Smart plugs have become the norm in many homes as they deliver better flexibility and more control over appliances in a home, opening up ways of using the plugged devices. However, they need internet connectivity to fully function. What happens when there’s no internet?
Smart plugs still power appliances without internet. However, they can’t execute any commands or requests that require communication over the internet. They also can’t respond to orders remotely. Users have to operate the smart plug manually until the internet connection is re-established.
This article will look at all you need to know about how smart plugs work, why they need the internet, and what happens when there’s no internet.
Also read: 4 Reasons Your Smart Plug Went Offline
How Do Smart Plugs Work?
Smart plugs are conventional wall plugs equipped with the technology to communicate over the internet and take instructions from a smartphone app. They come in different designs, which allow them to fit into different types of wall outlets.
Some smart plugs can connect to the internet directly, but most of them require a “Smart Hub” connection to work. The hub connects to the internet and directs communication between the smart plugs and the internet.
This means you can control appliances plugged into one of these with just your smartphone app from any part of the world—but only if the plugs (or the hub controlling them) aren’t disconnected from the internet.
When you enter a command on the app (such as flicking the “On” button for a specific plug), the information is first relayed to the manufacturer’s server, which controls either the smart hub or the plugs. The server then relays your command to the relevant plug. All of this happens quickly in microseconds.
Can Smart Plugs Work Without the Internet?
Smart plugs can work without internet. Most of them are designed to continue powering appliances, even when disconnected from the internet. However, some commands have to be processed on the manufacturer’s server and won’t work without the internet.
If you need the smart plug to perform any function when there’s no internet, you’ll need to be physically present in the room (or the house) because you’ll have to carry out the command manually as you would with standard wall plugs.
However, if you’ve set up a home automation system that doesn’t rely on the internet but on offline protocols, the commands using those protocols will continue to work without an internet connection.
So, you don’t have to worry about a lack of electricity to the appliance connected to the plug due to a lack of internet connection. You’ll only use the advantages of having a plug connected to the web.
Why Are Smart Plugs Useful?
Smart plugs are useful because they make controlling appliances a breeze. Many people use them for different purposes. Below are some examples:
- Charging batteries without being in a room. Ever been in a situation where you remember to charge a plugged-in device after you’ve left the room? A smart plug allows you to turn on the switch and start charging anytime you remember to do so. From RC vehicle batteries to smartphone power banks, you are no longer limited by your memory.
- Turning on lights when you’re not at home. Burglars are less likely to visit a home if the lights are on. This is especially true at night. Smart plugs allow you to control your lights from halfway around the world.
- Staying in control of a camera. Cameras installed around the home don’t always have to work round the clock. Imagine a scenario where you turn off your cameras but turn them on from your office just in time for the nanny or the housekeeper to come in and do their job. That’s what you can enjoy with a smart plug.
- Turning on HVAC systems remotely. How many times have you returned home to a really cold home and have to wait for your heater to work for a few minutes before you start feeling more comfortable? A smart plug ensures you can turn on the heating when you’re still minutes away from the house. Apart from heating and cooling systems, you can also control your humidifier remotely.
- Control kitchen appliances easily. Are you drying some fruits in your dehydrator? Baking some chicken in the oven? You don’t need to walk to the kitchen when it’s time to turn off the appliance. A smart plug allows you to turn off the machine from anywhere. So, you can start dehydrating some fruits, get on the commute, and easily turn everything off later in the day.
Smart plugs are reliant on the internet to process certain commands. However, when there’s no internet, they don’t shut down completely. They can still power appliances, but you’ll have to control them manually.
These gadgets have simplified how we control appliances. Keep them connected always to reap the full benefits of installing them.