Fully Standalone Gateway Operation

In my planned use case, I want to be able to operate a WebThings Gateway in a remote location without WiFi. Configuring the gateway in my office using one of my development routers works fine on an RPi 3 B+. My target system consists of several Z-Wave devices and appropriate rules connected via a UZB stick. When I power down the WiFi router used to configure the gateway and re-boot to simulate remote operation, the Pi 3 configuration comes up albeit slowly because of all the network retries during the WiFi setup. The system works as intended but I am unable to access the gateway dashboard to check the status of the devices (e.g. battery level of the motion sensors). If I bring the router back up, the gateway reconnects and the dashboard can be reached as it was during setup.

Am I doing something wrong in my setup or this the expected behavior? From I can discern from the code, it doesn’t appear that the gateway dashboard is meant to be reached via the gateway-configured AP but I may be missing something. It does seem to me that operating the system as a fully self-contained router and gateway controller is a good idea. The Turris Omnia OpenWrt approach probably solves this problem but it’s far too expensive for my use case and apparently not yet available in the U.S… A Raspberry Pi Gateway/OpenWrt configuration seems an ideal path to a fully standalone gateway.

Thanks. Any help would be appreciated.

Another option would be to pre-configure an AP on the Pi and have the gateway code use that IP address as the configured WiFi. As best as I can tell from the code, it might work as long as ‘wifiskip’ isn’t set. I know the comments specifically state to not to enable hostapd but I haven’t drilled down into the router setup code too much to see where the impact is. Thoughts?

Hi Gary,

It’s possible to create an OpenWrt build for the RPi, so that it can act like an access point. Or you can buy a cheap travel router, since my experience is that they normally work better than an RPi (in terms of serving Wi-Fi clients). GL.inet has cheap and easy-to-config travel routers. Do you plan to connect to the RPi wirelessly? If it is not connected to any other LAN/WLAN, then it will indeed need to host its own local network.

Thanks, Kathy. A good idea. My development router is actually a GL.inet AR150. It’s an interesting alternative. It adds to the cost but it would enable me to use a Pi Zero W for the Gateway in conjunction with the GL.inet router. I doubt if OpenWrt would work well on a Pi Zero. The minimum for that Gateway+OpenWrt is probably a Pi 3 B+.

Any thoughts about my idea of pre-configuring an AP with hostapd on the RPi that starts before the Gateway might work? I don’t need all the functionality of Open/Wrt and this would basically create a network that should show up on the list as a Wi-Fi alternative for configuration. I have been digging through the code a bit and it almost seems that it should work but I am no doubt missing something important. Lots of code to parse. It might be an interesting experiment for tomorrow.

We had built an OpenWrt image for the RPi, but we decided that the provisioning process was cumbersome and might confuse people. And the RPi doesn’t provide good quality Wi-Fi connectivity, and only supports a limited number of clients. :frowning:
@dhylands may be able to provide pointers if you want to make an image for RPi that acts like an AP/router. But in my experience, the cheap AP/router + RPi IoT hub is a more stable and useful solution. But of course that’s for my needs…