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CE Pro Community | Help! What Are the Wireless Control Options for NYC Apartment?
Help! What Are the Wireless Control Options for NYC Apartment?
Posted: 08 December 2010 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  172
Joined  2008-03-17

Q I’m worried about going wireless. I live on the 27th floor of a Manhattan concrete and steel high-rise. I am doing a minor renovation and want to have minor automated lighting and entertainment options. I hear the X10 (and other wireless standards) is not reliable with steel and concrete. For example, my remote control IR extender has to be hardwired. With a wireless “pyramid type” the signal will not pass from my bedroom to the living room to control amplifier volume (this wall is not concrete). What technologies should I use? Simple is better as I am a DIY? - Bob, Manhattan

Posted: 12 December 2010 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Custom Professional
Total Posts:  57
Joined  2008-10-02

There are wireless protocol beyond X10 and Powermids that tend to be much more robust. Bidirectional technologies such as Zigbee and even Lutron can increase reliability dramatically. Beyond that there are many products that operate natively on wi-fi, which is a very mature protocol, which leads me to ask how your wireless laptop works in the residence? It would be a good indicator of what is technically possible.

Also, if a renovation is being performed, it may be a good time to consider having some wire run.


Isaac Imig
Director of Operations
Gorge Audio/Video

Posted: 13 December 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Grizzled Veteran
Total Posts:  309
Joined  2007-11-18

Bob - the nature of this question is one of the main reasons our industry is still viable.  When someone first hears what I do they often ask, “well with everything going wireless, doesn’t that mean you won’t have a job soon?”

The more wireless increases peoples adoption of technology, the more people will rely on technology and then the more they will rely on the people who actually know how it works.

Your question does not have a simiple answer.  What product or technology should you use?  It depends.

Lutron has developed RadioRA2 to deal with the inherent problem of retrofitting lighting control.  It uses a proprietary architecture blending power line and wireless mesh networking to create a stronger and more reliable lighting control system.  I bet it would work well in your apartment.  But it only handles the lighting/shades.

What about portable phones?  Panasonic has the ability with their system to attach a cell station - which can be setup with one of their proprietary portable phones to scan and test the wireless communication on their frequency.  If you have dead spots, you just add a cell station (hard wired) to that area.

Wifi?  Try a wifi scanning program.  They’ll reveal the chatter or noise in many frequency ranges that could interfere.  Although it sounds like you think the problem is that wireless does not penetrate far, perhaps your problem is the opposite - too much traffic.

You wont know until you scan it.


Morgan Harman
Security & Automation Training Manager


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