Definition: X10 is an industry standard for home automation networks. The technology behind X10 has been developed over several decades and remains popular today despite competition from other standards. X10 utilizes either wired power line or wireless radio communication methods.
X10 EquipmentAn X10 home automation environment utilizes sensors and control devices that communicate with each other and manage various household appliances. X10 devices most commonly interface with
- lights - turn on and off, or change the brightness level, on demand or on a timer
- security cameras - detect motion and automatically activate
- thermostats - raise and lower temperature settings according to homeowner preferences
X10 Network ProtocolAt the heart of X10 is a simple control protocol that supports up to 256 devices. Several X.10 protocol commands work specifically with lighting systems to control their brightness. Others also support temperature control and security systems. X10 devices communicate over either wired power line or wireless radio links.
Competing Home Automation StandardsSeveral alternative home automation technologies exist in the industry besides X10:
- INSTEON - intended to replace X10 in the market, INSTEON networks also run over both power line and wireless radio connections using protocols designed for much faster response time than X10 can support
- Z-Wave - operates over wireless radio frequencies only and designed to scale up to larger numbers of devices than traditional X10 environments
- Zigbee - a wireless technology like Z-Wave, Zigbee products are relatively less mature in the market and targeted more toward commercial and home energy management systems rather than general purpose home automation