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Thread: Getting started with smart devices

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Getting started with smart devices

    Hi, I'm completely new to home automation, but fairly tech savvy in general. I've just been bought a Google home, which has prompted me to start looking into home automation, starting with light switches. Reading around, there's a ton of different systems, each of which requires their own hub. That brings two issues. One is that, as I build up the automated home, I don't want to be tied to one vendor, but I also don't want to have millions of different hubs. The second is that we've got a large old house, with thick walls. We've had to use 3 wireless APs just to get WiFi coverage, so I also don't want to have to buy 3 of every hub.

    So, initial questions:

    Is the range of these hubs better than WiFi?

    I know there are vendor agnostic hubs such as Smartthings or openhab. Do the switches connect directly to these, or do you still need the vendor hubs as well?

    Some devices seem to just connect over WiFi. This seems far more sensible, but they're in the minority. Why don't more connect directly over WiFi?


  2. #2
    Automated Home Lurker
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    I'm having the same issue as well. Really wanna see what people will answer.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member franktate's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Sorry you've not had an answer - it's seems a little quiet on here at times.

    I use a SmartThings hub. SmartThings is good if you have a lot of different kit. It supports quite a good range of stuff (Z-wave, zigbee, ITTT, wi-fi etc). Have a look at their website & forum for what they officially and unofficially support.

    You are right to say that having a whole rack of hubs is not the way forward. The main reason I don't use Hue system is that it only controlled their lights. (their loss!). I've just seen another product launch that is not compatible with SmartThings, 'Den Automation's' and it makes me want to scream.

    I have an Echo and SmartThings. But now if you buy a new Echo Plus you will get SmartThings and Hue hub built in.

    Regarding the coverage - if you use things with the Z-Wave protocol each component can act as a repeater. i.e. Put your Echo Plus in the Living room, a Z-Wave switch in the Hall and another in the Kitchen then the Hall switch will repeat. (over simplified explanation)

    I've keep away from devices that use wifi as I don't want any more devices slowing down my router. The wifi networks are crammed!

    Hope this helps but please feel free to ask a few more questions.


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