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Preparing Your Home to Be a Smart Home

    

As more people realize that smart devices and smart home.jpgappliances can make life easier, they'll want to turn
their existing houses into smart homes. However, before starting this home improvement project, make sure that your house is prepared. You may need to spend money updating your home before it's ready for the "smart" revolution.

Upgrade Your Wi-Fi

If you've been using your router for a few years, then you'll probably need to upgrade to a new model before you start incorporating many smart devices into your home. Ideally, you should choose a router with radios that support a variety of communication technologies, including Bluetooth Low Energy, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Thread and 6LowPAN.

Don't worry if some of those communication technologies sound like gibberish to you. You don't need to understand how they work. You just need to make sure you have a router that can communicate with all of your smart devices. By choosing a model with Wi-Fi and these five communication protocols, you won't have to worry about upgrading for many years. Without them, you could find that your router becomes obsolete within three to five years.

Position Your Router in a Central Location

No matter what router you buy, it will only connect to smart devices and appliances within a certain distance. If you currently have your router stored in a basement or attic corner, then you will probably need to move it. Otherwise, some of your smart home devices won't connect. Even if they do manage to connect, the ones farthest from the router will have weak signals that make them respond slowly to commands.

Try to place your router in a central location so its signal covers the entire home. You should keep this location in mind when shopping for a new router. After all, you may not want an ugly router sitting on your kitchen counter or living room bookshelf. If the router needs to go in a visible location, look for an attractive design that matches your home's interior design scheme.

While there are several ways to boost your Wi-Fi signal, none of them work as well as placing your router in a centralized location.

Consider How You'll Power Smart Devices

Upgrading your home with smart devices could mean that you have to add electrical outlets. While some smart devices, such as door locks, rely on battery power, others will need a permanent source of electricity. Even many security cameras require you to plug them in.

Depending on your house's age, you may also run into a problem powering many devices at once. Before you spend money on a smart refrigerator, oven or other large appliance, have a professional electrician inspect your home. There's no point in buying smart appliances until you have wiring that can support them.

Prepare a Budget and Installation Plan

Making a dumb home smart can cost several thousand dollars. You don't have to upgrade everything at once, though. Many homeowners start small with smart locks, room sensors and lights before they replace their appliances.

Creating a smart home budget and installation plan will help you improve your house without overspending. Perhaps you have enough money to upgrade your living room this year, but you need to save some cash before tackling your kitchen. As long as you have a plan that considers your budget and your needs, you can improve your home slowly without spending more money than necessary.

The smart home has been around for decades, but very few people have taken advantage of the technology. Now that prices have come down, more homeowners want to incorporate smart devices into their homes. There are many benefits to updating your house, but you need to first make sure that you and the building are both prepared.

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