dial-up networking

yes, you read that right… dial-up. I’m going through a tour of the wonderful world of 1990’s tech and trying to setup a dialup link to a location so remote it doesn’t even have access to low latency satellite, no cell, no cable, no nothing… but you can get plain old telephone service. All of the ISPs for this seem ridiculously priced so I’m wondering what folks are doing in this case. I can certainly config a vera3 in a place where I have access to a network (I guess this is needed on first config at least) and then move it to run standalone in the remote location. But I’d really like it if I could manage the unit remotely… or at least get status updates throw fwdX.mios.com. On that latter point, I intend to attach all the vera I end up buying to one account but is that the best practice?

Is anyone using dial-up for their wan and if so what are you doing?


no DSL?

Where doesn’t have satellite access? Are you underground or underwater?

If you’ve only got dialup Dial-Up Connection | Cheap Internet Service | NetZero

Good luck!

If you can get Dial-up, you may want to run the #'s on what would be needed transmission wise since the bandwidth might not cover it.

The largest chunks of data that a connected system will transmit are:
a) user_data - Device and current state information
b) logs & backups

You can disable (b), so that the logs aren’t persisted to MCV’s servers but the user_data is going to be transmitted if you use a remote Control Point (AutHomation, etc) or the Browser-based UI.

In my case, this thing is 700k, but for a smaller Vera setup, it’ll likely be less than that (perhaps others can provide some samples). Now Vera transmits this uncompressed, so a modem will take the complete hit on loading that content… it’ll also be a little larger, since the remote tunnels are encrypted.

Over a 56K modem, that might take a very long time, and I’m not counting the secondary content (images, JS, etc)

Before you set it up, you may want to test one running in that type of configuration and see how practical it is.

thanks for the advice and help everyone… I will let you know what happens as I make progress on this project starting with my initial tests. …bundling replies:

  • I was concerned about bandwidth to begin with (and even more so now given your calcs, guessed ;-)). I’m curious to see how it all pans out. What would happen if I ran vera in “offline” mode most of the time? What I mean is, I’d fire up the dial-up only once in a while for control and periodic status, the rest of the time the system would be a standalone lan essentially. Dial-up control could be by Vera (through LUA I guess) and/or remote (by dialing in and establishing the link that way)

  • no dsl, no cable, no satellite, no cell … just dial-up. The place is in a valley and the surrounding mountains pretty much block all cell… dsl might get here in about 18 months according to the local telcos… because it’s also heavily wooded, only a few locations in the development have a suitable view of the sky where the relevant satellites are (it’s possible that we could pool resources to share a connection but the sat company wasn’t too keen on that idea – and that would chew through the very limited monthly bandwidth too fast anyway).

  • I looked at netzero, they are interesting but they want you to run an app on your machine - I’m not too excited about that but I might go this route if I absolutely have to

The general bandwidth usage, when you’re not accessing Vera can be controlled down to [relatively] low levels. It would take a bunch of tuning, and potentially some tweaking of Vera’s scripts to get this to optimum levels.

The problem is when a client connects (iDevice, Android or the HTML Dashboard) they’ll all pull down the central “user_data”… and they’ll pull it all down. After that initial request, they’ll [typically] pull down only incremental differences, but if you restart that client (browser, iDevice, etc) then it’ll “start again” and pull the entire contents.

This will be the biggest hurdle to cross, since the transmission model isn’t optimized for low-bandwidth connections (missing compression, usage of a verbose transmission format, excess information being transmitted, etc, etc)

Now, if you’re able to write yourself a custom-client then there are other options. For example, you could simply avoid “getting the current state” up front, and just issue HTTP calls (against the MiOS Remote command servers) to perform actions. There are a few people here that have built HTML pages that effectively do that, but locally. Doing it remotely will require you to work out how to trigger authentication with the servers, and then transfer to your custom HTML content/page.

Vera itself will establish the outbound connection to their central servers, and will re-establish that when it goes down. I’ve never tested how quickly the connect re-establishment occurs, but I’m sure it’ll be manageable if you’re going to bring the dial-up link up/down (there will be a backlog of stuff to do at that time… so responsiveness will likely vary)

Side-note: You’d need to check on the specifics of your ISP wrt how long they’ll let you maintain a dial-up line in an open session.