Hubitat LAN and Cellular Data at same time

So, we moved from the big city out to the country, and for the first time in my life, I don't have internet at home. I know, it makes no sense, but nobody services our location (save for terrible satellite, Starlink with "Best Effort" option, or $80/mo for 2.5Mbps connection through landline phone company). While living in the city, I amassed a collection of smart devices and was so proud of my automations, but now I have to actually walk around the house turning off switches and locking doors behind the wife and toddler.

I have taken some small steps to bring the house into the 21st century, including setting up an offline LAN, bolstering my Plex Library, and connecting my Chromecasts to the wifi network in order to stream (thank God for the Disney Babysitter). I have purchased a Hubitat and it has been collecting dust waiting for me to configure some Z-Wave and Zigbee devices, and I'm finally able to get some of that done!

Here's the rub: The Hubitat (as well as Plex server) are all running on the LAN, non-internet wifi, and connecting to that network in order to do anything Plex/Hubitat-related will disallow cellular data. I have tried to configure the wifi settings on my Samsung to allow for both data sources, but to no avail.

Here's what I'm trying to do:

I want to be able to connect to the wifi on my phone/tablet to have access to my smart home and use presence automations, but also not constantly connect and disconnect to that network as that disables cellular data connection. I have searched high and low, even bit the bullet and called my Dad, but nothing! I remember having seen something about a similar situation on a forum, but I can't for the life of me remember where it was or how to word it. So, here I am, coming to the experts!

tl;dr: No home internet. Have Hubitat on LAN. Want to connect to LAN while maintaining cellular data connection.

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I've been trying to figure out how to do the same thing while camping in the RV. Short of a SIM card in a router I'm curious if there is a way to do this too.

Okay, this would have been much easier prior to companies locking down our phones firmware, but may still be possible.
In Samsung phone settings, scroll down to About Phone->Software Info-> Build Number.
Tap on build number about 5 times, it'll ask to activate developer options. Now you have a new item in settings menu. Under "developer options" you want to toggle on "mobile data always active" see if that helps maybe.

Be careful with other developer options, no real damage, but can make your phone behave weird or cause the screen to display very tiny or large.

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I actually tried this a couple times, and unfortunately if it's reading the wifi network (which is at like 866Mbps), nothing works for cellular data :frowning:

I appreciate the suggestion though!

It isn't cheap gear but i would suggest you look for a router with 4g/5g support. You may be able to talk to your phone provider and get something from them.

I know netgear had a orbi variant a while back that could connect to 4g lte.

I've considered that option, even had AT&T and Verizon out to set up Fixed wireless. Both of the techs left though, stating " your signal is not strong enough, sorry".

Then how well is you phone working. Are those your cell phone provider?

It's....working....barely. I typically have about 1-2 bars of 4G with AT&T, with temporary forays into 5G (which typically is so poor, I just have to wait for it to drop back to 4G). It's serviceable for mobile, but the typical range they were finding was about -115db to -120db and they were concerned I would just be calling to complain about signal all the time were they to activate service. I can get enough signal to do most of what I want to on my mobile device, but on days where there's a local college game, my device can become unusable because the network is so oversaturated.

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I think you have kind of answered it write there.

So to summarize:

  1. You are out far and dont have access to connected HSD from cable companies or phone companies.
  2. Your cell service at the location is also spotty and your provider has refused to install service due to that limitation.

You could still get a router with a 4g LTE as a WAN connection and just know it will be spotty. Just get it from amazon and then get a sim card from a provider and hope for the best. It isn't a great choice, but not sure else to suggest.

@mavrrick58 is on the right track. The antenna in your cellular device is so small, you might benefit from a cell booster. TMobile offers these or locate a cellular router with 4G. Almost any transceiver that is NOT a cellphone would have better reception, due to the larger antenna.
Hey I've seen quite a number of folks on TikTok that live in very remote places and somehow they are able to get a signal, reliable enough to go live, so what about checking in some type of "off grid" forum, where they'll probably be loads of people who have solved the problem?

Just out of curiousity how far aware are you from having a good wireless signal, or a place you could get High speed internet?

the problem with adding 4G connectivity to my router is that it would add yet another bill. And I'd constantly be trying to keep Plex from trying to "stream" even though it was local (have had that happen before). I would also then be connecting my phone to the (most likely) metered network of the hotspot, instead of using the unlimited wireless plan that I've been grandfathered into on my mobile device. AND THEN, it would defeat the purpose of Hubitat being local as it would then be connected to the outside world (not the worst, I'm no crazy conspiracy theorist, but I do like the fact that it's local only, unlike my Google devices that would strangely present ads for things I had talked about earlier that day...).

The neighbors about 1/4 mile away were able to get fixed wireless, but apparently our tree coverage and elevation made it so I could not. I'm waiting to hear back from ALL of the providers for high speed internet because none of them service our location.

What you're looking for is localized split tunneling on your phone.

I don't off-hand know of a solution, but will do some more research later today. Wanted to drop the terminology in case that helps with your research.

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Have you looked into Starlink? Your use case may be a perfect fit for it.

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I think that might be the ticket! I'll do some digging around in Nord when I get home to see if I can get it up and running.

I've been on the wait list since '21, and they have offered "Best Effort" service which, for $600 + $110 a month with no guarantee of working, I'm gonna wait til they activate our cell.

This reminds me of a huge home in the middle of nowhere that I setup.

The best case scenario is to get your network online. Stuff just tends to want to communicate with Internet servers and stupid stuff happens if you are offline. I was able to get Verizon's home Internet for $50 bucks a month and then put it in to bridge mode and connect a very large private network to it. It worked great. I believe the other companies have similar service.

You need to make sure that router is not obstructed by anything. The attic is usually the best place for it. Buy a Zigbee plug socket so that you can reboot it remotely.

Download the Hubitat app