New 2.4 GHz wireless pet fence shows inconsistent test resultsBackground: In spring 2010, Woodstream Corporation introduced a Havahart-branded Wireless Dog Fence. The Havahart radialshaped wireless fence system includes an electronic collar for the pet, rechargeable collar batteries, a recharging station, and training flags. The system features a radio base station controller with LCD display. Analysis: Radio Systems engineers have completed initial testing of the product in both the laboratory and the field. The system employs a 2.4 GHz radio signal. Obstructions such as autos, sheds, trees – even people – can affect the radio signal and degrade product performance. In some cases, dogs may exit the containment field unchallenged; conversely, they may receive an unearned correction while within a “safe” field. Range - In our testing, the Havahart system achieved range to 400 feet only when the collar was carried to that distance. When the collar was worn by a dog, or held near the human body, consistent range averaged less than 60 feet; at one property it averaged less than 40 feet. In one test, the dog was led to a position where a parked car obstructed line of sight; the signal was lost. The dog was led down the block, out of the containment area; no warning tone or correction pulse was administered. LCD display – The controller base displays distance from the base in increments of 10 feet. It is prone to signal loss or even incorrect measurement due to signal “bounce” from various obstructions. In one test at 70 feet distant, with dog and collar held stationary, the display in turn showed “70”, “90”, “150”, “170”, “90”. Presumably the RF signal reflected from a house across the street. In another test, the distance displayed varied as much as 40 feet in accuracy. In our testing, the Havahart system reacted to these reflected signals; the collar corrected the dog while he was in the “safety” of the prescribed containment field. Accuracy between the controller display and the collar are inconsistent. At one point the controller displayed “1” (no signal), but the collar issued warning tones. The dog was about 25 feet within the set boundary. Page 32 of the product manual speaks to “Factors affecting signal strength,” and discusses signal obstruction and attenuation. Will it work on my dog? Will it work on my property? The dog’s body was shown to block and reduce signal. With the dog facing the controller base, the range was accurate. When the dog was facing away from the base, beyond 60 feet there was a loss of signal. The system does not issue a correction with loss of signal. There are a number of scenarios where the dog could exit the prescribed containment field with no warning or correction. Conversely, the dog could be warned or corrected within the field.
|Havahart Wireless||PetSafe Wireless|
|Advertised Coverage||area up to 400 ft (radius)||Up to 90 ft radius|
|Reliable coverage area, confirmed by engineering testing*||Less than 40 ft||80-90 ft|
|Pets on the system||1 to 2 pets||Unlimited|
|Receiver Weight||3.2 oz||2.0 oz|
|Collar strap||Plastic with integrated antenna traditional buckle||Adjustable nylon strap, squeeze clips|
|Chance of signal loss between bases station and collar||moderate||low|
|LCD display including range indicator, collar batter||Plastic with integrated antenna traditional buckle||Adjustable nylon strap, squeeze clips|
|Lost Signal Alert||No||Not necessary|
|Audible alarm fence challenge alert||Yes||No|
|Mode of operation||Radio-frequency based, requires 2-way communication be maintained at all times.||Low frequency magnetic field; not impaired by most environments.|
|Signal potentially impaired by metal construction||Yes||No|
|Signal potentailly impaired by microwave ovens (2.4GHz)||Yes||No|
|Signal potentially impaired by dogs with husky build||Yes||No|
Note, that this is one competitor doing a review on another ... so that they did not have great results is not particularly surprising. But, generally we have never had good results with wireless systems, they often have these characteristics of being prone to interference, inaccurate, and slow to react.