The series on Home Automation has now lasted as long as a number of my blog series have lasted. It falls in terms of posts in the shorter end of the various blog series I have posted. My family history project blogs are now well past 370.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend that had embarked on his third home automation project. He told me that the corner of his basement where all his stuff was looked like a spaghetti factory had exploded. All over the floor he said. I wondered for a second what a spaghetti factory exploding would look like. I guess I went the flour everywhere route. He meant however something like the spaghetti in the first image today.
Avoiding a wiring mess is critical in your home automation project. Why? Because if you ever have to troubleshoot your system, the messier the wiring the longer it is going to take. Hours and hours longer if you have a big mess in your automation system. There is an old network term call OSPF open the shortest path first. When you start trying to troubleshoot issues in a mess like above, its hard to remember that the OSPF exists.
In the enterprise or government network space you can have a topology like the one on the left (and probably has 20 closets and data centers filled like the first graphic with wires everywhere). You can however take the commercially available network and create a OSPF infrastructure very quickly. As you see in the diagram you can have sites connected to many other sites. Then if one link goes down you are able to remain connected.
You can do something similar in your home network as you build out your automation projects. As I discussed a couple of days ago the first network project at home is get your Wi-Fi straight. Now you have to consider load. IoT devices, and they are exploding will create a variable load on your network. People using the network for computing and entertainment will create a steady load but its variable in that it won’t be on all day every day. So as you embark on the various automation projects you have to seriously consider how you segment your network.
So the thing about the IoT revolution that no one really talks about is the fact that it is really a personal implementation of the hybrid cloud model. Your various automation and IoT devices all connect to an external service provider so that you can connect to them when you are not in your home. That’s a hybrid cloud. But you won’t have an enterprise security team watching what is happening with your stuff. This is the choose wisely portion of the blog. You will do well to consider the traffic in your home. Then also consider the traffic up to the cloud and down from the cloud into your home. Then consider the number of connections in your home and the number of available points of connection. If you think of your home as a private cloud, which certainly you will be in automating your home moving towards a part of the definition of private cloud then you have to consider the following rules that enterprises have been using for years.
· What is the best available connection for the service we are adding? Do we have that connection available in the location we need to run the service? That means if the IoT or Automation device needs a wired connection we need to put that device in a place where we have that.
· If the device (IoT) or Automation Hub supports remote connectivity what kind of cloud security protocols is the vendor running. Your entire house is at the mercy of a hacker if the security of your automation hub is hacked. Think that isn’t possible – search hackers control car on the Internet and see the results.