Insteon protocol: Is it any good?
Insteon is the unique protocol on this list because it incorporates wireless home automation and powerline technologies into a single network. This gives you the flexibility to install accessories anywhere in your home, as long as you have a power outlet or wireless signal.
Insteon communicates with accessories on the 915 MHz wireless radio band over a peer-to-peer network. In addition to wireless, Insteon also connects via a home's existing electrical wiring (called powerline communications). This provides favorable redundancy in the system. The data rate on an Insteon network is around 180 bps, but faster bursts are possible. This means that the network cannot stream media content. It is limited to relaying commands and messages for home automation.
Insteon's wireless range is up to 150 feet unobstructed. The practical indoor range is about 30 feet, extending up to about 100 feet on the mesh network. Wireless range is generally not an issue for Insteon as it also includes power line communications to any outlet, socket or switch in your home.
Benefits of Insteon
Automatic notifications by email or SMS
In conjunction with your text and email, Insteon will send a message as soon as certain triggers are completed. Has anyone left the house? Has movement been detected in your garden? The protocol sends a message in real-time, so you can react immediately if necessary.
Non-local network control
An advantage of this protocol is that it gives you the ability to control devices even when they are outside your local network. In other words, even when you're in the office, you can turn on devices or activate switches in your home. Other protocols have this function, but few can do it as smoothly as Insteon.
Compatible with x10
Finally, Insteon works really well with x10. Some homeowners who have already installed a x10 in their home can upgrade to Insteon without having to uninstall the existing installation.
Few compatible third-party devices
Few third-party devices can work with Insteon, severely limiting what you can install and use in your home. Usually the devices that work with this protocol are also made by Insteon, which can be problematic if you want to save on purchases or want specific features of a certain product. Insteon currently offers switches, cameras, motion sensors, range extenders and thermostats. Other brands are not compatible with Insteon, but it might be a bit more difficult for you.
It's not the kind of protocol designed to be plug-and-play. Of course, all current protocols require a learning curve, but the Insteon is a bit steeper than most. If you want to use all the connectivity features, investing time in learning the system is important.
The Insteon protocol is mainly controlled through the app they developed. Unfortunately, the app itself isn't as extensive as you'd like. There are few controls - like the scheduling system, which is heavily limited to one "on" and one "off". Adding new devices also requires some sensitivity. At first, you will find the Insteon app difficult to learn and navigate.