Smart light bulbs are worth the hype, and if your light bulb doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, you’re not happy. Problems like slow Wi-Fi connections can occur if you don’t have a hub. Devices like Philips Hue, recommend that you buy their hub so that you would not miss out on any of the features.
However, a hub is an added cost that some homeowners do not want to spend. Similarly, hubs retail at $50 and up, which is why many people wonder, what is the point of a smart hub? Smart Hubs have mesh networking, speed connections, and don’t put too much pressure on your router.
What Is A Hub?
A hub or bridge is a device with radios that connect certain smart home devices to the rest of your network. The most common of these radios are Z-Wave and ZigBee, as most battery-powered smart home devices use one of these two communication protocols.
Some manufacturers feature hubs that only work with their own specific devices. While the hardware may work with many other products with the same communication protocol, each brand may limit it to its own devices. For example, the Philips Hue product line.
Hubs With Zigbee Or Z-Wave
Smart light bulbs that use a hub like Philips Hue connect to either ZigBee or Z-Wave. In the Hue cases, the bulb is connected to the hub, and then the hub is connected to the router. One advantage of using light bulbs that use ZigBee or Z-Wave is that they use mesh networking.
Mesh networking is especially handy if you have a light bulb that is out of range of your hub, as it can piggyback the signal from a nearby light bulb. According to Z-Wave, the signal can travel up to a hundred meters, while the ZigBee signal can travel up to 30 meters—that’s a big difference.
The Hub Ecosystem
Hubs that are compatible with a variety of manufacturers are a go-to resource for smart home enthusiasts. The most popular among them is the Samsung SmartThings hub, which supports Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Bluetooth.
SmartThings allows you to use Siri and manage your devices from outside your Wi-Fi network. However, the main advantage of a central hub is that you can then control your entire smart home from a single app.
Frequent Internet Problems
Having multiple smart bulbs on one Wi-Fi means that each bulb has to have a separate connection to your router. If you use a lot of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in your home and are having problems with your Internet, it could be your router, not the Internet itself.
A low-end router tends to top out at around 20 devices, and you might notice lagging. With the addition of cell phones, laptops, and smart light bulbs, the number of devices can add up quickly, and the problem could be with the router, not the internet. Therefore, if you having router problems or have more than ten smart bulbs then your best option is a hub.
What does it mean no hub required?
Hubless devices are a cost-effective alternative that companies have come up with to take some of the pressure off consumers. They allow you to use your favorite smart home device without a hub. By using them instead of hubs for everything in your home you’re not missing out and can take advantage of resources like Wi-Fi that most homes have access to.
Therefore, the term “no hub required” simply means that the device, whether it’s a smart light bulb or a light strip, will work with Wi-Fi, and no additional hardware is required. These three words are important when manufacturers market their products because they appeal to buyers looking for budget-friendly devices and make smart lighting a lower commitment.
Another hubless way is with Bluetooth; your phone connects directly with the device. The only downside is that you need to have an app running on your smartphone for this connection to happen, but when it does, it’s fantastic.
Why do I need a hub with Alexa?
The only way you’ll need a hub with Alexa is if you are connecting it with other devices like Govee RGBIC LED Strip Lights for voice command features etc. Using Alexa with Amazon devices, for instance, their tablets require internet only. If this is your only reason for calling upon this virtual assistant then- no hub is needed.
An Alexa and smart hub works independently, so if you just want voice control for your smart home, you’ll need the Echo. However, they work best when used together to provide a better user experience of a smart home hub and an assistant.
What’s A Good Hub?
I am all in for SmartThings as it is a crucial component of any smart-home system. It can help you control your lights, thermostat, and more from one app on your phone. Apart from this, they are easy to install and control. Nothing is more irritating than buying new hardware and have to spend hours learning how to use it.
The Samsung SmartThings Home Hub will ensure all devices and systems work together seamlessly. This also means using only ONE APP instead of many. When doing my research, I found this review was beneficial when choosing between hubs like Google Home and Wink.
I’m all for having a hub, but I also understand why someone would be hesitant to buy one. The main concerns with several Wi-Fi devices on one router are bandwidth issues and network security. I would recommend everyone get a good wireless router that has a lot of customization options that allow you to monitor and adjust how these devices interact with your network.
Whether you should buy a hub depends on your situation and how many light bulbs your house has. Using Wi-Fi is much cheaper, so if you only have a handful of lights, a hub is a waste of money. However, if every light fixture in your home has a smart light bulb, then the benefits of the hub for the mesh network are worth the price and hassle.
I am a wife and mom with two kids. I am also a writer, avid DIYer, and tech enthusiast. My favorite things are writing, shopping online for gadgets, and gizmos I can’t afford (yet). Being at home with my kids is the best part of my day!