Really Need Cellular Backup

Some interesting options…

Of course there is all manor of PCI Express options (with an PCI adapter card if necessary) if you are running something like pfSense on your own server.

I have a Peplink dual WAN router with a Verizon 4G usb dongle. Peplink is relatively low cost but provides business class reliability. I highly recommend checking them out. I use a separate wireless router connected to the Peplink as an access point but Peplink does also offer dual wan models with WIFI.

A word of caution to not rely too much on cellular backup for critical or security purposes if you live in a populated area. During unusual events, like a wide spread power outages after a storm or major ISP outage, these residential cell towers have capacity issues.

I’m sitting here about to enter day three of a power outage and loss of primary ISP. Yesterday’s event started off with me and 370,000 area households without power around 2pm. My wireless failover to Verizon 4G was smooth and automatic but by 6pm the connection started degrading to “2G” and failing entirely. The same signal problems were visible on our two verizon mobile phones and neighbors with AT&T and TMobile were complaining of similar or worse cell service problems on social media. The issues repeated tonight in the peak evening hours but to a lesser extend since some folks had power restored. And the same thing happened during a shorter power outage a few months ago.

Just something to think about as you plan your zombie apocalypse home automation and security scenarios.


Baring a simple on box USB solution such as Iris offers for 4.99 a month…

I did acquire an alternative. Netgear 6100D, from freedompop.

Pros -
No wifi / wifi bridging required. Ethernet Ports aplenty. Wifi bridging is complex for average folks, and adds additional wifi networks and interference to your house. It’s an ugly way to link in this situation, period.
No monthly cost assuming you don’t go over 500mb
The NetGear device allows you to configure dual wan with your land line internet as primary. Failover to LTE/3G.

Cons -
Freedompop reputation for tricky billing, shipping times, etc.
I got my device from a top rated ebay seller as freedompop is terrible at shipping. $69 Bucks.
Unknown reliability yet. Unknown fail over reliability.
Another link, another box to fail, separate organization - divided responsibility.
Unknown how much bandwidth ST takes if it were to use LTE full time.
Freedompop is a MVNO (SP?), a cellular company without infrastructure. They are discount house and are subject to the whims of others. I expect infrastructure changes that may require equipment changes and your costs can change at any time. So, buyer beware.
Sprint LTE, which does not seem to have the same coverage as say Verizon or AT&T, but of course that is very dependent upon where you are going to install this.

I will be testing the failover / back and forth between land line internet and LTE extensively over the next few weeks/months.This will be a key to the viability of this. It’s possible another box will be required to provide the WAN redundancy logic reliably, but I will test the netgear solution first as that would be the least complex. My config is that the ST is the only device behind the netgear.

Assuming I can get this to be reliable, this seems like a decent, simple solution. I do still think a USB solution supported by ST as an on box cellular backup is required if ST is going to continue offering this as a home security solution. However, I would agree that - Reliability, Local Processing, should be priorities over this.


Search the forum, there was this discussion before, I believe the usage was less than 2gb per month, no videa, obviously.

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I have been running SmartThings with freedompop since the time of WiMax now converted to LTE.
Running a v1 hub with just under 50 devices I average around 200MB per month. This average has been consistent for over two years now. I am on the fringe of service and must set the hot spot to 3G only. It has been reliable for the entire time. I am located in a residential area and have gone through three power outages lasting upwards of four hours. I have never lost the ability to connect. I do know that cellular companies are required by law to provide cell service for some period of time during a widespread outage and I am not sure data is included.

My hub is connected to a WiFi dongle and connects to a freedompop wireless hot spot. Both the hub and the hot spot is connected to a USB lithium power pack.

The only oddity that I encounter is the hub will occasionally drop off the network. It will do this a few times a day and it is only for a few seconds. I am not sure why this happens but the interruption is brief and doesn’t seem to effect the operation at all.


There are two things this device can provide. for me:

  1. LTE/Cellular WAN
  2. Onbox WAN Failover Mechanism.

2 is optional, if it isn’t able to do so reliably, you may have to use another router to do this. This post is about the WAN Failover Mechanism.

Failover is not as robust as I would like. I am going to keep testing to determine if I need to rely upon another box to effect the WAN redundancy piece or not.

Initially, I am unable to get the failover to work if your wired WAN connection is statically configured at all. If I force this to be DHCP, I am able to get it to failover now. It fails over / back and forth as the wired WAN link comes on line and goes away.

I have tested this by eliminating Internet connectivity, and also by physically disconnecting the NIC (this would simulate a power failure of the adjacent upstream device). Both appear to be working. Although initially, it was not failing back to LTE - and I was not sure why. That issue seems to have gone away, the remaining concern is I don’t know why.

I will continue testing periodically to understand if I am able to rely upon this config.

Overall, I am hopeful. It’s clean, wired ethernet, wired WAN for land line, backup LTE with significant antennas and the option to hook up an external LTE antenna if so desired/needed.

Additionally, when the wired WAN is up, the LTE/Cellular data is completely disconnected in this config so there is zero data usage unless there is a failover event.

“Both the hub and the hot spot is connected to a USB lithium power pack.”

Awesome! Two questions:

  1. Do you power the hub with the power pack via one of the USB ports on the back of the ST hub?
  2. Is there any additional configuration of the hub to get it to access the internet via the wifi bridge dongle? Or, does the dongle plug into the hub via ethernet? (I think I just answer my second question) :slight_smile:
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All devices are powered with the USB power pack.
There are three devices. SmartThings Hub, wireless hotspot and the wireless AP dongle which connects to the hotspot via WiFi.
It is all neatly packed together and tucked away. The USB power pack is plugged into AC but when power is removed it will run for about 50 hours before the pack is drained. Your time will vary depending on the size of your power pack.

The hub requires no configuration. The wireless AP dongle has an Ethernet connector which plugs into the hub and a USB connector for power.

Did you mke thi work?

Hehe heh, sort of. It’s plugged in, but the stupid FreedomPop device seems like it’s misconfigured. I really need to buckle down one day and sort it out. I’ve only lost internet once since I got it. And had lost power anyways. Sigh. It’s on my list. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the quick response. So, you have a USB cable running from a) the hub USB port to b)one of the three USB ports on the power pack in case of a power failure? Sorry to belabor the point. I’m not tracking with your backup power setup for the hub.

That is correct. I have a V1 hub so it doesn’t have a battery anyway.

Netgear 6100d w/ Freedompop Update:

Failover to LTE when the WAN link is disconnected takes up to 90 seconds. Not terrible, but not perfect.

Real World:

  • My Land Line Internet died while I was out of town for about 4 days. Although I have a business class service, the dmark hub needed to be rebooted to restore service. I can call and have this done by the ISP but I did not this time.
  • The 6100D failed over to LTE and kept SmartThings connected.
  • ST consumed less than 10mb per day during that outage period.
  • This failover scenario is very different than disconnecting the WAN, it 6100D has to determine that although the link is alive it cannot reach out to a health internet. It worked seemingly flawlessly. I don’t have stats on how quickly real world, but in my testing it was about the same as a complete Link failure.

I have acquired another 6100D and have a separate IOT infrastructure behind it now.

Pros: - Free Service up to 500mb, only cost is for the gateway - I paid around $70 a unit.
- Seemingly reliable failover, using your landline internet as primary.
- Wired Ethernet all around - no Wifi or bridging required.

Cons: - Need a UPS to supply battery backup in case of failure. (Okay for me, already have this)
- Multiple vendor configuration - no one is responsible for the system end to end.
- Unknown how having your ST on a separate LAN or address space can/will effect other IP based IOT devices you wish to connect to ST - I have no such devices as of yet. (You would not want potential high bandwidth devices on the 6100D LAN consuming your 500mb in the event of a land line failure).


how did you setup the failover LTE? do I need to buy a spacial router?

See the posts right above.

freedom pop donest have the 6100D in stock. so I wanted to get a Mifi from them for $19 and then have Wireless Adapter WiFi Bridge and now I need a switch/router to build a failover. the last part I am not sure which router/switch to get.

One thing to consider is do you really need a fail over? I just run the SmartThings hub on the cellular network all the time. I run 58 devices and have a lot of automatons and the most it ever uses is about 180MB per month. This is well under the 500MB for free limit. Have been doing this for over two years and it is very reliable. In fact more reliable than having it connected to broadband because if the power goes out in your house chances are the broadband node hanging on the pole has lost power too. At least that’s the way it works around my place.

Yea sorry I can’t help. I jumped on the 6100D because I didn’t want a complicated system with a wifi bridge.

cellular can loose connection as well, although they are very resilient. You will need to be careful with cameras and other systems that may up that throughput usage though.

In any event, the way I have it setup I have broadband primary, cellular backup. No fees for the cellular.

thank you both for the info.
the failover is costing me only $40. (planing to use this TP-Link Internal Universal Power Supply Load Balance Broadband Router (TL-R470T+). I am just scared of going over 500MB accidentally and get overcharged (more than $0 haha) by freedom pop.
I thought V2 hub downloads and runs routines locally, i.e. if it looses connection it still works and I just cant see the status but I tested it and it is not the case.

@an39511 can I use (TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA855RE)) instead of (Vonets VAP11G Wireless Adapter WiFi Bridge AP For RJ45) ? also any tips on how to setup my freedompop account so that I get the free package? is there any catch/trick?

Doing the same at our second home: it has been solid! Have also considered using cellular fail-over with a broadband connection, but this “just works” for now.

However, if the ST hub used the USB for a cellular modem… :sunglasses: