WF Aurora local network control (no cloud)

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by sarain, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. sarain

    sarain New Member

    I'm in the market for a geothermal system and like a lot of things I've found about the Waterfurnace Series 7 units. One thing I'm not fond of however are the limited options for monitoring and controlling the unit over my local network.

    From what I understand, the Aurora WebLink router and Waterfurnace Symphony service provide remote monitoring and control but only through the Waterfurnace Symphony cloud service, not directly through my local network. I'm not prepared to turn over control of my unit to a service provided exclusively over the Internet. There are several reasons for these concerns with security of the system and my network being chief among them. I'm not saying anything bad about Waterfurnace's security, having never used or evaluated the security of their products. It's just that I'm not interested in taking that risk with this system.

    I am looking for options that allow a similar level of monitoring and control that can be managed completely within my local network, requiring no access to the wider Internet. The preferred solution would be something that is already supported by Waterfurnace but I'm interested in considering other options as well if this capability isn't available from them.

    For anyone here who has the Aurora WebLink (AWL) router, have you found any way to accomplish this? I've seen mention of a locally accessible AID Tool feature built into the AWL but the information available through that interface appears rather limited from the few screenshots I can find. Could anyone provide a first-hand account of what is possible through this interface?

    The manual for the AWL mentions that the original SD card contains information that is important for connecting to the Symphony service. It goes on to say that removing or replacing the SD card will disable access from Symphony. Has anyone explored options for local control under such conditions or with changes to the information on the original SD card?

    Also, if anyone has examined the network traffic from their AWL, what insight has this provided about the system and the possibility for local monitoring and control?

    To be clear, I'm fine with a fairly raw interface. No need for a pretty web UI (or any UI really). As long as I can access and control the unit through a reasonable protocol or API within my network, I'm fine with that. Ultimately, I would like to integrate this into my OpenHAB home automation system, so that would become my UI. Needing to write scripts to interact with it (over a TCP socket connection for instance) would be a perfectly acceptable solution if that's the best option, as long as the communications do not rely on a cloud hosted service over the internet.

    Finally, as a last resort, I've seen discussions here in the past about decoding the custom Modbus traffic from the Waterfurnace unit directly and interfacing with the unit that way. @geo_jon (and several others) even mentioned reverse engineering this protocol and he shared a link to a website where he publicly posted live information from his unit at some point in the past . I couldn't find any detailed information posted about this however and the linked website appears to have been taken down in the years since he posted it.

    Waterfurnace, If you are reading this, know that there are many people out there that are interested in this. An installer I spoke with said that he hears requests for local access (without the "cloud") on a regular basis and would love to be able to offer such a solution. I hope such a solution exists or can be made available for those of us with these concerns.
     
  2. geoxne

    geoxne Active Member Forum Leader

    The WaterFurnace Series 7 is available with a UPC controller that will communicate to a BAS (Building Automation System) by BacNet, N2 or LonWorks protocals. It is NOT compatible with IntelliZone2 and Symphony. Info here-
    https://www.waterfurnace.com/literature/aurora/AG1568EW.pdf

    It would not be very comforting to an AWL/Symphony owner if someone successfully hacked into the system.
     
  3. sarain

    sarain New Member

    Thanks for the response and for sharing that link about the UPC controller. Unfortunately I'm looking at a system with two zones using InteliZone2 so it doesn't sound like that will work without some other changes. I don't think the installer I've been working with does much in the large scale commercial HVAC space and he wasn't familiar with the UPC controller. This is just my house, not a big commercial installation. Ultimately I just want to be able to interact with my system from a computer within my local network.

    Also, I have no experience with BAS by BacNet, N2 or LonWorks. With the little bit of Googling I've done on these protocols, the learning curve and added expense for getting everything set up to use this looks steep. I'm willing to learn if that's the best solution though. If you happen to have any good resources you could recommend for learning how to get started with any of those protocols I would certainly be interested.

    Just to clarify, any effort to reverse engineer and understand the Modbus traffic from the Waterfurnace unit would in no way endanger the security of someone else's AWL/Symphony setup by itself. From what I can gather, this is the protocol that both the AWL router and the AID Tool use to talk to the the controller in the Waterfurnace unit. Unless someone is standing in your furnace room, they wouldn't have direct access to this interface. Where there could potentially be a problem is if the AWL router itself or the Symphony service has some vulnerability that allows unauthorized access over the Internet. Hopefully that isn't the case here but IoT devices as a market segment don't have the best track record for security. That's the sort of risk I would prefer not to take and is why I am looking for an option that stays completely within my network.

    Edit: I'm not trying to make anyone uncomfortable about their AWL system. It looks like a great system for many users. I'm just stating one of my reasons for wanting to look for other options. I also just prefer fully local control of local devices even if it means a bit more work sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019

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