How do you handle not having internet?

Roughly two weeks ago I had no internet for nearly a week and this really showed me what automations don’t work without internet.

Since then I’ve been planning to reevaluate all my automations to see, if I really need them and how I can make the ones relying on the internet more robust.

A big hurdle is my Google calendar that where I base some conditions on. Regardless of whether I switch to the HA calendar or not, I’d need some sort of synchronization to my phone in case I don’t have internet.

For automations I thought it might be good to have a “fallback” mode like skipping the internet related conditions.

Stuff like this keeps me up recently. What are your experiences with this? How much do you rely on the internet and how do you handle not having it?

The first thing: don’t use any cloud based devices.

As for other stuff that NEEDS internet, things that rely on weather data for example, you just need to have default actions or bypasses.

My only reliance on the internet is for weather TTS announcements in the morning and for weather based control of my irrigation, which only affect it to say “don’t water because we had rain or we are expecting rain”, in which case I have defaults if the data didn’t come through.

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Besides my Echo Dot I don’t think I have any cloud-based devices (luckily). But for that one I’ve added a condition so that it doesn’t try to give me my morning overview for weather and calendar when I wake up.

Do you examples for the defaults you mentioned? That’s the direction I think of going

This is easier said than done. Even when controlled locally, many devices call home and may not like being disconnected for long.

It’s relativity simple with simple devices, switches, lights (if they are not wifi ones). But more expensive house appliances, I’m not sure there are any options that are not cloud based. Some may still work without cloud, but it’s not that easy to find out before you buy them. For example, are there any robot vacuum cleaners that are not cloud based? I know Roborocks do not behave when they are cut from the cloud for longer than a month.

As for automations, the biggest culprit for me would be those that rely on weather forecast. But they should have a fallback planned for if the forecast is not available.

This x 100.

My home automation is always built for local first. The only things I have that might freak out if offline are things that are not important to my house. This is why I tend to stay away from most wifi devices that I don’t have full control of and stick to those that I do, like Shelly and ESPHome.

While it’s tough to stay totally away from devices that want to phone home, particularly as your network grows, you just need to ask yourself that question every time you integrate something: “can I live with this if it needs to phone home and cannot?”.

My first course of action on any wifi device is to block it from the Internet from the get-go, this tells me if it needs or wants to phone home and if it does then I usually return it. This is a good way to figure out what you need to replace, just block all your wifi devices from the Internet, see what breaks and then find a way to work around it or replace it with a local version.

True, but they don’t require it. I block all my Roomba’s from the Internet and while the mapping may not be accurate I’m willing to give that up for my privacy.

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I have a Roborock S5Max flashed with Valetudo. No cloud required at all.

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Honestly, I don’t need to handle that, as my home is not needing it to work. I have only one device, that I can’t get away from, it’s a Tuya based weather station…

For many, if not most, experienced users here in this forum, the first thing they do, before buying a device, is looking here in the forum for it. Chances are, someone already bought it, and can say something about it. If it won’t work, it won’t get on the shopping list.

And until now, I haven’t had the case, that I couldn’t find a device or appliance, that coudln’t be turned into a smart device. My HVAC is from Midea, so I can use it with an ESPHome dongle (no cloud needed), my Dreame vaccum robot is flashed with Valetudo (as mentioned above, no cloud either) and everything else is strictly local.

The credo is: everything has to run without HA or internet connection! Every light should be controllable via a physical switch, so even if the Wifi goes down, no problem to turn on or off the light.

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Getting devices that don’t require internet is a good idea and while it works most of the time, there may be examples where you just have to live with it.

But my main reason for the post was how to handle all the other stuff that needs internet. Like the Google calendar I mentioned that I use in a lot of automations or weather stuff.

How do you structure your automations that rely on integrations etc. that require internet?

Create a ping sensor to check if the Internet is up or down by seeing if it can ping Google (for example). Then use the status of that to determine if something should happen.

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This is very cool, I haven’t heard off Valetudo before. I’ll look into it. I’m guessing there are drawbacks - like the requirement to disassembly and void the guarantee at least for newer robots, and I wonder if this firmware is as good as the original one when it comes to the robot use itself. But cutting the connection to the cloud would be great.

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You don’t, that’s the trick. If you have a Google Calendar, sync it with a local calendar and use that one to work with. It would only change on Googles side, if you change something while the internet is down.

Do everything locally and sync it with the outside world. That way you always have your “working copy” locally and can use it.

With Valetudo, not many! The guarantee is not voided with most robots, the software runs in many cases better than the manufacturer one, nope can’t say it wouldn’t work great!

One drawback is depending on what robot you buy. Some (the Dreames) need a PCB to flash them, and you have to organize one of these for yourself. But there are two ways to get one: either print it yourself through an online service or ask in the Telegram group of Valetudo. There are many people who share that PCB as it is only needed once. A year ago it was just send around, everybody paid for the shipping to the next user and so one PCB had a nice trip through Germany! :rofl:

I do have printed one myself, should be laying around here somewhere, I really should look for it and send it out, but you know… :laughing:

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Fixing the Google Calendar stuff is on my to-do list. Do you have anything specific in mind for the syncing part? I’ve briefly looked into it but didn’t find specific solutions. The local calendars seem to be located under .storage as far as I know

I’m sorry, I don’t use Google calendars. I’m using a local setup in the form of a Nextcloud installation. I sync all my calendars, phonebooks and stuff with it, and have a domain to reach it from the outside world. :slight_smile:

If my calendar is down, so is HA and vice versa, as they both reside on my homeserver with Proxmox. :laughing:

I’d guess that something with the CalDAV integration or even the Google calendar integration should be possible, but I really don’t know, sorry! :slight_smile:

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Oh I see. I’m not familiar with CalDAV but I stumbled upon that while searching for solutions, specifically from Synology. I kinda plan to buy a Synology NAS so that might be a good solution

I have a subnet on my router, and a (2.4g) wifi ssid to go with it, that are not permitted to reach the internet. All my Esphome, Tasmota, Matter, and TapoCam devices are happy on this subnet. My HA and Scrypted servers have dual IPs so they can fetch updates and talk to my HomeKit devices, which do need Internet (video and music streaming). I also have quite a bit of Z-wave.

I think I have two clouded integrations still — my LG laundry and my Emporia vue connect — the latter which is actually nice because it’s located 100m away in a parking garage on public WiFi (yes, I know I could flash it with esphome but I don’t want to mess with it, or expose any public services, at this time). I let Apple handle all my voice- and remote-access, which in my opinion works great (and securely), and frankly was the only reason I noticed the last Internet outage.

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I tried flashing my Roborock S5 a long time ago and could never get it to work. Do you have a link to some good instructions? (other than the Valetudo ones?) I can’t remember what the issue was, I think it simply didn’t detect the vacuum or something. My Googling at the time left me thinking the existing device firmware couldn’t be flashed to Valetudo.

This is an old doc, but it still works the same way: Installing Valetudo on Xiaomi Roborock S5 Robovac - The easy way!

For mine, I reset it, placed it on the dock right next to my laptop and ran the mirobo command. IIRC, it took like 2 or 3 tries to get the firmware flashed. If you run into problems, DM me and I can go through it with you with mine.

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I’ve not noticed any drawbacks compared to the original firmware. The vacuum does everything it needs to do; Cleans (obvs) and supports Zones and no-go areas.

That’s interesting! :slight_smile: In the “official docs” you need to pull down a resistor (short circuit). Good to know it works otherwise as well! :slight_smile: :+1:

That’s only for the newer ones. The older S5/S5Max (2020-03(?)) and older support the OTA method. Mine is from 2020-01, so OTA works for me.