Help! What to call the LAN for a FAQ?

I’m confused.

I thought that is definitely one of the purposes of this list? i.e., How to connect WiFi devices to SmartThings? :confused:

For all of us in the technical world, we really tend to overcomplicate things while the overall goal is to just simplify it.

I’m not quite sure what the answer is, but there is a happy medium somewhere in between here. To use SmartThings I do believe you do need to know some basics about technology already or at the very least, an understanding of some verbiage (Router, Modem, Ethernet, Wifi, LAN). What you call the basic topic is going to end up being irrelevant for most people who come to SmartThings without any technical knowledge/background because they have no idea what acronyms like IP or WAN / LAN mean anyhow. They will refer to any of that verbiage as Internet, Router, Modem, Network, Wifi. The rest is in a different language to them. We are on the inside looking out.

Instead, I would aim this at a target audience of at least having basic knowledge of the terminology already, even if they don’t fully understand it. As was stated somewhere up above, I say you go with accurate and technical terminology versus trying to baby it down so that any layperson can understand. If 80% understand and know where to go, that’s good enough. Solving the other 20%, that’s for another day and a different battle.

Personally, when explaining something to someone non technical and even technical sometimes (I don’t know their level of knowledge), I prefer to talk in laymens terms versus trying to throw out technical jargon, but I don’t believe that is something you can accomplish or apply to this as they will be on the outside looking in and you won’t be able to explain it detailed enough for them to grasp or understand anyway. Keep it simple is all I’m saying. Ok done rambling.


Simple = don’t invent new words when they aren’t needed and are inaccurate.

e.g., “Router’s network” … What if the home is only using a Cable Modem and not a router?

People who use this Forum need to learn the difference between:

  • Z-Wave
  • ZigBee
  • IP over Ethernet and/or WiFi
  • Internet / Broadband / ISP
  • SmartThings Cloud, Other smart product’s vendor’s Cloud … Cloud-to-Cloud


  • Bluetooth
  • IR
  • 433Mhz RF
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I completely agree with you.

The specific goal of this thread was to create a title using a phrase or a set of words that all of the other topics referenced would fall into and be somewhat easily identifiable to most people, and I think it is way over complicated for what is trying to be accomplished. That’s all I was saying.

I also agree that people using the forum need to learn about the fundamentals and protocols, but that is an entirely different subject and I think is warranted in creating a topic for that and placing a bunch of articles about all of those underneath that quick browse title.

All @JDRoberts was looking for, was some assistance in giving a label to LAN or the equivalent wording with the minimal character set taken into consideration so that existing articles about things related to it would fall under that title.

I think it would be great if there was a Cliff Notes or a Guide for Newbies (not going to say Dummies) that someone starting with SmartThings or Home Automation in general could Goto a section here in the community:

  • What’s a LAN / WAN
  • What’s an IP Address
  • What’s a Router
  • What’s Wifi versus Ethernet
  • What is the cloud and what does it consist of?
  • What is Z-Wave and Zigbee
  • How does SmartThings communicate between devices and cloud
  • Local versus Cloud
  • SmartApps, Device Handlers, Device Types
  • Github
  • Yada yada yada

This is a whole different beast to take on and is a precursor that people should go through to learn before hitting the topic of discussion this thread was intended to resolve.

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It is not possible to use the SmartThings hub with only a cable modem. (Or the hue bridge for that matter.)To have a LAN, there has to be a router, although it may be built into the modem device. So I don’t think we have to worry about that one. And again, we’re just looking for a name for this particular quick browse list that will indicate to people scanning the topic titles what the subject is likely to address.

It is not going to address “how do I add this $8 Wi-Fi plug that I just bought from Amazon to my SmartThings setup so it shows up on my things list?” :wink:

We have a couple of dozen quick browse lists at this point.

If you haven’t checked them out lately, take a look.

That includes everything from appliances to window coverings. :tada:

There’s a list for holidays, for baby and nursery projects, for impress your friends, and a “get started” list with most of the basics.

Sending somebody there gives them a really quick and easy read, because it’s just a list of the lists. It also typically answers a specific question that they have. And it makes them aware of the existence of the wiki (where there is also, by the way, a glossary, a list of supported protocols, an explanation of repeaters, etc.) It hopefully gives them a sense of the scope of SmartThings without feeling like a homework assignment. And it also hopefully fits a number of different research styles: the people who just want to get to the answer quickly, and the people who want to study everything in depth.

Most of the individual list titles are working very well. We did recently break out “small appliances” from “appliances” because the coffeemaker solutions are now very different than the questions that are about the big Samsung appliances.

Right now, threads which have to do with the IP network infrastructure, such as questions about the best router to select, about static IP addresses, about setting up VLANS, etc are just ending up on the “miscellaneous” list and then no one but me knows that they are there. So they become really hard to find later. But there are some great threads in the forums with information on these topics.

So I just want to give them their own quick browse list with an easy to recognize name so people looking for that kind of information will find it and people who aren’t interested can skip it.

The list name doesn’t have to be perfect, or perfectly accurate. It just has to be good enough to meet the needs of those two groups while they are scanning that specific page in the wiki.

I like a lot of the suggestions so far, including “IP network,” “router network,” “LAN network,” “ethernet and LAN,” etc. I think any of those serve the purpose for this particular need.

And again, most newfolk are not going to see this list name out of context. They’re either going to be skimming the wiki page of quick browse lists or they’ll have been sent to that specific list because they had an LAN question. So I think we’re OK from that aspect. :sunglasses:


Oh, and as always, if there are any subjects that you feel are missing from the wiki, such as “Wi-Fi versus ethernet” or “Local vs Cloud” or “How Does SmartThings communicate between the Devices and the Cloud,” feel free to add them. It’s a wiki. :sunglasses:

You can add a whole new category if you want, something like “SmartThings Platform Architecture,” and add a dozen new subjects. Again, it’s a wiki. All contributions are welcome. :tada:

I do highly suggest putting that kind of stuff in the wiki rather than the forums so that multiple people can contribute and edit them and so we don’t have posts that go into archive status and then can’t be updated as things change. Because things change a lot. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: you can add a topic in the forum that just links over to the wiki page, that’s a good way to make sure that people will find it but still help keep the information up to date.

But if you think there’s anything missing from the wiki, just add it. That’s what it’s for.


People also need to learn to use their turn signals and come to complete stops at stop signs.

Unfortunately much of this is wishful thinking. People in general don’t like to learn how things they use daily work, even high level. :slight_smile:


Back in the 90s there was a Microsoft study to see if they still need to put a manual in the box with software or if people just weren’t using them anyway.

The study was done in office environments, not with Home users.

And they found some very interesting things. The manual is essential, but not quite the way they had expected.

95 percent of people never even opened the manual. It was a struggle to get them to read a “quick start” card. BUT-- about 4/5 of those people would walk over to a coworker, ask their question, and that particular coworker would reach up on the shelf, pull down the manual, look up the answer, and then explain it to them! Whatever the 20th century equivalent of “let me google that for you” is. :wink:

This happened over and over, In multiple offices. And it was always the same two or three people who got asked the question. There were people who did use the manual, and people who didn’t, but you didn’t know who was who in advance. So you had to put the manual in every box. But within any given office, everybody in that office knew to whom to go ask the question. So far so good. But the really interesting Takeaway is that that person didn’t actually know the answer. What that person knew was how to use the manual to get the answer! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I suspect the same is true of 100 percent of the people in this thread. This is the group that knows how to get the answer. So this is the group that needs the resources. There are a lot of other people who will never use the resources even if they are pointed directly to them. What they will do is hopefully go to the right area and then ask their question and wait for someone else to get the answer for them.

FAQs aren’t for the benefit of the people who are asking the question. They’re for the benefit of the five percent of people who answer those questions, over and over and over. Because it reduces the effort it takes to answer the same question next time. :sunglasses:

Anyway, it was an interesting study, and one that was presented to my group as something that was important to know when it came to dealing with clients. That a lot of them were going to ask us questions that they already had the answers for, but they literally needed us to open the book and show them the right page. Or even to read the page and then explain it to them. Not because they weren’t bright and successful people. Many of them were exceptional in both aspects. But because there’s only a small percentage of people who actually process written technical information easily. It’s just not a knack that everybody has.

I found that both very helpful and very interesting. It’s like being the tallest guy in the room and being asked to get something down off the top shelf. Not everybody has the same skill sets. :sunglasses:


I agree to a certain extent. Most people won’t pick up a manual (every tech person guilty) or read/research about something unless they are negatively impacted by it and are forced to call someone to fix it for them or actually spend the time to investigate it themselves.

However, there are ways that do/will motivate people to do this. Whether it is safety / technology / sexual harrasment / lifting objects - body mechanics, companies have CBT programs in place that force you to read and pass quizzes so that they know you have completed these modules. You either lose your job or your annual raise is impacted. This changes ones thoughts pretty quickly.

That’s quite different than becoming a hobbyist in the HA sector, but what I am getting at would be similar to an ignition interlock system where a breathalyzer test must be passed before the ignition in your vehicle will engage.

My wishful thinking would be along those lines whether it be an application being installed, or at time of registration or when activating something where there is some sort of seamless integration to where people must know the answers to specific things or have to read through material with multiple choice answers and must pass before allowing the functionality to be enabled / used. More and more people in this world are going to be forced in one way or another to understand something about technology in their everyday lives, whether by choice, part of role in a job, or technology in of itself for a specific use case.

I know it’s wishful thinking, but using technology to learn about technology is going to be a necessity as more and more of our world becomes technology controlled. In a sense I look at almost everyone participating in this forum as teachers in one form or another. Whether it be from your knowledge or expertise for a specific SmartApp and guiding someone through installation or troubleshooting, to helping someone research what product/device to purchase. We do so much legwork for a ton of people where they aren’t forced to do any of the heavy lifting themselves. I thinks it’s great that we all participate and assist fellow community members. It’s paying it forward. However, a portion of those people never learn or understand anything as they just followed the script to perform the steps. That’s not everyone and only a single scenario, but I think that this can be changed in the future that flips the script and puts the onus back on the individual end user that somehow, someway they are forced to bear the responsibility of portions of the learning or understanding curve. This isn’t specific to ST, but with HA (or automation in general) being somewhat of a new sector in this world (it’s still in the infancy stages in my opinion), and growing at an astronomical pace right now, these issues can be tackled with a lot of wishful/collaborative thinking (napkin sessions at the bar). It’s how we continue to change the world.


Wasnt it RTFM? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


While I’m sure it’s possible to make education more interesting for a lot more people, market forces will always be at work against you.

Steve Jobs built the world’s most valuable company by market cap by taking the exact opposite approach: “it just works.” By pouring tons of money into UI design so that the features would be discoverable rather than requiring precursor education. In fact, one of the early internal slogans at Apple was “no homework required.” :wink:

If SmartThings ever adopted the “You must pass this introductory course before you can use our product” design, some competitor with a “no homework required” approach would eat their lunch. :fries:

Most people enjoy learning some things, but which things vary from person-to-person. Consumers want the choice. And they will choose plug and play offerings for a lot of stuff, because it gives them more time to spend learning the details for the topics which do interest them.

All of the consumer technology trends for the last 30 years have been away from the “homework required“ design and towards plug-and-play. Because most people are willing to pay more for that.

So again, feel free to add anything to the wiki that you think should be there, including a “read this before you do anything else“ section, just understand that as long as consumers have choice, many of them are going to choose not to do that reading. :wink:


Updated term for the world today. LTAF or LTGF?

Listen To Alexa / Google …

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OK, after all that, I think I’m going to go with just “router” for now. I’m sure we’ll get some lectures from zigbee engineers, but I can live with that. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: And it should be easy to remember and find for those of us who are trying to look for the thread about the VLANS or whatever. Thanks for all the suggestions, I’ve enjoyed the conversation. :sunglasses:


For anyone who is curious about the end result, check it out:

15 topics saved from the oblivion of the “miscellaneous” list! :sunglasses:


We usually call them “LAN Connected Devices”


Domestic Networking


What’s wrong with just LAN? LAN is after all an all encompassing Local Area Network, not just restricted to hardwired or wireless…


I’m repeating myself and perhaps over advocating for my favorite “LAN / WiFi”, because

  • (a) Indeed … LAN is 100% accurate, IMHO.

  • (b) As best I can guess, if a home doesn’t know the term LAN, that’s because, in “the average home” nearly all LAN devices are WiFi these days (phones, tablets, laptops, SmartTVs, outlets, …), and thus a family is likely to say “the WiFi is slow”, or "I can’t get this switch to connect to the “WiFi”, and so on… not “the LAN isn’t working”.

So the combination is accurate “plus”. :slight_smile:

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Again, my concern is that if we just use something like “LAN” or “LAN/WiFi” it wouldn’t meet the purpose of this particular thread, which was to find a term for the quick browse list for the topics about the LAN infrastructure, but which would not prompt people to misapply it to things like “how do I connect this $8 Wi-Fi plug-in that I just bought from Amazon?”

That is, the orphan threads I was trying to rescue from just being on the “miscellaneous” quick browse list were the ones that had to do with static IP addresses, VLANS, etc. All useful information, but likely to get buried again if people just started applying the tag to all the threads about Wi-Fi end devices.

But it’s sorted for now, thanks. :sunglasses:


What category / tag does that question go under?