INSTEON is a home automation technology developed in 2004 by SmartLabs. INSTEON was designed to be backwards compatible with legacy X10 automation systems while expanding home automation capabilities to incorporate new features like wireless communication.
What Is Dual Band Mesh Technology?
INSTEON devices communicate over both power lines and via wireless using the INSTEON powerline protocol, the INSTEON radio frequency (RF) protocol, or both. INSTEON calls this technology "dual mesh" or "dual band mesh" networking. Communication between INSTEON devices is modeled after computer network protocols. The protocols use error checking and allow devices to work as repeaters for increased reliability.
Devices enabled with both dual band mesh protocols provide a bridge between powerline carrier (PLC) systems and wireless RF systems, thus eliminating the need for phase couplers that increase the difficulty and cost of installing automation equipment. INSTEON powerline devices are compatible with the X10 protocol, allowing them to talk and listen to X10 devices.
How Do INSTEON Devices Communicate?
INSTEON powerline devices transmit data at 131.65 KHz and corresponding wireless devices at 904 MHz. A device equipped with both interfaces simultaneously sends out data using both protocols. In the INSTEON home automation mesh network, all devices within range (approximately 50 meters or 150 feet, unobstructed) communicate in peer-to-peer fashion. The mesh is designed to improve the robustness of the network by minimizing reliance on central devices.
Currently, INSTEON is the only integrated technology that communicates via both powerline and wireless technologies. While some hybrid products have been created for other wireless technologies to network with legacy X-10 devices, only INSTEON has the capability built in.
Companies Who Make INSTEON Products
The development and availability of interoperable INSTEON protocol products is driven by the INSTEON Alliance. Members of the Alliance include many Fortune 500 companies and other INSTEON product development organizations such as Sylvania, Somfy, Venstar, ABT, Casaworks, and Homeseer.