Wireless Networked Lighting Controls: Addressing Associated Range and Responsiveness Factors

May 11, 2021 Neil Egan

Today’s wireless networked lighting controls offer a robust and sophisticated control option for a wide range of new construction and retrofit applications. These systems are proven to deliver the same extraordinary benefits as their wired controls system counterparts, including substantial energy cost savings, programmability, enhanced flexibility, maintenance efficiency, and the ability to leverage data harvested by connected sensors.

In a wireless system, devices communicate via radio signals at a common frequency, which produces distinct advantages over wired systems. By eliminating wiring, installed cost savings may be realized, control devices can be installed anywhere in range, and device location can be easily adjusted after installation. As a result, the wireless option has gained significant popularity, particularly in new construction with complex control requirements and in existing construction where new wiring is costly or difficult to install.

A challenge with wireless systems, however, is satisfying usage in applications that require a high level of range, scalability, reliability, and responsiveness. To ensure performance that satisfies expectations, the control signal must be able to rapidly travel potentially long distances, including around obstructions such as corners, walls, elevators, and stairwells.

One predominant approach, mesh networking, carries an advantage in scalability, but since messages must route through many devices to reach their intended destination, it is difficult to achieve quick and simultaneous response from many end points in larger zones. The other approach, star networking, enjoys an advantage in latency but often requires a higher number of gateways or controllers to reliably reach all end points in a building. Combining these advantages would maximize utility in a wireless solution.

Autonomous Bridging Technology (ABT) from nLight® Lighting Controls was developed as a unique topology to achieve the benefits of both the mesh and star network. The nLight AIR ABT builds upon the company’s established and popular nLight system to dramatically expand the range, responsiveness, and scalability of its wireless controls solution.

With nLight AIR ABT, “one system fits all”—able to deliver the desired benefits of networked control to virtually any application in a wireless system, with the same confidence offered by wired systems. It does so by enabling groups of devices to broadcast strong and steady signals across long distances in unison and with minimal latency.

The nLight AIR ABT lighting controls system is also an effective way to save on the lighting and controls budget. nLight AIR ABT has no additional cost because it's simply a firmware update to the existing nLight AIR devices, providing immediate ROI. If adding to a network, it’s only the cost of the additional devices, paving the path for a quickened ROI and helping to maintain budget. nLight AIR ABT is standard with nLight AIR products, allowing for the lowest cost of install with all the benefits of increased range and responsiveness of the system.

Go to the nLight AIR ABT White Paper to learn more about this new wireless technology. 


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