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Smart Homes, IOT and Your Connection

By February 7, 2022February 23rd, 2022Internet

Nowadays your home is more connected than ever. We’ve progressed from single copper line for phone service, through cable and satellite tv (forget about those ‘80s era 10 foot dishes) to wireless broadband internet and data over fiber optic cable. 

Images L to R: Leo Reynolds/Flickr, Carbon Arc/Flickr, JASE Group/Flickr, BigRiz/Wikipeida

You can also automate and connect nearly everything in your home to the internet, which allows remote access using your home’s internet connection.  These devices are variously called “smart home”, “connected” or “wifi capable.”  These smart home devices range from the  potentially useful such as security cameras, door locks and door bells, lights, thermostats and audio systems.  Others are of more dubious utility; such as operating your oven and viewing the food inside (in HD mind you) or starting your clothes washer over the internet.  

Finally, there is what is called the Internet of Things (IOT), where devices connect to the internet.  We’ll leave the utility judgment about some of these to you, but we think the $700 Wi-Fi connected juicer (really!, watch the video for a laugh) and $400 toothbrush that takes photos and video of your teeth while brushing border on the truly ridiculous.

What all of these things have in common is that they use part of your connection’s bandwidth.  Security cameras uploading a live stream of video use the most bandwidth.  Nest cameras recommend at least 3 Mbps of upload capacity for maximum resolution video, Ring suggests 2 Mbps. Others, such as lights and thermostats, use less.  

What you need to know is that when these are using your bandwidth, you have less to use for other online services, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, VPN, audio streaming or general web use.  

We also recommend choosing devices that offer either a wired connection or are labelled as “dual-band” (including the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands) as these will provide a more robust connection to our routers and better service from your new devices.

If you are contemplating upgrading or adding any of these devices to your home, it may be a good idea to review your internet service and confirm you have sufficient bandwidth to support your new needs.  We would generally recommend our Essential Plus or Turbo plan to support most of these devices.  Call us at 202.546.5898 or drop us a note if you have questions about which plan may be right for you.