Rachio and Wifi From a Long Distance

Our HOA wants to replace the current sprinkler controller with a Rachio. The nearest house is about 90 feet from where the Rachio would be installed by the front entrance of our neighborhood.

Can Rachio be connected to public wifi, or does it have to be connected to someone’s wifi to work?


@nykerk11 - Rachio and similar IOT devices can’t use a WiFi network that has a captive page, like are at coffee houses and restaurants. As the homeowner 90 feet away will (eventually) move or change their network SSID or password, I’d recommend getting a mobile based WiFi hotspot like this →

Figure out which provider has the best signal strength/cheapest price where you’re located.

My Rachio seems to have used 3.34 MB of data in the last 24 hours, so you don’t need much data.

90 feet is do-able. Make sure that the lowest (1mb) data rates are available on a 2.4ghz SSID - 802.11b.

These days, IOT stuff should just have it’s own dedicated SSID on 2.4ghz. The lowest speed gives the greatest distance

I’m with @DLane. You are putting a lot of faith in that homeowner 90’ away that they aren’t going to change something on their wifi network and make the community Rachio unit useless. I’d go with the hotspot device that most carriers have for instances just like this.

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Set up right, 90 feet is no sweat especially if it is line of site. Hardware selection is key. Many name brands aren’t that good. I’ve used lessor brands like tplink and Asus repeaters and reached twice that distance through buildings. Some brands just seem to have horrible radios like dlink, Linksys Cisco and Netgear but they sure have cool antennas. However look for ac or ax bands and find someone who knows what they are doing. I don’t know how strong the rachio chipset is but I’ve set up other controllers in hoa like that. You may need a repeater near the controller, etc. And no, you don’t want to use 802.11b! Newer protocols reach much further, use broad spectrum channels and better error correction. At minimum use N on the 2.4 band.

If you go with a hotspot, be aware that portable mifi devices aren’t going to fill the bill. They’ll turn themselves off eventually, cook their battery or some other issue as they don’t all like to run 24 hours a day. Better to buy a proper 4g or 5g cell router. Cudy models work well. Get a cheap sim card from us mobile with a few hundred MB of monthly data for $5-$8.