Z-Wave vs ZigBee vs WiFi

This is another one of those questions that gets asked all the time.  What are the pros and cons of these various technologies and which is best?  Well first of all there isn’t a “best” for everyone nor is there a reason you have to ONLY stick with one throughout your house.  Many times a mixing of protocols is best.  In this post I’m going to attempt to break down the pros/cons of each one to help better educate your buying decisions.

These are going to be generic, it’s possible a specific product may not quite slot into this list.  My hope is that you can use it as a starting point though.  Alright so let’s break things down and take a look at the good and bad of each protocol!

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Do you need a hub?

This question comes up a lot, do you need a hub?  What about just sticking a bunch of WiFi plugs/switches in and calling it a day?  Or what about Hue with their motion sensors, that automates my lighting right?

The truth of the matter is, no you don’t NEED a hub but it can greatly improve your automations and allow dissimilar devices to be pulled into a central platform.  There are also some security and performance considerations vs just using WiFi devices.

Let’s explore some of these!

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XML Parsing and Database Writing with Node-RED

Getting useful data into your home automation platform is always a challenge.  Weather, snow emergencies, school closings, etc are vital pieces of information as your automations mature.

Unfortunately there isn’t one nationwide, definitive source, for much of this information.  In this post I will outline ONE way to scrape and parse this data for use in automations or alerting.

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Automated Camera Pop with Kodi

I’ve seen this topic come up quite a bit recently and thought I would give some insights.  How can you automatically pop a camera feed into Kodi on motion?  And how can you have it disappear after a few seconds?

As it turns out this is pretty simple, and should be doable from your home automation platform of choice.  All you need it a way to capture camera motion events and act on them.  I’ve also added a virtual switch so I can disable the alerts.

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New Home Best Practices!

This comes up time and time again on the Home Automation subreddit.  How do I lay out wiring and all to make automation as simple as possible in the future?  This post will try to address these items and give suggestions for easy, inexpensive things you can do while building for maximum flexibility!

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Individual WiFi SSID Scheduling

I figured I would start off with something relatively simple.  How can you toggle WiFi networks on a schedule.  Now Ubiquiti offers this scheduling function natively, however that doesn’t tie into the rest of your automations and means you have to manually change things up as schedules change.

I imagine you are asking yourself, why would I do this?  Kids are the obvious answer, shut down the WiFi at night and turn it back on in the morning.  This only works if you have a separate SSID that the kids devices connect to.  Though you can get creative with other options too which I will detail in a second post.

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