412Linux

Linux, open Source, technology, 3D printing, and tinkering.

Using Home Assistant to troubleshoot ISP issues

For the last 19 years, I would consider our ISP to be reliable. Outside of weather related issues, we have had only two outages which I can recall. That all changed about a month ago. We started to experience small outages which became more of an issue. As I run my own equipment, I started performing diagnostic. I quickly came to the conclusion the issue resided with the ISP. I pulled on my big person pants, took a deep breath, and called the ISP. After initial troubleshooting, a tech was scheduled for an onsite visit… 6 days later. 😮‍💨 While awaiting the onsite visit, I wanted to find a method document the frequency of the issue and validate the issue was an ISP issue. This led me to my Home Assistant device. My Home Assistant device was a good piece of hardware to monitor both the hardware behind the modem and the ISP connection.

The solution I put into place was to monitor my equipment along with the two reliable endpoints on the internet. For the internet endpoints, I selected 8.8.8.8 and 1.1.1.1 which reliably respond to ICMP requests. In Home Assistant, I setup my ICMP configuration by editing the config.yaml file.

  - platform: ping
    host: 8.8.8.8
    name: "internet_alive 8.8.8.8"
    count: 2
    scan_interval: 30
    
  - platform: ping
    host: 192.168.100.1
    name: "modem_internal"
    count: 2
    scan_interval: 30
    
  - platform: ping
    host: 1.1.1.1
    name: "internet_alive 1.1.1.1"
    count: 2
    scan_interval: 30

Once the binary sensors were created, I added a history chart to a new Home Assistant dashboard for networking.

Home Assistant graph: internet reliability

Within a day, I could see my internet connection was going down, while my internal hardware was operational. The frequency of the outages was also surprising. The outages also correlated with periods of time we were having internet issues. While our internet woes continue, it has been extremely helpful to have this data to prove to the ISP the issue resides on their side to limit unnecessary troubleshooting.

Since starting this post, we have come to find out a large scale upgrade is ongoing in our area. This is resulting in nodes having issues communicating effectively. Serenity now!