Can I Have a Smart Home Without Internet?

Photo of a home with smart objects and no internet. Can I Have a Smart Home Without Internet?

It’s bad enough that we lose access to our social media and streaming services when the internet goes out, but what about your smart home? Will the entire house fail to work without internet? Here’s what you need to know!

You can have a smart home without the internet if you rely on creating a local connection network. There will be some features that may not be offered, but essential functions like thermostats, smoke alarms, and locks will still be fine with no internet access. You’ll notice that you won’t be able to access smart cameras, and products like a virtual assistant won’t work while offline. The full functionality of your smart home features will require a regular stable internet connection!

How to build a smart home without internet

If you don’t have a reliable internet connection. In that case, you’ll be relieved that you can still build a smart home using your favorite devices. You’ll rely on local connectivity, a kind of connection in which your devices connect to each other rather than through a WiFi network. 

This creates a meshed system, allowing for reliable interconnectivity between your devices when your network isn’t online or is unreliable. However, some devices and many advanced features of the devices won’t work properly or at all.

Do Routers Go Bad?

The best way to understand building your smart home without the internet is that your smart devices will be normal- as in, not smart devices. While some will work, they won’t be at the full ability as actual smart devices. Since they cost more, this might be something to keep in mind if you don’t have dependable WiFi service.

So, when your smart home devices connect to each other, you can then use your mobile device to access them using Bluetooth or another kind of connection. 

While it’s reassuring to know that you can set up and rely on your smart home devices when the internet is out or unreliable, you’ll still want to invest in this kind of tech if you normally have a stable connection to the WiFi. If your home doesn’t have internet service or it’s very spotty, a smart home may not be worth the cost!

What happens to a smart home when the internet is down?

When the internet is down, a smart home essentially goes into hibernation. It will lose its external connection, so its services will be the base ones that can work flawlessly when the actual internet connection is down.

From light bulbs to smart locks to thermostats, they are designed to work effectively and efficiently without a WiFi connection, knowing that power grids aren’t always the most reliable. So, if all of their functionality went offline as soon as the connection flickered, they’d be worthless!

If you are relying on a lot of the features that do require a constant WiFi connection, however, you’ll notice that power outages can really cramp your tech-related style. It can be frustrating for those relying on voice-centered assistance from their mobile devices and home equivalents.

The other main flaw to a smart home system that’s down is that it won’t be installing its regular firmware and updates. This means it may need to install quite a few updates when it does go back online. This can lead to slower response times and more.

Don’t forget that these updates also include patches to security breaches and more, so you’re going to want to install those as often as you need to to keep your home secure!

Does Alexa smart homework without internet?

Alexa and other assistants like this won’t work without the internet, as it relies on a live connection to WiFi. Some smart home lower features may work if there is a hub in the home, but anything that relies on a live WiFi connection can’t work properly without consistent internet.

Does Zigbee require internet?

Zigbee operates like Bluetooth, relying on a more local connection between devices rather than sourcing it from a cloud. Zigbee also uses a hub that would be integrated into your home’s system, like many of the products that work with a local connection.

Can you use smart lights without WiFi?

Yes, smart lights will work without WiFi because they rely on a hub that is installed in your home. The hub will be how your smart bulbs connect to the networks through Bluetooth and other connections to your mobile devices.

Does ring doorbell work without internet?

The actual doorbell itself will work. It will be able to alert you that someone is at the door, and you should still be able to have the local recording. However, you might not be able to access storage or past recordings. Some options may not allow you to access live recording or use the audio feature to speak to the person at the door. The newer models may allow it, but older ones may require a live WiFi connection.  

Does Philips hue work without the internet?

Phillips hue bulbs and other kinds of smart bulbs will work without the internet. They rely on the hub and similar local connections so that you aren’t stuck without them if there is no internet. Of course, you will still need to have power in your home! These will work if the internet is malfunctioning, but not if there is a power outage!

How do I know what smart home features work without the internet?

This is a great question! After all, it seems that some would be logical to work but don’t, and some are surprising to find that they work without the internet. Here’s a list to help you understand what to expect from your smart home.

Core functions and jobs WILL work

The best way to describe these is to give examples. The core functions of most smart home systems include:

  • Smart light bulbs
  • Smart thermostats
  • Smart doorbells
  • Smart locks

Also included in this section are any routines, schedules, or scenes you have set up to work with these functions. For example, temperatures turning down at a specific time of night or lights combining on at a specific time in the morning.

Advanced or live functions WON’t work

As you might be able to guess from the examples that we talked about earlier, these are going to be some of the more data-rich features. These include:

  • Alexa/Siri and other assistants that pull information from WiFi
  • Live video and audio footage (ex: from a smart doorbell)
  • Scheduled events updating (ex: adding new events)
  • Maintenance and patches through the firmware

The best way to think about what works and doesn’t is to think about what needs a constant and live connection with WiFi and whAt doesn’t. This will help you understand what to expect if the WiFi goes down.

Smart homes offer a lot of conveniences, but it’s important to know what to expect when the WiFi goes down for whatever reason or not! Just remember: new tech is always making more and more possible, so just because it isn’t doable now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the foreseeable future.

To sum up

If you lose WiFi, you can run some core features and functions of your smart home, including smart light bulbs, thermostats, and door locks/security. That works on a local connection to your home, so it doesn’t need a constant WiFi connection.

More advanced features of these smart devices, such as live video and audio feeds and firmware maintenance, require WiFi to work. You’ll want to know how to protect your investment when considering WiFi’s reliability in your home!

Rosa Peterson

Rose is the writer and creator of Better That Home, a blog about home design and decor. Rose has been designing spaces for over 10 years and writing home design and decor for big publishers. She has been inspired by many other creatives from around the world and loves to share those inspirations with her readers. Read more about Rose here