Smarthub range worse than Pro base station
I've been using the Arlo Pro 2 with a USB backup for about a year and a half. About thirty days ago we realized that someone stole our W-2s (for those of you outside the US, that's just our annual tax document from employers) and were using them to apply for credit cards with no success. Our mailbox is by the road as required by the US Postal Service. Our house is about 375 feet from the road but a clear yard with no trees in the way. I had been using an Arlo Pro 2 midway down the driveway to alert me to anyone coming down the driveway as well as record that activity. However that camera had an activity zone set to avoid all the traffic going down the road so it wouldn't record all the time. On Friday, March 2nd my wife saw someone pull up to our mailbox and check our mail, then speed off. We finally realized that the crooks were still coming back. I placed my Arlo Pro 2 cameras near the road and even though I was about 400 feet from the base station (one wall and a garage door for the signal to go through) I was still sitting with two bars of reception. I was able to catch them on camera the following Monday. However the resolution wasn't good enough to get a plate. I went out and bought the Ultra 4k bundle with two cameras and a smarthub. Now it was my understanding that I needed the new smarthub for these cameras to work, however the ultra cameras actually synced to my old base station when I went through the add device. I finally figured out what was going on and after spending way too much time swapping cameras between the two base stations I put all 7 cameras to work. Unfortunately the 4K cameras on the smarthub were barely picking up the signal, I had a red dot as the reception. I brought everything in and moved the smarthub to the location where I had my original base instead of connected via a Netgear Powerline adapter in the garage. That did not do the trick, the cameras had the same reception. So I removed the 4K cameras off the smarthub and put them both on the old base station. Guess what, they also had two bars of reception. Clearly the new smarthub does not have the broadcast power that the old base station has. I also wasn't thrilled that I had to pay to have the cameras work the right way.
However, long story short I was able to capture a total of five visits on camera and last Thursday I was watching my web portal when I saw them drive by. I was able to call the cops timely enough for them to catch these crooks. Ends up they were hitting dozens of houses and possibly part of a larger ring of crooks. BOOM. Kudos to Arlo for the cameras that worked well beyond the stated range and were still clear enough to get a partial plate and eventually allowed us to get these guys. I did return the Ultra smarthub bundle and exchanged for another Arlo Pro 2 bundle and two add on Ultra cameras. Hopefully the new Arlo Pro 2 base station is as good as the other one I have and together can cover my entire property.
I don't understand why the smarthub's range was so awful though. I even plugged into a regular ethernet connection right by a window, so nothing by glass between the smarthub and the camera, and it still didn't perform as well as the old base station going a little further and through a wall and metal garage door.
What I realized is that the cameras kick in as the car is already going by so it feels like the focus isn't fast enough. I was playing around with the modes to have a pro 2 camera watching oncoming traffic and then activating the other cameras to kick in so I'd eliminate that slight lag. In my case at 400 feet away from the base station my Ultra camera was able to grab a partial plate off a car that was slowing down and then again when it reversed and stopped. My cameras were probably 25 feet from my mailbox so the car was about 30 feet from the camera.