Over the last few years, home automation or smart homes have created a name in the industry. There are various devices manufactured by leading companies competing to take the highest spot in the market. As a consumer, a wide array of choices presented by various manufacturers can be confusing. To make things simple, here are the current technologies that are employed in smart homes and what they are all about.
- Wi-Fi. The advantage is that there is no need for a central hub and supports encryption that are on the AES 256-bit. Disadvantage includes signal strength which is dependent on the internet service provider in your area and the router used. This protocol requires the highest resources in terms of power and bigger products that are mainly battery operated.
- Bluetooth or Bluetooth LE. Just like the Wi-Fi, it does not require a central hub but the encryption supported is AES 128-bit. The disadvantage is that Bluetooth has a 30 foot radius limitation when it comes to range. Beyond this range, devices will not be controlled by the system and there are the problems arising from dead zones. This means that you will not be able to lock your door or turn on the lights once you leave your property.
- Z-Wave. The frequencies used by this protocol are 908 MHz and 916 MHz. The advantage is that it utilizes mesh network which makes it possible to connect various devices and has more coverage while making sure that the signal strength is consistent. The encryption it uses is AES-128 symmetric as well as an open source code. The major disadvantage is that it needs a central hub and may eventually lose its support as more advanced protocols are utilized in home automation.
- Frequencies used by this protocol are 915 MHz and 24 GHz. Advantage includes the use of mesh network, open source code and an encryption of AES-128 symmetric. It is recommended to be used with protocols that are IP-based. Only advantage is the need for central hub.
- This is the new comer and expected protocol that will be used in home automation. This has already been adapted by Google and other companies. Advantage includes the use of mesh network and uses AES-CCM cryptography. It also supports open source code as well as IPv6. Disadvantages are yet to be revealed as the protocol is not yet released.