WiFi router as smarthome controller

Linknx controller

Using of WiFi router as a controller of DIY home automation system is a good idea. It’s energy efficient, noiseless, reliable, compact and you don’t need additional device. Good example of commercial realisation of that approach is a Z-Wave controller MiCasa Vera, based on WiFi router Asus WL500G Premium. There is also a few DIY projects utilized routers. One of them is Linknx.

As a base Linknx uses a Linksys WRT54GS wifi router running OpenWRT or some other ones from this list. That project is oriented to KNX/EIB technology. To communicate with KNX/EIB devices a home made-interface is used. Users have a good-looking web-interface with Ajax to manage the system. Its live demo version is available here. If you’re building KNX/EIB smarthome system by yourself Linknx might be good option for you.

Another interesting project Home Automation Hub (HAH) is based on cheap WiFi router Livebox. It uses xAP home automation protocol which can be integrated with X10 or C-Bus devices. Integration with 1-Wire bus and I2C bus is done by adding interfaces for them. Also there is a RF transmitter to communicate with cheap RF modules, AVR micro-controller, four relays, a set of input lines and LCD display. The HAH includes software modules for integration with Twitter (can be used as a transport for notifications), Google Calendar and Pachube and offers possibility to send SMS via connected old Nokia mobile phone. HAH is a green project because first of all its power consumption 6 Watts only. And secondly, it reuse old hardware.

A short resume is following. If you need a plug-n-play solution then Vera is your choice. It’s ready made budget solution, used modern Z-Wave technology. If you’re DIY-er and smarthome enthusiast then Linknx or Home Automation Hub might be your choice. They need some customization of hardware but also give an open source flexibility and freedom.

Add monitor to some OpenWRT router

DisplayLink

Here is a hack with allows to add a display to your Linux-based router or NAS equiped with USB port. That display It can be DisplayLink device (Samsung U70, for example) or 4D Systems OLED Display Graphics Module. You may watch log of your NAS or control applications which run on your WiFi router or server without separate PC or notebook.

[via Engadget]

WiFi router and Z-Wave controller in one

Vera

I already wrote about smart WiFi router Asus WL500G Premium which allows to extend its functionality using custom firmware. You can install there, for example, torrent client or SlimServer for Squeezebox media player. Recently I found Vera – Z-Wave controller which uses that model as a base. Vera support Z-Wave software version 5.02 and works fine with all Z-Wave devices. Using web interface consumer can add and manage devices such dimmers, switches, sensors etc as well, as create scenarios, events and timers. Additionally Vera tracks how much energy you are using and displays simple, visual charts according to different criteria.

Home automation is non-unique Vera’s function. Using completely plug-n-play IP cameras you can create a surveillance system quick and easy. Additionally Vera can control A/V equipment via infrared or RS232 (I suspect that something like GC100 is needed in that case). Vera cannot store energy usage statistic and video recording from security cameras. To store those you should subscribe to Vera’s service. But the good thing that the system can work without any subscription.

Vera is based on a messaging system like LinuxMCE. That allows to developers implement desire functionality in separate module using published API. Soon there will also be a Lua-based scripting language with a web based code generator to make it easier for non-programmers.

Z-Wave controller and WiFi router in one Vera is available on Smarthome site at $299.99.

Run Slimserver on Asus WL500G Premium

ASUS WL-500g Premium V1

Asus WL500G Premium is a very interesting device. Basically it’s WiFi router with four ports for wired connection. Additionally it equiped with two USB ports. Using one of those ports and external hard drive we can easily get NAS.

Moreover, the sources of WL500G’s firmware are available on the ASUS web site. As result there is a custom versions of firmware with extended functionality (possibility to run Torrent client, for example).

If you have Squeezeboxes you can turn WL500G into music streamer for your devices using those recommendations to install and run SlimServer there.

I thought to buy Asus WL500G because it provides amazing functionality. But it has a big disadvantage – lack gigabit ports and 802.11n. I can live without hight speed WiFi connection but wired gigabit network is required for streaming media content (especially HD) over the house. So, I decided to wait for availability of Belkin N+ Wireless Router.