Cloud-Based vs Local: What Happens to My Smart Home When There’s No Internet

Smart home and a remote

The future of homes is now smarter than ever, as homeowners now invest in systems that help enhance their quality of life in colourful ways. This ultimately proves that we’re now living in the golden age of technological advancement! 

Smart Home systems are taking the market by storm as they offer greater security, remote support capabilities, and additional features like voice control, routines, IFTTT, and other forms of automation. 

While connecting your appliances, devices, and other home systems in one network enhances productivity and performance, what happens to your home’s automation system when your internet connection goes down? 

When answering this question, you should consider the type of system that you will be installing and using at home—cloud-based or local-based. Before we dive into which system will suit your needs better, let’s first understand the differences between the two:

Cloud-Based Smart Home Systems

These systems are most common in the DIY sector, where customers can pick and choose the different types of devices from a plethora of manufacturers and install them themselves at home along with their corresponding app for control. These devices depend on a server that resides in the cloud to be able to operate as intended. 

An example of this would be a Ring Doorbell. When someone rings your doorbell, or when you access the live feed, your phone needs to connect to the Ring server in order to retrieve this information. There are several flaws with this system:

  • This can result in high latency. It can take up to a few seconds to get the image on your phone.
  • By creating a dependence on the server, you are at their mercy and must count on the server to be working when you need it.
  • You are giving up on your privacy as personal information is stored on the service provider’s servers.

Local-Based Smart Homes Systems

While these systems are best installed by professional installers and require some more networking knowledge and experience, their advantages outweigh their cost. Imagine the lights turning on the instant you press a button on your phone or being able to view your surveillance cameras from anywhere in the world while the 24/7 footage remains securely in your home. This is possible when you have a local solution that doesn’t rely on the cloud for it to work.

A local system requires some hardware installed at your home (some type of controller) that all the devices are connected to. These connections will make sure everything works as intended even without an internet connection.

When building a smart home and installing multiple devices that we wish to be able to control easily and without issues, choosing the right platform is critical. There is nothing worse than programming the lights outside to turn on when you arrive, only to find yourself waiting 10 seconds for this to actually happen because the internet or the cloud server is down. 

A local based smart home solution will ensure proper functionality even without an internet connection. I want to clarify something that most people have a tough time distinguishing between: internet connection coming into your home from your service provider (Rogers, Bell, etc) and your home network (wired and wifi).

There are cloud based platforms that can integrate other devices into them (Google, Amazon, Siri, etc.), centralizing control over several devices from different brands. However, now you are dependent on at least two servers to make these devices function as intended. First, the main platform’s server must be up and running, so it can accept your command. Second, the receiving server has to be working correctly in order to control the attached device.

Let’s imagine you want to turn on a wifi based light bulb in your dining room and use Google Assistant to do so. In this scenario, you would either ask Google to “turn on light” using your voice, or maybe click an icon on your phone to do so. In either case, your command travels through the internet to the Google Server, which in turn connects to the light bulb’s server, telling it to turn on the light. This command is now sent down through the server back to the bulb and it turns on. As you can see, there are several points of failure with this methodology, making it incredibly frustrating at times.

If you are using a cloud-based system and the internet goes down, all devices that rely on internet connectivity will stop working as intended, forcing you to manually use them and even not be able to control them at all. On the other hand, a local system allows you to communicate through your local network system either through ethernet cables or wifi. 

All these communications will go to a central controller in your home which is in charge of controlling and automating your devices. Since it is not reliant on a cloud connection, everything will keep working as it was intended to. There is one thing that will not stop working as long as you have no internet connection to your home however, and that is remote access. You will not be able to “reach” your home while you are outside your local network. 

Offering the Best of Both Worlds: Local Smart Home Solution

Smart homes do offer greater performance, security, convenience, and efficiency to your home living, making the upgrade worth it in the long run. But when it comes to ensuring your devices still function properly without the internet, a local control system allows you to operate your devices with or without online connectivity.

While local networks won’t allow you to control your devices outside your home, they allow for continuous functionality and security. These fine-tuned smart products have the ability to control devices, allowing you to stay connected locally with virtually unlimited control over your home environment. 

One example of greater control is the way a local home automation system allows you to pre-set your devices, which means you don’t need to connect online to set schedules for your appliances. With this nifty bit of programming, processes like your lighting system can follow a dedicated schedule that brightens or dims at prespecified times. 

When the choice boils down to cloud-based versus local-based home automation, we hope that after reading this post, you are able to decide which is right for you.

Are You Looking for Smart Home Companies in Toronto, Canada?

Making your home smarter means that it can become more efficient in more ways than one — from better energy savings, functionality, and overall comfort. Finding the right smart home company that can install the best home automation system also plays a role in the effectiveness of your upgrades, and that’s where Smart Homes Pro comes into play! 

We offer a wide range of smart home productions, from home theatre systems installation to a sophisticated home security system. Get in touch with us today at 1 647 205 8221 and see what we can do to elevate your lifestyle!