WiFi Fence User Experience Update

by Gajan Retnasaba on July 16, 2009

After the first month of customers having the Perimeter Technologies WiFi Fence system, we have been gathering feedback and would like to update you on what we have heard, admittedly from a very small sample:

  • 50% of customers are happy with their system, it worked fine out of the box and they now have their dogs happily contained.
  • 20% of customers think the WiFi Dog Fence is ok, they are a little disappointed by things like the range, the dropouts and have had some trouble getting the system working.
  • 30% do not like it at all and have returned the system.  That is quite an alarming return rate.  To provide context, the Innotek Systems have a return rate well under 5%.

We have talked to everyone that did a return and here are the issues:

  1. Metal – the system does not work well with houses that have either a metal roof or metal siding.
  2. Dropouts – the system seems to randomly lose contact with the collar and triggers the alarm for no apparent reason, sometimes when the dog is near the base station
  3. Vague Boundaries – as we noted in our test, especially when near the unit’s limit the boundary gets very vague – and you can sometimes go 3-5 feet past the boundary without triggering the correction
  4. Obstacles – the WiFi has a lot of trouble getting through walls and finds corners very difficult causing dropounts.  If you are in a normal house, the range is rarely the 200 feet advertised.
  5. Circle Boundary – some people have not realized that the units only do circular boundaries

Many people who have had trouble have recommended the Perimeter Technologies help line (866-900-2007) for good help on troubleshooting the units and repositioning the units to get better coverage.  They have been really good about sending replacement units where there have been problems, even overnighting out new units or parts.

My advice would be that this unit is best for wide open spaces with minimal obstacles.  I think the sweet spot would be covering a field from inside a small open shelter.  What it does not do well to date is urban homes, being place in the centre of the home and having to operate through multiple walls.  For these installations, you really want a wired system.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven McJuary buyse September 10, 2009 at 2:40 am

Why do you compare the WiFi to the Innotek? Innotek doesn’t make wireless. This is apples vs. oranges. The return rate is accurate. Why not compare the PetSafe Wireless, the numbers will be a lot closer. You can’t beat an inground fence for all around use. The WiFi averages you mention are on track.

ADMIN – you are right, not fair to compare apples to oranges. We were trying to use Innotek as an example, that the best wired fences have a very high satisfaction rate, while even the best wireless systems have very low satisfaction rates. We completely agree that if at all possible, dog owners should chose inground fences. At least for the moment, wireless is not even close.

trish July 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

we need a fence for a home in the mountains. the house sits on a hill over looking a wooded slope. would the wifi version work there?

ADMIN – Hi Trish,

Perimeter says that the WiFi will work as long as the hill is not so steep that you cannot get line of sight down the hill. We have not had the chance to verify this. Any type of woods is likely to be problematic with the signal getting lost when going through even light shrubbery.

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