Critical facts you need to know about smart home hubs before you buy one

smart home hub
smart home hub

Table of Contents

On this page, I go over some facts about Smart Hubs and things to consider when purchasing your Smart Home devices. Many hub options are available in the market; however, not all hubs are created equal. Hubs can be seen as the nerve center of a Smart Home network as they connect to all your smart home devices so you can communicate with and control them; therefore, hubs are an important component of a Smart Home setup.

Smart home hubs are reffered as bridges

smart home hub

If you want to set up a smart command so that when your car approaches your home, your garage door will open, your hallway light will turn on, and the smart speaker will turn on with your favorite tunes, you can with a smart home hub.

Sometimes Smart Hubs are referred to as bridges; a Smart Hub collects and translates various communications protocols from smart home devices to your WiFi router to access the internet. On the other hand, Bridges and Border Routers allow connections between non-WiFi-capable smart devices and your home router via WiFi or ethernet cable and onto the internet.

How Smart hubs work - Matter

With the Oct 2022 release of the Matter protocol, Matter devices incorporating Thread can connect directly to your home router via a Thread border router which acts as a bridge between the Thread network and your home WiFi network. Thread is a dedicated, very low-powered mesh-based wireless protocol.

With Matter, hubs can now be connected to several independent networks within your home, even if the devices in those networks are from different manufacturers; this gives you an expandable, more reliable network and much more choice when purchasing smart devices. Another interesting fact is that Many Matter devices can be designated the role of Matter Hubs (controllers) and Matter bridges, which is a clever feature of the Matter IoT protocol.

Hubs enable you to connect to the internet via a router using WiFi or Ethernet cable to control devices, such as thermostats, switches, lights, and cameras. Many smart home devices can not communicate directly with your home’s WiFi network because they are from competing manufacturers that use different wireless communication protocols. Therefore, you need a bridge to interconnect these devices to your home’s WiFi network to give you control of your home via the internet when you are not at home.

With the release of the Matter protocol, many Matter-enabled devices can assume the role of a Matter controller(Hub). Using Matter bridges and Thread border routers, you can easily connect non-WiFi smart devices to your home WiFi network, even devices from competing manufacturers.

Smart Hub Frequently Asked Questions

Smart hubs and routers are similar but perform quite different roles within a network. Smart Home hubs allow you to control and communicate with your smart devices. For example, smart speakers like Google Home, Apple HomePod, and Amazon Echo are all hubs; however, some Smart Hubs may not support voice control.

Smart Home hubs are not obsolete; they play an important role in Smart Homes, even more so than before, because of the Matter protocol’s flexibility. Please refer to the information about hubs in the article above and check out how Matter features can support Smart Hubs.

The general rule is to limit connections to 45-50 devices for a home WiFi router; the combined bandwidth requirements of connected devices at any time will ultimately dictate this number. Slow response of the connected devices due to high bandwidth demands can be somewhat controlled within a Matter network as Matter has the ability to shift network traffic to help improve speed and stability.

Hubs work best with clear space between the hub and the devices with which you’re trying to connect. Thick walls, ceilings, radiators, or anything else that obstructs the signal must be avoided if possible. The more obstructions, the weaker the signal will be when it finally gets to your device.

Following the instructions that come with the device is the first step; nowadays, most Smart Hubs are plug-and-play. Also, you will get all the installation information you need by visiting the device manufacturer’s website.

Google itself, no, Google is a company. However, Google Home Max, Google Nest Mini, and Google Nest Audio Home are all WiFi speaker hubs and personal assistants communicating with Google servers via the internet to make them “Smart.”

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