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Newsletter 17th July 2023


This month  I want to give my opinion on what I consider to be the state of the smart home market and hopefully get to hear yours.

Home automation is in the early stages and creating a smart home today is no easy task.

If you have tried to turn your home into a smart home you will no doubt encountered several problems but the most important one is The lack of standardisation.

  • Does the device you are thinking of buying work with your existing setup?
  • Will you need extras hardware to support it?

Google, Amazon, Apple and many others  recognised this situation and are embarking on a standardisation program called connected Home over IP.

This is the goal of the working group

If the Working Group succeeds with this goal, customers can be confident that their device of choice will work in their home and that they will be able to setup and control it with their preferred system.

Out of this came the matter protocol which is in the early stages of being deployed.

How successful this will be in simplifying smart home creation is not known but I’m sceptical.

A recent article by Stacy on IOT is closer to my thinking. She related an article on 9 verge writers and what they have in their smart home. The article is here.

Suffice to say it wasn’t really pretty.

I feel we are still many years away from the day when you can buy a smart home device,unbox it and within minutes it is recognised on you smart home network and able to interact with existing smart home devices.

Instead we are likely to see islands of smart home devices controlled by their own Apps.

Basically we will get a collection of gadgets.

In fact when you think about it is it really necessary for your robo vac to talk to your smart home at all.

What is the Incentive?

How difficult is it to turn on a light switch or adjust the thermostat?

It’s not really difficult and so why automate it.

That I believe will be the opinion of most people today.

What Do you Think?

I would be interested in hearing your views please use the suggestions page

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • Is there anything holding you back from making your home smart.



Newsletter 27th June 2023

When Things go Wrong


Just when you least expect it and when you really don’t need it something goes wrong with the network.

So what do you do?

Well first you need to try and locate the problem. Sometimes this is  easy and other times not.

But three things that you can do now to make it easier are:

  • Get familiar with basic networking
  • Get familiar with basic troubleshooting
  • Get your network documentation up to date.

If you are new to networking then I would recommend you take a look at the basic home networking course.

Then you need to make sure that you have a network diagram and and know how to login to, and manage the devices on your network. So you need up to date network documentation.

Finally you will need to troubleshoot the problem as explained in home network troubleshooting.

Now you should be ready for when things do go wrong.



May 1 2023

If you are looking a smart home hubs and control systems then this video may be of interest.

After watching video I decided to take a look at hubitat and put my thoughts down in Hubitat vs Home Assistant Quick Guide

June 4 2023

Does making your home smart increase its value?

This is something I’ve often wondered about and still not sure of the answer. According to this article it does but I still remain to be convinced.

May 25 2023

A Good overview of smart home devices to get you started

April 19 2023

SmaHoo (Smart Home Outlet)



Open source project being launched that looks like shelly and sonoff mini.  Comes with http and MQTT support and doesn’t look like it is meant to be part of a proprietary network so you just control it with what ever you want. link

March 17 2023

Wemo Puts halt on Matter

Having just yesterday published a tutorial on the Matter protocol this article came to my attention.

It seems that Belkin have stopped Matter development and are rethinking their approach to the smart home.

From a personal viewpoint I was shocked when I looked at the Matter specification as it is almost 900 pages long (899 to be exact).

I was tempted at the time to ignore it and wait and see. It seems I’m not the only one to think that way but probably for different reasons.

Anyway it will be interesting to see the take up of Matter, and it is something I will be following going forward.

February 24 2023

Alexa losing Money How will it affect Smart Home Users?

Recent loses in the Alexa division have made analysts question the future of Alexa. Although it is likely to continue it will probably not be free. See here for more details.

January 24 2023

How to convert your home’s coaxial cable into Ethernet lines

This article I found very Interesting because my own house is wired with coax for TV and didn’t realise that this was possible.

I did look at the costs and what they quote is only true for a single connection point.

The actual adaptors are on the expensive side but they may come down.

Using homeplug adapters is still cheaper.

Here is the article

Here is also a very good article explaining how a MOCA network works

December 18 2022

If you are thinking of wiring your home with Ethernet then I recommend you take a look at these two videos

December 12 2022

November 22 2022

If you are thinking of installing homeassistant and are waiting for a raspberry Pi then this video should be useful.

Personally because I have quite a few old laptops then this has always been my preferred solution.

November 14 2022


Welcome to the newsletter

One of the networking terms you will come across is network latency. If you are confused by this term or simply would like to learn more about it then see –Network Latency for Beginners

In a recent poll Google Home came second in the poll as the most popular home control system. Although I don’ currently use it myself I had a look at it and ordered a Google home speaker to try it. See An Introduction to Google Home

If you are worried about network security and I’m sure it will be a problem in the future as more smart home devices are installed then you may want to consider isolating your smart home devices from the rest of your home network. See How to Isolate Your Home Network from Your Smart Home Network.

I’ve mentioned matter before but not thread. Thread is the wireless protocol that sites below matter and a knowledge of it will be required going forward.  I did a little research and I will be creating a tutorial sometime soon .

But these may be of interest if you want to learn more.

Samsung SmartThings hub has been matter certified and will be upgraded soon.

SmartThing hub to support Matter in OTA upgrade

Let me know what you think and what else you would find useful. Again please use the suggestions page

That’s all for now.

Best Regards



October 17 2022


Welcome to the newsletter

I’ve added network speed monitor flow to the networking speed tutorial. The flow runs a test every 5 minutes (can be changed) and produces a graph as shown below:


You can download the flow here

Routers and switches

As mentioned in the last newsletter here is the tutorial on routers and switches.

Backup Power (UPS)

In the tutorial on Internet backup I forgot to mention that is is also a good Idea to run your home router off a UPS( Uninterruptable power supply). I have a raspberry pi which I use for network and Internet monitoring amongst other things and I run it and my home router off a UPS which cost around £60.

Smart Locks

I’m currently in the process of researching smart locks and came across the Yale lock. It is available in zwave and Zigbee versions but the modules appear to be sold separately so be careful if you buy it.

However even more surprising is that you can’t tell the state of the lock from the App which is one of the main reasons I’m looking at them.

You might find this video useful

Guess I’ll keep looking

Let me know what you think and what else you would find useful. Again please use the suggestions page

That’s all for now.

Best Regards


October 3 2022


Welcome to the newsletter

Matter has been in the news recently and so I thought I would start the newsletter with a quick overview and some resources

Matter, formerly Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), is a royalty-free home automation connectivity standard.Matter aims to reduce fragmentation across different vendors, and achieve interoperability among smart home devices and Internet of things (IoT) platforms from different providers. WikI

This video gives a good overview

This article explains Matter in more detail

Matter explained

Although it has been delayed there are devices appearing with the Matter logo but if you’ve been waiting for Matter then you might be disappointed

5 ways Matter will disappoint users at launch

Matter will only run on IPV6 networks with should be a problem as almost all modern devices and operating systems support IPv6.

You can find an overview of IPv6 on my other site here. I will be adding a tutorial to this site specifically for home networks in due course.

Quick Question on IPv4

If we incorrectly configure two hosts which are on the same physical network with the following IP addresses and mask.

Host 1 IP= Mask
Host 2 IP= Mask

Then host 1 thinks it is on network 192.168.1 and host 2 thinks it is on the network 192.168.

So what will happen if host1 tries to talk a host3 with IP address

If you don’t know the answer then you may want to read more about subnets here

Routers and switches

There seems to be confusion regarding these two devices and so I will be doing a quick tutorial and maybe a video soon. In the meantime I just wanted to say that there should be only 1 router on your home network. All other Ethernet devices should be switches.

Of course there will be exceptions but not many.

Two Routers on The Same Home Network

Let me know what you think and what else you would find useful. Again please use the suggestions page

That’s all for now.

Best Regards


September 19 2022


Welcome to the newsletter

With the growing number of people now working from home there is a growing need to have a second internet connection and the most common way of doing this is using mobile.

Backup Internet For Home Networks

One of the trickiest networking concepts is that of ports and I attempt to demystify this in

Network Ports Explained

I made the decision several years ago to purchase Sonoff Wireless switches but would I do the same today? I’ve put together some research notes that may be of help if you are looking at Wi-Fi switches.

Sonoff vs Shelly Quick Guide and Research Notes

Home Automation Survey Results

I’ve closed the poll but will probably run it again early next year to see if the landscape has change but the clear winner was Home Assistant followed by Google Home.


A tweet to Think About


Let me know what you think and what else you would find useful. Again please use the suggestions page

That’s all for now.

Best Regards


September 5 2022

I just came a cross and article – 30 key Pros and Cons of Smart Homes Which i thought interesting and is well worth a read.

I have created a summary table below:



increase in convenience Significant installation costs
Full control over all smart appliances with only one device Reliable internet connection is crucial
Higher quality of life Security issues
Notifications in case of trouble Technological problems in connected homes
Energy savings You may lock yourself out of your own house
Safety improvements compared to conventional locks Helplessness if technology fails
Smart homes may be suitable for disabled persons Some people may not like smart technologies
Resale value might increase Maintenance and repair issues
  Compatibility problems between devices
  Technology may become outdated soon
  Privacy concerns


September 5 2022

A while ago I bought my mother some very inexpensive remote controlled sockets like these

She has a habit of turning her TV and standing lights off at the plug before she goes to bed so I thought it would make it easier.

Anyway after a few months she was still turning them off manually so I installed them in my house as the wife likes lots of table and standing lamps.

I must admit they work great and using a small remote is far easier than doing it from a mobile phone.

Doesn’t work with Alexa , Google home etc but I find them incredibly practical and well worth considering especially if you have elderly relatives.

23 August 2022 -Video- Static vs Dynamic IP Addresses

22 August 2022

If you have ever needed to set up port forwarding on your home router you will have encountered ports.

But what exactly are they? You can find out more in my  understanding port forwarding tutorial.

20 August 2022


Do you know how your network is configured? If you don’t then it will be very difficult to fault find. So if you haven’t documented your network you should do so now before you get a problem.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate or incredibly detailed or done all at once but the more information you have on the network layout and components then the better.

You can find out more in my tutorial documenting your Home Network.

Segmenting the Home Network

I’ve  created two tutorial on this with guest networks and VLANs.

Here is an article from Stacey on IOT which covers mesh networks and extenders to segment a network.


  1. Hi Steve,
    May I ask you a question?
    I have 8 dashboard switches on my NR-dashboard. Every switch present a value in byte order. So the first switch must send a 1, the next 2, 4, 8. I want to add all the values of these switches to 1 number (0-255). If I unswitch an switch I want to substract that order value from the total. So the value represents the state of these 8 switches. I
    My problem: If i change a switch, how can I scan all those others switches to get the total value?
    Canb you help me? Kind regards

    1. Hi
      You need to store the value of each switch in a context variable and using a function node. You ca also store the sum. When one switch changes just update the sum.
      This may help

      If you are still stuck let me know and I’ll put together a simple flow using inject nodes to simulate the switches.

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