Cable versus Wireless – Which is Best?
Everything in the home seems to be driven by technology these days, which is understandable when you consider the world we now live in. The data network is the backbone of any home technology system. Not only do you need to access the internet and/or router for everyday tasks such as web browsing, emailing and streaming, but your smart home devices need to be able to communicate with each other or have access the internet for software updates.
So, is there still a place for cable in a wireless world? This article aims to help you understand and navigate the cable versus wireless minefield.
Cable is King
With our years (and years) of experience we still maintain that wherever possible, cable is the primary method of choice. Nothing quite yet beats the reliability, control and security of cable. However, in some instances we know that’s not always possible, whether that’s because you live in a listed building, or the building just doesn’t lend itself to cabling.
Homes without cable
We’ll always try and hard wire equipment we install either directly to the router itself or via a data network switch. In some cases, if the property hasn’t been previously cabled with some form of CAT cable, we will install Ruckus. Ruckus’ SmartMesh technology allows strategically located Ruckus wireless access points (wireless repeaters) to communicate with each other on their own network away from the standard WiFi network. Once connected with each other, the wireless access points then create a WiFi network throughout the property for devices to connect to.
A reliable WiFi connection
Once you have a solid and reliable WiFi connection, the boundaries of what you can achieve are diminished somewhat. Want to stream audio around the house? How about Sonos with its built in WiFi connectivity. Sonos manufacture various different products which allow you to play music (your own digitised music collection or streaming services such as Spotify or Tidal) around the home. From the integrated speaker/zone player of the Sonos Play 1 to the Sonos Connect which can connect to your existing HiFi setup, there are various options available to suit everyones needs.
What about viewing video?
Sky’s recently released Sky Q platform has drastically changed how you receive multi room satellite TV in your home. Once you’ve installed the main Sky Q satellite receiver, which connects directly to the satellite dish in the main
room, secondary rooms can view Sky through a Sky Q Mini receiver. These mini boxes no longer require a connection to the satellite dish to view satellite television in multiple rooms – they simply require a connection to your data network and this can be via WiFi.
A lighting control system?
How about fitting a lighting control system into your home? Rako have devised a series of lighting dimmers and control keypads that can be installed in a home that has been wired for conventional lighting control. Rako lighting dimmers, such as the RMT500, are designed to fit through small apertures, like those created for a standard circular downlight, allowing them to be discretely stored away in places like ceiling voids. They communicate with the lighting control keypads, which are battery powered, allowing you to set different lighting circuits to different light levels and create lighting scenes.
Add a Rako bridge into the setup and not only can you add advanced programming functionality such as automated timed events but you can also control your Rako setup via a smart phone or tablet (once you’ve connected the bridge to your router).
Turn up the heat
Heating systems aren’t exempt from the wireless technology trends. Heatmiser’s neo range creates a means of controlling various heating systems such as the neoAir for the standard boiler and the neoStat-E for electric underfloor heating. Like the Ruckus products, the Heatmiser thermostats communicate with each other via their own mesh network and then, in a similar vein to the way Rako works, add a Heatmiser neoHub (bridge) and suddenly you’ve got smart phone or tablet control of your heating. It will even allow you to control your heating remotely whilst away from the home.
The whole cab(ood)le
Lighting, heating, video and audio. All these systems setup in your home are underpinned by your data network. So how about a system that lets you control all of these systems, and your entire home, from one device. Control 4s latest EA series of controllers all have built in WiFi capability allowing them to connect to your data network via WiFi. Control 4 integrates beautifully with Sonos, Sky Q, Rako, Heatmiser and many other audio visual and home technology systems. This in turn allows you to control your entire home from the Control 4 application for smart phone or tablet or via a dedicated Control 4 remote control such as the SR-260.
So, is there a definitive answer in the cable vs wireless debate?
In our opinion, cable isn’t going anywhere soon and a fully wireless environment is still some way off for most people. A combination of wired and wireless is still the way forward – at least for now.