WiFi + Fallback to AP

I needed a sketch for an ESP setup that reliably switches between STA and AP, and came up with this.
Uses could e.g. be a motorhome that is sometimes next to the house, and sometimes not.
Or, in my case, solar/battery powered main lighting control that also must be accessed during a powercut.
Other solutions I tried keep on trying to reconnect if WiFi/LAN fails, so AP becomes unusable as well.
Especially annoying with websockets.

Posted here because it might be useful to someone.
Not a professional coder, so let me know if there are errors.

On startup it permanently ignores WiFi/LAN connection if the programmed LAN is not in range,
and it creates an Access Point.
But if the router is in range, it connects to it (and also makes an AP).

If the WiFi/LAN drops out (router failure/powercut, driving away), you still can use it’s AP.
It tries to re-connect to WiFi/LAN, but only if the AP is not currently in use (activeSockets==0).
And it does so for a limited number of retries, with increasing gaps between retries.

This sketch is the WiFi part of a bigger sketch.
Some parts, like UDP, can be removed if you’re not using that.
Change the 6 consecutive lines that hold the credentials and LAN IP address to your needs.
Pick an IP address that is not in the DHCP range of your router.

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h>
#include <WiFiClient.h>
#include <ESP8266WebServer.h>
#include <WebSocketsServer.h>
#include <ESP8266mDNS.h>
#include <WiFiUdp.h>
const char* WiFi_SSID = "Your_WiFi_SSID"; // LAN
const char* WiFi_PW = "Your_WiFi_PW";
const char* AP_SSID = "AP_Name"; // AP and UDP clients
const char* AP_PW = "AP_Password";
const char* mDNSname = "lights"; // goto "lights.local" for mDNS enabled browsers and fruit phones
IPAddress ip(192, 168, 1, 25), gateway(192, 168, 1, 1), subnet(255, 255, 255, 0); // WiFi/LAN, fixed IP for faster (re)connect
IPAddress broadcastIP(192, 168, 4, 255); // all UDP clients
ESP8266WebServer server(80);
WebSocketsServer webSocket(81);
const unsigned int localPort = 8888;
unsigned long connectedMillis;
byte activeSockets, retryCounter, retries = 16;
boolean WiFiUp = false; // Wifi flag

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(74880); // this baudrate also shows ESP-12 startup data
  Serial.printf("\r\nESP-12 chip ID: %d\r\n", ESP.getChipId());
  Serial.printf("Scanning for %s\r\n", WiFi_SSID); // if WiFi/LAN is available
  int n = WiFi.scanNetworks();
  for (int i = 0; i < n; ++i) {
    if (WiFi.SSID(i) == WiFi_SSID) {
      WiFiUp = true;
      WiFi.mode(WIFI_AP_STA); // LAN and AP and UDP clients
      WiFi.config(ip, gateway, subnet); // LAN fixed IP
      WiFi.begin(WiFi_SSID, WiFi_PW); // connect to LAN with credentials
      Serial.printf("Found %s, trying to connect ", WiFi_SSID);

void loop() {
  if (WiFiUp && !activeSockets && WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED && retryCounter < retries && millis() - connectedMillis >= 60000UL * sq(retryCounter)) reconnectWifi();

void connectWiFi() {
  if (WiFiUp) {
    byte w8 = 0;
    while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED && w8++ < 15) {
      delay(333); // try for 5 seconds
  if (WiFi.status() == WL_CONNECTED) {
    Serial.printf("\tConnected to %s IP address %s strength %d%%\r\n", WiFi_SSID, WiFi.localIP().toString().c_str(), 2 * (WiFi.RSSI() + 100));
    retryCounter = 0; // reset counter when connected
  } else {
    WiFi.mode(WIFI_AP); // drop station mode if LAN/WiFi is down
    WiFi.softAP(AP_SSID, AP_PW);
    Serial.printf("\tLAN Connection failed\r\n\tTry %s AP with IP address %s\r\n", AP_SSID, WiFi.softAPIP().toString().c_str());
  if (MDNS.begin(mDNSname)) Serial.printf("mDNS responder started\r\n\tName: %s.local\r\n", mDNSname);
  else Serial.println("*** Error setting up mDNS responder\r\n");
  if (UDP.begin(localPort)) Serial.printf("Broadcasting UDP on %s AP with IP address %s port %d\r\n", AP_SSID, WiFi.softAPIP().toString().c_str(), localPort);
  else Serial.println("*** Error setting up UDP\r\n");

void reconnectWifi() {
  connectedMillis = millis(); // update
  retryCounter ++; // update connection retries
  WiFi.mode(WIFI_AP_STA); // LAN and AP and UDP clients
  WiFi.begin(); // connect to LAN
  Serial.printf("Trying to reconnect to %s, attempt %d ", WiFi_SSID, retryCounter);

interesting... thanks for sharing

Updated the code with a WiFi scanner, because it didn’t always work as expected.