Ethernet-based automation or at least ethernet-based extenders?

I am a newbie to home automation, but I’ve been scouring the internet, and I have been very surprised at what I have not been able to find, so I figured I’d ask here.

For context, we are building a new home, so I want to take advantage of the opportunity to put everything we are going to need/want into the walls. After doing lots of research, it looks like SmartThings will be my choice for home automation.

But before I went out looking at all the options, I admit I naively assumed that there would be ethernet based options. I understand the advantages of wireless protocols for controlling devices, but I have the opportunity to run Cat-6 cable anywhere I want, which should be great for speed and for reaching remote locations (we have 15 acres)…right? But as far as I’ve been able to discover, there may be no way to use SmartThings (or any other popular home automation systems I’ve found) to control devices by ethernet…? Can this possibly be true, or am I somehow just not finding some hidden treasure trove of information about this?

An acceptable alternative would be some kind of hub/repeater that would allow me to use ethernet to reach a remote location (like an outbuilding) without having to figure out some way to set up a string of Z-Wave repeaters. Something like a remote Z-wave hub that hooks into the ethernet? Does anybody have any solutions for how to do something like this? I guess part of what I’m wondering is, if the SmartThings hub has an ethernet port, what is that port actually usable for?

In summary, the main things I’m interested in doing are:

  • Using ethernet to reach my smart devices so I get better speeds, unlimited connections, and don’t have to worry about wireless interference and other issues.
  • Using ethernet to reach remote locations, so I can control everything using a single SmartThings hub.

Thanks in advance! I’m not sure I’ve expressed myself completely clearly, so I welcome requests for clarification! :slight_smile:

Use the Ethernet port in the hub to put a second hub in if the location is very remote.

99% of homes can’t run cat to every switch/outlet/logical location for a device.

Wireless works everywhere.

Thanks for the suggestion. I tried searching the community articles for information about adding a second hub. Is there any sort of integration or advantage to hooking them up, or is it basically the same functionality as having two entirely separate hubs?

I do understand that wireless works everywhere, except for the situations in which it doesn’t. :slight_smile: Mostly, I’m surprised that ethernet control doesn’t even appear to be an option for those rare cases (like me) where it would be extremely convenient (and this appears to be a home-automation-wide phenomenon…not just SmartThings). I gather the option used to be at least partially supported with the ThingShield, but that this has now been discontinued?

Thanks again!

One more thought for food: I have an Eero router and will never pull cable again.

I think the hubs are fairly independent. Others can comment.

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Thanks for the tip. The Eero does indeed look like the answer to a lot of my wishes. I still plan to put in ethernet cable liberally, since this is new construction. But the Eero could address some of my issues, in addition to looking like it will get me internet out in our yard and woods.

As far as automating an out building, there’s a how to article in the community – created wiki which will lay out most of the options:

As far as ethernet – based home automation, I’ve been a network engineer for a while, and you just don’t see systems like this for several technical reasons. You create additional points of failure, you can easily run out of addresses, and the devices tend to have a higher power draw and to be more expensive. So it just doesn’t really fit the typical residential do it yourself low-cost home automation use case.

There are a couple of alternatives. The first is just to look into Insteon. It’s a perfectly decent home automation system with a lot of device options.

The second, specific to sensors, is to use hardwired sensors. These don’t have addressing issues, don’t add points of failure to the network, and are usually very cheap to run. You can combine these with SmartThings if you want, although you need to use an integration like Konnected

The third option is there is in fact a “Z wave over IP” protocol that was released about two years ago but the fact that almost no one is using it tells you it’s probably not going to fit most use cases. It does exist though, so I’ll mention it. But I will repeat again that even though it’s been out for two years no one is marketing it commercially. So I don’t think it’s going to be what you want.

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This is all great information. With more digging, I did come across the “Outbuilding” page, but you’ve given me some more good things to read about. Thanks!

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