In recent years, people have begun to take an interest in the network protocols that their homes run on, and with the age of the smart home dawning, it’s even more important to understand what each of them means. Network protocols refer to how the signal is sent from one device to another, and with smart homes using so many different devices and applications it’s essential that they all match up.
Nowadays, there are quite a few different network protocols available to choose from. If you’re hoping to set up your home to be a smart powered base with multiple devices, you’ll need to understand exactly what each protocol is all about.
However, not all network protocols were created equally, and they all have their unique pros and cons, so if you want to weigh up Zigbee vs Z Wave vs WiFi we can help you do it. We’re here to give you a quick guide to the most common protocols for use in your home and what each of them offers, so you can choose the right one for you.
Network protocols are constantly updating and innovating, so it’s common to see new ideas being pushed onto the market. The following are some of the most popular home network protocols and those most commonly used in the smart home.
Zwave is an open source mesh network protocol that is used for smart home devices. This protocol works with such a huge range of devices that it makes it popular for these devices, however, it’s best suited to homes under 3,000 square feet due to limitations in size range.
This is a wireless protocol commonly found in smart home devices including door locks, dimmers, and thermostats. Operating in a mesh network it uses on the device to relay a signal to another, all the while strengthing the connection. Although it has a shorter range, it’s usually cheaper to use and will last longer in terms of battery power.
A shorter range of network protocol but common on phones and speakers, Bluetooth uses a frequency hopping system which allows it to negotiate a map for its signal and reduce interference. Bluetooth uses no wires or cables which makes it clean to operate, however, the transfer speeds are a little slower than others.
A common choice in households, wifi is fast and reliable and has a range of about 25 meters. This type of technology allows you to work on the move so you won’t lose signal, and they’re cheap and easy to install. However, wireless networks are known to be more prone to attacks by hackers.
This is a wired communication method that is popular for home computers. The range goes up to around 100 meters and they have a low rate of electromagnetic interference. The best thing about Ethernet is that it’s faster and more reliable than other methods, but does require additional setup.
When deciding on a network protocol for your home, there are a few factors to consider. Here are a few things that people look at in their network protocols and how these popular choices stack up against the rest.
Zigbee is considered one of the securest home protocols you can use, similar to those used by banks and financial institutions. WiFi has long been known as one of the riskier network protocols, however, it is possible to do certain things to strengthen its security. When dealing with smart homes, it’s best to use something impenetrable.
The operating range will determine how far the signal reaches, so this will depend on the size of your home. Something like Bluetooth has quite a short range, whereas other protocols like Zigbee can be enough for a 3,000 square foot home.
Each of these devices is capable of certain devices being connected, so depending on how many your home has this might be of interest. Another issue is compatibility that these protocols have with other brands, so be sure to look for certification before you choose one.
Wireless home automation protocols like Zigbee vs Zwave offer some of the lowest data rates, simply because they are only intended to pass information between selected devices, as does Bluetooth. For the best data rates, Ethernet and WiFi are probably recommended.
Before you can even get started setting up your smart home, you need to have some ideas about your long-term goals. If you plan on installing just one device like a smart doorbell then the network protocols won’t be such a big deal, but for those with grand plans of a whole home powered by connected devices, you’ll really need to do your research.
New contenders to the network protocol market like Wemo and Thread offer even simpler ways to connect to your devices. The future of network protocols shows that they will be more secure, faster, and with a greater range than ever before, fully customizable to the needs of the homeowner. This is one area of technology that will have a big say in where smart homes are heading, so it’s important to take notice.
There’s no clear winner in the network protocol race, as each of them offers something unique to the user and their home. Depending on where your preferences lay and what is most important to you in terms of security, speed, devices, and range, you’ll likely find one that ticks all of your boxes and allows you do have the smart home of your dreams.