WiFi based home automation products are cheaper compared to ZigBee or Z-Wave products, but the downside is that WiFi devices need an internet connection to perform their function. A lot of those IoT devices don’t just communicate on your local network, they also talk to the outside world via the internet. IoT devices like simple smart plugs, sensors, and all kinds of home automation gadgets don’t always have a good reason to connect to the outside world. Letting your home devices controlled by a bunch of cloud servers on the internet may not be the best idea.
Internet connectivity for home devices should be optional – the user should be in charge of deciding whether he/she wants to expose the home-devices to the internet – may be for remote monitoring or controlling purpose. This can be done by making a local gateway for your home automation devices using a cheap $20 pocket router. Here is a guide on how to do this clever hack.
This hack depend on the IoT devices themselves, but many of them simply won’t function without access to the internet, but a lot of popular products like sonoff, blitzwolf, teckin etc have been hacked by the open source community to get around that. But jailbreaking solves part of the problem. Still, the need for a home-automation gateway is a challenge and requires some advanced knowledge of setting-up WiFi access point + MQTT broker + automation gateway server.
Albert David (@albert-david.blogspot.com) solved this challenge by modifying the firmware of a GL-MT300Nv2 (a $20 travel router) and converting it to a full-automation-gateway to support following functionalities:
- DHCP and DNS server
- MQTT broker (mosquitto)
All he did was build his own variant of OpenWRT firmware that includes all necessary components like domoticz and MQTT-broker. Follow the step-by-step method to overwrite the OEM firmware of the router with Albert’s all-in-one custom firmware.