Two homes, two Hubitat Hubs - how will that all work?

I have a second house - a cottage in norther WI. I would like to add a habitat and some automation to the lights and some sensors to keep track of what's going on when I am not there.

I already have Hubitat running at my primary home.

I have the hubitat App on my phone. How will that work with two locations? Can I toggle between them? Will it automatically link to the local Wi-Fi when I am at a location?

I do understand I can generate a link to a hub to use from a browser for control but not programming - but does the app come into play?

Notifications - I have some notification set up for my primary home, how will notifications work for the second location hub? How do they get "sent"? If I want to keep an eye on the temperature at the cottage and get a notification if it gets less that 50 Deg F- will that work?

Maybe I am not even asking the right questions - what do I need to know?

Thanks in advance - this community has always been really amazing at helping and figuring stuff out!!

Couple of things I'd suggest:

Unless you're running a VPN at the cottage, consider signing up for the Hubitat remote admin service. At some point you're likely going to want to be able to reach out and manage the cottage hub from your home, and remote access (via VPN or HE Remote Admin) will be required to do that.

Other thing I'd do is get a Wi-Fi plug (I use these) connected to your hub that works via the cloud so you can remotely power cycle the hub if some problem arises where you need to do that.

I also have two sites. I have a site-site VPN between the sites, plus client-site VPN, and still subscribe to the remote admin service. And yes, I have had to use all three at some point. I also Kasa plugs for remote boot. What I like about them is you can set a schedule to turn them back on every few hours. That way, if you do something stupid (like shutdown your router to the Internet, the plug can power it back on with no assistance. The schedule is stored in the plug and survives power outages.
I found that using the same stuff at both sites simplifies things a lot. Same battery types, same include/exclude method. I don't do any hub to hub connections across the VPN. (I remember Hub Connect before hub mesh that allowed it.) I treat them as totally autonomous systems.

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Nice, that is a "plug capability" I'd like to find in a Zigbee plug.

As for the OP's question I think you hit it right. Duplicate the setups, treat them totally independent of each other. (Except I'd like to hear why the VPN was a necessary layer in this case given the Remote Admin Service is in place.)

Practice power losses, and sequences for sure.

I'd add that given the remote situation I would not depend on any one end device for testing your most critical conditions, with battery failure and other blind factors complicating "knowing the full story w/o being there" circumstances.

Mostly lazy. I don't have to "connect" to the remote site when home or the reverse. I am just connected. Occasionally, the site-site goes down when one end loses internet connectivity, so I have to use the client-site to connect to the remote site to kick start it. I have instances where the Remote Admin Service hasn't worked, so thus the other 2 solutions. Just buying redundancy!

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I have two homes as well. Totally agree with prior comments about (1) VPN; and (2) putting your hubs on smart plugs so you can power cycle remotely. A few other things in addition:

  • if you choose to get cameras (my wife insisted), that takes you down a deep rabbit hole (I'd recommend BlueIris which can be readily integrated into Hubitat)
  • You'll find that some services work better (or will only work!) if you integrate them into a single hub once for both homes. I found this to be the case for Ecobee thermostats, Orbit Bhyve, and definitely Alexa integration. I have a single hub that I designated as "Shared Services" (across both houses) and then I use HubConnect to integrate the devices between houses, as needed. Think of HubConnect like Hub Mesh but unlike Hub Mesh, it works across the WAN. It is an awesome community app.
  • When you perfect an app after a few iterations (like, for example, when you build a rule in Rule Machine) and you get it jjjust riiight, then you'll want to know how to export it from one app, and import in another. I knew this functionality exists, but I never paid much attention to it until I wanted to duplicate or near-duplicate stuff between houses.

Hope this helps!

Can you share more about this? (perhaps we should split this off into a new thread)
I've been relying on regular VPN and would love for some of the services in my two homes to at like a single virtual network,

Don't want to hijack this thread, but just a quick answer. I have routers at each site, and create an IP/Sec tunnel between them, and an OpenVPN setup on each for client connection. I'm using TP-Link ER605, but most routers have some VPN capability. You can also use a Pi.

The SonOff have a similar capability...never thought of the use-case you needed the "turn back on" for, but get that it could be useful. Only takes one misguided click... :slight_smile:

So the other suggestions are all great and helpful - but I still don't understand how the app on my iPhone phone works if I have two separate sites and how will notifications work from a second separate site.

You will once you get into this.

In a simplified and paraphrased nutshell,
through the HE website, and use of the App and hubs you'll be establishing/subscribing your phones as "devices" that can be "pushed" notifications...and any notification prompted from a respective hub will, if you so chose it, make it's way through the HE established notification push service to your phone(s).

On you're phone you'll be able to see which hub prompted the notification and the hub rule/circumstance/device as per how you configure the message.

What model are you using? The various Kasa smart plugs don't specifically list this capability.

I also have two locations, 1100 miles apart. I've accidentally shut down a server or two over the years that could only be restarted by having physical access, and it's not a pleasant experience. Although I avoid wifi devices like the plague, in this case I think these would be a good insurance policy to have.

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Dangerously close to derailing this hub but as this capability in the plug would serve this use case of a remote environment very well, it's worth elaborating on the potential devices that could do it.

So that said, I don't see how the heck you are assured of this from a simple product description like "schedule" could just mean, "oh, your lamp plugged into our plug could be operated on a schedule back on the hub it's connected to".

I don’t use the app. I use Pushover for notifications. More flexible and different severities capable. One time fee of I believe is $5.

I’ve used them. They work as I intend them to do.

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every kasa wifi switch lets you set a schedule.. and they also resume last state in a power outage which many dont.. i have 5 differnt locations with kasa switches at each

4 different hubs in 4 different locations.. i put the kasa switches on the wifi routers at each and the hubs and any switches etc

if you do want to reboot your wifi router just make sure there is a schedule in the kasa to turn it back on in a few minutes before trying to reboot the router in case it doesnt come back.

OK, that helps - I wasn't sure if notification were routed through "HE established notification push service to your phone(s)." So that is the hubitat companies servers I assume....

But back to the question of getting the app connected to two hubs in different locations....
So I have a hub at my home and my app is connected to it. Literally I have that today. When I go to the cottage and set up a hub using a laptop, and once I have that set up - how do I connect that second hub to my exiting app? Is it just a matter of being on the local network (WiFi) and discovering that hub using "Find Hubs" and it will add the second hub even though its not on the same network as the other one? Is it that easy?

I really appreciate the help!! Its all theoretical until about a week from now when I start to fire everything up!

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There are others that are under the hood of this stuff more than me so they may pitch in here, I literally found it "that easy" so don't be worried. Things ARE discovered by virtue of how they designed things. Do some reading of the Documentation, AND do some searches on the topic in the forum, then ask as you start into the process if you have questions.