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Wired systems vs. wireless solutions: A constant debate

The desire for change

Thomas is planning to build a house. It will be a home for his family, so there needs to be enough space for two adults, two children, and a dog. And it should be smart too – in other words, an energy-efficient control of power consumption should be included as a standard. Thomas and his wife would like to use energy in a resource-friendly manner, so as to ensure a green future for themselves and, most importantly, for their children. Unfortunately, they don’t have any technical expertise in this area.

In contrast, Kai’s enthusiasm, dexterity, and willingness to experiment when it comes to technical DIY are apparent straight away. Lego robots from his childhood still have pride of place on the shelf in what used to be his bedroom. Kai now lives in a rather student-like accommodation of 35 square metres. But he’s also interested in future-orientated living. He loves planning and furnishing on his own, and doesn’t shy away from technical challenges.

Maria, an artist, has bought a small, historical urban villa with her partner, a dentist. As well as a shared living space, she envisions a studio for herself and consulting rooms for her partner’s patients. Maria is tempted to renovate the old building completely so she can integrate an innovative lighting concept in the working room. Her better half remains sceptical as to whether all the efforts will be really worthwhile.

Three different smart home solutions

Intelligent building technology isn’t versatile enough to accommodate everybody’s interests, needs, and lifestyle choices. Yet it can be implemented in such a personalized way that neither Thomas, Kai nor Maria would ever swap “their” personalised smart home system with one another. The key influencing factor that makes individuals opt for a particular smart room concept may vary depending on their personal situation.

The right solution for any life situation

Wired systems vs. wireless solutions
Wired systems vs. wireless solutions
Wired systems vs. wireless solutions

Opt for a wired system or a wireless solution?

We ask ourselves the exact same question when making one of the most fundamental decisions in housing projects: would it be better to go for a cable-based system or favour a wireless solution? While listing the pros and cons of the systems in question is all well and good, it’s about time we look at the arguments from a different perspective.

The family man

Let’s take a look at Thomas’ personal situation. With a baby in his arms and a three-year-old toddler at his heels, he doesn’t want to have to change the battery in the room temperature sensor or worry about whether the range between the wireless controller and the switching actuators in the children’s attic bedroom is fully sufficient. The control unit should react to environmental conditions reliably, quickly, and – above all else – automatically. Accommodating the personal needs and daily routines is a given. The family opts for a wired system and bus lines which support the open KNX standard, so they can choose and network devices independently of the manufacturer. The planning and implementation work is carried out by a systems integrator.

The DIY enthusiast

Kai’s situation is a fundamentally different one. As a DIY enthusiast, he wants to roll-up his sleeves and get his hands dirty. Not only should Kai be able to implement his system with a small initial outlay; the system should be suitable for flexible expansion too. Because Kai rents his home, costly construction work isn’t an option for him. He opts for a wireless solution that’s compatible with a variety of devices and applications. He can place the individual components independently and, if he decides to move, he can simply dismantle them and take them with him.

The couple

And what about Maria? She managed to convince her partner to at least connect light sources and blinds on the ground floor to bus cables and to integrate brightness sensors and dimming actuators. So there's nothing standing in the way of ambient lighting in the waiting room and directed task lighting in the studio. Because the new lines in the old urban villa also support standardised transmission protocols, the first floor can be retro-fitted with wireless components at a later stage. Wireless converters connect a wireless bus system to the wired components on the ground floor. This allows Maria’s partner to use a wireless transmitter to raise the blinds before opening his practice for the day in order to give his patients a view of his modern consulting rooms. It’s only a matter of time before he too warms up to the concept of smart home.

Whether you’re a family person, a DIY enthusiast, or a couple – have you had to make a decision on which system works best for you? We look forward to receiving your comments.

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