What is a Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch
A smart Wi-Fi light switch can control power with a smartphone app or a button on the wall. The switch is wired to the electrical system to control the flow of electrical power, and has a built-in Wi-Fi adapter to connect to the local network for communication with its smartphone app. If internet access is enabled, the owner can control the light switch from their smartphone even when they’re away from home.
The benefits of Wi-Fi switches
Convenience and safety are the key benefits to having a smart switch.
Convenient control options
First and foremost, people buy smart Wi-Fi switches to control their lights via a smartphone app. Don’t want to leave your seat to dim the lights? Do it from your sofa: grab your phone, open the app, and swipe a slider control.
Most apps include options for on, off, zone/area groups, programmed schedules, and vacation mode so the house looks like it’s occupied at night even though you’re out of town.
App or wall, your choice
Wi-Fi switches are accessible for everybody. Tech-savvy family members can use the app. Those who prefer traditional wall control can operate the wall switch. Even if the Wi-Fi goes down, you can still turn your lights on.
Works with your home network
Wi-Fi switches use the same protocol as your existing Wi-Fi network and phone. As long as you have a home network, you can have Wi-Fi switches.
The drawbacks of Wi-Fi smart switches
While technology adds value in many ways, it can create new challenges.
They’re still wired
Smart switches still require wire, a switch box, and a hole in the wall. Many smart switches actually take up more room in the box than traditional wired switches which can be an issue if a box needs to be replaced. Adding new switches in desirable locations isn’t possible without cutting new holes and pulling wire through the inside of your wall.
Neutral wire required
Installation can be further complicated when the required neutral wire isn’t available at the switch box. Time to fish wire through the wall!
Multi-switching options are limited
Some Wi-Fi switch products will control only a single light. They won’t connect to other switches for multi-location/3-way configurations.
Multi-gang options are limited
Many Wi-Fi smart switches come complete with a face plate which means either modifying the face plate, the multi-gang switch box or running a new box to accommodate the Wi-Fi switch.
Wire-free switches without wire in the wall
If obtaining the benefits of smart Wi-Fi switching is your objective, then eliminating the wire to the switch location opens up new possibilities and removes many challenges. Separating the switch’s button from the electrical contacts makes the switch wire-free. Wire-free switches can be mounted on any surface or kept portable and used as a remote control. The wire-free method eliminates the need for holes, boxes, and wire inside the wall.
Levven Controls wire-free switches and controllers provide wireless power control that’s fast to install and easy to use. Multi-location/3-way switching is easily done with Levven Controls. Simply pair two or more switches to one Levven controller to create a multi-way switch.
Multi-gang switches are also feasible without any cheats or modifications. The switches can attach to any surface: tile, brick, glass, plaster, concrete, etc.
With the Levven Controls hub (fall 2018), you can control and program all the controllers using the Levven Controls smartphone app.