When turning your residence into an automated 21st Century digital smart home, do you need to worry about using too much Internet bandwidth? If every light, door lock, refrigerator, and window shade in your house is part of a home automation setup, will your data allowance get used up in a matter of days? Thankfully, the truth isn’t dire; in fact, you’ll probably need to worry more about securing your home network instead of your bandwidth usage.

Still, it is a good idea to understand how a home automation system uses the Internet.

Home Automation Internet Gateway

Most Internet of Things Appliances Use Minimal Bandwidth

In a typical home automation setup, a hub, or home automation Internet gateway, connects to your wireless router — Apple’s HomeKit being one notable exception. Any automated devices communicate directly with this hub. You typically use an app — either on your smartphone, tablet, or in a web browser — to control any device connected to the hub. A minimal amount of data gets sent back and forth usually involving commands sent to the device and status information coming back to the controller app.

One aspect of many home automation systems that consumes a relatively large portion of bandwidth is video. If you use video cameras to provide a measure of security in your HA setup, expect each camera to use a decent chunk of data. You are able to mitigate this somewhat by limiting the video quality; in most cases you won’t need HD-level video for a camera to play its role keeping an eye on your home and surroundings.

Make sure to read your video camera manual closely. If black and white video is an option, this also provides significant savings in data usage and retention.

A High-End Router Can Optimizes Your Home Automation Internet Gateway

Consider spending extra on a high-end router to complement your home automation setup. Even if you aren’t using many video cameras in your system, the best routers give you an extra level of control by allowing you to optimize the signal sent to the hub used in your HA installation, leading to better overall performance. You’ll also gain an extra measure of security to ensure hackers don’t use your web-enabled refrigerator as an email server!

As with any piece of emerging technology, it helps to research the variety of vendors and systems in the nascent home automation sector. Additionally, run an Internet speed test if you plan on making an array of video cameras part of your setup. As noted earlier, while most Internet of Things appliances use minimal bandwidth, cameras are the exception.