Why should we get connected?
When you buy your first product, think about what features you want your smart home in the future. Some systems can only control heating or lighting, while others can completely automate your entire space. Your choice determines how well your system can expand.
The base station establishes a connection with all of the devices in your smart home. Without a wireless network, you can’t control your devices via a smartphone or tablet. There are exceptions: some devices can receive commands directly from your mobile device via Bluetooth. If you are away from home, internet access is required to control your smart home devices remotely.
If your smart home devices can’t be directly connected to the wireless router, your home computer network may be used. Power line adapters (image) or solutions that use antenna cables (ethernet over coax) can bridge larger distances, for example, if your internet connection is located in the basement. The base station from your smart home system starter package does the rest. It controls lamps, valves and other devices wirelessly.
An app turns your smartphone or tablet into a comfortable touchscreen remote control. Almost all smart home device manufacturers offer apps for Android and iOS devices. However, Apple’s HomeKit standard is only available to iOS products. Other mobile phone operating systems such as Windows Phone or Blackberry OS haven’t played a major role in smart home devices yet.
The faster your home network and internet connection speed, the better. Wireless cameras, in particular, need high data transfer rates to send images in HD quality to your smart home system app.
LED globes that use Bluetooth receive control signals directly from your smartphone or tablet. This eliminates the need for a base station. Your mobile device must be within range (max. 10 meters) of the Bluetooth globe, and the number of lights you can control is limited. Some systems are limited to a maximum of ten lights, while others can control up to 32 – organized into groups.
Globes that use the Zigbee wireless protocol always require a base station (bridge) attached to the router. Their range is very high as each globe functions as a signal repeater. Up to 50 globes can be controlled remotely via the one app. Globes by other manufacturers often function when attached to a base station of another. However, in this case, app features are typically more limited.
Wi-Fi globes without a base station are connected directly to your wireless network. Their energy consumption on standby is higher than those that use Bluetooth or Zigbee – and there is only a small variety of globe types available.
Door and window sensors
Detect burglaries before they occur: That’s why there are surveillance systems with wireless sensors that respond to vibration. They report any violent intrusion to the base station and trigger an alarm. Depending on the system and its configuration, you may receive a silent message on your smartphone or it may immediately set off a loud siren.
Wireless smoke detectors can do more than just sound an alarm when there is a fire. In the event of smoke, they can trigger a series of emergency measure in the smart home: Escape route lights are turned on immediately, doors are unlocked and the other floors are informed about the fire. The features that are available depend on the system you choose.
See what’s happening at home while you are on the move – video surveillance makes this possible. Unlike smoke detectors and other sensors, cameras are almost always connected to your home wireless network. The energy-saving standards used by many smart home devices are simply too weak to carry video data. Attention: Some systems archive video footage from your cameras on the internet for easy and fast access. Not everyone like this, however.
Some video surveillance systems charge a monthly fee to archive your video footage. Only the live image from your camera is available for free. Recommended: Compare prices.
Must every wireless system have its own base station? Not necessarily. Some manufacturers integrate multiple standards into their smart home systems, or offer expansion modules for Zigbee, Z-Wave and co. This lets you register a wider range of products with the one base station.