Originally Posted by Sam Ash
Also, could you explain the difference between a wired and non-wired (Retro installations) in terms of infrastructure and reliability.
I'll tackle this question first and the other later. The question when it comes to wireless is always what are you controlling, what is the wireless protocol, and do you have the proper infrastructure to support it? So some examples:
- Wireless lighting, which uses RF, from first rate companies like Crestron and Lutron is rock solid
. Without naming names so as to avoid any flaming, let's just say some other brands not so much.
- There are two types of "wireless" shading. One is where the shades are battery powered - IOW they are completely wireless even for power. They work fine but in this case I would personally go wired every time - for the power. Because it's usually not too difficult to pull power from a nearby outlet on the wall. Then you never have to change batteries, can do larger shades if needed and so on. But the communication to the shades to control them can still be RF, and again with Crestron it is rock solid
. I would not bothing running communication wire to the shades unless for some reason it is very easy to get wire back to the processor location. Now in new construction I still always do wired, but that's mainly because it costs less in that scenario. Strictly speaking it's more reliable, but we're almost talking theoretical at this point. I've had wireless lighting systems running for years that have never missed a command. Crestron makes fantastic shades BTW, excellent motors which have a lifetime warranty.
- For a control system wifi is usually going to be for controlling the system via smartphone or iPad and again that is rock solid
So for the above things I would have no concerns at all about wireless. In general if it's new construction run wire, if it's existing don't worry about it. Same applies to streaming video sources. Run Ethernet (and more of course) to all A/V locations. If the house is finished, go wireless.
A word on wireless. If someone is using what are known to be reliable automation systems (i.e. Crestron) and complaining about performance, virtually without exception it's the implemenetation. As an example we've done 10,000+ square foot homes with wireless lighting with no issues. But sometimes during the testing phase you may encounter issues, even though you've planned everything correctly. You may notice that a few light switches at the perimeter are not responding, or are responding sporadically. So that simply tells you that you need to reposition the repeater, or add an additional one. Problem solved and it's rock solid.
I see a ton of complaints that relate to control systems and wifi. Virtually every single time those are related to someone cheaping out on the network side of things. I'll give you another example. We did a Crestron system last year that was not that big, about 8 rooms total, i.e. not a ton of network traffic. The Client had DSL and we were changing them over to cable. Cable company had not done their installation yet, and there was no way to bridge the AT&T modem/router. Since the sytem was small I thought I could get away with using the AT&T router for a few days until the cable modem showed up at which point I'd add the "real" router. No such luck. I could press a button on the Crestron touchscreen and commands that should have triggered instantly were triggering 30 seconds later. The AT&T router was just absolute garbage. So I had to create a DMZ zone so I could use our specificed router until the (bridgable) cable modem showed up.
So anytime there are reliabilty issues on wireless it is almost without exception because of inadequate router/switches/access points. Granted, sometimes no matter what you'll encounter weird network issues you have to solve because of odd ball components. Sonos for instance does not play well with certain network configurations so you have to be careful with it.
Hope this helps. I rarely post on forums anymore but covid-19 is giving me some downtime :-).