The TRÅDFRI system is IKEAs take on the smart home experience. Like most smart home ecosystems TRÅDFRI includes all the essentials to get your home smart!
- A Plethora of Smart Bulbs both Colour and Whites.
- Smart Switches and Controllers.
- Smart Plugs/Outlets.
- A Gateway to control the system.
This range of devices is great, but it does leave a question—what is the signal range of the TRÅDFRI Gateway?
Uninterrupted, the signal range for the IKEA Gateway is 10 meters, with walls reducing this to approximately 8 meters.
Depending on the floor-plan of your house this 10 meters range may sound insufficient for your requirements. Luckily TRÅDFRI has adopted the widely used ZigBee Protocol for its lighting system, but what is the ZigBee protocol and what does it mean for your signal range?
The ZigBee Protocol
ZigBee is an open standard and platform used by a plethora of different smart products and companies including Philips Hue, INNR, Gledopto, GE Link, and of course IKEA’s TRÅDFRI. ZigBee boasts several useful features, this includes:
- Low Power Consumption.
- Wide Adoption in the smart home scene.
- Cross Compatibility with other ZigBee devices.
- A Mesh Network Topology.
The final point on this list is what makes ZigBee so useful when it comes to signal range, but what is a mesh network?
A mesh network allows all devices to communicate through each other with each Bulb (node) working out the best route back to the Gateway.
You can see an example of this topology on the right which demonstrates how the ZigBee network could work in your house—with each circle being a bulb or gateway.
This means that even if your gateway is over 10 meters from a bulb(i.e. in your garage or loft) the bulb can still access the gateway via smart home devices that closer to the gateway. Due to the cross-compatibility of ZigBee, this also means that if you connect third-party bulbs to your TRÅDFRI Gateway these will also act as nodes—meaning your not limited to just use IKEA’s smart product range!
However, sometimes there are places where you want to put a bulb where there are no bulbs between it and the gateway and it’s just on, or outside, the range of the gateway. Whilst you could add a bulb between them, this can be annoying or difficult.
Luckily IKEA seems to have seen this scenario as a potential issue. For this, IKEA has released an inexpensive and superb solution!
IKEA TRÅDFRI Signal Repeater
For approximately $10 (£8) you can buy yourself a TRÅDFRI Signal Repeater.
This repeater, just like the gateway, extends the range that your bulbs can sit in by an additional 10 meters!
Additionally, IKEA also thought about the design and instead of losing a plug socket, they added a USB port allowing you to use the signal extender as a phone charger too!
Planning for the Future
Using a combination of signal repeaters and bulbs you can easily cover an extremely large area and allow the ZigBee signal to reach every extremity of your house.
This is something that I would highly recommend! By making sure you have ample signal throughout your house you’re future-proofing your home!
Future-proofing your ZigBee network will help to reduce any issues with your bulbs and will improve the response times for your existing bulbs, but will also make the process of adding new bulbs stress-free—as, if your whole house has ZigBee cover, then adding an additional bulb to your house will not be an issue!