the ins and outs of the internet of things

27th June 2022

In 1926, Nikola Tesla dreamed of a better-connected world where ‘The Earth would be converted into a huge brain using pocket-sized devices.’ Fast-forward to 2022 and Tesla’s dream is now closer than ever, as more and more devices connect to ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT.) But just what exactly is IoT? What benefits can you look forward to and what pitfalls should you be wary of?

‘IoT is a system of interconnected devices connected to the internet that can transfer and receive data from one another.’
Essentially, millions of devices are now connected to the internet forming a network of physical objects. The network allows these devices to communicate with each other by sending and exchanging data.

Traditionally, when connecting to the internet you would use a device such as your mobile, tablet or PC. But today almost anything can connect to the internet to send and receive data. IoT has enabled a wave of new gadgets for your home such as picture-printing toasters, anti-snoring solutions and even clever cat trays. Whilst some of these advancements can be seen as ‘gimmicky’ – not all are.

One of the aims of IoT is to ‘lessen the burden on humans’ through automation. A good example of this would be your alarm going off in the morning, then your blinds set to open whilst your coffee automatically brews, with your smart speaker playing the latest news. This type of automation has taken hold of households, transforming them into fully-fledged smart homes!

Automation can even extend to your locks being set from your phone or your home automatically adjusting the temperature depending on your work schedule. However, with some devices (like heating) requiring high installation costs and privacy concerns with the likes of smart speakers, an IoT enabled smart home isn’t for everyone and you should personally weigh up the pros and cons of upgrading your home.

Should you decide to go ahead with upgrading your house into a ‘smart home’ one of the key points to consider would be the strain this would have on your current broadband setup…

Naturally, as more devices connect and communicate over your home network, the more your connection might start to suffer.

An important factor in using a network like this is your upload speed. This is the measure of how fast your connection can upload data. The more devices that connect to the network, the slower it might become therefore affecting the response rate of your smart home.

On average, an Amazon Echo will use over 1GB of your data monthly. This is assuming for 30 minutes of streaming music and less than 5 enquiries. As smart speakers are crucial to a lot of smart homes it’s worth considering how implementing a new system will have an effect on your existing bandwidth.

Another key point to consider before upgrading is whether you currently suffer from frequent outages. Nothing can be more frustrating than buffering while streaming, but what about when your whole house decides to buffer?

With full-fibre broadband you can enjoy an unbreakable connection with lightning-fast speeds regardless of how many devices are connected. As full-fibre offers fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) you can expect to receive the speeds you need, when you need them, allowing for all your smart-connected devices to communicate instantaneously. Thus, making it the ideal choice for tech-savvy homeowners.

Whilst we have only scratched the surface of the potential of IoT when it comes to home improvement, it’s important to remember that IoT is ‘always learning & always growing.’ Meaning the possibilities are essentially endless and will continue to evolve over time. Further integration will see more advancements in  Cloud Computing , Machine Learning  and Artificial Intelligence.

With more than 19 billion IoT-connected devices expected to be online by the end of 2022 and further roll-out being sped up by the 5G network, the potential of IoT is immense.

 What are your thoughts on IoT? Have you been won over with the promise of cool gadgets and quality of life upgrades or are the potential shortcomings of security and privacy holding you back?

There are a few things that you can do at home to give your broadband a boost without resorting to drastic measures.

Such as:

  • Lowering your streaming quality.
    • Over the course of 1 hour Netflix will use 0.7GB for SD, 3GB for HD and a massive 7GB for UHD! The same goes for YouTube or TikTok so consider dropping the quality on those cute cat videos.
  • Managing your downloads.
    • If your network is having trouble, consider pausing or cancelling downloads. If you’re a gamer your console might automatically be updating in the background so it may be worth turning that off for when you need it.
  • Locate devices that are hogging the bandwidth
    • When you’re at home, enter your router’s IP address in the URL bar.
    • Log in using your credentials (this is usually on the back of the box)
    • Once you’re in, view “Attached devices.”
    • From here you can see which of your devices are chewing up the most bandwidth!

More long-term solutions may involve upgrading your broadband, after all your internet connection is an important factor in upgrading your home! With full-fibre broadband you can enjoy an unbreakable connection with lightning-fast speeds regardless of how many devices are connected making it the ideal foundation to build your smart home on.

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