I noticed a lot of bad will and negative comments on the subject of hubs recently in this sub. I recognize that having too many devices connected to a router can be a confusing mess and that no one wants a situation where every brand you buy requires a different hub to manage it. However, I felt compelled to offer a few points to balance the desire to have a single hub and standard wireless radio in the smart home:
– Without a hub, the devices are usually based on the two wireless radio standards already present in our homes. WiFi or bluetooth. Bluetooth is energy efficient, but lacks range and reliability, so it’s not ideal for every type of device. WiFi offers a good range and reliability, but is not good for battery-powered devices.
– WiFi devices are also more difficult to configure. I have 16 LIFX bulbs in my network. I love them – they work great. It responds, bright, a good range of colors and white temperature. They are also a huge pain if network changes are needed. I changed my router last year and believe me, after I configured 16 bulbs, I wanted LIFX to have a hub to which I could only connect it and all the bulbs will be reserved and available.
– Multiple hubs help spread the risk of reliability. If all lighting, heating, or security devices connect to the same gateway, they are all vulnerable if the hub breaks or has a problem. In my house, if the lighting or heating was turned down separately, an eye roll and a tut could be obtained. If they came down together, I should emigrate.
– Hubs offer flexibility. Hue bulbs now offer BLE bulbs with no direct connection without a hub. Eve now offers a hub for devices to connect to if you need a wider range or response. Do you only have one or two devices and a simple configuration for a certain type of device? Okay, you probably don’t need a hub. If you add more or your setup becomes more complex, it’s a good idea to have a central device that manages them for you.