I recently got my trainer replaced with the new version and wanted to give the WiFi a try. I was hoping to get fewer drops compared to Bluetooth and I still believe WiFi would work better for me.
The first time I turned my new KICKR on it immediately showed up under TR Devices as both Bluetooth and DIRCON. I picked dircon and started a session. The next day however TR reported only one device connected which was my power strap but no trainer. I was trying many different things to make it work again:
- restarting the TR app
- restarting KICKR
- disabling/enabling my computer’s WiFi
- connecting to KICKR via the Wahoo app and making sure it is connected to the same network
After a few days of using my new trainer via Bluetooth, I’ve finally figured out how to make it connect to TR over WiFi. The solution is strange and I wanted to ask if you have had a similar experience.
My new workflow now is that I open the TR App, and navigate to the Devices. KICKR DIRCON is not present so I start Zwift and on the Zwift’s pairing screen press the Search button under ‘Power Source’ which lists discovered devices e.t KICKR BT and KICKR DIRCON. Once I open the Zwift pairing KICKR DIRCON magically appears in TR Devices and even auto connects.
I asked TR support but only learned that the most reliable communication channel is Bluetooth and I should be using it if present so I’m asking for any tips before I go full hacking mode and start debugging at the network protocol level.
I am using DirCon on my Kickr V6 as well, with great success (no dropouts compared to about 1 per workout over ANT+).
- I’m using the TR app on a Windows 10 PC.
- Launch TR first and the trainer is found automatically every time (after having to only pair it via DirCon once, the first time), so I rarely enter the Devices menu unless I am testing other trainers or power meters.
- Launch Zwift after TR is open. This picks up connection via ANT+ USB stick.
Both just run with no intervention for my use. It’s possible that using mobile or Mac could lead to different results, but I only rarely use my phone for TR.
That may be the difference, I’m using Mac and the workaround with Zwift is the only reliable way to make TR start seeing DIRCON. I’ll keep experimenting.
FWIW a guy at LBS bought a V6 Kickr and on Zwift, he says that WiFi has more dropouts than BT
That is almost surely a product of the environment (Wi-Fi device, range, etc.). As mentioned, I have not seen a single drop on DirCon Wi-Fi as compared to common issues on ANT+ for years. Even when I was testing BLE for TR in the same environment, I would get them despite being more rare than my ANT+ issues.
I happen to be 20 feet or less from my router with nearly direct line of sight, so just about a perfect setup with minimal risk of interference. Maybe that is why I am having such great luck?
Either way, this and all other protocols seem highly subjective as I have read that people swear by one while cursing another that works perfectly for other people.
I’ve done a little digging and found the @GPLama video with the network analysis of the protocol.
After watching it my theory is that the TR application doesn’t do MDNS querying but only passively listens to broadcasts so once I open up Zwift the Zwift app sends a query and both applications receive the DNS response.
Regarding the dropouts, I still believe DIRCON should be more reliable since the connection is tunneled inside of TCP/IP which supports retransmission. Considering a rather slow base frequency of 4Hz there’s plenty of time to resend the dropped frames and the whole operation may be unnoticeable. WiFi is still susceptible to interference so in case of general WiFi problems (collisions) dropouts may still happen.
I must be lucky - doing think I’ve ever had a drop out using Bluetooth with elite and wahoo in about three years of heavy usage.