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Advantages of Insteon technology | Disadvantages of Insteon technology

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Insteon technology. It mentions comparative benefits or advantages of Insteon technology and drawbacks or disadvantages of Insteon with respect to other technologies viz. wifi, bluetooth, zigbee and z-wave.

What is Insteon ?

Insteon is a company located in Irvine, CA, USA. It is the developer of technology called as "Insteon" which allows home devices or appliances to communicate using RF, Powerline or both. It is used for smart lighting and electrical control applications including home automation using mobile, tablet or computer.

Typical Insteon devices include lamps and smart home appliances, remote control switch, insteon hub, sensors, thermostats, keypads, outlets, range extenders etc. Modern devices such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices also use Insteon technology.

INSTEON Home automation Network

The figure depicts typical insteon network. Insteon devices communicate directly without the need of routers. It uses mesh topology and hence each devices can control other devices and also they are controlled by others. Insteon can address hundreds of devices due to its Simulcast feature without any routing.

Insteon devices are usually managed in ad-hoc mode without any hub requirement. In applications where Insteon Hub or any other controller is used, it offers better control of home devices using smartphone app both from home and away from home. Insteon hub requires to be powered on and to be connected with internet router in order to control insteon devices from remote location using mobile app.

Following are the features of Insteon technology.
• Operating Modes of insteon devices : RF, Powerline (i.e. PL), RF+Powerline
• Operating Frequencies : 915 MHz (US), 869.85 MHz(Europe), 921 MHz (Australia), 132 KHz (for PL)
• Network configuration : Full mesh
• Unique addressing mechanism with unique ID code and AES-256 encryption for messages
• Supports error detection and error correction
• Supports collision avoidance
• Network size : Approx. thousands of devices
• Modulation : RF Mode physical (i.e. PHY) layer uses FSK where as Powerline PHY uses BPSK

Benefits or advantages of Insteon technology

Following are the benefits or advantages of Insteon technology.
➨The insteon devices communicate directly as in peer to peer mode without the need of routers or any other administrative master devices.
➨It supports larger network size (~ 1000s) which is greater than other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi, Zigbee and Z-wave. Hence it can be used in larger homes and buildings.
➨The Insteon supports communication over powerlines unlike other wireless technologies. As it works on both RF and powerline, it offers more redundancy compare to single band protocols.
➨The message propagation is done using "Simulcast" feature which helps in addressing more than hundred nodes without the need of complex and costly routing technique.
➨The home automation devices can be controlled while you are driving car using smartphone app.
➨The insteon technology is compatible with latest and modern smart devices such as Nest, Amazon Echo/Alexa, Apple Watch, Google assistant etc.
➨Tesla car owners can control Insteon devices from the touchscreen using app called EVEConnect.
➨It is backward compatible with X10 technology.
➨Installation is simple as it uses existing wiring. The devices automatically join the network once powered ON.
➨The communication between devices is very quick. Message transmission between sender and receiver takes maximum of 0.05 seconds.
➨The insteon uses AES-256 encryption and insteon devices use distinct IDs. Hence insteon offers greater security as it is resistant against eavesdropping and external control.
➨Insteon is not susceptible to much interference unlike WiFi.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Insteon technology

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Insteon technology.
➨It is not designed to support high data load applications such as HD video.

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