Now Available: The Aqara M3 Matter Smart Home Hub

Cupertino, May 10, 2024

Aqara has released several smart home hubs over the years, and these have been a crucial part of how the company has integrated with HomeKit. The company recently released the new Aqara M3 Matter hub, focusing on privacy and local automation capabilities. HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework. “Aqara is committed to creating the ultimate smart home experience that continuously adapts to users' changing needs,” said Cathy You, Aqara Senior Vice President of Global Business and Strategy. “The edge computing capabilities of the Hub M3 will provide users with an added layer of stability and security, while the Matter compatibility will significantly improve interoperability and choice for users.” Originally announced at CES in January, the new M3 Hub differentiates itself as an Edge Hub by providing data privacy through fully encrypted, local storage and enhanced local automation features. For existing Aqara customers using a Zigbee hub, adding a Hub M3 significantly improves the stability of their smart home networks by enabling more local communication between Aqara devices. Once integrated into your home network, the M3 aims to outperform other Aqara Zigbee hubs and Wi-Fi devices by running automation locally on the Edge rather than through cloud services, ensuring functionality remains uninterrupted during internet or other SaaS disruptions. Additionally, the M3 Hub allows certain Aqara Zigbee devices with Repeater capabilities to act as a proxy hub and manage automations when the M3 is offline. Future Aqara Thread devices with Mesh Extender capabilities are expected to be compatible with device pairing via the M3. The Aqara M3 aims to become your single-purpose hub that supports multiple protocols including Thread, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IR. It quickly connects and controls Aqara's established range of Zigbee devices while also functioning as a Matter bridge for HomeKit support. Incorporating a 360° IR blaster into the new hub improves control over IR devices by instantly syncing their status with the Aqara Home app when an IR remote is used. In addition, the M3 offers the latest Aqara Thread devices and select Matter-compatible devices from other brands, and integrates them into the Aqara Home app. From a networking perspective, the Aqara M3 features dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz) with WPA3 security and a PoE-compatible port. My pet peeve with smart home products is that they only support 2.4GHz, so I love that it has a 5GHz radio in it. I have one of them on the way to put it through a deeper test for HomeKit functionality as well. The new hub can be purchased from Amazon or other Aqara retailers. FTC: We use monetized auto-affiliate links. More.

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