Best Wireless Communication Protocol For Your Smart Home Devices | FirstEnergy Home
362 views | June 4, 2020

Which Wireless Protocol Should Run Your Smart Home?

Learn more about communication protocol to help determine which is right for you.

You’re probably hearing a great deal about smart homes powered by the Internet of Things (IoT). You might even be ready to start introducing smart devices such as security systems, thermostats, lighting or voice assistant to your own household.

There are multiple advantages – including the ability to automate, control and monitor your smart devices from a hub, and sometimes even from your laptop or smartphone 24/7 from wherever you are.

If you do explore this technology, one of the first decisions you’re likely to make is which wireless communication protocol to adopt. Every smart device and technology is supported by one of these protocols, and all have their selling points.

Here’s your brief introduction to each of the communication protocols available today:

Wi-Fi

Let’s start with what you’re probably most familiar with. The cost is relatively low, so Wi-Fi might be an ideal way to welcome smart home technology to your home, one device at a time.

Devices that run on Wi-Fi connect to the Internet through your home router, just like your computers and smartphones. Set-up is easy and you’re unlikely to have unwelcome surprises.

This option works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice-command technology and is most effective when your devices are within 100 feet of your router or extenders.

Bluetooth

This protocol might also already be familiar. It works with your smartphone and is compatible with voice assistant technology such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can’t control these devices from off-premises but can program timers and schedules so the devices work as they should even while you’re away.

As with Wi-Fi protocol, Bluetooth devices are best controlled when within a distance of about 100 feet from your phone app.

Z-Wave

This smart technology1 is operable with more than 2,600 Z-Wave TM -certified smart devices, including Wink®, Samsung SmartThings® and Ring TM Alarm. Other features and benefits include:

Voice control compatibility – Devices work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants for hands-free use.

Extended range – Z-Wave works on a mesh network that strengthens as more devices are added to it, extending the communication range.

Low interference – Don’t worry if you’re running Z-Wave devices in addition to your Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth. Your smart devices communicate on a different radio frequency, so you shouldn’t experience interference.

Easy installation – Z-Wave smart home technology is easy to install.

Zigbee

This technology2 supports numerous smart devices including Honeywell® thermostats, Bosch® security systems and Samsung SmartThings. Other advantages include:

Voice assistant integration – Zigbee pairs directly with Amazon Echo Plus and Amazon Echo Show and supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Extended range – The mesh network strengthens your signal as more devices are added, extending the communication range.

Easy installation – The system is simple and intuitive to install.

Something for everyone

If you’re thinking of converting your residence to a smart home, start with your wireless communication protocol. Once that’s been established, you can introduce smart devices as you see fit -- and enjoy all the comfort, convenience and security features of the modern home.

FAQs

What is the most popular smart home protocol?

Smart home protocols allow you to connect your smart home devices to your smartphone and other smart devices within your home. These protocols include Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi may be the most cost-effective and popular protocol since just about every home has Wi-Fi these days.

What is Zigbee?

Every personal area network has a communication protocol, which refers to a virtual bridge that connects devices or networks. Zigbee is one of the most popular high-level communication protocols available. Zigbee acts as a sort of mesh network throughout the house, connecting all devices under one frequency. However, Zigbee does require a central hub and internet connection.

What is Z-Wave?

Z-Wave is a communication protocol primarily used for communication within smart homes. It allows for remote operation by utilizing radio frequency to allow your smart devices to communicate with each other. Z-Wave is a mesh network and has compatibility with every other Z-Wave product, regardless of the brand.

How to connect Google Home to Wi-Fi?

Connect your smartphone to the Wi-Fi network. Then, download the Google Home app and go to ‘Set up Devices in Your Home.’ Set up a home profile and verify your device by following the instructions on the app; once you confirm that the device is yours, it will automatically connect to your Wi-Fi network.