How INSTEON works
INSTEON is one of the most popular home automation systems in the world. It's the perfect balance between simplicity and functionality.
It's a wireless system that can be easily installed into both new and existing homes, but one that also features the reliability of a hard-wired system. That's because INSTEON signals are transmitted using two simultaneous methods - electrical wiring (physical power lines) and wireless Radio-Frequency (RF).
INSTEON is also a "mesh" network, where every INSTEON device acts as a repeater, receiving and re-transmitting every command they receive. So instead of stressing the network when you add more INSTEON devices, you actually strengthen it. Other mesh networks use complex router tables where only certain modules act as repeaters, resulting in a less reliability compared to INSTEON.
This dual-medium, mesh network is called "dual-mesh", and it's what gives INSTEON the edge over single-medium technologies like X10 (powerlines only) or single-mesh networks such as Z-Wave & Zigbee (RF only). INSTEON features an almost unlimited range, is reliable, responsive and more than capable of working in the largest-of-homes or offices. It's home automation like it should be.
Every device is a repeater, resulting in a strong interlocked network.
Dual-mesh in fact
Simultaneous RF and powerline communication provides a fail-safe backup path.
No dedicated cabling
Minimal disruption as cabling between modules isn't required. Cheaper too!
Hang onto those X10 modules as INSTEON features a degree of backward compatibility.
Understanding INSTEON device types
There's two main types of INSTEON modules, 'Controllers' and 'Responders'.
Controllers send signals based on manual or automated events, and include devices such as the programmable network hub, remote controls, motion/door sensors etc. You choose your controllers based on how you would like to interact with your home.
Responders receive the commands sent by controllers and, well, respond! They are what actually switch the electricity to your lights and devices, control your heating, send IR signals and more. INSTEON responders essentially choose themselves for you, as their choice is defined by the device you wish to control. For example, if you want to control a plug-in lamp then you'd go with the Plug-In Dimmer responder. Need to control a wired-in pool pump? Select a DIN-Rail Relay (On/Off) responder.
INSTEON is the most reliable and cost effective home automation technology available anywhere in the world. It is the only home automation standard that features dual mesh technology, giving it the edge over the competition. Discover other ways in which INSTEON stacks up vs the competition in the comparison table below.
- INSTEON vs ZWave
- INSTEON vs Zigbee
- INSTEON vs X10
|Repeating mesh network||No||Single||Single||Dual|
|Powerline data rate (bps)||20||-||-||2,400|
|RF wireless communication||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|RF wireless data rate (bps)||-||20,000||9,600||38,400|
|Full-mesh network communication||No||No||No||Yes|
|Automatic network enrollment||No||No||No||Yes|
|All devices are peers||No||No||No||Yes|
|Backwards X10 compatible||Yes||No||No||Yes|
Further technical detail
A full technical comparison of INSTEON and competing systems can be found in the INSTEON Compared white paper.
A detailed guide on the technology and theory behind INSTEON can be found in the INSTEON Details white paper.