Home automation systems are wonderful devices that allow you to automate things like your home lighting, heat, AC, and entertainment system. If you have even the simplest of systems, you are likely to run into some issues where the automation seems as though it will not work at all. This can be problematic, especially if you are not technologically savvy. In this situation, there are a few simple steps that you can take to help you to get your system up and running again.
Investigate Router Issues
The vast majority of automation systems work through wireless internet. Simply put, if your wireless internet is not working, then your automation system will not be working either. In many cases, the router simply needs to be reset, so unplug the device, plug it back in, and try to reconnect the automation system.
If reconnection does not work or if you find that the automation continually stops working either completely or intermittently, there are several common reasons why you may see this. The maximum transmission unit (MTU) size may not be large or small enough, there may be too much wireless interference, or the router's firmware may need an upgrade.
If you believe there is interference, like if you have multiple devices in your home that use a wireless frequency, like a cordless phone or a baby monitor, then change the channel that your router uses. Many devices are set to a "default" channel, and multiple devices can easily be set to the same channel. Some devices simply cannot be changed from their default, but your router can be.
You want a channel on either the low or high end to reduce interference, since these are rarely used as a default. To change the channel, you will need to use your web browser. The instructions for doing so are fairly easy and can often be found online. When in doubt, call the customer service department of your internet company for assistance. This is also a good chance to inquire about firmware updates. While the router will typically update on its own, this is not always an option if the device is older. There also may be some technical difficulties where the update needs to be pushed to the router, so ask about this too.
The MTU size of the router is something that you may need to investigate if other router troubleshooting tasks do not work. This is a bit more complicated though. The MTU is described as the size of the packet of data sent out by the router. The size is important for efficiency and for function. If you add an automation system, it is likely that your MTU size may need to change. You can go through some steps to check this and to adjust it based on your needs. The steps may be too advanced for a novice, so if you have trouble, speak with a technician from your wireless internet supplier.
Weak Power Signals
While many automation systems work with wireless internet, especially when it comes to your entertainment systems and smart app controls, many of the lighting automation systems will use something called X10 transceivers. These tranceivers will send signals through the electrical wiring to tell lights when to turn on and off. However, if the tranceiver is not close to the light that you wish to activate, the signal may become too weak as it travels through the wiring.
Weak X10 signals are extremely common since the wiring in your house was not specifically made for these types of signals. A professional electrician or an automation specialist can measure signal strength as it moves throughout your home. If there is a signal issue, then something called a phase coupler can be installed. If phase couplers are present, then the X10 signal might be absorbed as it moves from one location to another. A special filter device may then need to be installed. Again, this is something that a professional will need to investigate.
For more information, contact a company that specializes in home automation technology.