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Insteon RF Protocol | Insteon Powerline Protocol standard and extended message formats

This page covers Insteon RF and Powerline protocol fields and its functions. It covers standard message format and extended message format of Insteon Powerline Protocol and Insteon RF protocol.

What is Insteon ?

Insteon is a company based in Irvine, CA, USA. It is the developer of technology called as "Insteon" which allows home devices 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.

INSTEON Home automation Network

The figure depicts simple insteon network consisting of Insteon RF devices, Powerline devices, Dual band (PL+RF) devices and Insteon Hub. Hub is needed if someone like to monitor and control home devices while away from home using smartphone app. Hub requires to be connected with internet wifi router or any other internet router (USB/RS232/Ethernet) available at home. Following are the two types of packets defined in Insteon technology for RF and Powerline communication. Both of these packet types have standard and extended versions.

Insteon devices communicate using messages. The messages are of two types viz. standard and extended. The message structure of standard and extended versions have been described below. The standard messages are 10 byte long where as extended messages are 24 bytes long. Both standard and extended message carry following fields viz. From Address, To Address, Flag byte, 2 command bytes and message integrity byte (i.e. CRC).

Standard Length Message

Insteon message formats standard and extended

As mentioned, Insteon standard messages are of 10 bytes in size. They are used for direct command and control. Payload consists of two command bytes. These protocol fields are mentioned in the table below.

Fields Size Description
From Address 3 bytes (24 bits) Insteon sender device address
To Address 3 bytes (24 bits) Intended receiver device address, it can be used as direct message, broadcast message or group broadcast message
Message Flags 1 byte (8 bits) (1 bit-Broadcast/NAK, 1 bit-Group, 1 bit -Acknowledge, 1 bit (zero for standard messages), 2 bits-counted down on each retransmission, 2 bits-Max. allowed number of retransmissions.
Command #1 1 byte (8 bits) Command to be executed
Command #2 1 byte (8 bits) Command to be executed
CRC 1 byte (8 bits) Cyclic Redundancy Check, Used for error detection

Extended length Message

Extended message has same fields as standard message. In addition, it carriers 14 bytes of arbitrary data used for uploads, downloads, encryption and other applications. Table below mentions all the protocol fields used in Insteon extended messages.

Fields Size Description
From Address 3 bytes (24 bits) Sender device address
To Address 3 bytes (24 bits) Intended receiver device address, it can be used as direct message, broadcast message or group broadcast message
Message Flags 1 byte (8 bits) (1 bit-Broadcast/NAK, 1 bit-Group, 1 bit -Acknowledge, 1 bit ('One' for extended messages), 2 bits-counted down on each retransmission, 2 bits-Max. allowed number of retransmissions.
Command #1 1 byte (8 bits) Command to be executed
Command #2 1 byte (8 bits) Command to be executed
User Data #1 to #14 14 bytes User defined data
CRC 1 byte (8 bits) Cyclic Redundancy Check, Used for error detection

Insteon RF Packets

Insteon RF Packets

When Insteon uses RF band, the messages are transmitted using RF frequency and it follows above protocol structure. Insteon uses different RF bands viz. 915 MHz (US), 869.85 MHz(Europe) and 921 MHz (Australia). RF messages are transmitted at much greater speed compare to powerline messages. RF packets are smaller in size (14 bytes for standard and 28 bytes for extended message). Hence it does not require to be broken up into smaller size packets. Insteon RF packets contain 2 sync bytes and 1 start code byte at the beginning and 1 byte CRC at the end of the packet.

Insteon Powerline Packets

Insteon Powerline packets

When Insteon uses powerline band, messages are transmitted using powerline frequency (131.65 KHz). Messages transmitted over powerline are divided into smaller size packets. Each packet is transmitted in conjunction with zero crossing of AC voltage on powerline.

As mentioned above, Insteon powerline packets consists of standard messages and extended messages. Standard messages are five packets in size and extended messages are eleven packets in size with fields as follows.
SP (i.e. Start Packet) = { 8 Sync bits, 4 Start Code bits, 12 Data bits }
BP (i.e. Body Packet) = { 2 Sync bits, 4 Start Code bits, 18 Data bits }

References:

Insteon Developer's Guide documents published by Insteon.com.



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