New House means new plans

It’s not really a beginner question as I’m currently running OpenHAB2 in my rented house with a Pi3, ESP8266’s pinging temperature information over MQTT and a 433Mhz power switch turning a dehumidifier on and off, as well as links to my amp and TV.

That said, I’m moving into my own home in the new year and want to start planning my new setup where I can automate more than I do now.

I’m currently considering a Pi Zero in every room acting as a squeezebox client. I see no reason why these Pi’s can’t also be sending the temperature over MQTT at the same time and in some instances have a screen to control lighting for that room.

The downside is that Pi Zero’s don’t have networking built in so I’ll either need a WiFi dongle, or USB to Ethernet adapter and run CAT5 around the house.

So my questions are:
What other functions do you think I should get the Pi’s doing?
Will the wireless network be too congested with 5 Pi’s pinging information/streaming data
Is it worth having a separate network for Home Automation and a router to OpenHAB, or will Squeezebox not like that?

I could see some (but not all obviously):

  • light: to control the lights
  • humidity: if you use a DHT22 you get both temp and humidity and since you have a dehumidifier knowing that from room to room could be useful
  • PIR: motion detection for room presence
  • Bluetooth device detection: reelyActive could track devices down to the room, at a minimum you can run some simple scripts to detect if a device is in the house for presence detection
  • Bluetooth beaconing: both of these would require a BT dongle, bring up a web page (sitemap?) on phone when you enter the room
  • security camera: if paired with motion or zoneminder, or some openCV smarts can detect motion or even do facial recognition
  • smart mirror

You might consider just getting Pi 3s. By the time you buy the stuff to network them (and bluetooth if you go down that route) you will likely save money just buying the Pi 3 in the first place.

I depends on a lot of variables meaning no one can give you a definitive answer without a whole lot more information. It will also largely depend on how well your wifi coverage is.

But over all with what you have described so far I wouldn’t worry, assuming you are using at least an 802.11N or even better an 802.11AC network.

For comparison, I have one Pi camera streaming video to my main server, two Rokus (which we have run at the same time), one old phone for audio streaming, and a myriad of other devices (15-20 at any one time) most of which are on wifi (older house, running wires is not going to happen) and I see no problems running on my 802.11AC router.

Obviously wired would be best but if you have a good wireless router with two or more bands (see below) you should be fine.

You don’t necessarily have to have a separate router. If you get one that has two or more bands, you can dedicate on band to your HA (and older devices that don’t support the higher frequencies) and keep your video streaming and home use networking on another.

Personally I’ve been thinking about going down that route for security reasons but I’ve yet to justify the usability costs in doing that.

I’ve configured my network so both bands run with the same ssid and config and the devices transparently pick the best one and I’ve one repeater which I’ve deployed to stretch the signal just a little farther to get a better signal in one room.

In short, I probably have a wireless network that would make a network engineer cringe at the inefficiencies but so far it works just fine.

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