Comparison of Different Wireless Protocols That Are Used in Home Automation

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ZigBee Vs Z-Wave

Analogue Control with 27 MHz or 433 MHz frequency band

Nowadays many unknown vendors provide analogue wireless systems at a much lower cost but their accuracy, durability and quality are not up to the mark. So if you are planning to put this type of systems for alarm or security applications, then it’s not advisable.

Different Vendors with Proprietary Protocols

Homeeasy, FS 20, Homematic, Xcomfort (Eaton), Free Control (Kopp) and Intertechno are some of the vendors who provide their own proprietary protocols for wireless operation. These protocols use digital communication and most of them work on 868 MHz frequency. Most of the protocols use two-way communication.

The biggest disadvantage of these types of wireless systems is the availability of components in the long run. Some vendors are ready to change their protocols and willing to stop production of former models which will make interoperability easier in future.

Power Line

 As the name indicates, power line communication uses the 230 V power line of power supply for communication. This is a wire technology automation but competes with wireless technologies.

X10 is the first developed and still alive power line communication technology for automation. In this communication protocol, power line uses power wiring of houses, So you have to replace ordinary mains outlets, pendant lamp holders, and lighting switches.

There are a number of users in the USA and the Europe with X10 communication power line, actually X10 was introduced 20 years ago in the USA.

Cons of this communication protocol are as follow.

  • Limited Bandwidth and problem with modern switched supplies.
  • There is same power distribution supply with the neighbourhood, so there is always a chance to mix or blend signal with others, and the trouble can arise with domestic set up.
  • Reports also indicated power line includes electrical noise in the power supply but digital signal coding solved this electrical noise problem.
  • Interoperability problem with different standards remains as a major concern.

Digitalstrom is another initiative by power line for IoT. The University of Zurich developing it but the technology hasn’t succeeded in real environments, so as of now it is in development.

En-Ocean

Siemens AG, is a German company and its spin-off En-Ocean was founded in 2001. En-Ocean sensors and actuators are rich in harvesting techniques and it works without the battery.

More than 100 OEMs accepted this En-Ocean technology in Europe as it is rich in technology and is very eco-friendly, but unfortunately it is very expensive.

ZigBee

The first product of ZigBee was launched in the market about 10 years ago in 2005. Now a day ZigBee is very best for security related automation.

Zigbee is similar to Bluetooth an open wireless networking protocol but more efficient and secure than Bluetooth. ZigBee can pair with more than hundred devices while Bluetooth can pair up with maximum seven devices.

IEEE standard of ZigBee is IEEE 802.15.4. Zigbee can control devices up to 10 to 100 metres distance and is perfect for household equipments control like lighting, electric appliance, sensors, actuators, etc. with 3rd party app in mobiles, tablets, Ipads.

The main disadvantage of ZigBee is that the devices manufactured by different vendors, and ZigBee architecture allows communication in the lower protocol layer (radio layer) only which leads to a compatibility issue.

Z-Wave

The Z-Wave Communication protocol uses 868.4 MHz radio frequency in Europe & India, 908.4 MHz in the US and 921.4MHz in AUS/NZ on unlicensed ISM bands.

Z-wave is one of the best DIY automation systems today, with number of devices and OEMs available in the market. Z-wave gives home automation in security and energy management with minimum issues. Z-wave is sophisticated communication protocol which is simple to use and can control the whole home electric appliances within 30 metres. Z-wave can control lighting, blinds, actuators, sensors, heating, cooking, cooling and security of home. It is simple to use in mobiles, tablets and IPads with 3rd party apps.

Z-wave has a mass networks control, which make it more powerful and efficient with other devices. As far as it is a DIY system so you can start with simple and small control area in the home and then can upgrade to your own imagination.

Some OEMs which provide better products in Z-wave are Global Case, Vera, Fibaro etc. You can use Z-wave products to automate your home from gas to gate without any technical adviser.

With regards to pricing, Z-wave is cheaper and reliable than ZigBee, En-Ocean and other protocol. Manufacturing of Z-wave circuits are same, so there is no interoperability problems as well.

So get going guys and build your own systems.

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