Signal Relay’s role in Smart Tech
You walk into your living room and announce, “Lights turn on”, and, presto! The room is suddenly illuminated.
So exactly how does this happen?
How does your voice command travel from your control center, to the devices that you want to control?
The signal has to be transmitted somehow – and the answer lies in a signal relay, the component in your home automation system that allows you to communicate with your devices.
Can you imagine watching TV without a remote controller? Probably not; the ability to change television channels from the comfort of your couch or bed is a convenience that most of us take for granted. But can you imagine having the ability to control all of the appliances in your house by remote? Sound incredible?
It’s actually very possible, through home automation – and it doesn’t need to be as expensive as you might think.
Wireless (Wi-Fi) networks would work well for data distribution in the home, but it’s a little extreme to use such high bandwidth for something as simple as just turning on a lamp. So, instead, most home automation systems have two networks in play: one for distributing content, and another for managing the devices in the house.
These types of home automation networks are inexpensive, consume minimal power, and can control hundreds of devices. Popular types of data management networks include:
- Power Line – using the home’s existing electrical outlets. The technology works by giving compatible devices its own address and then communicates your commands through this system. Its applications include appliances, lighting, and security. Power lines are the least expensive option available to bring home automation to your doorstep. X10 and Universal Power line Bus (UPB) make use of power lines. Insteon utilizes both the power line and radio signals.
- Radio Signals – this is the “sophisticated version” of your television remote control. Aside from the traditional devices that the power line can control, the radio signals enable you to control communications systems and your home theater system. Emerging technologies such as Z-Wave use radio signal technology.
- Structured Wiring – although structured wiring is believed to be the most robust option in the market today, it is only possible if you are building a new home or undertaking an extensive home renovation. Typical wiring systems include the Cat-5 wire, the RG-6 wire, and the wiring for in-wall touch panel and speakers.
Generally, with integrated whole-home systems, it’s possible to control everything in your home under one umbrella. For instance, you can have your lighting, heating, and cooling, home entertainment devices, and security system all controlled from the one central control panel, which can be much more convenient than putting together multiple systems with various controls. It’s like taking your television, VCR, stereo, DVD player and surround sound network and controlling them all from one universal remote: what could be more convenient than that?