Avahi breaks apple HomeKit and Philips Hue



  • Hey friends!

    I dont think I would have realized this if I wasnt already thinking about Avahi and mDNS from a previous post. But…ive been fighting to get HomeKit working with some Hue and other devices for two weeks. I finally decided to see if I could get all my rooms set up, use Apple’s approach, and through magic be able to say: ‘hey Siri, turn my holiday lights on.’ ... you know, the simple things in life.

    After a lot of trial and error - completely resetting icloud and HomeKit, resetting each bridge and device, trying to re-add them only to have them fail minutes later - I thought about mDNS.

    If i disable avahi on my pfSense box (on this network), everything works.

    If i re-enable Avahi, It works for about 5 minutes.

    I’m using the defaults on Avahi, and i have a few site-to-site open and IPSec vpns (where avahi is a godsend).

    Anyone know of any ways to disable avahi based on MAC or something?

    I have a seperate IoT network where LAN —> IoT but IoT —!—> LAN. It works well for devices that have to reach the proverbial cloud but not an app on the same subnet (EG i cannot get scansnap scanners to work on the IoT net...but things like Amazon Dash buttons and Nest cameras work fine).

    So, i could, and would prefer, to put my Hue bridge on IoT, but then when i use the app on my phones/iPads which are on LAN, they think they are on different networks.

    Anyway... anyone have any tips or ideas about mDNS/avahi and HomeKit?

    Cheers!


  • Galactic Empire

    I had the same issues and gave up with Avahi.

    My Hue controller and AppleTV (Homekit Hub) are on my IOT vlan and my iPhone & iPad are on my USER vlan, it works.

    I've attached my rules.

    ![Untitled 1.png](/public/imported_attachments/1/Untitled 1.png)
    ![Untitled 1.png_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/Untitled 1.png_thumb)
    ![Untitled 2.png](/public/imported_attachments/1/Untitled 2.png)
    ![Untitled 2.png_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/Untitled 2.png_thumb)



  • Hey friends - I'm still plugging away at this.

    NogBadTheBad - thanks for the input. I'm not ready to abandon Avahi just yet. It's too useful in other areas.

    Here's what I've tried:
    I moved my Hue bridge to my IoT network. No change.

    I've noticed that my iDevices smart switches don't have the issue. They are also on IoT. But my hue lights still show as 'updating' in my HomeKit app. Occasionally they will show up as accessible. And they remain accessible 100% of the time in the native Hue app.

    It's clear that this is tied to Avahi and OpenVPN too. If I block Avahi on the OpenVPN interfaces, the problem goes away.

    I'm not quite savvy enough to wrap my head around why that might be - anyone have any clues? It's like there's multicast traffic bouncing around and HomeKit is never settling before it's getting new or updated mDNS records?

    I know AppleTVs play a role in HomeKit. I haven't tried moving one of them to IoT - I can't imagine it'd make a difference. But…

    Anyone have any other ideas for troubleshooting?



  • I'm having the exact same issue. What I observed was that Avahi works intermittently. Initially, I assumed based on the logs that the daemon was crashing as I had to restart it a couple of times. I then installed Service Watchdog and enabled notifications when Avahi restarts. It appears it's not associated with the daemon crashing but something else that the logs don't reveal. Appreciate if somebody from Netgate can look into this. I own the SG-4860.



  • FWIW…I have always found much easier to have an Apple Extreme for synergy with my multiple Apple devices.



  • I have Apple Extreme's on both the LAN and OPT1 interfaces. When I'm connected directly to the network that the Hue bridge is on, it works flawlessly but when I try it from my LAN that's when I run into issues.



  • Hey having exact same issue. Did you all ever find a solution?



  • @Jim:

    Hey having exact same issue. Did you all ever find a solution?

    Actually I think I found solution. I put the hues bridge on its own vlan and pfsense has its own interface for that vlan. Then in Avahi settings I was able to select that interface under the Deny interfaces options and home kit has since immediately had the status of my lights for the past several hours.

    This works for me as I was not trying to proxy anything from the hues bridge.



  • @jim-coogan said in Avahi breaks apple HomeKit and Philips Hue:

    @Jim:

    Hey having exact same issue. Did you all ever find a solution?

    Actually I think I found solution. I put the hues bridge on its own vlan and pfsense has its own interface for that vlan. Then in Avahi settings I was able to select that interface under the Deny interfaces options and home kit has since immediately had the status of my lights for the past several hours.

    This works for me as I was not trying to proxy anything from the hues bridge.

    Can you explain this more in detail please? I have the same issue. Hue app works, but Apple Homekit not always.