How devices such as smart Wi-Fi power plugs and Wi-Fi ip cameras connect to a private Wi-Fi network ?

The usual steps are the following :

  1. You buy the device

  2. You install the maker application on your smartphone

  3. You discover the device trough the application

  4. You set up your private Wi-Fi password network on the device trough the application

  5. The device reboot

  6. Then the device appears on your private network.

What are the technologies/protocol behind that steps ?

Let's say that in 10 years the maker application will not exists anymore. How I will be able to connect my device to my network ? What about password security during step 4?

  • 1
    Typically the Wifi password is sent in plain text obfuscated from app the adapter using Wifi. The app sends broadcast packets into the encrypted network and the smart WiFi power plug scans the networks for encrypted broadcasts (it can not read). The password is usually transmitted bit-for-bit e.g. using the packet length of the encrypted broadcast packets as data (the packet length can be determined even if you can not decrypt the Wifi payload). Decompiling the Android app should show you the exact way that us used to transmit the password.
    – Robert
    Jan 8, 2021 at 13:15
  • Simply make sure to purchase equipment that allows you to be flashed with firmware you can control, such as Tasmota. If you make this a conscious decision, you are "voting with your wallet".
    – 0xC0000022L
    Jun 11, 2021 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


There are many ways this can be done, only really limited by capabilities of smartphones, but here are a few common examples:

  1. Access point: the device broadcasts its own WiFi access point. The device's WiFi settings are configured using normal protocols (commonly HTTP) via the mobile app or manually through a web browser. Ideally, HTTPS would be used, but using WPA2 or later with an unpredictable, device-unique passphrase is also usually sufficient.
  2. Bluetooth/BLE: Using one of several possible pairing mechanisms, the phone finds and pairs with the device, followed by pushing configurations. Generally, Bluetooth will use encryption, but there are insecure ways to pair or transfer data.
  3. Others: WiFi configuration data can be transferred over almost anything, such as light flashes, NFC, unaudiable noises, etc. Encryption seems unlikely in most cases.
  • for REers: First method occassionally contains a entrance into the device, too if the script/program handling the configuration request is buggy.
    – masterX244
    Oct 4, 2022 at 8:41

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