From appliances to lights to blinds to thermostats, smart home devices are finding their way into every nook and cranny of the modern household. In many ways, these devices are making our homes more efficient and user-friendly, but they’re also clogging up the bandwidth on home networks and slowing everything down.

Today, even homes that don’t feature a single smart home device typically have a full house of connected devices vying for network attention, including smart TVs, gaming consoles, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches. Factor in the rapidly growing consumer adoption of smart home devices, which each suck up even more bandwidth, and the problem is only going to get worse.

If you’re a homebuilder, smart home integrator, or telecom installer who works on new home construction or renovation projects, it’s now critically important to plan for the future needs of tomorrow’s smart homes.

The future is paved with structured wiring

The biggest piece of the future-proofing puzzle lies in structured wiring—bundles of cable that connect different rooms and areas within a home. A common structured wiring plan consists of coaxial cables, several Ethernet cables (Cat5e, Cat6, etc.) and even fiber optic cabling.

Structured wiring can be run to every room in a home, or select rooms, and terminated with a variety of wall plates and ports for easy plug and play connections to the home network. This allows homeowners to connect more of their devices directly to high-bandwidth cabling, such as fiber optic lines. It also reduces the draw on hardworking Wi-Fi network, which can become overwhelmed.

It goes without saying that structured wiring is easiest to install during new construction, when the walls are open. Taking the time and care to include structured wiring in a new home’s plans can have a tangible impact on its appreciation and resale value. It can also save the home’s future owners from taking on an expensive (and likely inevitable) retrofit to add structured wiring later on.

Structured wiring and the wireless home

One of the biggest benefits of distributing structured wiring throughout the home is the burden it takes off that home’s Wi-Fi network. Part of that is because more devices can be connected to the home’s network directly with a wired connection instead of a wireless one. But structured wiring can also strengthen Wi-Fi connections in a home as well. 

With high-speed and high-bandwidth cabling connections available throughout the home, homeowners can take better advantage of whole home mesh Wi-Fi systems. A mesh Wi-Fi system includes wireless satellite nodes that can be plugged directly into an Ethernet port in the wall. Once plugged into the wired network, these nodes extend the range of the Wi-Fi router’s full wireless signal, and help the network manage the onslaught of signals it receives.

Building a faster and more efficient future

It’s ironic: The future of connected smart homes lies in something as old school as structured wiring. Whether you’re an architect, homebuilder, smart home specialist, or telecom installer, it’s time to start building for the needs of tomorrow’s smart homes. Those who fail to take these trends into account could soon be scrambling to pivot and catch-up to companies that establish themselves as leaders in smart home future proofing.