Over recent weeks, I've been testing out a bunch of smart home gear, ranging from security cameras to environmental monitoring through to door locks, switches and lights. And while most of those rely on a robust home network, some will also depend on a fast uplink connection to the Internet. Most existing ADSL and cable internet services aren't going to cut it.
Research published by Telsyste almost a year ago forecast that by 2021 the average home would have about 30 connected devices with most of those being domestic IoT (Internet of Things) devices. So, while that ADSL connection, delivering anywhere between 2Mbps and 20Mbps down and less than 1Mbps up might have been OK for some web browsing, social media and email when there were just a PC or two and the odd smartphone in the house, it's not going to cut it as we enter the third decade of the century.
For example, I was looking at some of the new Nest products this week. The Nest Cam IQ will soon be integrating Google Home (so you won't need to buy Google's smart speaker) as well as capturing HD video and doing facial recognition so you can be alerted if there's a stranger in your home. All that sounds neat (I hope to test one out soon, once the Google Home integration is rolled out globally) but then you realise that to get the most from the Nest Cam IQ, you need at least 2Mbps of available upload.
For many Australians, that's not an option until the NBN is rolled out in your neighbourhood.
If you're moving along the journey to adding devices and making your place a smart home, then think carefully about your network as it's likely to be a limiting factor. For starters, I'd ensure the wireless router you're using gives your home adequate coverage. You can use a free tool like the Ekahau HeatMapper to survey your home or office to verify that your wi-fi network is offering decent coverage.
If it's not, consider a mesh networking solution that can blanket your home.
And, when the NBN trucks come through your neighbourhood, look at what upload speeds you can get as they'll be as important as downloads as you add more devices to your network.