On communications for the smart home, there are two that are clearly imposed, Zigbee or Wifi, although there are others such as Bluetooth and zWave, we will not discuss them in this article.
It may seem the most recommended because we already have Wi-Fi in our house and indeed many of our devices will connect to it, but we must bear in mind that each device will connect to our router and as we already discussed in the article A network for our XmartIT Home it is possible that we reach the limit of our router as we add more and more smart devices, it is for this reason that we recommend having a Mesh network and optionally adding Zigbee technology to our smart home. We recommend TP-Link Deco Mesh system, it’s a cheap and powerfull solution found on Amazon.
It is an important choice that we should make before buying smart bulbs (link to the bulbs and plugs article), because we will surely end up having many of them at home and it is important not to saturate the WIFI network.
It is possible to combine Wifi and Zigbee bulbs without any problem.
Zigbee wireless technology needs a hub or concentrator that takes care of communications, the price is quite cheap and with it we can control a multitude of devices using only one connection with our router, so we would leave the router free to control other devices. In principle we will only need a concentrator but in some cases the Zigbee coverage may not reach the whole house, for this there are inexpensive repeaters.
In addition to bulbs and switches, it is possible to add sensors and other devices, which consume much less energy so that battery-powered devices will have more autonomy.
To add Zigbee communications we have many possibilities, some of the Alexa speakers have Zigbee communications like the Echo Plus.
We can also find dedicated hubs compatible with the SmartLife application, which will allow us to add many options to our automations and they are also very cheap, we can find them with WIFI connectivity and / or with network cable.
It is not essential to have it to start with and we can add it to our smart home at any time, although when choosing bulbs it would be interesting, although zigbee bulbs are somewhat more expensive, they have the advantage of using a single connection with our WiFi through of the hub, this helps to avoid problems due to having too many connected devices, as discussed in the article A network for our XmartIT Home