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Understanding the Network: What it Means for Your Smart Home Automation System


We Define Some Key Terms for Understanding Why Networking Is Important

The network is the backbone of your smart home automation system. Without it, your AV couldn’t communicate with your lighting control system, and the motorized shades couldn’t communicate with the HVAC. It’s what makes a “smart” home possible. But despite its importance, we often field questions about what exactly the network does for your home. That’s why we’ve put together this blog to highlight some of the key terms you’ll need to know to understand your network. Read on for more.

Video Tutorial: Understanding the Control4 Interface

What Is the Network?

Let’s start by defining what the network does. The main goal of the network in your smart home is to facilitate communication between each smart device. It can exist in either hardwired or wireless versions, but no matter which you have in your home, its job remains the same. When you press a button on your smart home controller, it should prompt a device to react. When that device reacts, it should send a signal to other, connected devices to also react. Essentially, when you touch the “movie time” button in your home theater, it should start the projector, dim the lights and lower motorized shades so you can watch the movie in peace.


A common term you’ll hear when discussing your network is bandwidth. The bandwidth determines how many devices can operate simultaneously on the same network. It’s often easiest to think of the bandwidth as a two-lane highway. If there are too many cars on the highway, it can cause a traffic jam. Similarly, if too many devices are operating at once, it can cause each to slow down or stop working altogether. We can help you integrate a network that provides enough space for each of your devices to work properly at the same time.


Coverage is a fairly easy concept to understand: it refers to the amount of geographic space that the network can reach. Oftentimes homeowners opt for wireless networks because they believe it will offer greater coverage than a hardwired network, but that’s actually not the case. Hardwired networks tend to offer stronger and more reliable connections between devices, and thanks to high-bandwidth fiber-optics your network can cover every corner of your property.

See Also: 3 Easy Ways to Control Your Smart Home Automation System

Network Conflicts

A conflict occurs when two devices share the same IP address, which is sort of like its name. Today, most IP addresses are assigned automatically by a DHCP server, which helps avoid most conflicts. However, problems can still arise and confuse the network, which can lead to your system stopping altogether. If conflicts happen, you’ll need an integration professional to come in and essentially re-name the offending devices.

Quality of Service

Many homeowners know that higher quality means better service, but what does it mean when an integrator talks about Quality of Service (QoS)? Typically, it refers to the integrator’s ability to use network technologies to create a plan for which signals will move through the network first. Essentially, if applied correctly, these QoS technologies help your network run as efficiently and quickly as possible by prioritizing the order in which each of your devices work.

Did you know that Reference AVS employs expert networking professionals and technology integrators? We offer competitive pricing and guaranteed top-quality service on every aspect of your smart home automation system. If you’re in the Davenport, IA area and would like to find out how your network can improve, contact us today by filling out this form or calling 563-386-7800.  

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Iowa City
Serving Coralville/Cedar Rapids Corridor Area
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Coralville, Iowa 52241
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1120 East Kimberly Road
Davenport, Iowa 52807
(563) 386-7800

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Urbandale, Iowa 50322
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