State of current home automation protocols?

JimS

Active Member
I am using a few X10 modules but am thinking of automating a few things that need wired in controls. I could put in a receptacle and plug but it would be much neater to not have to do that and increased reliability would be a plus. I haven't kept up with alternatives. What's the state of the various powerline protocols? And there are likely wifi and other rf ways of controlling power but I am not up on those. Any of those open enough to use for various HA software?
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
Insteon has been one of the most common X10 replacements. Later devices utilise both powerline signals and RF signals, in a simultaneously broadcast dual mesh system. As you may know from X10 powerline signal experience devices over 100-500' are known to opearte reliably and Insteon devices are all mesh simultaneous repeaters. The more devices you have the stronger the repeat signals get and the further they reach. This makes it the most reliable HA protocol ever seen by most. There are some people's environments that have too much electrical and RF noise to support well so it is not 100%. Most Insteon systems also support X10 so it allows you to use your X10 modules without and repeater functions so only within closer geographically located devices.

Insteon allows usage between devices without any central hub intelligence, if desired. Two switches and a lamp can be logically connected without any hub required and operate as if they were hardwired, without any perceptible delays.

However. The Insteon devices have become hard to aquire as the company basically drove itself into the ground with bad management and marketing. Now the remains have been picked up by an enthusiast crowd and we have big hopes for the future as the CEO appears to be engaged in fixing the problems they incurred in the past...number one...listening to your audience. Insteon is hoping to have many of their devices back on the market by the end of this year. Meanwhile tere are many dumping their devices cheaply as the end was thought to be near. My system has not been affected at all by some bad news. Most have no cloud dependence either.
 

pete_c

Guru
X10 and UPB are pure powerline. UPB works fine for me today.

Insteon was the next step up ....with power line and RF bridging.

Here in the Midwest stayed away from RF due to the metal boxes and conduit for electrical. ZWave and Zigbee worked fine in the metal electrical boxes. My favorite wireless today is customized with Tasmota firmware managed without the cloud.

If you are used to X10 and it works for you then keep using it. UPB is powerline on steroids and does work better than X10.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
X10 and UPB are pure powerline. UPB works fine for me today.

Insteon was the next step up ....with power line and RF bridging.

Here in the Midwest stayed away from RF due to the metal boxes and conduit for electrical. ZWave and Zigbee worked fine in the metal electrical boxes. My favorite wireless today is customized with Tasmota firmware managed without the cloud.

If you are used to X10 and it works for you then keep using it. UPB is powerline on steroids and does work better than X10.
Yeah, as the Insteon crowd began to feel crapped on by previous Insteon manufacturers, they began the migration over to Zwave, which is all RF. I was looking at that direction also.

However, after a few years of experience, the Zwave users are reporting much poorer system reliability and disappointing speeds, and lack of simultaneous operations which can be really annoying for lighting. (popcorn effect). Many report they would return to Insteon protocol if it becomes a reliably sourced product one more time.

I think an RF only system may be OK if people are technical and understand how RF travels etc.. Like every other protocol, it has it's negatives also. It may excel in places where the powerline noise cannot be found. I have only heard of a few with that problem but most sound non-technical or refusing to listen to troubleshooting help.

Of course there are systems (Hubs) that are offering multiple protocols and people are happy to be with those in these times of HA turmoil.
 
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