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HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

giraffes
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 19-04-2017

HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

Hi folks,

I have a HomeKit remote access issue that nobody (including Apple so far) has been able to solve. Given that I am now officially at the clutching-at-straws stage of this, I am asking here.

I am PlusNet Fibre with the OpenReach modem that is plugged into a latest generation Apple Airport Extreme. No modifications have been made to the AirPort Extreme and it is set up precisely as Apple have asked.

I have a 4th Gen AppleTV acting as a HomeKit hub. All devices (bulbs, etc.) are controllable from inside the house when within BlueTooth range. 

However, when I am outside WiFi/BT range, no control of devices is possible and no status is possible. The Apple Home App says that the Apple TV is connected (I have proved this by switching it off) but it still does not work. My Apple ID is set up correctly and Apple have checked this.

If I didn't know better, I'd say that some of the traffic is being blocked at the network level. I understand there are two communication channels going on and it feels like one is working and one is not. Apple have checked the diagnostics on all devices several times through two separate updates and can't find anything wrong. 

So that was a massive, long, tedious introduction to this one question:

Does PlusNet block any traffic at all? My PlusNet FireWall is set to off. I asked one of the online support people and they said no, but I want to be absolutely 100% positively sure: if all traffic is making it through to my router, then something else (Apple related) is still amiss that is unique to my setup. If there is anything being blocked, shaped, adjusted, tweaked or twiddled, it would be splendid to know.

Of course, there is a secondary question: does anyone else have HomeKit remote access/status working with PlusNet Fibre and if so, was there anything specific that had to be done or did it, if you'll forgive the use of the phrase, "just work".

Many thanks in advance and sorry if this message comes across desperate. It it does, then it is because it is and I've failed to disguise that fact Smiley

Giraffes

 

Tags (3)
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,274
Thanks: 339
Fixes: 12
Registered: 24-10-2013

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

the obvious question would be... do you have the required ports open on your router?
if you don't then no external access will work.
giraffes
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 19-04-2017

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

Hi,

 Many thanks for your response.

The router is configured as per Apple's instructions to allow HomeKit to work. This pains me a touch, as my brain tells me that I should be configuring the router specifically. I guess they have some "Back to My Mac" style magic that registers the external facing IP with the icloud servers in order to make it function. 

I'd like to establish from PlusNet for absolute sure that there is definitely no network blocking occurring that I am not aware of or have not disabled by switching off the online firewall. Once I know that absolutely all traffic is at least reaching me untouched, then that ensures that the continued conversations and explorations with Apple can knock that one off the list.

I'm also curious as to anyone else who has this working and if they ended up having to configure anything specific to make it work... because I cannot be alone in having HomeKit devices and there's got to be a bunch of PlusNet customers who have this working perfectly.

giraffes

 

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,274
Thanks: 339
Fixes: 12
Registered: 24-10-2013

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

there would be no blocking other than if you have the firewall enabled (or safeguard as plusnet call it).

regardless of what apple say, you would still need ports to be opened to allow incoming external access.
even "back to my mac" still requires that.
giraffes
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 19-04-2017

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

... and I hate to reply to my own message, but some connectivity is working. Note that the Home App can reach the Apple TV remotely, it just can't control or sense the HomeKit device status. I have verified this: I have powered the Apple TV down and up and watched the remote status change. I do not know if this is an outgoing status to icloud or an incoming connection on my network, but I am trying to learn this.

giraffes

 

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,274
Thanks: 339
Fixes: 12
Registered: 24-10-2013

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

that'll be because your appletv has internet access though, and outgoing connections aren't the issue.
your appletv is communicating with apple via the internet.

it's incoming connections that are your problem, and it's those specifically that need ports opened on router to allow the connection in to your network.
Community Gaffer
Community Gaffer
Posts: 13,423
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Registered: 04-04-2007

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible


giraffes wrote:

I'd like to establish from PlusNet for absolute sure that there is definitely no network blocking occurring that I am not aware of or have not disabled by switching off the online firewall.


I can confirm that there is no network-level blocking that would cause any of the problems you describe.

Has to be said, configuring remote access for HomeKit devices seems very protracted!

Few things in that article it might be worth checking, e.g:

  • Disable sleep on Apple TV
  • Enable two-factor auth
  • Enable iCloud keychain
  • Make sure you're logging in with admin account

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

giraffes
Newbie
Posts: 4
Registered: 19-04-2017

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

Thanks Bob, response most appreciated. It avoids Apple asking the question as we work our way through the issue.

 

I can confirm that Sleep is disabled, two-factor (not two-step) authentication is present, iCloud keychain is enabled, etc. I've also tried using both the iPad and Apple TV as Home Hubs and Apple have got full system diagnostic logs off all devices when accessing locally and attempting to access remotely, so they're looking at it. 

If you think that the "How to Geek" article is verbose, to say the least, you should see Elgato's version. Amongst their many "when you're desperate" suggestions is "always use an iCloud account that is icloud.com". I have had several separate representatives of Apple inform me that this isn't the case, but still, it shows that this is anything but plug-and-play.

I'm now hoping to find another PlusNet customer who has got HomeKit remote access working to find out if they had to do anything beyond "just switching it on". 

giraffes

 

Community Veteran
Posts: 3,274
Thanks: 339
Fixes: 12
Registered: 24-10-2013

Re: HomeKit remote access - Apple TV reachable, no device control possible

are you able to go back to the plusnet support router?
you might find it's an issue unique to the airport express.