New user needs advice

There are lots of ways to hide the cord. For example, there are a number of recessed outlets used for home theater equipment, and you can typically put one of those behind a tablet. That may be harder for you since you’re in an apartment, though. :thinking:

https://www.amazon.com/Legrand-HT21USB-WH-V1-Management-Recessed-HT21USBWHV1/dp/B099FGDG1Z/

But take a look at what people do for home theaters, some of the channel raceways are quite unobtrusive, and many can be painted to match the existing wall.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077YD9DG6

Second that recommendation. I have plaster and lath walls and had no desire to cut out a new opening for cords to the TV. Painted the same color as the wall and really don’t notice it anymore.

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Yeah I’ve looked into those cable management kits you’re talking about where you run the wires down through the wall because I want to hide my wire from my mounted tv. I am in an apartment but I’m completely okay with cutting holes in walls because I’m the maintenance supervisor of the apartment complex I live in so I’m the one that would be fixing the holes anyways lol. But what I thought about was if I am going as far to cut the holes and buy the in wall cable management kit I could pretty easily take it a step further and instead of buying a kit I cut the holes then put an outlet on top and then run the same gauge romex wire down and go in the existing outlet box from the side or top and pig tail it into the existing outlet wiring and then patch the bottom hole and it would essentially be just adding a new outlet on the circuit because although I’m ignorant when it comes to tech, trades like electrical are more my forte

Also back to the matter discussion, can you explain to me how devices work on matter over wifi vs matter over thread? Like not how it actually works but rather how do I know if a device is matter over wifi or thread? Is it specific to each device or if you have a matter device and a hub that supports thread can you choose between matter over wifi and matter over thread or how’s it work?

It says on the box. :wink:

But it’s a choice the device manufacturer makes, like using zwave or Zigbee. You as a customer can’t do anything about it.

If the device uses Matter over thread, You’ll need a “thread border router” somewhere in the home. But it doesn’t have to be your hub. See the FAQ for details:

FAQ: What do I need to add a Matter device to the SmartThings app? Do I need a bridge router device?

Typically mains powered devices will use matter over WiFi, and battery powered devices will use matter over thread, because thread has much lower power requirements. But again, that’s up to each manufacturer, and there are some devices of each protocol in each device class.

Also “matter bridges“ may use WiFi or LAN To communicate to your Account, but can use anything they want to, including proprietary protocols, to communicate to their own devices that are connected to that bridge. For example, the aqara M2 hub uses Zigbee To connect to its own motion sensor. The SwitchBot hub 2 uses Bluetooth for its child devices. Both are matter bridges, which use Wi-Fi to communicate with SmartThings or Apple Home.

And again, the transport protocol they use will be listed on the box. :sunglasses:

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Also, many people find the following analogy useful when thinking about Matter:

The transport layer is the delivery service you will use to deliver the message. Like the Postal Service or UPS or FedEx or a local bicycle messenger. There are a number of choices (Wi-Fi, Thread, Zigbee, Zwave, Bluetooth, Even proprietary services with their own custom methods). That service defines the shape, size, and weight of the packages and letters they will deliver. But they don’t know what’s inside the package.

The application layer is where the rules are defined for what’s inside the package. Is it a particular form With checkboxes and multiple-choice fields? Is it a Freeform letter, and if so, in what language? That’s where matter comes in. When a matter certified device sends a message to a matter certified receiving device, there’s a specific format that has to be used for the contents of that message.

At the present time, matter Messages are only available to send via Wi-Fi or thread as the delivery services. But the content Is like a form that gets filled out. A lightbulb has a specific form, a door lock has a different form. So a lightbulb sends the matter lightbulb form, but the lightbulb manufacturer will decide at the time the lightbulb is made whether messages Will be sent via either the thread delivery service or the Wi-Fi delivery service.

(I know that’s where the analogy falls down a little bit, because although buildings in the US do have the right to refuse, say, all FedEx deliveries, most don’t. But There are a few businesses that do have specific rules. It’s just that with matter, every device manufacturer picks the delivery services that model is going to use and sticks with that choice. Anyway, the point is that the transport layer like WiFi or Thread defines the format rules for the outside of the envelope, and matter defines the format rules for the content inside.)

Did that help?

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Yes that was very helpful thank you. So a very dumbed down explanation would be like matter is the communication between the devices but it has to like ride on a network like thread or wifi to be able to get to the other device and make that communication? Is that kinda the very very basic idea?

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Yes. That’s why we say “matter over Wi-Fi“ or “matter over thread” or “matter over bridge.“ :sunglasses:

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That makes a lot of sense now. Okay so I have a few more questions and I’m kinda struggling to articulate them so forgive me if this is kinda messy.

So a matter over wifi device is essentially the same as a just a wifi device (still uses up your wifi bandwidth) except you don’t need to worry about it being ST compatible because it works with matter and my Aeotec hub is a matter controller?

So do all matter devices work with ST as long as you have a matter controller or thread border router in the ST ecosystem so like no matter what the device is as long as it says matter on it then it will work with any matter controller or thread border router?

Also I read my eero 6 is also a matter controller/thread border router how does that work? Does it just integrate it into the Alexa app and that’s what you use as a controller?

And back to advice on me buying new devices. So matter over wifi tends to be used for devices that run off main power and thread tends to be used for devices that run on a battery right? Is there any benefit of one over the other besides thread using less power so it’s better suited for batteries or should I stick to matter over wifi for plug in devices and matter over thread for battery devices? I’m looking at now getting matter smart plugs and light switches rather than z wave like I said before so I’m just wondering what I should be looking for or avoiding when making these purchases. And that’s assuming that matter is what you would recommend me to use or would you recommend using just a regular wifi smart plug device since z wave is losing support or whatever and Zigbee could get interference from my wifi

You haven’t had any issues with the Leviton dimmers that support matter? I’ve read mixed reviews on them and pretty much all other matter light switches to the point I keep seeing people recommending to not use matter yet for light switches

Yes, exactly. Matter means SmartThings and the device can understand each other’s messages. So you don’t need custom code to use the device for its basic functionality. (It might have additional advanced features that are not available through the matter integration.)

So do all matter devices work with ST as long as you have a matter controller or thread border router in the ST ecosystem so like no matter what the device is as long as it says matter on it then it will work with any matter controller or thread border router?

In theory, yes. But there are some important details. And you need to have a smartthings/aeotec hub. Read the community FAQ:

FAQ: What do I need to add a Matter device to the SmartThings app? Do I need a bridge router device?

eero

Also I read my eero 6 is also a matter controller/thread border router how does that work? Does it just integrate it into the Alexa app and that’s what you use as a controller?

You’re mixing several different aspects of the matter platform: the commissioner, the controller, and the thread border router are three different things. Again, read the FAQ I just linked to. In the setup you describe, the Alexa app is the matter commissioner. Some eero models can act as matter controllers. And the same ones can be thread border routers. However, note that at the present time, the Alexa app does not yet support matter bridges.

WiFi vs Thread

And back to advice on me buying new devices. So matter over wifi tends to be used for devices that run off main power and thread tends to be used for devices that run on a battery right?

Yes, although it’s not a hard and fast rule, it’s up to each manufacturer to decide for each model which protocol they will use.

Is there any benefit of one over the other besides thread using less power so it’s better suited for batteries or should I stick to matter over wifi for plug in devices and matter over thread for battery devices?

There are pros and cons to both as we have discussed. Wi-Fi is faster and can handle more bandwidth, but uses a lot more power and can support fewer devices per network. For example, Eve makes a very popular smart plug that uses thread. Very well engineered with excellent energy reporting features when used with SmartThings (energy reporting is not yet part of the matter standard, but Eve has a custom integration for smartthings which works out of the box). But it is expensive.

SMART PLUGS AND SWITCHES

I’m looking at now getting matter smart plugs and light switches rather than z wave like I said before so I’m just wondering what I should be looking for or avoiding when making these purchases. And that’s assuming that matter is what you would recommend me to use or would you recommend using just a regular wifi smart plug device since z wave is losing support or whatever and Zigbee could get interference from my wifi

That’s a personal decision, there’s no one best answer. :thinking: A lot depends on how many devices your Wi-Fi setup can support and that varies by both the router you select and the Internet plan you select.

As far as Wi-Fi interfering with Zigbee, it can, but there are also literally millions of people using Zigbee devices successfully. (Zigbee is the smart home hub built into some Amazon Alexa models, for example). There are things that you can do to reduce interference issues, including channel selection and physical location placement.

I certainly wouldn’t be afraid of it, I use a number of Zigbee devices in my own home. It’s just something to be aware of, particularly if you’re having a problem with a particular device. The one device class where I personally stay away from Zigbee is door locks. I have multiple cameras, including a video doorbell, in that area, and I tend to use boosted Wi-Fi there for that reason. But choice is good.

@johnconstantelo has more than 200 devices and mostly uses Zigbee, including for light switches. He may have more to add.

IS THERE ONE PROTOCOL I CAN USE FOR EVERYTHING? AND SHOULD I ONLY GET MATTER DEVICES?

Again, speaking just for myself, I have high hopes for matter, and seeing it is a plus, but I do select each device on a case by case basis, depending on exactly what features I want, and other aspects, again, like the spaces in my home where I use boosted Wi-Fi. I do strongly prefer that my devices work with Apple home, Alexa, and hopefully SmartThings all at the same time. So for me, matter should deliver that, but again it’s been a pretty bumpy rollout. We’re still waiting to see whether matter will really work out.

If you’re only going to use a device with one platform, then I would recommend choosing the best one for that platform with the expectation that it has to justify its cost within three years in case you want to switch to something else later. If you’re going to use a device with multiple platforms, matter should make that easier.

SmartThings is a multi protocol platform, even for the hubs that don’t support zwave. So you’re probably going to have a choice of devices from different protocols for each item you buy. That’s a good thing, but it means there’s no one perfect answer to guide all your purchases. You’ll need to consider the details of each use case. :man_shrugging:t2:

A GOOD ENOUGH SOLUTION

If that feels like too much work, and you’re willing to settle for a “good enough“ solution, then my recommendation would be

a) matter over Wi-Fi for light switches If you want switches under $25 each or Luton Caseta if you’re willing to spend more. (Lutron doesn’t yet support matter, but it already works with every major voice assistant, and the engineering is fantastic.)

b) whatever smart plugs work best with your platform of choice. If you want energy reporting, you can’t get that from matter right now anyway.

C) matter lock (and it’s OK if it works via a bridge) unless there are specific features that you want like a fingerprint reader, in which case you may need to choose the model that works best with your platform of choice. Locks are likely one of the most expensive items you’ll get other than appliances and cameras And also the one you’re least likely to use by voice. Matter support will give you a lot of flexibility.

d) matter over bridge for Smart bulbs. I personally prefer the hue bridge, it’s just great engineering.

e) matter over bridge for battery powered sensors of all types. The individual sensors will probably be Zigbee, but they could be Bluetooth or even a proprietary protocol. You’ll have lots of choices. I use aqara, hue, and SwitchBot In my own home, but there are other choices as well. You may eventually be able to use matter over thread in this device class as well, but there just aren’t a lot of choices yet.

f) matter doesn’t offer camera support yet, so for security cameras and video doorbells and baby monitors I’d just get whatever works best for the particular use case and fits your budget. They’ll almost certainly be Wi-Fi, since that can handle the bandwidth that video requires. I personally use a lot of Aqara Because they fit my budget and work well with Apple home, but the cameras don’t work well with SmartThings. (few cameras do, to be honest.)

(BTW, if you want simple, I also like an almost all z wave setup plus a hue bridge for smart bulbs, but I wouldn’t use SmartThings for that. Zooz zbox, Hubitat, Homey, or Homeseer all have better Z wave implementations. I know that’s not what you’re looking for, but I did just want to mention it. )

SO…I DON’T NEED MATTER?

Matter is supposed to make it easier to select and setup new devices. Which is nice, but it’s been a bumpy rollout and there are a lot of glitches yet.

Apple home users will get the benefit of a wider choice of inexpensive devices.

Smartthings users will get the benefits of more local operation And no custom code requirements for basic functionality, Both good things. Note, though, that, even for matter devices, the smartthings app still requires a cloud connection. :disappointed_relieved:

Zwave users don’t get any benefits at all at the present time.

Many people will get a peace of mind benefit and knowing that if they decide to switch to a different platform, or just add an additional platform, their devices that support matter will probably work with the new platform easily, thus making their dollar investment go farther.

For me, because I use multiple platforms and one of those is Apple home, seeing matter support is a real plus right now. But it’s not a minimum requirement for our household. The strength of the individual solution for any one use case is more important to us. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

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II’m curious, please explain? My Kwiksets were Z-Wave and had nothing but problems. I converted them to Zigbee, and they have worked perfectly ever since!

Strong Wi-Fi can drown out Zigbee. Historically this is probably why zwave was so popular for fixed location devices like light switches and door locks. If it’s a battery powered sensor, you can change the physical location if you have an interference problem. But not easily with door locks or most light switches.

Add to that that these days, many homes, including mine, boost Wi-Fi signal around the front door to improve the reception from security cameras and video doorbells, and that may be the worst place in the home for a fixed location Zigbee device.

But if yours is working, that’s great. There’s no other reason not to use Zigbee for a door lock. Wi-Fi interference will be an issue in many homes, but not all. Choice is good. :sunglasses:

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A long, long time ago, I changed my Zigbee channel to 25 and blocked my APs from using channel 11, so I have zero interference issues. I also live in the mountains and can’t see any of my neighbors’ APs, so in an urban area with lots of people using Wi-Fi, I can see this being a real problem. Thanks for explaining this again.

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Thanks for tagging me @JDRoberts , well explained post.

Like @mlchelp , my locks are all Zigbee and have had no issues, but as you stated, there’s some work involved with managing a wifi environment and zigbee environment to minimize interference. When that’s done properly, those two can live quite happily together.

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So on the FAQ you posted I did the google test for ipv6 and it says I don’t have ipv6 so I searched if my provider (tds telecom) offers it and they don’t and no body has been able to get an answer for when they would start providing it. Does that take matter over wifi off the board for me?

A set up with ST Alexa and HomeKit sounds pretty cool. I already have ST and Alexa set up but the only thing I have for HomeKit would be iPhones as of right now. How do you have your home set up with all 3 if you don’t mind me asking?

Since you already have an iPhone, add a $99 HomePod mini to act as your matter controller and you’re all set. Everything else is easy. :grin:

Best Buy and target tend to sell it for $99.99. Costco usually has it for $95. Amazon doesn’t carry it.

Staples usually has it for about $97. :man_shrugging:t2:

https://www.staples.com/apple-homepod-mini-my5h2ll-a-bluetooth-speaker-white-my5h2ll-a/product_24490473

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on a significant sale. But that’s the price of admission to the Homekit platform.

What’s the integration like? Is it pretty similar to Alexa with ST like it’s one way with ST devices show up on your Apple home app but not the other way around? What are the benefits of adding HomeKit rather than sticking with just ST and Alexa?

I’m having trouble understanding IPv6 issue. Well I understand the basic idea IPv6 using individual addresses but with my internet not having IPv6 I tried researching if I could get around it and still use matter over wifi but unfortunately I’m too ignorant on the technical terms to actually understand what people/articles are saying about using matter without IPv6 so I feel like matter over wifi isn’t really an option for me unfortunately.

From what I understand I could still use matter over thread since thread uses IPv6 internally but can still talk to my IPv4 internet network but there isn’t much selection when it comes to matter over thread devices.

I’m feeling kinda disappointed honestly, mostly in myself because I feel like I rushed into buying things without having enough understanding of how things work and now I feel like I don’t know which path to take to move forward.

The Internet service provider at my 2nd location does NOT provide IPv6 service and Matter over WiFi devices work just fine. I currently have 3 Matter over WiFi devices a plug, dimmer switch & bulb at that location. I think you just need a router that is able to handle IPv6.

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At the time of this writing, there isn’t any real integration between Homekit and smartthings unless you get really technical and add extra stuff.

At our house, we just buy devices that work with both and then use both however best suits the particular thing we’re trying to do.

Over the years, I have found Homekit to be much more reliable, so all of my “mission critical“ use cases are on that.

But smartthings still supports more complex rules so we use it for some convenience use cases.

And I like the voice recognition from echo better than from Siri, so I use it for preference. Again, I just buy devices that work with both. There are a lot these days. :sunglasses:

Oh— and I love my Apple Watch. :heart_eyes: