- Are you excited about 2021 as much as I do? And this is not the only end of COVID talking here.
- A smart home industry once again promises to improve the lives of millions (although it failed to do that for decades)
- Staying positive, there are a couple of interesting trends and topics that I am excited about and this article will be talking about those specifically.
Wi-fi 6 is upon us and it is great for your smart home
Let’s start with something more generic which is wi-fi 6. We will be honest, it is still some time or Wi-fi 6 to be the standard and enter the homes of households. Regardless it is going to be great for smart home devices.
In addition to a significant speed boost (9.6 Gbps up from 3.5 Gbps on Wi-Fi 5) it will give you an increased bandwidth. This is handy because we increasing having a lot of devices in our houses.
This is especially welcome for smart homes as you can now invest in wifi-based devices (as opposed to Zigbee or z-wave ones). They are in general less expensive but were more taxing to your router.
Below are couple of interesting smart devices to consider for 2021 to use the potential of wi-fi 6:
- Best wi-fi plug: Kasa Smart WiFi Plug ($13.99) – very reliable and versatile device
- Best wi-fi 6 router: ASUS RT-AX86U AX5700 ($249.99) – it is going to be the stable of your home network giving your amazing coverage and outstanding speeds
- Best smart camera: I will never get tired of praising Wyze Cam v3 ($25.98). This is due to the outstanding value for money while delivering great quality and functionality.
Bluetooth 5 might become the local smart home protocol we were waiting for
Bluetooth 5 was in work from 2016 but 2021 might be the year it will finally break in.
It is a significant update over Bluetooth 4 in the areas that mater for home automation. It can operate over a greater distance and its improved speed. Bluetooth’s website claims it has 4 times the range, 2 times the speed and 8 times the broadcasting message capacity over its predecessor.
Also, it finally adopts mesh topology which will improve how we connect devices and the quality of transmissions
Project CHIP might replace Zigbee / Z-wave / Thread
Project CHIP is looking very promising on paper and we are very exciting about it.
There are couple of reasons:
- It is backed with various very big device producers which almost never happened before. Those include Amazon, Google, Apple (!!!), Xiaomi, IKEA and many more. It means that the technology might come to the end user much quicker this time.
- It is IP based protocol which is great to be integrated over the existing systems and hence more interportable. Again this might be year before we get there, but having a single dominating protocol is a dream worth waiting for.
My only wish that it will come quicker and that it will not be abandoned like so many other protocols.
Go for Zigbee devices while we are waiting for CHIP to make the difference
So all of the above sounds great, but what it means for me now? That is a good question and we believe that the answer is that Zigbee is the protocol of choice for now.
Many reasons, but it comes down to three main:
- It is open-source and hence cheaper. Just comparing sensors price gives you the picture: Aeotec Z-wave TriSensor ($44.99) is two times more expensive compared to ().
- It does not have any significant disadvantages over Z-wave with regards to the power efficiency, range or bandwidth.
So if you are convinced as I am, consider the following devices:
- You cannot get it wrong with Sylvania Smart Plug ($22.08) which is the best Zigbee plug in the market
- Aqara Water Leak Sensor ($18.99) is another no-brainer for the price. It also very sensitive, has a great battery life and a good range
- To make it all work, I would go for SmartThings router ($119.99) or go all in with Home Assistant, so in that case you would need a combination of Raspberry Pi 4 ($99.99) and dresden elektronik ConBee II ($42.30)
Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API