Improve management/UX of Bluetooth Devices/Proxies ("Bluetooth hub"))


I just recently started to use Bluetooth for presence tracking, and I am grateful for this addition to HA via BTHome. I found it extremely confusing and still haven’t figured out all the details, but I am at least somewhere by setting iBeacons on android phones via HA companion app (iPhones, sadly, can’t do that reliably apparently?).

I also found out that I don’t have a single place where I could see what proxies are being used, are active or passive and so on. E.g. it is possible to configure new Shelly devices with BT to use them as Bluetooth proxies (which is great), but without going through each of them by clicking on configure, it’s not possible to be sure which are actually doing some work.

Likewise, using ESP32 and ESPHome for Bluetooth proxy - they just get registered as generic ESPHome device, and without you knowing which one is doing the work, there is no way to figure out which is actually useful.

It’s also non-trivial to tell if my newly added BT proxy is doing something. I apparently forgot to add one line to my ESPHome config of my new ESP32, resulting in that proxy not actually working. All I see in ESPHome logs is just “starting a scan…” but I am unable to tell if it’s working or not. I had to disable all other proxies (which is complicated because of the above - I have to remember if I haven’t forgotten about some!), then see what’s happening with this single proxy in logs. But I don’t even know if I can tell if the proxy works from the logs (I now do now I can do it by adding extra logging automation to ESPHome)

Does it do anything? My iBeacon seems to be tracked, so probably yes (unless I forgot to disable some other proxy :cry: )?

I would expect something similar to zigbee2mqtt, or ZHA - some kind of a “management panel” where I could see “adapters” including proxies, which would give me info about which are or are not active, what devices they have tracked, and so on. I think I am not the only one - there are many posts on this forum from people confused about similar stuff, this post is more of a “general POV” and IMHO if it would find a solution to the problem I am describing, it would “automatically” fix the confusion other people are having too.

I am still happy that this has been released as is, but I just want to give feedback on how it feels from the user perspective, so it can be tracked and potentially improved.

Thanks a lot!

I agree; I like the BT Proxy feature REALLY much. I can’t believe how easy that has made integration of BLE devices for me, at any place in my network.

And it would be even nicer if I had some visibility to my BT Proxies – do I have enough? too many? which ones are handling requests from where?

Currently, I think I might be over-provisioning them just to make sure of good BLE coverage. It’s certainly cheap (<$15) & easy to do – just slap one on the wall anywhere I’ve got an AC outlet --an M5Stack AtomU plugged directly into a flat-format USB wall charger. Is that a good thing or a bad thing to over-provision these? How do I tell?

But anyway, even without that kind of mgmt visibility, BT Proxy is an awesome feature that enables a whole bunch of functionality, and makes things just magically work.

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I agree, it’s awesome already, don’t get me wrong!

I’m agree that it would be nice to have some form of visualisation.

I set up 3 BT proxy’s about 1 year ago for the wife to have some plant sensors scattered around the house. The sensors worked - however until about a month ago what I didn’t realise (due to my own mistake) that not one of the BT proxy’s were actually doing anything and all the plant sensors were connecting via the home assistant NUC’s own in build BT.

It’s only when I disabled the internal BT of the NUC that I lost all the plant sensors and realised there was an issue.

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