OpenWrt (ubus)

This is a presence detection scanner for OpenWrt using ubus. It scans for changes in hostapd.*, which will detect and report changes in devices connected to the access point on the router.

Before this scanner can be used, you have to install the ubus RPC packages on OpenWrt (versions older than 18.06.x do not require the uhttpd-mod-ubus package):

opkg update
opkg install rpcd-mod-file uhttpd-mod-ubus

Add a new system user hass (or do it in any other way that you prefer):

  • Add line to /etc/passwd: hass:x:10001:10001:hass:/var:/bin/false
  • Add line to /etc/shadow: hass:x:0:0:99999:7:::

Edit the /etc/config/rpcd and add the following lines:

config login
        option username 'hass'
        option password '$p$hass'
        list read hass
        list read unauthenticated
        list write hass

Then, create an ACL file at /usr/share/rpcd/acl.d/hass.json for the user hass:

  "hass": {
    "description": "Access role for OpenWrt ubus integration",
    "read": {
      "ubus": {
        "hostapd.*": ["get_clients"],
        "uci": ["get"]
    "write": {}

Restart the services. This ACL file needs to be recreated after updating/upgrading your OpenWrt firmware.

# /etc/init.d/rpcd restart && /etc/init.d/uhttpd restart

Check if the file namespaces is registered with the RPC server.

# ubus list | grep file

After this is done, add the following to your configuration.yaml file:

# Example configuration.yaml entry
  - platform: ubus

Configuration Variables

host string Required

The IP address of your router, e.g.,

username string Required

The username of a user with administrative privileges, usually root.

password string Required

The password for your given admin account.

dhcp_software string (Optional, default: dnsmasq)

The DHCP software used in your router: dnsmasq, odhcpd, or none.

See the device tracker integration page for instructions how to configure the people to be tracked.


If you find that this never creates known_devices.yaml, or if you need more information on the communication chain between Home Assistant and OpenWrt, follow these steps to grab the packet stream and gain insight into what’s happening.

Increase log level

  1. On your Home Assistant device, stop Home Assistant

  2. Adjust configuration.yaml to log more detail for the device_tracker integration.

      default: warn
        homeassistant.components.device_tracker: debug
  3. In another window, tail the logfile in the configuration directory:

    tail -f home-assistant.log  | grep device_tracker
  4. If you see a Python stack trace like the following, check your configuration for correct username/password.

    17-04-28 10:43:30 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.loader] Loaded device_tracker from homeassistant.components.device_tracker
    17-04-28 10:43:30 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.loader] Loaded device_tracker.ubus from homeassistant.components.device_tracker.ubus
    17-04-28 10:43:30 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.setup] Setting up device_tracker
    17-04-28 10:43:31 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.components.device_tracker] Setting up device_tracker.ubus
    17-04-28 10:43:31 ERROR (MainThread) [homeassistant.components.device_tracker] Error setting up platform ubus
      File "/opt/homeassistant/venv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/homeassistant/integrations/device_tracker/", line 152, in async_setup_platform
      File "/opt/homeassistant/venv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/homeassistant/integrations/device_tracker/", line 36, in get_scanner
      File "/opt/homeassistant/venv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/homeassistant/integrations/device_tracker/", line 58, in __init__
      File "/opt/homeassistant/venv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/homeassistant/integrations/device_tracker/", line 156, in _get_session_id
      File "/opt/homeassistant/venv/lib/python3.4/site-packages/homeassistant/integrations/device_tracker/", line 147, in _req_json_rpc
    17-04-28 10:43:31 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.core] Bus:Handling <Event service_registered[L]: domain=device_tracker, service=see>
    17-04-28 10:43:31 INFO (MainThread) [homeassistant.core] Bus:Handling <Event component_loaded[L]: component=device_tracker>
  5. If you see lines like the following repeated at intervals that correspond to the check interval from the configuration (12 seconds by default), then Home Assistant is correctly polling the router, and you’ll need to look at what the router is sending back.

    17-04-28 10:50:34 INFO (Thread-7) [homeassistant.components.device_tracker.ubus] Checking ARP

Inspect packets with TCPDump

These steps require that tcpdump is installed on your Home Assistant device, and that you have a utility such as Wireshark for viewing the packets. It also assumes that Home Assistant is communicating with your router over HTTP and not HTTPS.

  1. On your Home Assistant device, stop Home Assistant

  2. In another shell on your Home Assistant device, start tcpdump

    sudo tcpdump -nnvXSs 0 -w /var/tmp/dt.out 'host <router_ip> and port 80'
    • In this example we are only looking for traffic to or from port 80, and we are writing the packet stream out to /var/tmp/dt.out
  3. Start Home Assistant

  4. After a few seconds you should see a line like Got xx where xx is an incrementing number. This indicates that it has captured packets that match our filter. After you see this number increment a few times (>20), you can hit Ctrl-C to cancel the capture.

  5. Transfer /var/tmp/dt.out to the machine where you’re running Wireshark and either drag/drop it onto the Wireshark window or use File/Open to open the capture file.

  6. In the window that opens, look for the first line that reads POST /ubus. Right click on this line, choose Follow and then HTTP Stream to view just the HTTP stream for this connection.

  7. The first POST will show Home Assistant logging into ubus and receiving a session identifier back. It will look something like this:

    POST /ubus HTTP/1.1
    Accept: */*
    User-Agent: python-requests/2.13.0
    Connection: keep-alive
    Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
    Content-Length: 161
    {"jsonrpc": "2.0", "params": ["00000000000000000000000000000000", "session", "login", {"password": "<password>", "username": "root"}], "method": "call", "id": 1}
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: application/json
    Transfer-Encoding: chunked
    Connection: keep-alive
  8. In the response above, the portion that reads "result":[0, indicates that ubus accepted the login without issue. If this is not 0, search online for what ubus status corresponds to the number you’re receiving and address any issues that it brings to light.

  9. Otherwise, back in the main Wireshark window click the x in the right side of the filter bar where it reads eq 0. Scroll down until you find the next POST /ubus line and view the HTTP stream again. This request is Home Assistant actually requesting information and will look something like the following:

    POST /ubus HTTP/1.1
    Accept: */*
    User-Agent: python-requests/2.13.0
    Connection: keep-alive
    Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
    Content-Length: 114
    {"jsonrpc": "2.0", "params": ["8b4e1632389fcfd09e96a792e01c332c", "hostapd.*", "", {}], "method": "list", "id": 1}
    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Content-Type: application/json
    Transfer-Encoding: chunked
    Connection: keep-alive
  10. In this case we are actually receiving a valid response with no data. The request says that we are looking for ARP information from hostapd.*, which is the access point on the router. In my environment I don’t use the AP on the router, and so it was correctly returning no data. Armed with this information, I know that I cannot use this integration for device tracking or presence.


When you’re done troubleshooting, remember to reset your logging configuration and delete any capture files that contain sensitive information.