Every year, our homes grow smarter as more devices make their way into our spaces. From smart locks and thermostats to lighting and appliances such as refrigerators, houses have quickly become a haven for digital integration. Whether it’s your air conditioning adjusting its temperature while you are on your commute home from work or your front door automatically unlocking as you approach it, there is limitless potential for what you can achieve with home automation systems—not to mention what you can do when you add in your home media systems.
All these devices produce tons of data, and they need to be able to quickly communicate with you and sometimes with each other. Without the right setup, it’s easy to build up a digital logjam, creating problems and causing you to lose out on some of the convenience and functionality that you sought from the setup in the first place. Robust networking is essential for success when you want to automate your home.
At Starpower, networking is one of the things that we do best. Explore our quick guide to what you need to know about the networking that keeps home automation and smart home systems running.
Why Is Networking Essential for Home Automation?
When you start with home automation, you might only add one or two smart devices to your home. You may not be ready to commit to a vast transformation yet, and testing the waters with a few convenient devices is a smart way to decide whether you want to go deeper into this technology. When a few connected devices are all that you have, your home Wi-Fi network can easily handle the traffic that your devices generate, because there won’t be very much of it.
Now imagine what happens when you start adding more devices. As your home becomes increasingly interconnected and online, all those devices may need to talk at the same time. Suddenly, your home network is clogged with information. Communication slows down, connections fail, and things don’t work the way that they should. That’s why a specialized network installation is necessary—to ensure that all your devices can speak to each other, and be heard, without frustrating failures.
The solution to this problem is the development and maturation of the “mesh network,” a special type of wireless network that helps to cut down on the traffic problems that are so common in homes with lots of automation. Some mesh networks use a regular Wi-Fi protocol while others use local means of communication, such as lower-frequency wireless bands or even Bluetooth.
In a mesh network, there is still one central router, but there are additional “nodes” throughout your home. These nodes communicate with your IoT devices and each other, establishing an open pathway for a device to make a connection when it counts.
Today, there are numerous mesh network protocols for creating these setups at home. However, it’s vital to match the devices that you want with a network architecture that they can use.
What Is the Right Network Protocol for You?
ZigBee, Insteon, Z-WAVE, Homekit—there’s no shortage of options for network and IoT protocols that you can use to ensure that everything in your home can easily communicate. Which one is best for you? While there is no right or wrong answer, you can focus on what’s best for your situation. If you have a relatively small home, a solution such as Z-WAVE, which uses highly localized wireless communication, could be the right choice. For a much larger property, you may want to investigate a robust, hardware-based mesh networking solution, such as those produced by Google and other big tech companies.
Determining the solution that’s best for your home requires a close look at multiple different elements.
Why Security Remains a Critical Consideration
While you’re busy purchasing IoT devices and setting up the network, don’t overlook the need for robust security. The news is full of stories about people who have had uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences due to outside forces tampering with their IoT devices due to inadequate security—but it is easy to keep the bad guys out if you know what you’re doing.
Always change the default username and password to something more secure once you purchase a device. When possible, turn on two-factor authentication so that only you can log into your trusted devices. Secure your network with a strong password. Remember that your online security is only as strong as its weakest link.
Starpower Delivers Robust Networking During Home Automation Setups
At Starpower, home automation is a core part of our business. Not only do we offer a range of home automation packages from the basic Silver Package to the whole-home Platinum Package, but we also include setup and installation as part of our services, helping you to create a robust networking backbone.
Worried about how you’ll figure out the jargon and make everything play nice together? Let us handle it all, from start to finish. After examining your home and discussing what you would like to achieve with your system, we will go to the drawing board to determine the best way to execute those ideas. By the time our team concludes in your home, you will have a strong and secure network ready to help you take full advantage of new functionality and convenience throughout your space.
When you want to take full advantage of the latest technologies in home automation, your wireless network at home might not be capable of handling all the information flying through the air. When you’re ready to invest in a smart home, a thorough exploration of how to strengthen your network should always be your first step.
Enlisting our abilities and our extensive range of the latest smart home technologies can allow you to transform your space into the connected and convenient home of tomorrow. Contact us at your convenience to set up a free, in-home consultation with your local Starpower experts.