Hardware that doesn't phone home?

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Hi folks. I’m about to buy my first house if all goes well, so I’m starting to toss ideas around and price gear. At the moment I’m primarily interested in lights and a few cameras, but I’d like to minimize (if not completely exclude) devices that rely on or contact third party servers outside my network. Is there any documentation anywhere about which brands meet those requirements?

Longer term I’d like voice activation that doesn’t rely on Google or Amazon, video and audio streaming (I recognize there may not be a way around Chromecast here) and if I go really crazy blinds control, locks, and other alarm/security features.


I guess that there are some lists floating around with devices that are running without the need of the vendor’s cloud.


  • Devices are running without a gateway or hub provided by its vendors
  • Devices don’t need an app
  • Devices can be flashed with my own firmware

I am in the same situation, developers gave a quotation for smart home system for 11000 eur, and i said to myself “no way” i’m doing it solo :smiley:

So your question about cameras and lights (my recomendation)
1.Lights (anything what you want)
2.Light switches: Sonoff (with tasmota firmware !!! very important that you request this)
Otherwise without tasmota it will not work
3.Cameras definetly cable, not wifi. But you can buy for cheap both
I think this one is also for external use outside Dahua IMOU Bullet Lite 4MP, 2,8mm
No need DVR, use home assistant to gather everything as i think in 1 year, there will be final version of the human detection add on and it will be easy to install.
4.Everywhere where you putting tubing for cables, put higher diametr up it one time example (if developer say tubing 20mm, put 25mm.
As you never know when you will need additional cables tu put through.
First house that we have, we have this problem, all tubes are filled, and only wifi is an option.
5.Voice activation just use google as they will be i think always better than any solution out here, for now atleast.
6.Blinds control, definetly buy the motor with inputs (ON,OFF,ON/OFF) as you will need to control all 3 situations, for locks, just additional cables to dors, security are you planing to use external company?
If you are planning to use external company so at the same spots that they put Motion sensor, put additional wire CAT 5e, as you can connect to your system afterwards and make some fun/usefull automations.
7.Spend sime time and learn to use Mikrotik router

1.Always use cables if you can
2.Follow rule No.1 :smiley:

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One thing I do is setup devices and then block WAN access via my router (DD-WRT). This gives me some piece of mind that the device isn’t “phoning home”.

Only HA needs/has WAN access. This can allow you to buy devices that require app to setup then block them via gateway.

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A couple of thoughts…

You might want devices to “phone home” for software updates occasionally. So blocking at the router gives you that option, and expands the type of hardware you can use.

Running over-sized conduit (“tubes”) is a good idea. Just remember that some places, and common sense, dictate that you not put cables running your line voltage (120 or 220 VAC) in the same conduit as low-voltage cables. POE for things like cameras is common.

hmm why is that?
The cat5e is shielded isnt it? I heard about this rule, but actual developer who is building the house is not doing it. And he’s counted as a leader on the market in this area.


Generally (ie: it’s the rule in Australia and likely most other places) have to maintain at least 50mm from power. Definitely don’t put them in the same conduit.

In my country, it will not pass electrical inspection, and so no electricity in your house. The 50mm is a requirement here too.

Interesting, thank you guyz @francisp @sparkydave

I’m not sure why some electrical codes prohibit it. My guess would be that different cables are rated for different temperature extremes, fire resistance, etc. And the insulation on the cables and individual wires are rated for the current they carry. Low-voltage cables presumably would not be rated for those same values.

Probably less important to the people who write the codes is protecting the data cables from induced voltages from other cables in the conduit. That noise on the line would be what worries me most.

If there was a failure in the insulation of the line voltage cable, and a failure of the insulation in the low voltage cable, the low voltage components not rated for line voltage could be energized. Not just back end stuff, but also for example control panels, cases, etc.

Yeah i spoke with my electrician, he said that definetly put apart electric and data, but if there is no option to do that, make sure that the CAT5e cable is shielded and just ground the shilding to ground wire. This will stop interference. But reguarding the fire/spark hazard, its in place still. Lets see what my developer will do as to prevent it from happening.

It shouldn’t be an issue for the cables to be installed spaced apart / in separate conduits. It’s easy to do

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Thanks for the info. I should clarify that by phone home I meant mostly devices that rely on cloud services to function, so anything with a hub or a connection to Google past triggering a Chromecast is out. Closing devices off at the WAN level seems a good strategy too, since I needed a bigger network switch anyway I found a decently priced managed one during Amazon’s big sale. I also found home brewed apis for a couple brands of lights. Short term I’m probably going to go for raspberry pi cameras around the house, but will need something more suitable for outdoor later