There are quite a few AV-centric apps on the app store that can make life simpler and faster for your install techs. A couple apps that we regularly use are Control4’s Composer Express, which lets you make quick additions and changes to a system while roaming around a client’s house, especially beneficial when adding tons of new light switches to a project. Audyssey’s MultEQ Editor lets you save client configurations onto your device to easily reload them if necessary, and also provides some way-powerful adjustment tools to let you dial in the calibration to your preferred curve or frequency range. SPL Meter is a great tool for checking levels without having to drag around (or find!) your trusty old Radio Shack 33-2050 or break out a computer and mic kit. And apps like Snap’s OvrC have been game changing for staying on top of system issues before they become system crises.
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To this list of helpful apps, Luxul dealers will want their install teams to know about the new Luxul Easy Setup app, which became available earlier this month. Luxul sent me a beta version of the app along with some hardware to give it a trial run. I’ve now used both the beta and finalized version and can say it is fantastic for the initial setup and commissioning of a WiFi network! The app’s primary benefit is that it takes significantly less time to complete setup while simultaneously ensuring that the key installation points have been completed. Further, the app is simple enough that even non-network savvy techs can have a robust WiFi network deployed, configured, and running in virtually no time.
Step one is connecting and powering up the Luxul wireless router. Both the XWR-3150 and XWR-1200 are supported, however they must be in “factory default” mode to work with the app. Both of these routers include wireless controllers and incorporate Luxul’s “Roam Assist” technology that can manage up to two additional wireless access points (all current Luxul WAP’s are compatible), and these should also be connected and powered on prior to beginning setup. Roam Assist allows seamless roaming around the home as the router “hands off” devices between router and access points as it travels about, ensuring it always has the strongest signal and fastest connection.
After the router’s 2.4 and 5 GHz lights are flashing (indicating that it has completed boot-up and is broadcasting), opening the app begins a discovery process where it automatically discovers the new router. The app checks to make sure the router is running the latest firmware and then instructs you to set up an administrator password to secure outsiders from logging into it. Next, it discovers wireless access points if present, checks and updates their firmware as needed, and then guides you through creating the 2.4 GHz network SSID and WPA2 passphrase. These credentials are then copied to the 5 GHz network (with the addition of 5G to the name, a la “Smith5G”) where they can be accepted or changed. The entire process takes less than five minutes and went off without a hitch on the three systems I tried.
One of the great benefits of using the app is that it removes all of the complexity out of having the router manage the additional access points, guaranteeing that novice techs won’t miss a step or mis-configure something. Once completed, the combination of router and two high-power access points creates a wireless cloud large enough to cover most homes.
According to Luxul’s VP and general manager, Jeff Curtis, “The beauty of installing the additional APs with the app is that the router’s wireless controller takes care of the configuration; the installer simply plugs them in.”
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While this is the first version of the app, I do have a few suggestions for Luxul to (hopefully) improve operation in future versions.
First, the app never indicates that it discovered and connected the additional access points. It would be nice if it showed you that it sees them and then that it is adding them so the installer gets confirmation that they are there, have been added to the router’s controller, and have been configured and are online.
Second, it would be nice if you could have the option of setting up a guest network on the app. Many clients like to have the option of a guest network so they don’t have to give away their primary password or provide guests with the ability to access all of the other systems on the home’s local, primary network.
Finally, it would be great if you were given the option of setting up a different IP range for the network within the app. Luxul defaults to a 192.168.0.1 network IP configuration, but many other systems use a 192.168.1.1 config (or Apple’s 10.0.1.1), so it would be nice if you could change that in the app during setup if the Luxul is replacing an existing network where other devices have already been given a static IP address.
Of course, all of these items are still accessible by logging into the router’s web configuration GUI following initial setup, however it would be great for a more advanced user to have the ability to adjust these during initial setup in the new app.
The app is available now for free download for both iOS and Android.