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Fixed Service Technical Support

Vodafone Gigabox and Amazon Alexa integration

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Frequent Poster

Until 3 days ago, my home network was based around a mobile broadband Vodafone Gigacube which serviced 14 TPLink smart plugs in the house and an assortment of other wireless devices, including three Amazon Echo devices. I was able to control the smart plugs either with theTPLink Kasa app on my phone, or by voice using Alexa.

 

4 days ago, I had the Vodafone Gigabit 150 fibre installation which replaced the Gigacube with a Gigabox. The connection from the fibre to the home installation is impressively fast and stable.

 

I spent most of a day going round my home and connecting all my wireless devices, including the smart plugs, to my new network. I split the 2.4 and 5Ghz frequencies and turned off band steering so that I was able to identify and choose which of my devices could and would connect to 2.4Ghz and which would connect to 5Ghz and to make the wireless connections as evenly distributed as I was able to.

 

By the end of the day everything appeared to be up and running until I tried to use an Amazon Alexa device to turn a smart plug on or off, only to be told by Alexa that the device was unresponsive. This situation has repeated itself frequently and unpredictably since then affecting one, more or all smart plugs. Strangely, after an interval, Alexa will re-discover some or all of the plugs and they will respond to Alexa voice commands again for a time before the process randomly repeats itself. Meantime, all the Alexa unresponsive plugs remain connected to wifi and able to be controlled using the Kasa app on my phone.

 

I'm at a loss to explain or rectify the situation. So far, I have changed the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz channels from automatic to 9 and 36 respectively and if this proves ineffective, I'm wondering if turning off the Gigabox firewall would help.

 

Has anyone had a similar problem with the integration of Amazon Alexa enabled devices and a Gigabox network? If so, did they identify a solution?

 

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18 REPLIES 18
Moderator

Hi there, 

Apologies for the delay in responding to your query. This sounds like it may be an issue between the smart plugs and Alexa. Unfortunately we are unable to assist with third party devices. We will leave this thread open in-case other users may have any advise on this for you. ~Ailís

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Poster
Have you had any luck with this as im having the same issue. Im convinced its the gigabox router as before fibre install i had no issues
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Poster
Not a problem with alexa and smart plugs. The smart plugs use port 9999 but so does the router. Think this might be the issue. Need support for home automation from vodafone for the gigabox otherwise ill be cancelling my account and moving to eir asap. Please repond soon
Rgds
Dec
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Frequent Poster
Sadly I haven’t made much progress but like you, I think the gigabox router has a lot to do with it. The only thing I’ve done which seemed to help was to put one of my smart plugs in the DMZ so that nothing stands in the way of its connection to the gigabox and the internet. Since doing that, the smart plug concerned works with Kasa and Alexa. Problem is that only one device can be put in the DMZ at a time so even if it solves the problem for one plug, it does nothing for all the others. If you could give that a try and if it works it might be something concrete to present to. Vodafone, TP Link and Amazon to explain and try to resolve. What I have done to resolve my issue is to replace my TP Link smart plugs with Anoopsyche mini plugs from Amazon which cost £40 for a pack of four. These work perfectly with the gigabox connection, from their phone app and by voice using Alexa and I have retaIned only two TP Link plugs one in the DMZ that works reliably and one which often shows as “local only” in Kasa and won’t work with Alexa when it does so. The problem in trying to identify the problem and get someone to fix it is that with Amazon, TP Link and Vodafone all potentially at fault, they’ll play ping pong with customer complaints and no one of them will take responsibility unless an awful lot more customers who have been affected by the same problem make their voices heard. Let me know how you get on with the DMZ thing. You have to use expert mode in the gigabox admin pages to use it.
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Poster
Yeah ive done the dmz thing. Rest of plugs drop in and out of local. Harmony hub not working as it was either. Lack of support is brutal.
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Poster
Think ive got everything running normal now. Stuck my echo dot into dmz and the tplink plugs are stable now. Must be some conflict in ports with alexa and the router. Not 100 per cent happy having alexa in dmz but it defo solved the issue with the smart plugs
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Frequent Poster

Never thought to do that but it certainly identifies a solution to the problem even if it still leaves the cause uncertain. Trouble is I have 4 echo devices so that it wouldn't solve the problem altogether for me. I think I might start a new thread and try to engage the technical team again with the newly discovered informtion. 

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Poster
Phoned them this morning and explained that they need to get off the " we dont support that" line , as they are gonna have alot of unhappy customers when it comes to home automation. The tech support guy admitted he didnt really know what i was talking about :0 but would talk to someone who does. Tplink uses port 9999 but so does the router internally so that might be an issue. I have 3 echos in the house but putting one in dmz seems to have done the trick. Not ideal though. Cant get port forwarding to work with wired connection for consoles either. Gigabox looks good but a nightmare for home automation.
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Frequent Poster
Good for you. Maybe somebody will pick it up and run with it. I’ll try the DMZ thing with one of my echos and see what happens.
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Poster
Looks like the dmz thing aint the full solution afterall. Had a period of stability but now dropping to local again. Do you have a harmony hub or Philips hue hooked up?
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Frequent Poster

I don't have either of the smart things you mention. I have TP Link smart plugs and extenders, Samsung cameras, some Anoopsyche plugs from Amazon and a Sonos 1 speaker. Everything other than the TP Link plugs work with the appropriate app and, where possible, with Alexa voice control. 

I put one of my echo devices in the DMZ as you said you had done, but it made no difference to the appearance of local only messages against assorted smart plugs in Kasa. However, putting one Kasa plug in the DMZ seems to stop local only messages appearing against it. I also had a long session with a TP Link customer service tech guy who was able to watch what was happening with the Kasa plugs on my home network. He concluded:

"From the cloud, we found your devices disconnected from the cloud and reconnected immediately.
During the reconnection, the plug may show local only on the Kasa app. This is related to your network environment and router.
We don't have the same router as yours. We may not be able to make further analysis for the time being".

Significantly, "network environment and router" is what he blamed for the problem and that would fit with the fact that giving a Kasa plug a fixed IP address and putting it into the DMZ seems to improve the situation. Problem still remains though that turning off the gigabox firewall should do the same thing, but it doesn't!!!!

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Poster
Good to know as ill be able to use it when i phone tech support
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Moderator

Hi there,

 

Apologies for the delay in responding. We're checking this out, we'll let you know when we have an update.

 

- Aoife

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Poster
Well its definitely the Vodafone gigabox router that is causing the issue. Managed to get my Asus router working with the fibre connection and everything works perfectly now. All devices functioning with alexa integration. Consoles working with wired connection (without port forwarding!!). As i said previously, the gigabox is not fit for purpose in a modern networked home that has smart devices. For the non experienced user, its gonna be a nightmare with home automation and alexa. The support line of " we dont support that" will not suffice in the modern fibre network environment.
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Contributor

If  Vodafone won't support third party routers then they need to ensure that their own routers are fit for purpose.

An idea instead of telling customers to ring 1907 option 2 all the time would be to put one of their own tech people up here to assist customers who are having difficulties & don't have the ability to sort things out for themselves although there's not much a tech can do if the equipment isn't up to scratch.

Yes there are thousands of customers who never have problems but there are also plenty of customers on here who are constantly frustrated by the lack of worthwhile support.

Simple things like moving home or being unable to receive or make calls or in this case being unable to intergrate smart devices.

In case Vodafone are thinking that I'm picking on them, I'm not as all telecom sellers in this country are similar.

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Moderator

Hi there,

 

For anyone experiencing this issue, can you send a PM with your account number, address & DOB and a link to this thread so we can escalate it?

 

- Aoife

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Frequent Poster
Can't see a way to PM you from the thread or how to link to the thread as requested.
I'm not keen to just post the information you need so if you can tell me how to PM you with it, I'll do that.
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Moderator

Hi there,

 

I have just sent a PM.

 

- Aoife

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