How to detect Wifi presence on Asus router to disable in-home cameras?

Hi everyone! I’m brand new here & excited to me writing my first post. My ambitions are greater than my skills, and most everything I’ve learned is from having something gone wrong.

I have the Asus AC3200 & some in-home security cameras. My family is uneasy about being watched when they’re home, and so I’d like the wifi on the cameras to be disabled when anyone in the family comes home and re-enabled when everyone has left. I don’t want an app-based solution that everyone has to install, instead, I’d like my router to detect when particular MAC addresses are on or off the network and act accordingly.

I’ve read some postings about people using Raspberry Pi, but I have no useful knowledge of what that is or how it works.

Are there any solutions out there an intermediate-novice could work with? I’m open to switching routers if there’s an inbox solution.

Thanks to everyone in advance.

There are several easy ways you can do this.

  1. change your router and use Google Wifi, you can indeed turn wifi off select devices on a schedule. Probably other routers are capable as well, I just don’t know them. Have you checked in your router setting?

  2. Get the CUJO firewall, this will not only protect all your devices but you can also cut off each device on a schedule.

  3. Add a smart switch in front of the power source of your cameras and just cut the power off.

Best solution is probably #2, cheapest is probably #3.

Seems OP isn’t looking to disable on a schedule, but rather when people are/aren’t home.

What about using ST presence sensors and pocket sockets to cut the power to the cameras when some people are home?

marktheknife is correct. I don’t want to use a schedule, but instead use the logic:

when first device joins network disable wifi, when last device leaves network re-enable network.

I’d also like to be able to add/change the list of MAC addresses involved on both ends (devices that come & go, devices disabled).

I briefly looked at the ST presence sensors but the reviews were mixed, which is why i started looking for something that integrated with the router.

Indeed but disabling wifi on a schedule is a possible solution, usually people have a fairly stable schedule. These apps (Google and CUJO) are also able to be bypassed. I do that personally, I put my wifi on a timer and turn it off at night (my router can’t go to sleep on a schedule other than cutting power).

Presence sensors would work with cutting power to the cameras with smart switches indeed. No need to get actual presence sensor, just use cell phones as presence sensors so all he needs is 1 smart plug for each camera.

Without using a schedule, your router would have to support upnp to accept the commands to authorize / de-authorize a mac address. And you would probably have to write the handler for it :frowning:

There is a netgear nighthawk device type that may work… Haven’t looked at it real good but perhaps it can cut the wifi - you could keep your cameras on the “guest” access then cut that off when the presence sensors detect presence.

Alternately you could run all your cameras through a separate router or wifi extender on a different SSID, but on the same network / subnet. Then use the presence sensor to cut power to the router / extender.

Let me introduce you to my family :grin:

Agree, presence sensor meant to me either mobile device or the zigbee keyfob. There are some z-wave presence sensors too I think but they’re not that popular. The ST zigbee sensor is useful when you don’t want to use mobile presence (or can’t).

We can all do things a little differently.

But this would accomplish the same task OP seems to be looking to do, and is simpler than dynamically toggling the WiFi radio in an IP camera based on device MAC addresses being connected or disconnected from the LAN.


Have you tried using your phone as a mobile presence sensor in ST automations?

For some people it doesn’t work well, and so they look for other solutions. There is a thread about using WiFi for presence with Asus routers.

If you really wanted to do it the way you proposed, this thread might help, and it’s interesting either way.

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I am fan of, and have used for my own use, the solution @Scott_Barton came up with when dealing with presence. A virtual presence switch that has many different on and off triggers. His post on the topic is here.

Based on his post, I use a combination of IFTTT triggers to determine if I’m home. Life360. Android location service. And which Wi-Fi network my phone is connected to. If you have a large family, this could end up being a number of IFTTT recipes, but it has worked easily for me and there is no code to maintain. (outside of the Universal Device Handler which I have no intention of ever deleting :slight_smile: )

My $0.02. I hope it works out for you!


Not to throw it off topic, but it’s called an Arrival Sensor (ST branded) which is just a Zigbee device that when in range of the ST Hub or repeater device, mimics Present / Not Present as a State of the device. It uses a Device Handler of “Arrival Sensor” versus “Mobile Presence” for phones although they look similar as a device in Things. Not to be confused with what people relate to being an actual Presence Sensor around GPS / Wifi as a mobile phone is known as in ST. Just throwing this out there for newer people in the community and the verbiage that they see might be misleading or confusing to them. Just as confusing as this post might be as well. :slight_smile:

My personal opinion and to keep things simple with the architecture of how SmartThings operates you are better off doing something simplistic as what @marktheknife recommended in either using an ST Arrival Sensor or preferred method of using Mobile Presence (all phones in the family) and then having smart outlets (pocket sockets) that your cameras are plugged into and then within SmartThings you either have Routines built that automate this process, or you would be better off going down the path of webCoRE to build your Automations (that’s another topic). So when one person comes home or everyone leaves when Presence devices are set to Present or Not Present, the Smart Outlets turn on or off based in those Automations defined.

A quick summary of my setup with 5 Nest cameras:

  1. When everyone is home, there are only 3 cameras on (2 outside) or when someone is home (mobile presence from phone is Present) period.

  2. When everyone leaves (All phones Not Present) I have Automations (webCoRE Pistons) setup that automatically Arms the ST system, change the Mode to Away, Lock Doors and when ST is set to Away, ST sets my Nest system to Away as well (via NST Manager SmartApp). When my Nest goes into Away I have it preconfigured to turn on all 5 cameras, and set my Thermostat settings as well.

  3. When someone gets within range of the house (mobile presence Present), if the system is still Armed and the Mode is Away, another Piston fires, opens the garage door, unlocks a lock in the garage, sets the system to Disarmed and Mode to Home, and if after dark turns lights on, which in turns sets the Nest System to Home and turns the other 2 cameras Off automatically, and set my Thermostat back to the appropriate mode.

You can go the backend route directly with your router and wifi to try and accomplish that, but in my opinion, it would be so much easier to perform this directly within ST and tie it in with all of your other Automations. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the precision.
I read reviews on Amazon, customers don’t seem to be super happy with these sensors.

I have one on my keychain and as my keys sit in the ignition in the garage, this device has been pretty reliable for a year with one battery change. Being in the garage and further away from the hub, I have a feeling that for a lot of people who have had failures or false readings that depends on them for the equivalent of Presence are disappointed that the range doesn’t fall within their hub around the corner, instead they pull up to the garage and have to wait 30 seconds before it is in range of the hub. Now with a stronger mesh and Zigbee repeaters starting from the closest part of the driveway, they probably would have better success and range. The other issue I have seen for people is battery consumption. For me I haven’t had any issues, but because I have had 99% percent successfully with mobile presence (Android / gps), that’s my go-to. I know many others who mobile presence in ST just doesn’t work or isn’t reliable. :slight_smile:

I use one arrival sensor (@WB70 is right, they call it an arrival sensor, although every 30 seconds it sends out a zigbee message that says “I’m here,” so I think of that as presence sensing too). It’s on our nanny’s keychain. My wife and I use mobile presence. Both work just fine for us.

Some people have terrible experiences with the zigbee sensor, others have found mobile presence to be totally unusable. And vice versa for both too. Everyone’s local situation is different and it’s essentially impossible to predict how either solution will work for you based on others’ experiences.

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They are reliable, it just depends on the use case for them. I’ve been using presence detection for about 4 years now, both the old and new generation and they can be very useful depending upon how you are using them and the strength of your mesh network.


@bercaw I’ve been using ST for about 4 years, and I tried to accomplish this early on using the ASUSWIFI presence script mentioned below, I have 4 teenagers so there was no regular schedule and i didn’t want each to have to install ST and keep it running.

After trying a ton of different options, and trying so many different ways to use it I had finally gave up and used the arrival sensors and it was the easiest way. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough.

That is what I would suggest.

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You don’t need any external sensor, nor to buy another router. All you have to do is:

  1. Flash Merlin on your router but you have to check first if your model is compatible but it should be. This is a very easy process, you can find many tutorials and instructions. You need to do this in order to be able to mount the JFFS partition which enables you to add custom scripts for your router.

  2. Create a script that:
    a: loops through the router’s assoclist and compare each MAC against a list that you provide.
    b: if no match then add a firewall rule using iptables that will drop/reject the traffic
    from/to your camera. This should go in the FORWARD chain.
    c: in case of a match then remove the rule from the firewall, therefore allowing the traffic to/from your
    camera. Keep the states in a file and compare them with the current ones each time, so you don’t end up
    with multiple firewall rules or removing a rule which was not created.

  3. Add your script to a cron that runs every x minutes or just simply use a loop inside your script.

I’ve heard you can use Google wifi. This seems to be the easiest way, you will be able to turn on and switch off your router on a schedule. I think you can perform that change even without google wifi. You have to take a closer look to your router settings I think you will be able to find something over there. To cut it short, I think it will be better for you to read this article login to find out how you can access your admin panel and to perform some settings that will improve your router internet connection. Go on and check this article, you will like it, I am sure of that.