Issues with bluetooth dropout on Woodway treadmill

Greetings zwift community! Hoping one of you fine people can lend me a helping hand. I’ve several ways to remedy my issue before coming here, I’m really at a loss right now. So my issue is while I’m running on zwift my speed goes from whatever I’m running at to 0 every 3-5 seconds and then back up.

My setup is as follows;
Woodway 4front smart treadmill to Apple TV 4K to Samsung smart tv, maybe 6ft away from treadmill

Treadmill initially pairs with a strong signal, however if the treadmill is on while trying to pair it just keeps searching for an indefinite amount of time, I have to turn the treadmill off then on again to pair every time, seems pretty silly.

I’ve turned my iPhone off, fan unplugged, removed heart rate monitor and even unplugged a mini fridge in the room, still the issue persists. Not sure what could be causing interference or inability to stay paired.

I’ve tried to delete and reinstall the zwift app on Apple TV, I don’t know what else I can do to correct this, if you have any ideas please send them my way because I’m fresh out!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Hi @Tor_Eckman welcome to Zwift forums.

Shuji at Zwift HQ here. I looked at the partial log files from your most recent sessions. 4 of 5 displayed issues with your Bluetooth and network performance. Here’s two instances where those BLE messages indicate disruptions in the signal.


Bluetooth interference is common because BLE uses the 2.4 Ghz radio spectrum that many modern electronics use. These are some steps you can take to improve the BLE interference.

The network disruptions are most commonly WiFi issues at your home. Occasionally, they can occur further upstream between your ISP and Zwift servers. Some discussion of that here.

Something super-easy is to get in the habit of power cycling your DSL / cable modem, followed by your WiFi router.

You might try putting both the Apple TV and your smartphone on the WiFi router’s 5Ghz SSID instead of the 2.4Ghz one.

If you’re tech-savvy, you might also try changing the channel that the router broadcasts on to a channel that’s less crowded in your local area.

Lastly - are you running the Zwift game app (not the Companion app) on any other device? Having two instances of the game app logged in simultaneously will also interfere with the tread’s BLE signal.

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Hey Shuji! Thanks for all the great info! I am beyond grateful. I will give all your suggestions a go tonight when I go for a run and get back to you.
I did initially have the zwift game app on my iPhone, however I’ve since deleted it as well as the companion app, I don’t have a need for much more data than speed and heart rate at this point, perhaps that will change as my running improves.

Thanks again for the info and fast response, I’m looking forward to exploring all the exciting features in the zwift community.

Cheers!

Let me know if you fix this. I have the exact same issue, with the 4Front as well.

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I haven’t realized WiFi/DSL technology was that fiddly, so as to require such a procedure… I wonder how prevalent is it for other applications or services to require the such? (like “better to reset your laptop before every ride”, or something like this…)

It is hard to make observations lacking logs (if you can, please upload their analysis here… thanks!), but I would not preclude the treadmill as source (not all issues can be attributed to problematic DSL modems and ISPs)

How long have been using this setup? When did the issue first appear?

Welcome, Tor!

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So I did a little investigating into my home wifi and all devices seem to be getting an excellent signal except the Apple TV that I run zwift through, my gym is in my garage.
I did verify that it is currently on 2.4ghz, trying to find a way to switch to 5ghz, maybe perhaps since my modem is in my basement is the issue, hence why it’s switching to 2.4, I’ll call today and inquire about wifi extenders, maybe that will help.

It is a little strange because I have no problem watching Netflix etc in the garage, just zwift.

I’ve only been a member for a couple weeks and usually get so frustrated with the dropouts which have occurred every 3-5 seconds for every run, that I end up turning it off and watching something on Netflix.

I find it interesting that you’re also having issues with the 4front, I’ll call woodway today and see what they say, if we’re both having this issue I’m hoping they’re aware of it. Do you think connecting an ANT+ dongle to the bluetooth input on the treadmills display will help in this case?

Thanks for all the suggestions, hoping to get this sorted soon and start enjoying this amazing community!

Bluetooth, ANT+ and 2.4 GHz WiFi don’t mix well, as they all share the same frequency range… You can setup your 2.4Ghz WiFi so as to not cause issues - my solution, however, is simply to disable this band for the ride.

Depending on your basement construction, signals may be having hard time reaching there. Best is to draw a wire (Ethernet cable) directly to your router.

Good luck!

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2.4ghz has better range but slower speeds whereas 5ghz is faster but struggles with range. I ended up running a cable to the other side of my house and setting up a second router so we have full 5ghz coverage (not for zwift but just in general)

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I have been riding Zwift on a Wahoo Kickr for months In this same space in my garage for months without a single hiccup. I am concerned that there may be something intrinsic to the 4Front connection that is the problem.

I tried most of the suggestions from Zwift without fixing the problem last night. Plan to tinker again tonight.

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Appreciate all of the responses!
I tried everything same as you, no change. I called woodway today and they said it was a zwift problem, I mentioned that others were experiencing the same issue, they didn’t seem to care very much, nice how their demeanour changes once they already have your money eh?
I’m thinking Leslie Alldridge is on to something with the Ethernet suggestion, I will try that next.
If all else fails I guess I’ll have to just get a footpod or something, super frustrated!

Update
I just tried a free app called GymTrakr, it’s meant to pickup speed, distance, cadence etc. It pairs and works perfect with the woodway 4front, this tells me that the unit is capable of pairing and sending the info so I’m thinking that maybe an Ethernet connection would fix the issue or perhaps it’s an issue with zwift right now :man_shrugging:

If your treadmill has the option to hardwire to your router via Ethernet instead of WiFi, that’s going to be the most reliable way to pair to Zwift’s servers.

Fingers crossed that this improves your situation well enough. It may not entirely solve the Bluetooth drops between the tread and the Apple TV, though. The Bluetooth-only ATV box is hamstrung by the absence of a USB port. There’s no way to plug in an ANT+ dongle and pair via ANT+ instead of BLE.

I am not familiar with North Pole Engineering’s GymTrackr app, or their broader technology that some fitness equipment makers may embed in their circuitry. If your Woodway has that chipset on-board, that may be all you need to convert its ANT+ signal to BLE so that your ATV can receive it.

If no: there are two devices that can convert your tread’s ANT+ signal to Bluetooth to act as a bridge to your Bluetooth-only Apple TV box. North Pole Engineering’s CABLE device and 4iiii’s Viiiiva heart rate monitor are discussed here.

I was thinking of hardwiring the Ethernet to the Apple TV…there is a csafe port on the back of the display, I’d have to unscrew the back panel to get to it, I’ve heard a gem retro module would work. This seems like a massive pain considering I already have a smart treadmill, did anyone else have any luck with their woodway 4front? Was it your internet signal? What was the issue?

@Tor_Eckman

We have two Woodways at the Zwift HQ labs, and back before we worked from home, they got the most use of all the treadmills because the Woodway running experience is awesome. We used iPads to run Zwift, and they paired perfectly via Bluetooth.

If you’re getting BLE dropouts, I’d suggest going through this list to reduce local interference sources. Personally, I would exhaust all these possibilities before getting sidetracked with the Ethernet setup.

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Thanks again, taking a look at this list, the only one I haven’t eliminated is number two. I didn’t realize I needed an ANT+ dongle, where does this get connected?

Also I’ve confirmed the wifi channel is on channel 1 a less used channel in the area, however, my garage where the treadmill is located is only getting a 2.4ghz signal which is likely causing problems as zwift operates in real time whereas Netflix etc read ahead and smooths out the signal. This is my thought process on connecting an Ethernet cable to the Apple TV so I can ensure a fast 5ghz connection in order to run zwift, but again I’m not technologically savvy as I’m sure you’ve guessed

@Tor_Eckman

The ANT+ dongle is not possible with Apple TV because the ATV box lacks a USB port.

@Tor_Eckman

The Ethernet cable should not connect the treadmilll directly to the Apple TV. Instead, you’d connect the treadmill to your router via Ethernet. Then connect your ATV box to the router via Ethernet. This is the hard-wired way for your ATV “see” your treadmill.

Hard-wiring is feasible if your router is sort of near your garage. Is that the case for you? If not, to solve the network dropouts it might be better to get a WiFi extender to boost coverage to your garage, and use the 5GHz as you suggested.

The router isn’t exactly close but it could be done, would have to do some drilling. I’ve tried to pair and run zwift on my laptop, iPhone 11 and iPad and still the same thing so now I’m confident once I get the signal strength up all should be good

Please do let us know if you get this working. I am dying to know if there’s a fix.

At my place, I powered off/unplugged every 2.4 ghz device we have. Unplugged the Kickr next to the tread. Put the router on 5ghz mode only. Connected to iPad at the tread rather than Apple TV which is 5 feet away. We are hundreds of feet from the neighbors. Turned off Apple Watch in case that might be the issue. Tried an assortment of connect/reconnect/reboot steps. All to no avail. My avatar freezes every few seconds, at a regular interval, every time.

-DL