DIY HomeKit Bluetooth Mesh (Make HomeKit ‘Go the Distance’)

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Over the past six months manufacturers have started shipping a lot more smart home products that support Apple HomeKit. This is great news for early adopters and anyone contemplating using HomeKit as it increases the choices available.

HomeKit supports devices that connect using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless. (Other devices can also be used but they require the use of a separate hub or bridge).

Wi-Fi is the most versatile as it provides a much bigger range of operation and more capability. Bluetooth, especially BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) has become popular because it uses very little power and allows devices to easily be battery operated.

Bluetooth is typically used for smart locks, door/window sensors, temperature/humidity sensors, etc. Bluetooth devices can also be lower cost because an external power supply is not needed.

The biggest limitation of Bluetooth is the shorter operating range. The device must be within 30 to 100 feet of your iPhone or iPad. Within a single room this is usually not a problem, but when you consider automating more rooms in your home, this can be problematic.

In the long run, Bluetooth technology is evolving and a new capability called “Bluetooth mesh” will extend the range by allowing all Bluetooth devices to connect to each other and forward transmissions between them.

The good news is that Apple has quietly created a very usable solution to the Bluetooth range problem that works today. Newer models of the Apple TV streaming media box and current iPads (LINK TO IPAD) have the ability to act as Bluetooth signal repeaters to relay the Bluetooth transmission to extend its range.

Through a simple one click setting to “Use this iPad as A Home Hub” or a similar setting on the 4th gen Apple TV, the distance problem is solved.

In order for this to work your iPad or Apple TV must be turned on, logged in to the same iCloud account, and on the same local network in your house. You aren’t limited to only one device - you can turn on the Apple “Home Hub” feature on multiple iPads and Apple TVs so for larger homes, this can extend coverage throughout your home.

As an added bonus, once you enable Apple Home Hub, you can take create actions to control your HomeKit devices automatically such as turning lights on or off at specific times or performing a series of actions all at once.

If you turn on the Apple Home Hub feature in an Apple TV, it also provides remote access so you can control your HomeKit devices when you are away from home. (Only the Apple TV can do this; the iPad Home Hub feature only works inside your home.)

So if you are using or planning to use HomeKit, take a closer look at enabling the Home Hub option to get the most out of your smart home devices.

If you would like to learn more about automating your home, visit our website at www.DoItForMe.Solutions

Are you using Apple HomeKit? Why or Why Not? Let me know what you think.