Is My Network Goal Possible?

Hi,
I have a TP-Link TL-WR802N v4 and my aim is to use it to connect my wifi products like generic wifi rgb lights, mini google home and TP-Link Smart Plugs that all need a 2.4GHz wifi network to operate.

The thing is my only source of internet connection is my phone's mobile hotspot. I'm trying to come up with the best way to use these as when I leave the house the internet connection comes with me. I know the google speaker needs internet connection to function but I think the lights and smart plugs only need internet connection to set up and maybe not even, and in the case of the smart plug remote access.

If anyone has a similar setup or knows of a strategy that will work to give me a seperate wifi network with this router that I can connect to with my phone apps but also be able to give it internet connection through wifi tethering... bonus points if I can do both at the same time.

I've been playing around with installing the open wrt snapshot firmware and updating. I've been able to install the firmware and connect to a mac through ethernet to ssh into the router. The problem I face then is getting internet connect to it to be able to update with opkg. I've looked across a lot of the website articles on connecting it to a wifi network (my hotspot) through using terminal to edit /etc/config/network and /etc/config/wireless but I couldn't get full success.

The furthest I got was seeing on my phone that the router is connecting to the hotspot but unable to have internet connection when sshing back into it. It's very possible I don't have the settings in those files configured properly. One thing to note is my hotspot issues IPs on 172.20.10.x not 192.168.1.x.
If there's any more details I should provide, just let me know.

Thanks in advance.

https://openwrt.org/docs/guide-user/network/wifi/connect_client_wifi

The AP in your home will go down when you leave the house (which should be OK, since Internet is gone too). Look at the Travelmate package to address that also.

Hope this helps.

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That Travelmate package looks like it would be a lot of help.
Although it doesn't keep a network up when internet is disconnected it will make connecting to the hotspot simple.
I was thinking of something similar to the router providing an always-up local wireless 2.4GHz network that can be internet enabled when turning on the hotspot.

I think I'll have to play around with the phone apps like Kasa and Smart Life. I'll see what I can come up with today.

I've used that connect_client_wifi page to help but I find it lacking in guidance for the cli/terminal route. This part is where it loses direction for me.

"In the example, there are two networks, a Wifi g one called Violetta and a Wifi n one called GOinternet_EB20FB. The device was configured to connect to the one called Violetta."

It doesn't really elaborate on how to configure the device to connect to a network. It shows specific values in those config files that were changed for that example network but I found those settings didn't allow me ssh in over wifi, and when connected to the mac through ethernet there was no internet connection to update and install the packages through opkg.
I tried different lan ipaddr values without success. The phone is 172.20.10.1 setting the lan ipaddr in /etc/config/network to either 172.20.11.1 or 192.168.2.1 wouldn't grant me access when I tried to ssh from the mac connected to the same hotspot.

The router does show that it's connected to the hotspot since the phone shows 2 connected devices. I use Angry IP Scanner to check for the routers IP but I couldn't find it.

I'm going to my mum's place today and I think I'll just try connecting it over ethernet to her router and install LuCi that way for now.

OpenWrt is capable of this, I sent the Wiki article...the always on while the hotspot is away - might have to be configured.

The 'Connect to client wifi network' User Documentation?
I've read over that quite a few times. TL-WR802N v4 uses a recovery file from https://downloads.openwrt.org/snapshots/targets/ramips/mt76x8/ so I don't have access to the LuCi GUI. I explained my issues with the cli route in the post above.

opkg update
opkg install luci

(But, there's an issue with the LuCI in snapshot at this time [today].)

These can be challenging as they sometimes require the phone to be on the same wireless network as the device. If you're using the wireless for "sharing", you typically can't also use it to connect to a network.

For TP-Link devices in particular, I avoid the whole mess of TP-Link software (and, by the way, the devices "phone home" even if you've supposedly disabled it) with

Yes exactly! And even if you can get it on a different wireless network I don't believe there is any way to connect to a wifi network while creating a portable hotspot, even if it's over USB.

Thanks for the link to hs100/hs110 alternative. Once I'm up and running I'll check it out. Does it still have the feature to control remotely or is that what you mean by no phone home. Got no need for it at this moment, but it would be handy in the future if I ever get a regular internet connection.

I think I explained even with the router connected im unable to ssh over wifi and if I connect it to the mac with ethernet then opkg update fails to connect. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

From my network snooping on my TP-Link "Kasa" devices, they connect to CN-based servers even when the "feature" has been disabled. Since I control all those devices through my own MQTT server, I have no need for their app. I've got them on a "dead-end" VLAN with no public routing and no DNS other than a set of records that point their known NTP servers to a local one.

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