When first starting with home automation, many people are confronted with new terms that can seem like a foreign language. Having a basic understanding of some common home automation terms can make starting in home automation a whole lot easier.
Access Point = Device that converts wireless signal to a powerline signal and vice versa.
Bridge = Device that connects two networks together. Often used to connect different home automation technologies together such as Z-Wave to X-10.
Controller = Devices used to operate home automation devices. Typically controllers allow for the operation of multiple devices. They are available as desktop units, wall mount pads, computer interfaces, or touch screens.
Gateway = Allows a home automation system to communicate through the Internet.
INSTEON = A communication technology invented by Smartlabs that communicates using wireless signals and by using home electrical wiring. Compatible with X-10.
Powerline = The electrical wiring in a home or business. Commonly used to transmit home automation signals.
Scene = Home automation version of a macro. Scene programming allows the operation of multiple devices with a single command.
Sensor = Provide information to a home automation system, typically to trigger an event. Examples include, temperature, water, and window sensors.
UPB = Universal Power Bus Technology. A competing technology to X-10. Is not X-10 compatible.
X-10 = One of the best known technologies for home automation devices to communicate with each another. X-10 devices communicate by using home electrical wiring.
Z-Wave = A wireless communication technology. Very popular because of its robustness and the increasing number of manufacturers who are developing products using the Z-Wave chipset.