Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Do-it-yourself home automation


Toss another protocol stack on the smolder pyre of home networks. Startup Threshold Corp. (Petaluma, Calif.) announced this week it is making its homegrown One-Net wireless home automation software available for free licensing.

The small company decided it needed more range, battery life and security than Insteon, Zigbee and others offered, and didn't want to pay the few thousand dollars some of those technologies require for a developers kit or alliance membership. So it did its own thing which can ride on top of any of seven different 868 or 915 MHz band transceivers from Analog Devices, Texas Instruments, Semtech, RF Monolithics, Micrel and Integration Associates.

The resulting control net can deliver 38.4 to 230.4 Kbits/second over 100 meters indoors for as little as $2-3 a node, says Threshold CEO James Martin. The startup will ship a Wi-Fi access point and about half a dozen control peripherals for One-Net before June.

My guess is there will be very few people who choose to ride this option given its low profile and small, one-company backing…but you never know. A lot of people love to roll their own! –rbm

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