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INSTEON protocol

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

INSTEON is a communication language for home automation device control. INSTEON and its protocol were released in 2005 by Smartlabs.

INSTEON allows home automation devices to communicate through power lines, radio frequencies or a combination of both. INSTEON enables communication between devices such as:

  • Light switches
  • Thermostats
  • Home audio
  • Remote controls
  • Leak sensors
  • Pumps
  • Motion sensors
  • Alarms

Through the INSTEON protocol, a dual-mesh network is formed where every device transmits, receives and repeats messages. When a message is received, it is checked for errors and corrects any that are found. INSTEON also uses hubs to program complex actions and respond to voice input using Amazon Echo. The protocol has native clients to support mobile devices for iOS, watchOS, Android and Windows phones.

Apps for INSTEON enable local and remote control. The apps also enable remote home monitoring. An example of a home automation action INSTEON might perform would be when one turns on the TV, the home theater system components would also turn on.

Like many other home automation protocols, INSTEON is associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). Competing technologies include X10, THREAD, ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth LE.

This was last updated in November 2017

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