Maximizing Reliability

Following are some suggestions for maximizing the reliability of SAMi. If you are having camera disconnect warnings these may help.

Guided Access

iOS has a hidden feature called "Guided Access" that can greatly increase the SAMi app's reliability. When Guided Access is enabled for the SAMi app the home and power buttons are disabled, notifications are disabled, other apps cannot run in the background, and if the SAMi app or iOS device stop running for any reason the iOS device restarts SAMi automatically. 

We highly recommend you run in Guided Access mode if you can. If you have an iOS device dedicated to SAMi (also recommended) you can leave it in Guided Access mode all the time. Otherwise, it is easy to start and stop Guided Access once you have set it up. This will prevent you from accidentally hitting the home button and stopping the SAMi app in the middle of the night. It will also prevent notifications (such as the arguably too-frequent iOS update messages) from interrupting the SAMi app.

To set up Guided Access, Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access

Tap the switch to enable Guided Access.

Tap "Passcode Settings" and enter a passcode. I use "0000" but you can make it more secure if you like. If your device supports Touch ID turn that on as well.

Now launch the SAMi app. To start Guided Access, triple-click the home button. 

To exit Guided Access, triple-click the home button again (or press the Home button and use Touch ID).

If you forget the passcode (you should have used "0000"!) press and hold the home and power buttons. After a few seconds your device will power off. You can then turn it back on and Guided Access will be off.

You can customize Guided Access, for example by default the volume buttons are disabled but these can be enabled. Here are Apple's complete instructions on Guided Access.


USB Power Adapters

We recommend you use an Apple branded USB power adapter. In particular we recommend this 12w power adapter even if you are using an iPhone or iPod. It is the same price as the 5w power adapter and recharges much faster. Many 3rd party power adapters work just fine, but we've had more than one problem that turned out to be caused by a non-Apple power adapter (typically poor touch screen performance).


Wifi Routers

Most people use their home WiFi network with no problems. If, on the other hand, you are having camera disconnects or you are looking for maximum reliability investing in upgrading your router or, better yet, using a dedicated WiFi router may make sense. SAMi is a little different from other WiFi devices in that it both uses a lot of WiFi bandwidth (for streaming live video and transferring recordings) and the data needs to be sent without delay (for the live display). Reduced bandwidth or delays may not be noticed when browsing the internet but can interfere with SAMi operating properly.

Problems we have seen include:

  • Other WiFi traffic interfering. Unlike wired Ethernet, WiFi is a shared resource. Too many devices connected to the same network can cause SAMi monitoring interruptions.
  • Older WiFi devices make this even worse. Many WiFi networks will reduce the data transfer rate to that of the slowest connected device, for all devices. SAMi supports 802.11n, but if there is an older 802.11b device on the network (even if it doesn't connect to SAMi) the SAMi camera will be forced to run at the slower rate.
  • Unreliable WiFi routers. Many older or less expensive routers will sometimes have trouble with passing the amount of data SAMi sends. This can cause the WiFi router to spontaneously reboot, resulting in monitoring stopping for several minutes.
  • WiFi routers supplied by your broadband network provider. Many (if not most) people just use the WiFi that comes with their broadband router. We've seen problems with these routers, particularly ones in Europe.

If you do choose to upgrade or add a router, we recommend you choose a well known brand of "Dual Band" router. These routers have two radios, one operating at 2.4Ghz radio and another at 5Ghz. The SAMi camera will connect to the 2.4Ghz radio and your iOS device will typically use the 5Ghz radio, more than doubling the data rates. We have had good success with the NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (WNDR3400).

If your existing router is working well for your home internet needs we suggest you don't replace it with the new router, but instead dedicate the new router to SAMi. Give it a different WiFi network name (SSID) and follow the SAMi setup instructions to switch your SAMi camera to the new network. Locate the router roughly halfway between the SAMi camera and your iOS device.

The SAMi camera does not need an internet connection. But if you want your iOS device to be able to connect to the internet you can run an Ethernet wire from the new router's WAN port to your existing router's LAN port. Refer to your router's documentation for details.