HomeKit, Zigbee and Co .: The standards for home networking

HomeKit, Zigbee and Co .: Smart products are said to be simple, yet smart home meets a myriad of technology standards. What is the difference between WLAN, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee and KNX-RF? We'll explain the terms to you and fill them with content in our text.
It could all be so easy. The various manufacturers of smart home devices all simply use a common wireless standard for data transmission and are thus fully compatible with each other. The user can therefore simply choose a device from the wide range of different manufacturers and easily integrate it into their existing smart home system.

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But unfortunately it is not that easy. Instead, there are a variety of technologies and each manufacturer relies on a different combination. Anyone who purchases a new device must currently be well informed about whether and how it fits into their own home. Let's try lightening the fog a little bit.

Why not just WLAN?

Those who talk about wireless standards can not avoid Wi-Fi, the "wireless local area network". The technology will soon be on the market for thirty years, extremely widespread and relatively inexpensive. Why do not manufacturers of smart devices just rely exclusively on this technology?

The answer is simple: because WLAN was not developed for this purpose and has some drawbacks for the special area Smart Home. Although this radio technology offers a relatively large bandwidth, it also consumes comparatively much power. For a smart surveillance camera, it may still be important to be able to transmit video images in a high resolution, but a simple smart bulb requires only a fraction of such bandwidth for the command to turn on. And who wants to replace the batteries of his smart heating thermostat once a week because the integrated WLAN module consumes too much power? Standards such as Zigbee and KNX-RF require significantly less energy.

In addition, the widespread use of Wi-Fi is a major problem, even if it may seem strange at first glance. However, even in today's densely populated urban centers, hundreds of devices are connected in a confined space in a WLAN network with a 2.4 GHz radio frequency and interfere with each other. Although many Wi-Fi devices are now synonymous with a radio frequency of 5 GHz, but by far not all. And even if currently fewer devices use 5 GHz - in the medium term, this frequency band will reach its capacity limits.

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