. As of this time the remote app is currently on our To-Do list of things we can improve so it's currently on our radar. Could you tell us a bit more of what happens after trying Michael's suggestions? We would really like to hear more about this. 

Posts 172
Philip Bassham | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 26 2017 7:58 PM

Well, I have reworked our setup to create a separate network and position it for better connectivity and initial impressions are very promising.

I added an additional router (Apple Time Capsule) with a separate SSID exclusively for the Proclaim computer and remotes to connect to. 

While I haven't tested it with the building full of people, I see a huge difference In loading speed in the Proclaim remote app - almost instantly, which is definitely a new phenomenon. It still puzzles me how it can be so dramatic, and I am hoping it is a sign of good things to come for service times as well.

Though, I did get the "presentation went off air" a couple of times still. But at least it connected again after that.

One additional note: 

After setting up the new router, I went for the first test and ran into the same problems - sporadic loading, not 100%, etc. - and then realized I hadn't switched to the new router yet. Even though I was 5ft from the router and less than 10 people connected to the network, I still had issues with that router.

I understand ISP routers arent the best, but I don't understand how it can be that bad. When connected to that network, the internet is very fast (70mb+), but the Proclaim remote was unreliable 99% of the time even using the local IP option.

So, some enhancements to connection reseliance when encountering hiccups would still be very welcome. 

Posts 144
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Christian Villapando | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 28 2017 11:47 AM

Phillip,

Thank you very much for the feedback. I'll be sure to bring this to the attention of our team and see what else we can do to help. Thanks for trying some of the suggestions recommended by Michael!

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