Possible Smart Home Connections

By: Sam V

There are several methods for networking your appliances in your home, with some being a lot simpler and more practical than other. The type of connection you choose depends partly on your budget and partly on the strutural state of your home. The following is an overview of the choices available:

Power line- This type of connection allows the homeowner to connect appliances together through the homes own mains electrical line. X10 and Insteon make use of this kind of infrastructure.

Phone lines- Just like power lines, the infrastructure is already in place to allow for instant communication within the home and potentially phones lines could be quite a good method of home automation... because it could be used for entertainment networking amongst other things, however there are few standards to allow for this type of smart home at the moment.

Radio signals- Wireless is a much more practical solution than using any of the wired connections because it canm be installed in any home and can be controlled from a number of locations easily, as long as, you are within range. Controlling appliances through radio signals is just like controlling your television with a standard infrared remote control. Zigbee and Z-wave are two protocols that use radio signals.

Structured wiring- This kind of connection is perhaps the most reliable, however it ususally works out expensive because you would usually have to call in a professional electrician to install it for you and is only practical when designing a new home. It would not be suitable in an old or structurally unstable home.

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