Getting started with HA Hardware

We haven’t even started. You want a legit conversation about this?

Like, how many of your wifi bulbs are using wpa3? How many of them allow direct connection? How long do you think it would take me to take your network offline with a Raspberry pi dropped off outside your house? How Long do you think your bulbs would remain under your control if I was on a laptop outside your house? If I got access, how long do you think it would take to get your network under control? How easy is it to change your wifi password? Do you care about privacy? Do you care about security?

Wifi is not for automation. It is for computers.

Lets assume for a moment that you are not outside my house, where I would be alerted to (and have a record of) your presence by wired cameras and sensors but that you are in fact an appreciable distance away with a cantenna or yagi instead.

You spend a while sniffing WPA2 packets only to discover that I’m not an idiot and have individual high entropy passwords for each device. Nevertheless, perseverance pays off and… you’re in!

In my IoT VLAN.

Now what?

Leave a swear word on my MQTT server?

No, that is also encrypted and password protected.

I’ve got better idea, go buy a brick and a balaclava.

No system is perfectly secure. My level of paranoia is appropriate for my situation.

I too have an elaborate network. My security system is on a totally separate hard wired ethernet network without VLans. The rest of my network is segregated by roles. Including my guest network VLan.

Would you recommend the average person use wifi for home automation? I certainly wouldn’t. For most it’s a matter of loss of security, or loss of privacy. One or the other. No getting around it without a fancy professional network setup.

Even with my knowledge I wouldn’t want to use wifi. Makes it too hard to change passwords when I want.

The average person?

Probably not, a lot of them are still using the default password in their router.

The average home assistant tinkerer?

Yeah I would.

There are plenty of well documented guides on this. Rob over at “The Hook Up” on YouTube has just started an excellent series of how to videos on wifi.

So what I am hearing is that wifi is mainly problematic due to security, hence people flashing their devices, which disables any cloud functionality and keeps everything on the LAN…?

Not quite.

The flashing of devices with alternative firmware does remove reliance on cloud servers and keep all your data local. Which is great. Some devices like Shelly don’t even require this. They come with a local option built in.

Adam’s main objection to wifi devices seems to be related to WPA2 security that these devices use. Not a big issue where I live. But if you live in high density city accommodation it may be worth considering.

Also you will have to beef up your wifi hardware with a multi access point system as your network grows. The average all in one home router/switch/wifi AP will not be capable of serving more than a couple of dozen devices.

There is a cool toy called REDACTED BY MODERTOR you should check out @supagu, @tom_l. It will deauth devices from a wifi network, then watch and collect the handshakes as they reconnect. It works on nearly anything using wpa2.

I’m saying wifi is great for computers. They have user interfaces and keyboards so they can keep up with changing security, get more updates, are not deployed enmass, don’t need fast reaction times to do their jobs, can consume more power without it being problematic, and need the flexibility to be mobile. None of those apply to most automation devices. That’s why they created zigbee and zwave.

If you go to the smart home store, they will happily sell you wifi light bulbs. They are a technically inferior product, but because everyone has wifi they can sell a lot of them and don’t need to worry about standards.

I’m really looking out for everyone here when I say wifi is not for automation, if you rely on it. Just don’t use wifi for home automation.

Oh really?

Can your Zigbee or Z-Wave light do this? LIFX - Home Assistant

No, you are spreading FUD.

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Do what? Set brightness? Color? Connect with the press of a button? Set transition times? Yes. It’s all done via HA UI. Change color while off? I don’t know. I don’t change their color. Probably since the low power chip is always on.

There is no FUD here. I just gave you a list. Wifi wasn’t designed for home automation. It was designed for laptops.

Try Shelly plugs, they have native integration but can still be flashed if you want, and local access does not block their cloud app (which can be disabled completely)

Do not be afraid of wifi or attacks on WPA2, they are years old and most implementations have been patched to not be vulnerable to most of them long ago. These are targeted attacks, and you can greatly limit your attack surface in may ways, most importantly by using a different wifi network and key for all IoT devices, using a strong key, using vlans, and keeping firmware up to date.

If you have quality network infrastructure, you will not have any capacity issues with adding devices, my access point is rated for 250+ simultaneous devices, and I am not even close. And I am adding another 2 access points later for better coverage.

Also my microwave has never knocked a device off the network, but it does make a pair of 2.4GHz wireless headphones cut out if you get within 4 feet of the microwave.

No, that is a separate issue, the wifi attacks are about decrypting data being sent by the device, flashing with alternative firmware can allow a device with no HA support to have HA, or to uncloud the device, or possibly unlock new functionality.

I have a few Wifi bulbs, they work just fine, respond instantly, and did not require any flashing for fully local access. The rest of my lighting control is done through Lutron switches which run on 433Mhz.

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Jesus, people calm down please.

Wifi is one viable solution among others. But - as LAN - it is targeting high speed communications, which is not required for IoT.

The biggest drawback for me is the lack of a standard to address devices capabilities via Wifi, sometimes it‘s REST, sometimes it requires a dedicated integration and sometimes they only work by a cloud service. Flushing custom firmware may help to address this.

Whereas dedicated network stacks and protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, DECT or BidCoS/Homematic (quite popular in Germany) provide a unique, appropriate way to communicate with every device supporting the standard.

See, I have 50 wireless devices in my home and need to use 3 integrations for them:

  • Homematic for about 40 Homematic devices
  • MQTT with Zigbee2MQTT for the 8 Zigbee devices
  • and TP-Link for the two bastard TP Link HS110 sockets that fail on me every night.
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Zigbee is a debatable inclusion in that list. There are a number of standards in use that do not interoperate. Latest case in point.

Wifi is only the physical and network layer. It is backed by rock solid standards. Buy any wifi device and it will connect to any wifi AP. The fact that it supports so many different protocols is a plus rather than a con in my opinion.

This thread derailed quickly. :laughing:

Perhaps a split? One with wifi security and one about getting started with HA hardware.
I know… Who could guess that was the topic of this thread.

@tom_l Maybe time to clean this thread up. The op wasn’t interested in this nonsense

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When I started with home assistant

  • zwave uses unusual frequencies in NZ and devices are expensive
  • zigbee wasn’t on my horizon (despite my first automation devices being Hue bulb starter pack)
  • wifi - well I had an AP and wif bulbs were cheaper ($20NZ) than hue ($80NZ).

Well I got ubiquiti wifi and a zigbee2mqtt router since then as …

Bur wifi still has the longest reach, and there are devices that just are wifi - like the pool sensors I am looking at. (Atlas Scientific).

Like @tom_l I am semi rural, not much competiton on the wifi front. I now have a mixture of zigbee and wifi, and particularly like esphome (wifi).

The beauty of HA is that I can choose a device for the task I want it to perform, not for the method it uses to connect to my “hub”.


For the op.
Almost anything connected to the home assistant system can be exposed to and controlled by Google home.
Obviously you can also control them using the home assistant app, which does away with the need for seperate apps for each brand of devices.

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The patch is WPA3 which required hardware upgrades called WiFi 6. It’s not a software upgrade. There’s no fixing your wifi network. You’re going to need to upgrade all components and there are no WiFi 6/WPA3 bulbs currently that I know of.

Which access point do you have that handles 50 wifi devices? I can’t find any that say more than 50 is acceptable.

Zigbee IS the more open between the common Zigbee/Zwave home automation protocols, but you’re right. They were sloppy with implementation. Additionally, you can’t tell by looking at the logo which ones are secure or not, like Zwave/ZWave+. Zigbee is a 2nd rate home automation protocol.