On the previous page, "What is domotica?" we explained the basic elements of domotica, now we can review the standards that allow inter-mixing of equipment from diverse manufacturers and follow this with an introduction to some of the implementations.
Impatient to see what this means in the real world then let's take a look at the available systems and the standards to which they adhere.
There are a number of standards used by suppliers within the industry. However use of identical standards does not of itself guarantee compatibility (inter-operability) between manufacturers. Here are the standards:
This and the enhanced "Z-wave plus" standard is used by a suppliers who form the "Z-wave Alliance" and gives the best chances for inter-operability of equipment from different manufacturers. Z-wave is a mesh network, so powered equipment can act as relays for battery powered equipment allowing them to operate at much lower power and thereby extend battery life. Z-wave is wireless but it's not WiFi, thus you will need a Z-wave controller to inter-operate with the devices but the devices are free from direct attack via the internet. A a device is paired with its single owning controllerc.You can have a maximum of 232 devices in a Z-wave network.
Z-wave suppliers include:
This standard is similar to Z-wave but you can have more than 65,000 devices in a ZigBee network. Devices require more power and use the WiFi frequency range, so there is a possibility of inteference. There is no requirement for compatibility nor inter-operability between suppliers, so you cannot control an Ikea light with a Philips hub
ZigBee suppliers include:
WiFi supported devices are often the cheapest but they require much more power than either Z-wave or ZigBee. Another disadvantage is that WiFi devices may access and are potentially accessible from the Internet. Large or particularly cheap WiFi devices may be complex to update and as a result you may leave your network exposed as the tactics of hackers evolve.
BlueTooth offers the advantage of not being Internet attached and implicitly safer from threats. The main disadvantage of BlueTooth is the range restriction, a maximum of 10m from the device. Apple uses the HomePod or AppleTV to act as a hub for remote connectivity when this is a problem.
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