Lay the foundation of your smart home

Amanulla Khan, Managing Director of Belkin, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, makes his case for mesh Wi-Fi

The Linksys Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi system

The smart home market is set for remarkable growth over the next few years. By 2020, there will be approximately 25 billion connected things in homes around the world, according to Gartner. Homes across the UAE and wider Middle East are continuously evolving and adopting various smart home devices, ranging from temperature controls and lighting to connectivity between smart devices and home appliances.

The foundation of any smart home is a technology that allows for devices and humans to communicate with each other. Today, multiple technologies are used to establish this communication – from 3G, 4G and WiMAX to Bluetooth and Zigbee. However, Wi-Fi is most widely used to set-up a home network and forms the foundation for a smart home.

While smart homes are now a reality and consumers are increasing their spend on the adoption of smart technologies, they should first invest in a robust home network. Currently, 97 per cent of Middle East homes have access to broadband and have a Wi-Fi network set up. However, they continue to use outdated routers and range extenders, leading to a poor Wi-Fi experience caused by dead spots, real-time interruptions, multiple network names and sticky client issues.

Today, consumers invest in smart devices, the numbers of which have exponentially increased in the home. In a household, at any given time, the network is connected to a minimum of eight devices, whether these are smartphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs or laptops.

In addition, the content generated is easily available across various platforms and very rich, including high-definition videos, 4K streaming and high-quality audio. Movies and TV shows can be streamed online from providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime; ads have gone digital with advanced features including video, audio and other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content; and the online gaming industry has reached professional levels, with high-value sponsorship, championship games and dedicated channels for millions of gaming enthusiasts to view.

Now let’s add smart home adoption to the mix, in which it’s no longer just the digital devices getting connected. Everything that exists in your home can be connected. To make this a reality, necessary investments must be made to upgrade the Wi-Fi system that provides the connectivity to support the evolving home network.

Mesh Wi-Fi is a game-changing technology that has revolutionised the connected home. It’s a Wi-Fi system that can be installed in various mesh configurations, providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi to the edge of the home network. Linksys launched its Intelligent Mesh product, the award-winning Velop Whole Home Wi-Fi system, in 2017.

Built with smart technology, Velop’s mesh system configures the nodes by monitoring and optimising the network based on usage. The Wi-Fi system self-heals, meaning that if there is a faulty node or a loose cable, it will reconfigure itself in a way that reconnects with an available node, providing connectivity 24/7. Premium subscription software service Linksys Shield was recently launched, enabling users to block unwanted content and providing an additional layer of digital protection for their connected devices and families.

This is the kind of futureproof technology that connected homeowners need to match their expectations of high performance and range throughout the home. In 2017, fewer than 1 per cent of Middle East connected home owners were using mesh technology. Today, more than 27 per cent of all routers sold are mesh, according to GFK monthly reports on networking trends.

Before a connected homeowner starts investing in smart home technology, we need to invest in a sustainable foundation technology, Wi-Fi systems, in order to get the maximum return on investment from our smart device purchases and for a truly connected experience.

In 2018, Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) merged with Belkin International (Belkin, Linksys, Wemo and Phyn) to create a global consumer electronics leader. The four brands Belkin, Linksys, Wemo and Phyn sit at the forefront of the IoT industry as our collective vision is to connect people, their devices, and the experiences they love through innovative technologies, products and services.