More undocumented facts about wifi

I’m a pretty tech-savvy consumer and I have been having issues being able to setup the wifi function on my Anova cooker. I even used the diagnostic tool on the app to have the Customer Support Team analyze the problem. Unfortunately, the response they provided was incorrect. However, after another hour or two of working with it, I figured out the problem and have summarized in the following bullet points. If you don’t use an internet access point with a 5GHZ broadcast this won’t pertain to you, but more and more people are using this band so I won’t be the only person this can happen to:

  1. The cooker doesn’t display available WiFi networks, it only displays the one your phone is connected to. Nowhere is this mentioned in the instructions.
  2. The cooker can “see” 5GHz access points but can’t connect to them. However, there doesn’t appear to be an error message when this happens.
  3. If your phone is connected to a 5GHz AP the Anova will try to connect to it and you won’t realize there’s a problem
  4. Furthermore, if the access point has the same SSID for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz broadcasts I don’t know if it’s possible to ensure that the Anova tries to connect to the correct one.
  5. The specific problem I was having appear to have been associated with the fact that the access point my phone was connected to has identical SSIDs for its 2.4 and 5GHz broadcasts. There’s no way to easily tell which one the phone is connected to but I assume it defaults to 5GHz when that is available. The chances are that the Anova also tried to connect to the same 5GHz AP and didn’t have an error message to warn me of the fact that it wasn’t going to work with this connection.

What made this whole situation more confusing was that the phone app was showing that the Anova was successfully connected even though it wasn’t. (the “connect Anova to wifi” tab was grayed out). The Anova thought it had connected but it apparently had selected the 5GHz broadcast because that’s what the phone had been connected to.

I hope this is clear to everyone; feel free to ask questions if it isn’t.

Joel (AKA docj)

Why would you use the same SSID for both bands rather different ones so you can tell them apart?

This is quite commonly the default setting for many internet access points for consumer use. Many customers use wifi without having much of an understanding of how it operates. (Trust me, I work for a major supplier of this sort of product and I deal with their customer service issues.) Therefore, masking the difference between the 2.4 and 5 GHz broadcasts by giving them the same SSID removes one more thing that the user doesn’t need to worry about. It’s my understanding that most dual band routers/access points are set up to connect via 5GHz if the device being connected is capable of doing so.

What makes this an issue with the Anova is that it will try to connect to whatever broadcast the phone is using even if that is a 5GHz one and even though it can’t successfully connect at 5GHz. That’s what happened when I first set it up. My phone was connected to my AT&T internet access point which has both 2.4 and 5GHz outputs and the phone was connected at 5GHz even though there was no simple way for it to tell me that. The Anova went ahead and tried to connect to the same broadcast and the app even displayed the connection as being successful, but it wasn’t. As a result I couldn’t get the wifi to work and I couldn’t figure out why.

I just checked and my Google Pixel 2XL doesn’t appear to have a way to turn off its 5GHz capability so ASAIK the only way a user could force a 2.4GHz connection from my AT&T router would be to go into its online control panel and turn off the 5GHz broadcast until the Anova had been correctly set up. That’s something most likely beyond the experience base for many users.

I have a hunch that some fraction of the people who say this is a terrible wifi app may be having problems caused by the same issue.

Sorry my post and this response are so long, but this is a complex problem that I think Anova has completely overlooked.

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I’m aware of that. Let me try the question again with a slight formatting enhancement:

Why would YOU use the same SSID for both bands?

Well, no. The router/AP doesn’t initiate the connection, and so does not choose which network/radio to use for it. Those are done by the device that is connecting with the router/AP. If the router makes both available then the connecting device may select either one (assuming it supports both bands). In this case that is your phone, which you instructed at some point to connect using the 5 GHz band. Your Anova does not have a 5 GHz radio, and cannot actually “see” the SSID being broadcast on that band by your router/AP. It only knows about it because the mobile app told the APC about it when you initially setup the APC.

Actually, if you did some searching on this site, you’d see that this topic has been well covered since the wifi units were introduced.

The APC doesn’t have a 5GHz radio - only 2.4GHz (802.11b/g/n)

The app takes whatever your current wifi connection is and sends it to the APC during setup - the APC doesn’t contain the logic in its firmware to really do much.
(this was hotly debated with Anova years ago when the wifi unit was first introduced).

Yes, many WAP/routers default to using the same SSID for both 2.4/5GHz bands. It simplifies things for a lot of home users (has the added benefit that they don’t actually know when their phone changes frequencies - the 2.4GHz band has greater range). 802.11AC, running on the 5GHz band for any newer devices, has much better bandwidth/throughput/speed.

I’ve suggested at least a couple of times that a Wifi wiki on the support page would have been a good idea. :slight_smile:

This will just keep coming up over and over again as long as they keep churning out these units (would have been a good idea to fix that when they came out with the v2 wifi…but, nope…they didn’t).

Hopefully if they ever ship the “Pro” product they announced a couple years ago at CES, they’ll actually make it a bit more intelligent. I don’t see that the APC actually needs 5GHz - but maybe they add additional recipe functionality into the Pro product that would make that advantageous.

I didn’t but that’s the way both my AT&T and Verizon hotspots were set up and I didn’t see any reason to change them until now.

With all due respect, AFAIK my Pixel 2XL doesn’t even have an apparent way for the user to know which wifi band it is connecting on nor was any such determination made during setup.

As someone who spends a lot of time on discussion forums for both business and pleasure I am surprised at the level of arrogance and hostility I have received in response to my couple of posts on this forum. On the forums I’m familiar with there’s a welcoming attitude towards newbies and a tolerance for questions from beginners.

If your level of technical sophistication is so superior to mine then just ignore my posts in the future, but I’m unlikely to continue to be bothered making posts to such a group.

Joel (AKA docj)

Hmm. I just read DParker’s reply to you and I didn’t see any hostility in their tone. You stated that you’re a technical user - so it should actually be well within your capabilities to define how you want your Wifi bands setup within the WAP/Router that your ISP provides.

As for your phone. You know that Android is Linux, right? (so, you have MUCH better capabilities for doing any number of things than you do on a much more proprietary, closed OS such as iOS).

Anywho - so you can look into the particulars for an active wifi connection - believe the information on this page should be of help to you:

As you now know there’s a very good reason to do so, as it allows you to know which band you’re using to connect your devices to your router.

And therein lies the problem. Your estimation of your own technical sophistication is unwarranted, and the things you think you know simply aren’t true. I chose to not call out your “I’m a pretty tech-savvy consumer” claim initially, but since you’ve decided to cop an attitude about people trying to explain things to you…

It does…or more acurately, you do…if you give each band different SSIDs that identify them, per my first comment above. Then you can connect your phone using the desired band prior to using it to setup your APC. There’s no need to turn off the 5 GHz radio nor any other gymnastics that are beyond users who lack your technical prowess.[quote=“docj, post:6, topic:14767”]
I am surprised at the level of arrogance and hostility I have received

Read your own post back to yourself as many times as required for the irony of that statement to sink in.

It is indeed true that a lot of consumer grade routers use the same SSID for 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. (The majority of them, I would expect.) It is also true that I have never come across a device that does not work because a 5.0 GHz network is present. Wifi devices connect to whatever network they can use, period. It “just works.”

So, for all intents and purposes, for pretty much anything with wifi connectivity that only has a 2.4 GHz radio, whether or not there is a 5.0 GHz network as well and what that network’s SSID is, is utterly irrelevant. With the exception of the Anova, that is.

The Anova does not work in the scenario outlined by @docj, even though that is a very common scenario for home networks. Moreover, the way to work around the problem is complex and non-obvious to the average user. That’s a design fail on Anova’s part.

This is not correct. Many such devices are configured via mobile apps that instruct the device on which WiFi network to join. This is done during setup when the mobile device creates a connection directly with the device being configured, via either bluetooth or an ad hoc WiFi network. The router band used is a matter of user choice, whether the choice is implicit due to it being the network the phone is already connected to, or explicitly chosen from the networks available to the user.

An example of this is the Amazon Echo. At configuration time the Echo device creates an ad hoc WiFi network and the user must then temporarily disconnect his/her mobile.device.from the home network and to the Echo’s ad hoc network. Then they must use the Alexa mobile app to select the preferred home WiFi network. The ID and password (if one is established) of the chosen network is then communicated to the Echo, which will then tear down it’s ad hoc network and connect the the one selected by the user.

The differences between that and the Anova are that the Echo supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, the Anova app uses a Bluetooth connection to configure the APC and the WiFi network used is the one to which the mobile device (phone or tablet) is currently connected…which is why the instructions tell you to be certain that your phone is currently connected to a 2.4 GHz network. But in both cases the network used is still ultimately one selected by the user.

Such devices cannot choose a network on their own and “simply work”, for several reasons that should be obvious.

Hmmm… I’m not sure I follow. A lot of routers ship by default with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks enabled, and with the same SSID for the two bands. When I get to the point of choosing which network to connect to, I can’t distinguish between the two bands. As long as I enter the correct SSID and password, the device will connect, and use whatever band it deems suitable.

The APC does not work with this default configuration that is used by many consumer grade routers. I fail to see how this problem is anyone’s but Anova’s. But what would I possibly know about this

I quoted what I was responding to. Let me try again.

They don’t simply connect to whatever network they can use. You have to tell them which one that is available…of which there may be, and often are, many…to use. You noted this yourself when you spoke of having to enter the correct SSID. I understand what it is that you’re trying to say now, but the way you originally stated it was not accurate as it was phrased. However I don’t disagree that the way Anova implemented the WiFi setup was poorly done.

Furthermore, docj’s claim was that the can “see” his 5 GHz network (though he doesn’t tell us how he determined this)…which of course is not possible without a 5 GHz radio.

I’m not sure what the fact that you’ve written a lot about CORBA and other middleware has to do with anything.

It means that I am probably aware of the fact that I need to specify an SSID and supply a password when connecting to a wifi network. Maybe it’s best if we let things rest at this point…

To ensure that the upmost of precision is used in this discussion, I would like to clarify my statement to reflect the fact that the Anova app, as implemented on my phone, “sees the SSID” for a 5GHz connection that it should “know” the Anova is incapable of connecting with. Of course, the phone has a 5GHz radio and in this case the SSID was clearly identified as being for a 5GHz connection that had a unique name that wasn’t shared with a 2.4GHz SSID.

The phone was connected to this access point and, at the time, I was unaware that the Anova would only attempt to connect to the same wifi as the phone was connected to. I had assumed that since the app clearly stated that the Anova couldn’t connect at 5GHz that it wouldn’t attempt to connect to an SSID that it was incapable of connecting with. However, as I stated elsewhere the app proceeded to attempt to connect and even confirmed, by graying out the “connect Anova by wifi” tab that such a connection had been made even though such a connection was impossible.

This further illustrates Mich Henning’s point that the Anova app has been poorly constructed in that it fails to properly deal with simple situations likely to be encountered by users. Standard human factors engineering design principles dictate that systems should be designed to minimize operator mistakes and not to exacerbate them. Allowing an app to act as if it is connecting to an SSID that the system is incapable of connecting to creates an error condition that could have been prevented by having the app inform the user that the identified SSID is at 5GHz and is not suitable for the Anova to connect to.

I personally enjoy using my Anova cooker and my critical comments about its app are based on my opinion that it could have been implemented in a much better manner. In my experience, in man-machine interactions one should not be so quick to blame poor performance on the human’s failure to properly apply the machine to the the problem. If the machine has been designed so as to be counter-intuitive to human behavior then its designer shares the blame for the problem. After reading quite a few negative reviews about the Anova’s app on Amazon I am convinced that the company has fielded a poorly implemented product along with poorly written instructions. The combination of the two creates for a perfect storm of complaints that didn’t need to exist.

That’s just my opinion and, like Mich Henning, I intend to let the matter rest.


Ok guys, this may be a dead thread at this point, but I’ll kick in my 2 cents anyway.
I’m an electrical engineer with background in communication from radio to networking, and also a long time computer consultant doing mostly networking.
All this back and forth about which band etc is not even academic. The simple fact seems to be that Anova built in a totally crappy wifi sytem. There are tons of iot devices out there that “just work”, and then there are those that don’t. Anova seems to be in the latter.

I don’t know exactly what the problem is and whether it is something that a firmware & app update can fix or not, I hope so, but I suspect not. I say that because when I first had mine, it setup and worked fine for a couple of months, then the wifi just quit working and has not been recoverable since (> a year). I’ve done every last step Anova asked for to debug it, multiple times, and then some. I’ve totally turned off every single wifi signal and device except the one single 2.5G radio to connect to (and done that with 4 different routers/hotspots). This leads me to the suspicion that it is a hardware failure in the device due to a cheap design done with no reliability considerations done. Could be single resistor or capacitor failure that knocks out the wifi radio, and will cause new units to inevitably fail no matter how we pound on them with reboots and different signals.
We love the basic function and use it at least once a week, and usually 3-4 times. The wifi function would be great to have,but we’ve adapted to it the way it is.

I would have hoped that Anova would have had a failure analysis done on returned units so as to fix the problem on new units, but I’ve seen no sign they have taken this path.

Happy sous videing y’all!


Hi @joetomberlin - People seem to have a very mixed set of experiences with the WiFi. I’ve now had mine for around 7 months and never had a problem. Others have problems even connecting right out of the box. You had an actual failure after successful use for a couple months. I know you said you’ve adapted - but maybe someone at Anova might be interested in doing some diagnostics on that unit if you were to turn it in for a replacement. It would be nice if they could identify a potential weak point and fix it for future units.

Sorry Anova, but you clearly don’t understand your customer. Do you really expect a typical home cook understands all the network gobbledy-gook below? If you want to see what a good consumer experience looks like for a wifi device, go get yourself a Google wifi and go thru the setup. It never asks you about IP addresses, NAT translation, or anything else that only a network admin would understand. This is a consumer device. Design it like one.

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