Connection Issues

Steps to Success

Can't Get Connected

The Photon works best with a traditional home network: simple networks with WPA/WPA2 or WEP security (or unsecured), with a single router from a reputable company (Apple, Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, etc.) without any fancy settings. The more your network diverges from the norm, there more likely you might encounter issues.

There are known issues with the following types of networks:

  • 802.11n-only networks. The Photon is 802.11b/g. Most 802.11n networks are backwards compatible with 802.11b/g, but if yours is not, the Photon will not connect.
  • Networks with "captive portal" security. A captive portal is the little website that comes up to ask you to sign in to a network or sign an agreement, like at a Starbucks. The Photon can't navigate these portals.
  • Enterprise networks. We have had mixed results connecting the devices to enterprise networks, although we don't yet have a great understanding of what's causing the issue. This is something that we are working to improve.
  • Complex Networks. Networks with multiple routers, with non-standard firewalls, and with non-standard settings.

So, let's dig in. If your Photon is not connecting to your Wi-Fi network, we recommend following these steps:

STEP 0: Check the basics

  • Check your Wi-Fi credentials (SSID and password) to make sure you typed them correctly.
  • Make sure you're in range of your Wi-Fi network. If your phone or computer has a poor connection in the same location, try moving closer to your Wi-Fi access point.
  • If you're using a u.FL antenna, make sure you have an antenna attached, and that it's firmly connected.
  • Make sure your Photon has enough power to transmit Wi-Fi signals (300mA in bursts). Try a different power source, or unplug components that draw a lot of power.

STEP 1: Set up your Photon over USB

On some networks, the mobile app won't work, but the Photon can connect to the network just fine. We've implemented a back-up mechanism so you can set up your Photon over USB. Don't forget that you'll need to claim your Photon manually as well if you haven't already!

Setup with USB >

STEP 2: Try another network

There are many reasons that your Photon might not connect; some of them have to do with the Photon; some have to do with your mobile device sending the Wi-Fi credentials; some have to do with the network. If your Photon doesn't connect, try another Wi-Fi network. This will quickly help you figure out which type of issue you might be seeing.

STEP 3: Reboot and clear memory

So often, electronics start behaving after you shut them off and turn them back on. Try:

  • Closing your mobile app and re-opening it
  • Un-plugging the Photon and plugging it back in
  • Clear the Photon's memory of Wi-Fi networks by holding the SETUP button for 10 seconds. After 3 seconds, the light should start flashing blue; after 10 seconds, it should do a quick burst of blue flashes. That means the memory has been cleared.

STEP 4: Check your router settings

There are a million ways router settings could cause problems, but here's a few things to look out for:

  • Use DHCP. Although the Photon can handle static IP addresses, it's not configured for it out of the box, so you'll have to dig into the source code.
  • Turn off access control and firewalls. Not permanently, but temporarily, to see if it resolves the issue. If it does, you can hopefully just tweak your settings to accommodate the Photon rather than taking down your security. The only change you may need to make to your router is to open up outgoing port 5683, the default CoAP port the Photon uses to connect to the Particle Cloud. If your Photon flashes cyan and occasionally flashes red, router issues are likely the culprit.

STEP 5: Search the forums

It's possible that other folks have encountered the same issues that you have. The best way to check and learn from others is to search the forums; search for your particular symptoms or for your Wi-Fi router make and model to find relevant posts.

STEP 6: Post a report in the Forums

We would love to hear about your issues, regardless of whether you were able to resolve them, so that we can improve our platform. If you haven't been able to resolve your issue, hopefully we or the community will be able to help.

Please post issues with connectivity either as responses to this topic or, if they are dissimilar from other reported issues, as their own topic. When you make a post, please include:

  • Router make and model
  • Network security (unsecured, WEP, WPA2, etc.)
  • Environment (home, small office, enterprise, public network, etc.)
  • Network topology (number of routers and/or range extenders, estimated number of devices connected to network)
  • Internet Service Provider
  • Any network settings that might diverge from the norm

Full Firmware Upgrade

If you are having intermittent connectivity issues, odd behavior or believe your firmware to be corrupted or out of date, you would benefit from performing a full firmware upgrade. This requires using dfu-util and installing the Particle CLI , which provides an excellent local development and troubleshooting environment for your Particle development.

Once the Particle CLI and dfu-util are installed, you have to enter DFU mode. Once that is done, please run the following commands through the Particle CLI:

  • particle upgrade
  • particle flash --usb tinker

These commands upgrade the system firmware to the latest version and restores the app to the default Tinker. Good luck!

For more help join our community forums and post in the troubleshooting section.