Monthly Archives: May 2018

Login Notifications

Starting from version 2.22, on both iOS and Android mobile app, we start to push login notifications to your mobile app. If your account is logged in from another place, you will receive a push notification, with message like following:

“Your account was logged in from samsung(SM-G930U). Please make sure it was you.”

Sometimes, you may see “Unknown device” in the description. This is actually login from PC client. We will update the description in a future update.

Login notification

Pairing YI Home Camera with 5G Wi-Fi

For background on 2.4G and 5G Wi-Fi, please read this article.

As we discussed earlier, YI Home App uses QR code to deliver the Wi-Fi information to the camera.

Pairing the camera with Wi-Fi turns out to be the most difficult part of YI Home camera user experience. Among the pairing failures, a big part of the problem, is due to 5G Wi-Fi used.

Current YI Home Camera models do not support 5G Wi-Fi. The picture below shows what user will see when she chooses a 5G Wi-Fi network.

5GWiFi

Many latest routers in the market now support dual band Wi-Fi (both 2.4G and 5G). By default, it will provide two different SSIDs, one for 2.4G, one for 5G.

Some routers support a feature called “smart config“, when enabled, will only provide one SSID. Depending on the client, it offers the optimal frequency for the client.

This creates some confusion for YI Home Camera users. When connected to such router, the App may detect that it is using 5G Wi-Fi, and ask the user to switch to a 2.4G Wi-Fi.

When this happens, if you are sure that the router behind the SSID supports both 2.4G and 5G Wi-Fi, please click “Connect to Wi-Fi”. Chances are the camera can connect successfully through the 2.4G Wi-Fi.

Common YI Home Camera Connection Errors

In YI Technologies, Inc, our engineers strive to achieve 100% connectivity for our little camera. However, there is no perfect network. Sometimes, connect errors do occur. Below are the common errors our user may encounter, and possible solutions.  

-3003 

This error happens when the mobile app can not establish a connection to the camera within a pre-defined time (30s).  

This is usually caused by network glitches. It may be resolved by re-try.  

Sometimes, there are reports, that the camera can be connected when the camera and the mobile phone are in the same Wi-Fi network. Once the mobile phone moves to another network (for example, 4G mobile internet, or work Wi-Fi), the camera can no longer be connected.  

When this happen, usually it means, the camera can reach our server, but the router the camera connected to rejects packets sent by our server to the camera. Double check your router, to make sure it does not block UDP packets.  

-3006: 

This indicates the camera is offline. Our server did not receive heartbeat from the camera for extended period (5 minutes).  

Double check the network. 

-3013: 

When this error is reported, the mobile phone has connected to the camera, but the phone App has not received by packet for extended period. 

This is typically due to network glitches. Re-try may help.  

-3029: 

This error occurs when the camera has reach a pre-defined maximum of connection requests. This usually can be resolved by itself, after other mobile app discontinues their connections. However, if the error persists, it may indicate that the camera has enter an instable state. Restart the camera will help resolve it.

Let There Be Wi-Fi

As a Wi-Fi surveillance camera, the first thing we need to do to make the camera useful, is to transmit the desired Wi-Fi SSID and password to the camera.

The traditional way to handle this task, is a multi-process AP/Station mode switch. The camera first acts as a Wi-Fi access point. The user will have their mobile phone connect to the camera Wi-Fi AP, sending the desired Wi-FI SSID and password to the camera. Once the camera receives the information, it switches to station mode, and connect to the router. The user mobile phone disconnects from the camera Wi-Fi AP and re-connect to the normal router. Now the mobile app and the camera can connect remotely.

This method works reliably. But the process is long, and not user friendly.

People invents different ways to transmit the information to the camera.

Smart Config is an innovation trick first seen in TI CC3000 product line. This article (http://depletionregion.blogspot.ch/2013/10/cc3000-smart-config-transmitting-ssid.html) explains in detail how smart config works.

This trick later officially evolves to AirKiss protocol(http://iot.weixin.qq.com/wiki/document-7_1.html), which is proposed by Wechat, and adopted by many Wi-Fi chips.

There are many reasons why Smart Config will not work. This article (http://depletionregion.blogspot.ch/2014/06/smart-config-for-consumer-products.html) explains the risk, and proposes some alternatives. The alternatives including USE/BLE, which all requires additional hardware, that only use for once in the product’s life time. This is not cost effective.

About three years ago, engineers in YI Technologies, Inc. come up a different way. We encode the SSID, password, along with a few other key information, into a QR code. The QR code is generated on the mobile phone. The user then faces the QR code to the camera. The camera scans the QR code, decodes the information, connects to the network. We have been using this mechanism since then.

Compared with Smart Config, this method is very secure, as there is no information broadcast. When it works, it is extremely fast, and very user friendly. (QR Code has taken over the whole China. Yes, I know, the world is behind a bit)

IMG_0836

Push Notifications, folding/unfolding

Push notification for mobile app is an important mechanism to deliver important information to users, on Android and iOS platform.

This mechanism is specially important, for YI Home Camera. Each push notification, could potentially indicate something unexpected. It is import for YI Home users to see each notification messages.

iOS always unfold every notification, as show below.

PushNotificationOn some of the Android phones, the system may decide to fold some similar notifications. On those systems, the user will see one message for a group of similar notifications. Once the user clicks the message, it expands to the full set of notifications.

Xiaomi phones are one of the systems.

We feel that, with the notification folding,  users may miss important messages. On last month (April 2018), we changed our push backend, to always unfold the notifications.

Thus, from April 2018, on all Android phones, push notification behaves exactly like iOS system.