I have just started with the smart home thing. I installed the hub and have only connected my thermostat and a z-wave outlet that I installed in the basement and have my cable modem plugged into. Reason is that occasionally my COX internet dies and usually the fix is to power off/on the modem. So I thought, kewl, now I don’t have to go into that damn basement. Well this morning, first time since I installed the Smart Things hub, the internet died. My wifi was still up and I had lan connections. But… the hub is off line. So am I correct now in assuming that the hub must always have internet connection to work? Which means its worthless to me for resetting the power to the modem, and as I think about it, if I connect more things like dimmer switches, etc (which I have about $400 worth sitting in my garage)… I loose all ability to control those things if I lose access to the internet??
Nope you’re pretty much right. Most things are controlled and run from the cloud. Very little runs locally at all, even though that was a big selling point of the v2 hub. Think of the hub as more of a physical interface into your network from the ST cloud engine.
Every system has pros and cons. A purely local system can’t be controlled when you’re outside of the house, for example. It also can’t communicate with cloud-based services like IFTTT. It’s also unlikely that you’ll get voice control with the purely local system.
Since different people have different needs and preferences, there’s no one perfect system. You just have to do some research define something that best meet your own needs. . There are many systems out there.
At present, SmartThings offers very little off-line processing, although they have said they would like to do more in the future.
Right now, the only code that runs local is SmartLighting and some parts of smart home monitor. And then only if all of the devices in that particular automation are also eligible to run locally, at least for a few hours until the hub battery dies. And even then the mobile app on your phone does not run locally. Your switches probably will run locally.
Like I said, I’m new to it. This feedback is helpful, thank you. It’s good this happened early if for no other reason than I can be aware of it and make sure I don’t add something like an entry door lock that doesn’t have an actual physical key (which I probably wouldn’t do anyway) and this will make me test stuff as I add them to see what happens when Internet is down. (for the cable modem I replaced the zwave outlet with a tp-link WiFi plug)
Anything that runs on its own batteries continues to run regardless of whether the hub is available or not. It just doesn’t talk to any of your other devices if it needed the hub to pass those messages around. The same is true for mains-powered devices if they can still draw current.
Door locks are always designed so that they will continue to function even if the hub is missing. So for example the doorlock that has a keypad will continue to open when you enter the correct code as long as its own battery is good.
(There are a few cases where you can set up two devices in the same room to still talk to each other without the hub if they use the same network protocol, but this gets tricky because once that’s on, it’s always on, and that means that the hub will not know the status of those devices since they talk to each other and not to it. Some people will do that anyway for safety sake in areas like attics or basements, but there’s just a lot that goes into that decision.)
So the best thing is exactly what you suggest: when you lay out your network, consider what you wanted to do every day and what you want to do in an emergency when the Internet is not available and what you want to do in an emergency when neither the Internet nor power are available.
For example, some people who live in rural areas where the power does go out frequently use night lights or plug-in flashlights that automatically come on if the power goes off. They’re not connected to a network in any way. They’re just a safety feature, particularly for stairs and basements. They can be a good solution for some use cases. (I know that wasn’t what you were asking about, I just offer that as an example where planning ahead can make a big difference.)
Bromo every now and then I loss internet. My main use is security and lights. I have a few minimotes set up and they continue to control the lights if the internet goes out. If you have a more complex setup and custom devices, you would be limited to what you can control with the minimote.
What you can control with the minimote which is also eligible to run locally.
For example, you could set up a minimote to turn on lights connected to a Phillips hue bridge and it will run fine as long as Internet is available. But once Internet is not available, the hue integration no longer runs, so that minimote button just wouldn’t do anything.
The same thing if you had a minimote set up to run a routine. Routines don’t run locally, so again pressing the minimote button wouldn’t do anything if the Internet was down.
I prefer not to use the word “associate” in this context to avoid any confusion with zwave “association,” but terminology aside, yes, my understanding is that if you are using the standard device handler for the minimote and you set up a smart lighting automation that uses the “button pressed” control field to assign the automation to that minimote, then pressing the button on the minimote would run that smart lighting automation when the Internet is down provided the V2 hub is still on power.
I tested this on a Vera (not my Vera, so I can’t comment on the whole platform. I doubt it’s perfect for everything, based on what I read on the Vera forums). We disconnected the house’s internet connection but left the wifi and network Vera was on up. We were still able to control the lights in the house via the Vera app, provided the phone was also connected to the wifi.
I was pretty impressed by that, but I heard negative feedback about the Vera app’s ux from the systems owner, so…
Not to revive an old thread, but has anyone seen any solutions to making things less cloud dependent?
It’s not true that you need cloud control for remote access as stated above, and I’m afraid that’s what most companies would use as the excuse.
AFAIK, HomeKit is the only competition that does all the processing locally, since Apple is about as anti-cloud as it gets. The past couple months their supported device list has nearly doubled thanks to them removing the hardware requirements for HomeKit.
With that being said, SmartThings is going to be the king of customization for the foreseeable future, but the cloud dependency and them being owned by Samsung is a real buzzkill.
Really all I would need is an offline capable zwave hub and a software bridge for HomeKit (similar to HomeBridge) and I’d be a pig in shit.