Insteon Compared – About Insteon

Home Automation and Lighting Control

About INSTEON, Insteon Compared, When I first About Insteon, Smarthome Insteon,, check Simply Automated UPB, Smarthome Solutions Center, UPB, lighting control, Insteon Compared, z-wave, x-10, RF, decided that I wanted some degree of home automation, one of the first decisions was which UPB lighting control protocol to use. INSTEON is the gold standard networking technology for the connected home. It is a dual-mesh control and sensing, remote control technology. Lighting control, leak, door and motion sensing, garage door control are amongst the most popular applications.

INSTEON’s sister company is In business for over 20 years, INSTEON’s creators have more experience and customer feedback than any other team in the world.

INSTEON uses a unique, dual-band approach to provide reliability not attainable by single band technologies. Using both the existing wires (power line) in the home and radio-frequency communication, INSTEON adds remote control and automation to lighting, appliance and home control applications of all types. From lighting control to integrated security systems, INSTEON allows you to manage your home the way you want. Easy to install and set up, INSTEON offers the flexibility and dependability to make life more convenient, safe and fun.

Over 200 INSTEON products mean that virtually any control or sensing solution in a home or business can be accomplished. Millions of units in the field and the INSTEON’s team’s passion for perfection have led to the highest quality and most reliable product line available.

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About UPB Technology

UPB technology provides an inexpensive and reliable solution for residential and commercial powerline communications applications. While other powerline communication technologies exist, none compare to UPB in cost per node, functionality and reliability.

Highly Reliable — The UPB method of communication is 100 ~ 1000 times more reliable than current X-10 technology and 10 ~100 times more reliable than CEBUS or LONWORKS powerline technologies.  UPB is 99.9% reliable versus 70%-80% reliability of X-10.*

UPB transmits farther (over a mile), is less susceptible to powerline noise and capacitive attenuation (signal reduction) than other technologies for three reasons:

Pulse Position Modulation is a highly reliable time based method of sending bits; it narrows the possibility of power line noise affecting communication, unlike X-10 and other carrier modulation technologies.

UPB pulses on the power line are approximately 40 volts; more than five times greater than the 5 to 7 volt signals of X-10.

UPB transmits at low (4 to 40 kHz) frequencies, carrying much more power than higher frequency technologies like X-10 that transmits at 120 kHz.

When put on one phase of a home’s two phase power line, the signals are so strong they go out to the street side transformer and are induced on the opposite phase, returning back to the home.  Since UPB transmits at a low frequency, it does not affect other powerline devices or appliance/loads.

No New Wires – UPB dimmer switches are installed exactly like regular dimmer switches.  They connect to a home’s standard wiring. Since no new or special wiring is required, they work great in retrofit applications too.

Affordable — UPB dimmer switches can be as affordable as high end non-communicating dimmers.  When comparing costs of home upgrades (theater TV, remodeled bath or kitchen) adding lighting automation and control to a room or whole home provides a surprising improvement in quality of life at a comparably low cost.

Simplicity – Adding lighting control can be as simple as plugging in dimming modules or replacing dimming switches Pre-Configured Series. Unlike radio frequency (RF) wireless switches, where reliability is proportional to the number of ‘mess-networked’ switches installed, UPB provides reliability and performance anywhere in the home without the need of repeaters.       

Peer to Peer – No host computer or central controller is necessary for single, point-to-point control or group (lighting scene) control.  UPB is a no-host, peer to peer network.  Interruption of power, or single point controller/repeater failure, will not affect a stand-alone UPB network.

Two Way Communications – Hardware, software and protocol design allows for two-way communication in all products.  Status can be confirmed with polling or automatically transmitted upon local/manual load changes.  

House Separation – Neighbors with UPB will not control each other’s lights.  The UPB addressing scheme allows for 250 systems (houses) on each transformer and 250 devices on each system. It incorporates over 64,000 total addresses compared to 256 for conventional X-10.

Interaction – UPB communication can be used in the presence of all X-10, CEBus, HomePlug or LonWorks compatible equipment with no interference between either. The UPB technology uses a completely different frequency range than any of the wide-band, narrow-band, or spread spectrum technologies. The physical method of UPB communication is entirely different than the modulation-demodulation techniques of all X-10, CEBus, or LonWorks.

Higher Speed – 20 to 40 times the speed of X- 10 in terms of data transmitted. This is equivalent to over ten full commands per second. The average latency of command to action is less than 0.1 second.


UPB System Description X-10 to UPB Migration


* Reliability is defined as the percentage of transmitter/receiver pairs that correctly operate upon initial installation. The UPB test units are randomly installed in the environment typical of the target market. This market is defined as the single-family residential market in the US, homes with a median size of 2500 Sq, Ft. This environment is defined to be the existing base of homes, without any modifications, which means there should be no “fixing” the electrical system of the residence by adding couplers, repeaters or filtering


11 comments on “Insteon Compared – About Insteon

  1. sandy marcus on said:

    I’m not a technical person, did some research, found insteon to be like x10, upb much more powerful, cost effective. Was surprised to learn SmartHome and insteon connected, SmartHome also sells Simply Automated UPB, must know something! Had my husband install several switches, works great. Had a couple questions, called Simply Automated, great support.

    • Stewart Austin on said:

      Hello Sandy. Thank you for your comments. Simply Automated takes great pride being an industry leader in the lighting control home automation marketplace. X-10 has severe reliability limitations, Insteon (SmartHome) utilizes X-10 and RF, meaning it also has reliability and range limitations.

  2. I’ve been installing home automation systems for more than 10 years. I stay away from Insteon. Insteon is a very low end technology, a step above X-10 (adds RF), for the low end DIYer on a limited budget. If you spend a few dollars more, you can have a much more reliable and powerful solution. I highly recommend UPB and Simply Automated for all installs. I have in my home.

  3. Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the great work.

  4. Stuff written about insteon and upb is dead on.

  5. Aldo Thomas on said:

    Read your postings, being an insteon guy, did some research, was surprised to find “dual-band approach’ = X10 + RF, I’m now a upb convert, used simply automated, found to be a step up.

  6. Brody Sing on said:

    If insteon is the gold standard, does that make upb platinum or diamond? on a serious note, I’ve used insteon for years, a decent technology for diyer like me, works most of the time in my 1200 sq ft home, spoke to buds about upb, they use upb and say great stuff, use and like simply automated, if I could I’d use upb, I just cant afford it.

  7. hunter asko on said:

    I use upb because it works, do not have to go back to my install and fix after initial install, smarthome is very low level stuff, uses based on x10, doesn’t work, actually less costly to use upb and simply automated.

  8. geek automation guy on said:

    All one needs to do is check objective on-line reviews for insteon, outside of Smarthome(owned by same companies), amazing how this company distorts reality. Reason I stay with Simply Automated, an honest professional company with great products and support.

  9. BC student on said:

    Doing a school project,website providing nice background info.

  10. Insteon DIYer on said:

    Been an avid diy person for many years, use insteon, problem is quality and technology (hit and miss), has good website, 2.5 stars.

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