The Perimeter Technologies introduced a wifi wireless dog fence to compete with Petsafe’s wireless dog fence in June 2009. Perimeter Technologies uses WiFi technologies and boasts a range of useful features never before seen in a dog fence. We see the WiFi fence as a real innovation in dog fencing because it actually alerts you as to where your dogs are and if they are challenging the fence. We have had the unit for a couple of months now. See the following link for an an initial wifi fence review. It has a lot of good features, but unfortunately it is not ready for primetime.
The boundaries are intolerably vague, moving 20+ feet from minute to minute. And the response time is seconds too slow, correcting the dog too late and stopping the correction too late. This all combines to make training the dogs on the system very difficult.
There are also mysterious signal dropouts where the collar loses touch with the system, sometimes even when the collar is directly in the line of site.
Both the newer Havahart Wireless (also based on WiFi) system and the older PetSafe Wireless are much better choices with more consistent boundaries and faster response times.
Summary: The Perimeter Technologies WiFi introduces significant innovations, but is lacking in the fundamentals. We like the addition of the alert when the dog challenges the fence and the provision of rechargeable batteries. The inconsistency of the boundaries, slow response times, and difficulty dealing with obstacles make the unit a poor choice. The Havahart and PetSafe Wireless units are better choices.
We start by noting that there are a lot of features that making the WiFi really tempting:
First, range is significantly boosted over the Petsafe model. The system claims a range of 200 feet, giving it a coverage over 2.5 acres. Our early tests show range was in fact better, but we struggled to get a range better than 150 feet in typical conditions. A significant increase over the PetSafe model which has a maximum radius of 90 feet. So the range is much better but not quite as good as claimed. In particular the unit has a lot of trouble where it has to go through multiple walls. Where there is a clear line of site it shines, but put it in a large house and you get lots of dropouts and the range plummets. Also not that the unit, like the PetSafe model can only project circular boundaries and does not work well in a house with metal siding or a metal roof. (NOTE: The new Havahart wireless claims a range of 400 feet)
Second, the WiFi Fence has two way communication between the collar and the base unit, a first in the industry. This allows you to use the base unit to determine how far away the dogs are from your home. And even more importantly you can be alerted when your dogs attempt to challenge the fence, when their battery is low or when they are no longer in communication with the base unit for any reason. In our tests, this worked really well. It was a nice feature to be alerted when the dog challenged the fence because we could go outside straight away and investigate. The feature that gives you the distance the dog is from the base station provided some entertainment but was of little practical use because it does not tell you in what direction the dog is relative to the base station.
Third, Perimeter Technologies lets you adjust up to two collars independently. The model cannot support more than two collar per base station. We are not sure if you can use multiple base stations to overcome that limitation. So at the moment it is not for people with more than two dogs.
Fourth, batteries for this model are rechargeable. In fact you get two rechargeable batteries, one for the base station (in case of a power failure) and one for the collar. This puts the Wifi Fence further ahead of the PetSafe model which is not rechargeable. (rant warning) We are big proponents of rechargeable batteries. Not only are they convenient, and better for the environment but they are also safer. Proprietary batteries often lead to situations where people’s dogs are in danger because the batteries are flat and they have to wait to get new batteries in the mail. (rant over)
Battery life seems decent, we got over a week with the collar without needing to recharge the battery.
But, ultimately we don’t think the WiFi is a good buy yet. Early customer opinions on the unit are hit or miss. We are hearing more complaints about these units than we do about all other systems combined. Complaints seem to center around use where there is no clear line of site, signal dropouts, and the unit being slow to respond when the boundary is breached.
The wifi does not seem to be very good at penetrating walls in many installations. Metal is it’s kryptonite. If you have a metal roof or metal siding, it will not work. Even without metal it doesn’t get through walls for a lot of people and has a lot of trouble with other obstacles like trees.
Lots of people have dropouts, where the unit looses communication with the base station even in plain line of site. Our test unit did not have the dropout problem, but we have noticed this problem in subsequent units.
Most maddeningly, the boundary is vague and can take a couple of seconds to respond once the boundary is breached. This makes it hard to train the dogs as they aren’t regularly getting the correction. We only get a lag of 2-3 seconds at normal ranges but have got reports from customers of 10+ second especially when at the maximum range. This also means you need a larger safety buffer between the boundary and the street to feel comfortable that the dogs are going to be kept safe from harm.
There is promise in the units, that later versions will fix these bugs. But until then, our advice is to stick to wired units.
The WiFi Dog Fence base unit is be $330 (including one collar). Additional collars are be $149. You can use two collars at the same time. At least with initial units, you will not be able to overlap base stations like you can on the PetSafe Wireless PIF-300.
Summary: The Perimeter Technologies WiFi Dog introduces significant new features to the wireless dog fence including added range, challenge alerts, and rechargeable batteries. But, we have some serious reservations around the units, particularly their ability to penetrate walls, respond quickly to breaches, and give a crisp boundary. In-ground systems are still clearly the better technology for the moment. If you are going to look at Wireless systems, the newer Havahart Wireless and the older PetSafe Wireless are better choices (in that order)