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Wireless in the Digital Home

What's with All This Wiring? I Thought the Digital Future Was Wireless!

Wireless technology is a wonderful thing. It gives us the freedom to be creative, productive and social no matter where we are. However, while wireless technology has its definite place in the digital home, it has some limitations, including bandwidth, range and potential interference.

Hard-wired technology provides the stability and reliability necessary to ensure that your entertainment, data transfer and home control needs, such as lighting, climate control and security, work as consistently and powerfully as possible in every room in your house. Most of us have experienced our "wireless going down" or simply moving out of range when using our laptops at home. While such outages and even hiccups are somewhat acceptable for internet access, the slightest blip in a music stream can be highly distracting. Worse, if your security, lighting or HVAC system is fully dependent on a wireless network for control, such wireless outages can be hazardous to your family's safety and security.

Wireless technology can serve as an extension to your hard-wired TechHome infrastructure, making control of your digital home more convenient than before. Using wireless controllers such as mobile/laptop PCs and smart phones, your family can adjust your digital home settings wherever they are -- for example, on the couch, in the backyard, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, or in the garage. You can also use some of those devices to enjoy audio and video wherever you are in your home, as well as access the Internet and other online services. With the discreet placement of wireless access points around your house that connect to your hard-wired network "backbone," you can enjoy convenience, mobility and rock-solid performance.

In a TechHome-rated digital home, wired and wireless technologies can work hand in hand. In the event of a wireless outage, you'd lose some of your control capabilities, but the core hard-wired functions will still perform as needed. You might not be able to control your lights remotely from a laptop, but you can still control them through switches, dimmers or keypads on the wall, for example. Your thermostat might not be controllable via your smart phone, but you can still access temperature control either from a hard-wired network-connected device or manually.

Some examples of wireless in the digital home:

  • Mom is pulling her car into the garage after dark. No one else is home, but using her smart phone, she has already turned on the lights, adjusted the home's temperature and turned on some great music to greet her as she walks inside to a lighted house, which makes her feel more secure.
  • There's a party in the backyard. A family member accesses the multi-room audio system from a laptop computer and fun tunes instantly materialize in the outdoor area. Since everyone's outside, there's no need for air conditioning inside, so she also commands the house to turn off the AC from that same laptop.
  • It's another rainy day. Watching TV, Mom peers out the window and sees the sprinklers have just turned on as scheduled. She grabs the same remote control she's using to control the TV and immediately turns them off. Turning off the TV in favor of reading a book, she uses the remote to turn up the lights in the dark media room.
  • Everyone has piled into the car for a weeklong trip. Ten miles down the road, the family realizes that although the house is locked, no one remembered to set the house to "Vacation" mode. Using a secure connection via dad's smart phone, the mode is set and thoughts return to where the family will stop for lunch.

Your TechHome electronic systems contractor can tell you about the wide range of possibilities for wireless control of your wired home. A hybrid wired-wireless solution gives your family unprecedented freedom and flexibility to enjoy and use your digital home, while keeping the home's vital digital functions locked down, robust and secure.