What Technology?

There are many different methods which allow you to remotely control your home’s lighting, appliances, security system, and other consumer electronics. The table below shows the most popular remote technologies along with their advantages and disadvantages.

The Main Players


Technology

Physical

Advantages

Disadvantages

Cost

INSTEON

RF + Powerline

Dual-band = highest reliability. Widest product selection.

-

$29.99+

Z-Wave

RF

Many Brands

Need network controller. Need to enroll every device into your network. Network size limitations.

$31.95+

X10

Powerline

Cheap

Low reliability and speed. Legacy technology. Need noise filters & phase couplers

$16.88+


The Rest


Technology

Physical

Advantages

Disadvantages

Cost

Hardwired

Wires

Reliability

Cost, labor, tearing open walls, etc.

$$$$

Infrared (IR)

Optical

Cheap

Walls kill it

$3+

UPB

Powerline

>X10

No repeating (limited range), filtering and phase coupling requirements.

$39.96+

WiFi

RF

Great if only want 1 or 2 products

Limited home control product offering. Not a repeating (mesh) network, network size limitations.

$49.99+

Zigbee

RF

Great PR

Expensive, very few products.

$217+

Prices as of 3/7/13, partial (e.g. adapters) products not included

Zigbee has also defined a star topology (non repeating, non mesh network) called ZigBee RF4CE). This technology is much more akin to old fashioned garage door operators, simple, non-repeating protocols than a home automation protocol.

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