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Smart Home Hub and Protocols Explained

Have you ever heard the term ‘smart home hub’ while planning for your smart home? The smart home hub is a brain that unifies multiple smart devices under one app. That way, users do not have to use various apps for their smart home.

But, what exactly is it?

Smart home hub explained

A smart home is here to add extra convenience to your life. However, is it practical if you have to open multiple apps just to use your smart devices? That sounds more inconvenient and time-wasting.

As a result, more companies are coming up to solve this problem. For instance, a smart home specialist in Singapore helps homeowners integrate their smart devices under one hub.

The smart home hub ultimately makes multiple smart devices from different brands more practical and helpful with its seamless integration among them. That leads to a convenient and connected experience. All this is possible, thanks to the hub since it acts as the brain that connects your smart devices under one roof and allows them to communicate with each other.

In short, using a hub for your smart home will provide you with a hassle-free experience in controlling multiple smart devices under one app. Since you do not have to juggle between apps that come from different smart devices, you can create group or scene controls too under one app.

To illustrate, you can toggle on and off your different brands of smart lighting, air conditioner, and devices connected to your smart switches within the same app provided by the hub. 

That being said, just because you own a hub does not mean all different brands of smart devices will automatically work together. So, what do you have to know to make them work together? You need to make sure they speak under the same protocol.

Smart home protocol, the language that your hub uses

Before you decide to pick your smart home hub, you need to understand the communication protocol it supports.

The smart home protocol itself is a “language” your smart devices use to communicate with the hub and the other devices. It is like a language that we use every day. For instance, some of us English to understand and communicate with each other. In the case of smart home hubs, they can use multiple protocols to interact with each other.

So, what are the commonly available protocols that your smart home hubs can use?

Zigbee

A lot of smart home hubs use Zigbee for their communication protocols. The reason because it supports excellent security, low power consumption, and although it is a wireless technology, Zigbee will not cause a strain on your internet speed.

Many global brands have been using Zigbee for their smart home products, such as Homey, a popular smart home hub. In Asia, some smart home providers also prefer Zigbee as the primary protocol for their smart home hubs.

Z-Wave

Z-Wave is a protocol that utilises a lower and less common frequency than other smart home protocols. It is widely used in Europe and the US. Smart device manufacturers love to use Z-Wave due to perks, such as:

  • Stable signal
  • Reliable connection

Despite its perks, Z-Wave, as we mentioned, operates on a less common frequency. In simple terms, a Z-Wave hub in South Korea may use different frequencies in different countries, like the US or a fellow Asian country, such as Singapore.

As a result, that limits the interoperability of Z-Wave hubs on the market. Also, Z-Wave hubs tend to be more costly to develop.

Wi-Fi

You read it right. Your smart home hub can also use Wi-Fi as its protocol. You can connect your hub and multiple smart devices under the same Wi-Fi you use for everyday internet surfing. It is also the easiest protocol to attract people to adopt a smart home lifestyle.

However, it is not a good idea if you choose a hub that only supports Wi-Fi protocol, which then you will integrate with more than one smart device under the hub.

The top reason because the hub and the devices under it will use the same Wi-Fi network at your place. The connection will put extra strain on your Wi-Fi network and ultimately slowing down the internet connection. Besides, range limitations may hinder your smart devices’ operability if you put them far from the Wi-Fi router.

Bluetooth

Most early smart home hubs and devices love to use Bluetooth. Yet, the limitations make Bluetooth is no longer a viable choice in the ever-growing smart home industry. The restrictions that hinder more manufacturers only to use this protocol for their hubs are:

  • High power consumption
  • A short-range

All in all, a smart home hub will unify all your smart devices and home automation under one app from your hub. To unify them, you have to know which protocol your hub and smart devices use.

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