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Can IoT Work Without The Internet? Why & How… (2023)

Can IoT Work Without The Internet

It’s easy to believe that IoT won’t work without a reliable network.

After all, the acronym itself stands for Internet of Things.

However, some say that these devices still work without the cloud.

Is that statement true, or is it just a groundless rumor? 

Continue reading to find out:

  • Whether IoT can work without the Internet. 
  • 3 easy steps to use IoT without an Internet connection. 
  • 3 surprising reasons using IoT without the Internet is beneficial for you. 
  • And this is just the beginning…

Can IoT work without the internet?

IoT can work without the Internet. Because apart from the cloud…

There are wireless protocols or communication methods for gadgets.

Take Bluetooth, for example. 

However, only selected IoT gadgets can work without the Internet. 

So, you should thoroughly understand the pros and cons of this setup before trying it out. 

“Would you recommend using IoT without an Internet connection?” 

It really depends on what your priorities are. 

But based on experience…

If you prioritize convenience, it’s best to connect IoT devices to the Internet. 

Because there are… 

3 reasons not connecting IoT to a network is inconvenient 

No voice assistants

My favorite about having IoT devices around is using voice commands.

Because with just 1 sentence, my appliances know exactly what I want them to do. 

Unfortunately, if you don’t connect your IoT gadgets to the Internet…

You won’t be able to have this convenience.

Because smart AIs like Alexa and Google Assistant can’t work offline, as you’ll see in this video:

Limited device choices

As mentioned earlier, only selected IoT gadgets can work without the Internet. 

For example, this Vimtag camera works even if it’s offline. 

However, those from Nest stop working without the Internet. 

So, finding devices that integrate with your IoT setup will be harder. 

Recommended reading: 39 Best Smart Home Devices & Gadgets (Updated)

Losing smart features 

Devices like smart thermostats and locks can still work without the Internet.

However, you’ll lose the ability to control them remotely through an app.

And let’s be honest…

This feature is 1 of the best advantages of having a smart home. 

Now, you’re probably wondering:

“Then when would you recommend this setup?” 

So, let’s move on to… 

Why use IoT without internet

You should use IoT without the Internet if you prioritize privacy and safety. See, smart devices that use the cloud are prone to be hacked. And they’re also Internet dependent. Which can be dangerous if you live in an area with an unstable network. 

Let’s talk about these in detail with these…

3 reasons to use IoT without the Internet

#1: Prevent cyberattacks

This is 1 of the biggest disadvantages of IoT devices:

They’re highly prone to cyberattacks.

Now, of course, there are effective ways to protect your smart gadgets from hackers.

However, you can’t completely avoid this risk if your devices use the Internet. 

After all, any hacker in the world can access your network if it’s unprotected. 

Now, wireless protocols like Z-Wave are still prone to hacking. 

However, to access them…

A hacker must be near your house with specialized gear. 

So, most hackers wouldn’t go out of their way to access offline wireless protocols.

#2: Not Internet-dependent

Internet-powered IoT devices are relatively safe. 

But once you experience an internet outage…

It won’t be surprising to see your smart devices malfunctioning. 

As mentioned, some smart cameras will stop recording footage offline. 

Plus, you won’t be able to shut smart locks remotely without the Internet. 

And obviously, both of these scenarios are major security concerns.

But with offline wireless protocols like Zigbee…

You can avoid making your IoT system too Internet-dependent. 

Because these protocols still work without the cloud.

So, even if your ISP frequently messes up… 

Your smart devices won’t have any trouble doing their usual routines.

Editor’s pick: 11 Real Benefits And Risks Of Smart Home Technologies

#3: Protect your privacy

Most IoT companies gather and study their users’ data.

For example, the AI Alexa records all your voice commands.

Then, she sends them to Amazon’s database. 

Where people listen to and transcribe Alexa’s recordings manually. 

Now, some people consider this act of legal data-gathering harmless.

After all, companies mainly use this to improve their services. 

However, personally, I’m not comfortable with corporations using my data. 

And if you’re the same…

I highly recommend using other non-Internet wireless protocols. 

Because this setup prevents devices from sending your data to their companies.

Bonus: You won’t slow down your network

Your router can only transfer a limited amount of data per second (Mbps). 

And every time you add more devices to your network… 

You’re dividing your router’s speed between your devices. 

As a result, each of your gadgets will have a slower connection. 

And honestly, nobody wants that. 

So, if you want to avoid slowing down your network, use IoT without the Internet. 

Further reading: Can Too Many Devices Crash a Router? 5 Easy Ways To Fix It

How to use IoT without the internet

To use IoT without the Internet, you should use mesh networks. Or wireless protocols that don’t require an Internet connection. Because these networks connect your devices directly, skipping the need for cloud access. 

Now, don’t worry. This process isn’t as complicated as it sounds. 

Just follow my guide, starting with… 

Step 1: Choose a wireless protocol

This refers to the communication method between your devices. 

Now, the Internet (or cloud) is the most popular out of all your choices. 

But apart from this, there are still…

3 wireless protocols I highly recommend:

#1: Zigbee 

This wireless protocol transfers data quickly (up to 250 Kbps).  

So, you won’t experience any delay when controlling your IoT devices from its hub. 

However, know that this wireless protocol uses the 2.4 GHz frequency. Which some WiFi bands also use. 

Hence, your router’s signals might interfere with this connection.

Another disadvantage you should be mindful of is that… 

Zigbee consumes power much faster than other wireless protocols.

So, be prepared to change your devices’ batteries frequently when using this connection. 

“Can I connect all Zigbee-compatible devices with each other?”

Unfortunately, no.

There are various versions of Zigbee.

And your devices should use the same one. Otherwise, they won’t work with each other.

For example, a gadget that uses Zigbee 3.0 won’t interact with a device with the 2.0 version. 

#2: Z-Wave

This protocol uses a unique frequency band, 908.42 Mhz. 

So you won’t have to worry about other devices interfering with your IoT signals. 

However, be mindful that Z-Wave is considerably slower than Zigbee.

Hence, you’ll need to put up with several seconds of delay when controlling your smart devices. 

But here’s the good part of this wireless protocol:

It excels with its compatibility.

See, all Z-Wave-compatible devices can work together, unlike Zigbee. 

So you’ll have an easier time setting up this wireless protocol. 

Note: A Z-Wave network can support up to 232 smart devices. 

#3: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Think of this as an enhanced version of the standard Bluetooth. 

BLE has the fastest responsiveness on this list. 

Because it can transfer data with a speed of up to 2 Mbps.

Which is 8X faster than Zigbee. And 20X the speed of Z-Wave connections. 

However, BLE only works effectively in the short range. Specifically, within 300 ft.

So, you won’t be able to control your IoT devices away from home.

And now that we’ve gone over the best wireless protocols… 

Simply choose the one you want, then… 

Step 2: Purchase a smart hub

A smart hub is a hardware device that connects your IoT devices.

And it acts as the translator between your gadgets so they can communicate. 

Now, smart hubs will explicitly say which wireless protocols they’re compatible with.

Hence, you should buy 1 that uses your preferred connection. 

“Can you recommend any smart hub for IoT beginners?” 

I got you.

The best user-friendly model I’ve tried is the Wink hub 2

This smart hub is compatible with all the wireless protocols mentioned above. Including the connections Kidde and Lutron Clear Connect

So you won’t have a hard time connecting this hub to your IoT devices. 

Moreover, Wink hub 2 also has built-in routine templates.

For example, you can schedule your lights to turn ON when you unlock the doors. 

Or you may make your devices operate at specific times of the day. 

All without editing too many settings, thanks to the existing templates. 

Note: This device requires a monthly subscription fee. 

Now, for those who are a little more tech-savvy…

Here’s the smart hub for those who like customization:

The smart home system I’ve loved for years: SmartThings. Which is now called the Aeotec Smart Home hub.  

This device only works with wireless protocols Zigbee and Z-Wave. 

But considering that they’re the most popular systems you can use… 

The limited protocol choice isn’t a big setback. Unless you already own IoT devices that don’t use Zigbee or Z-Wave. 

My favorite part about this hub?

It allows you to customize your routines to the smallest details.

For example, you can set your smart lights to turn ON from 0% to 100% over 30 minutes.

This way, your eyes will easily adjust to the brightness every morning. 

Note: Other smart hubs don’t let you have this much control over your IoT devices. 

Moreover, SmartThings is also compatible with most big smart brands, including

  • Yale. 
  • Sonos. 
  • SkyBell. 
  • Arlo Pro.
  • Hue Lights. 

So, finding IoT devices compatible with this hub will be a walk in the park. 

Step 3: Set up your IoT 

Note: You’ll need to connect your hub’s mobile app to the Internet during the setup process. Because IoT applications don’t work without a network connection. But you can remove the Internet access after this process. 

The exact steps to connect IoT devices will vary depending on your smart hub’s model. 

To give you an example of how this process goes, here’s how you can… 

Set up your IoT devices to work without the Internet with SmartThings:

Step 1: Download the SmartThings app (iOS/Android). 

Step 2: Create your account. 

Step 3: Connect your Aeotic Smart hub to the Internet using an ethernet cable. 

Step 4: Set up your IoT hub with the in-app instructions. 

Step 5: Tap the Devices tab in the application. 

Step 6: Select the Home icon. 

Step 7: Choose your desired location from the options.

Step 8: Click the Add button.

Step 9: Input your gadget’s device type and brand. 

Step 10: Follow on-screen instructions. 

Step 11: Customize your IoT device.

At this point, you can set up any schedules or automation you want your gadget to do. 

Then, customize any of its settings as you see fit. 

After doing so, you can continue using your smart setup without the Internet.

And your automation and schedules will still function as you’ve set them.