Why is INSTEON more reliable than other Power Line Communication technologies?
INSTEON messages travel throughout the home via Power Line Communications (PLC) signals on the existing house wiring. As the messages make their way to INSTEON devices being controlled, they are picked up and re-transmitted by all other INSTEON devices along the way. This method of communicating, called a mesh network, is very reliable because each additional INSTEON device helps to support the overall network. To further ensure reliability every INSTEON device confirms that it has received a command. If an INSTEON Controller does not receive this confirmation it will automatically re-transmit the command up to five times.
Power Line Communications Impediments:
When problems occur with power line communication devices, the source is typically one of two conditions: signal attenuation or power line noise.
The following represents a partial list of appliances which, under certain circumstances, have been known to generate power line noise or cause signal attenuation:
- "Wall Wort" power transformers used with many small electronic devices
- Certain brands of television receivers
- Computer printers
- Defective fluorescent lighting fixtures
- Dimmer switches
- Ionizing air cleaners
- Laptop computer power supplies
- Small battery chargers
- Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS)
Power line noise problems can usually be isolated by turning off circuit breakers one at a time until the problem is isolated to a particular circuit. After restoring power, portable appliance problems can be identified by unplugging them, one at a time, until the problem is resolved. Be sure to unplug each appliance; simply turning them off may not identify the problem. When the offending appliance has been located, the problem can usually be easily remedied with the use of a FilterLinc 1626 noise filter.
Further Enhancing Reliability
As signals travel via the power line or RF throughout the home they naturally become weaker. The best way to overcome signals getting weaker is to increase the coverage of the mesh network by introducing more INSTEON devices. It is possible that some audio-video products, computers, power strips or other electrical equipment may attenuate INSTEON signals on the power line. You can temporarily unplug suspected devices to test whether the INSTEON signal improves. If it does, then you can plug in filters available that will permanently fix the problem.
Using INSTEON Range Extenders to Upgrade Your INSTEON Network
INSTEON Range Extenders are ideal for improving signal strength and network coverage throughout your home. In addition, using two INSTEON Range Extenders provides a wireless path for INSTEON signals to travel between the two separate electrical circuits, called power line phases, found in most homes. Without a reliable method for coupling opposite power line phases, some parts of your home may receive INSTEON signals intermittently. With at least one Range Extender plugged into one of the power line phases, and at least one more plugged into the opposite power line phase, INSTEON power line signals will be strong everywhere in your home.
How do INSTEON enabled products affect X10 signals?
If your existing X10 devices seem to be working less reliably after installing INSTEON devices, remember that INSTEON devices can absorb X10 signals just as X10 devices do, and that INSTEON devices do not repeat X10 signals. Installing INSTEON-compatible BoosterLinc X10 Signal Boosters can increase X10 signal levels.
The INSTEON technology allows manufacturers to develop products that are both INSTEON-compatible and X10-ready. Homeowners with existing X10 networks can easily migrate to an INSTEON network without having to discard all their existing X10 devices. Please note that INSTEON devices repeat INSTEON signals and not X10 signals. Also, since INSTEON devices are typically capable of X10 transmissions, the signal attenuation characteristics associated with X10 transmitters are also inherent with every INSTEON device. For this reason, while INSTEON networks become stronger as they grow, legacy X10 signals on the same network will be significantly attenuated to the eventual point of failure.