Smart Plugs are essential components in a smart home that help users automate almost all of their wired devices without any complications. All you need to do is plug your smart plug into a power outlet and connect the device to your Wi-Fi network. But, can smart plugs work without internet too? Let’s find out!
No, smart plugs do not usually work without internet on their own. However, you can make your smart plug(s) work without internet using a smart home hub, provided you use a Z-Wave or Zigbee feature-enabled smart plug. A smart home hub would act as a centralized controller for all of your connected smart devices, creating a network of connected devices.
A smart hub connection is necessary to make your smart plug work without an active internet connection, and the device is bought separately. These are not too expensive, but you may need to consider your budget nevertheless.
Zigbee and Z-Wave are two features you will need on your smart plugs to make them work without the internet via a connection to a smart home hub. Zigbee and Z-Wave are mesh networks with low power requirements that work wirelessly to create a small network, connecting your smart devices at a low cost.
Both of these are low-power and low-cost solutions that do not require an internet or Wi-Fi connection. They are used in various spaces that employ automation, including home automation and smart home hubs.
When a smart plug loses internet connectivity, the wired appliance you had plugged into may stop working via the app. You will lose your smart control options till the internet returns. This will happen if you have not set up a smart home hub for your smart plug.
It would be worth noting here that losing an internet connection within a smart home hub would still make your smart plug work while you are at home. However, it will not function the same way if you try operating it remotely.
Several reasons can be shortlisted when figuring out the problem with your smart plug’s internet connectivity. These may vary slightly, depending on the type and brand of your smart plug.
Here are some general guidelines that will help you identify and fix the problem.
- Check your router or smart home hub
If you are using a Wi-Fi smart plug, it would be best to thoroughly check the router to ensure that the internet is working. Check other devices connected to the same Wi-Fi connection for further confirmation.
In the case of a smart home hub, checking the connection between the router and the smart home hub would be wise.
- Check your mobile phone
Make sure that your mobile phone meets all of the following requirements:
- Your device’s low power mode is off
- Your location, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections are on
- The application is updated
- Check your smart plug
Make sure that it is plugged in appropriately and securely to the power outlet.
- Switch the smart plug off and then turn it back on
This simple step sometimes tends to fix any glitches or bugs that may be distorting the exchange of signals between your router/smart home hub and the smart plug.
- Consider your internet band
Most smart plugs work effectively using an internet connection that has a frequency of 2.4 GHz. If you have a mesh Wi-Fi system, you may be using a combination of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, which may create confusion for your smart plug.
- Run a factory reset on your smart plug
If all else seems to fail, run a factory reset on your device. You will need to set it up again, but that should not take too long.
Most smart plugs are Wi-Fi-based, needing a working internet connection to operate. Hence, you cannot turn Wi-Fi smart plugs off without internet. However, if you use Zigbee or Z-wave-based smart plugs, you can turn them off via your in-home smart hub.
If you are physically close to your smart plug, you could also unplug it from the power outlet to switch it off without the internet!
Your smart hub connection may be gone due to a couple of different reasons. Firstly, your smart hub may need an update to fix any software bugs or glitches. Secondly, your smart hub may not be compatible with the devices that you are using. Make sure you run a compatibility check and keep your hub updated.
Yes, you can control smart plugs away from home. However, it will not be too easy. You may find that your smartphone’s application doesn’t allow you to do so when you’re outside your home because you’re not connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the smart plug.
This issue isn’t unfixable. I have found a couple of convenient options that will definitely work for you:
- Invest in a plug that supports “away from home” by default
Some smart plugs natively support the “away from home” feature, allowing you to control your device from anywhere. Examples include TP-Link’s Kasa Range.
To control your smart plug remotely, all you need to do is set up a Kasa account. This would get your smart plug (and any other Kasa device) registered online with the same account. This registration enables remote control automatically.
The Kasa range offers some of the best smart plugs, but to explore your options, some Googling might come in handy.
- Use Google Home or Alexa
Smart plugs that support Google Home or are Alexa-enabled can be controlled remotely.
All you have to do is go into the Alexa or Google Home application and add your smart plug as a device there. Once you’ve added your device to the app, it will be linked to your Google or Amazon account (this is similar to registering your smart plug against the Kasa account).
Now you can operate your smart plug using the Alexa or Google Home application while you’re away from home instead of using the application you initially set up for your smart plug.
Smart plugs might generally use as little as 50 MBs per month. If you have set up a smart home hub, it will consume additional data from your Wi-Fi separately. This data consumption is not too much, though: approximately 500 MBs per month.
Idle smart plugs won’t affect your Wi-Fi. However, if too many of them are in use simultaneously, they might slow the Wi-Fi down. It depends on the kind of devices connected. Smart plugs, smart lights, and smart switches use a low bandwidth; thus, if you’re using less than 20 of them at the same time, your Wi-Fi wouldn’t slow down.
Smart plugs are devices that allow you to turn almost any wired appliance into a smart device that you can control with an application on your smartphone. All you have to do is plug the smart plug into an electrical wall outlet and then plug the device directly into the smart plug.
Now, you can turn your device on/off via the smart plug without actually having to touch the plug or your device. The application on your smartphone will also usually let you configure some customized settings that can help you set up a schedule or set up routines by linking your smart plug to other smart devices in your home.
A schedule could involve setting your air conditioner to turn off after 1 hour. Routines could include turning a smart plug on/off if the temperature in a room drops below a certain level.
A stable, working internet connection is critical in setting up and operating a smart home, making it essential while using smart plugs. However, as I have established above, you can use a smart plug without an internet connection within the premises of your home if you have set up a smart home hub and have enabled Zigbee or Z-wave on your smart plugs.
It may sound tricky and time-consuming, but it’s not that hard. Once set up, the time and money investment could go a long way for your smart home!