While a Cisco switch won’t be able to directly turn on a light bulb, it can, however, be used as part of a wider computer and wireless network that can allow you to remotely control your lighting and other parts of your home. In this way, it can be possible to use Cisco switches as an important way to control and regulate a home or business network, and to experiment with automated services and environmental monitoring.
A network switch effectively acts as a bridge between different connections – it can handle Internet connectivity for a local network, as well as access between different devices. Bandwidth can be controlled, and settings established so that devices are linked in such a way as to maintain security, while coordinating with each other in the most efficient way. Cisco switches can be set up to run on their own, or can be managed to create very specific rules for how communications are delivered within a network.
But how does this relate back to Cisco switches and the challenge of turning a lightbulb on and off? Again, Cisco switches can’t do this on their own, but they can be used to create an efficient network with connections to home automation software and panels that can enable you to take control of your electrics. For example, a home Wi Fi network can be linked up to devices that can remotely control special lights, as well as blinds, power settings, and thermostats. Network switches can be useful here as a way of controlling access and how a home automation device or software can be run across a network.
Cisco particularly offer a Digital Life Controller, which is a device that syncs up with your wireless Internet and control panels to allow you to adjust different aspects of your home’s electronics without actually having to make manual changes. Apps and programs can be used with Digital Life controllers to set lighting levels, to lock doors and windows, and to control thermostat levels; if your network switch allows remote access through a network, admins can also make changes using online apps.
It’s worth remembering, though, that home automation systems don’t always work as well as you might hope they do, and that a lot of bugs have to be ironed out with systems. In this way, you could accidentally adjust settings to run at the wrong time of the day, or you could shut off important devices when you don’t mean to. The perils of home automation can be seen (on an extreme level) with a recent ‘Apartomatic’ advert, where a girl flicks different switches and causes chaos, eventually getting trapped behind a sofa.
Cisco are also working on connecting networks to energy monitoring and saving software, with network switches able to share the right information and bandwidth to different computers and devices. An EnergyWise program has been developed which effectively connects to an IP network and transmits data over the right levels for energy consumption and lighting – this can measure power consumption, as well as how a network is efficiently sharing power.
In this context, while we’re still not quite a stage where the average network switch can be able to control a lightbulb, Cisco devices are certainly playing a role in the development of sophisticated networks for adjusting controls in your home. Switches are consequently valuable as a way of controlling access to light changing software, and for helping to monitor how power is being shared across a network.
Jane is fascinated by the potential of home automation and how we’ll be able to take control of our homes with apps and networks. She’s particularly committed to cisco switches as essential devices in this process.