I would like to know the term for the class of home automation devices that are Wi-Fi connected directly to an access point (not through a bridge like Z-Wave etc.).

If I understood this class, then I could search for a light bulb that is bridged via Wi-Fi. I would like to be able to send command line controls or similar to toggle it on or off. I do not want it to require bridging hardware.

Again, I am seeking the term for the class: this is the purpose of the question and not the instance of such a light bulb. Double bonus points for establishing that the described light bulb is not a unicorn.

  • I wonder if idle power consumption tends to force this into the unicorn class. A bulb is sub 10W when active, not sure what state-of-the-art wifi costs (including wake detection). Jan 2, 2017 at 11:20
  • 2
    Good discusion comment: Sending data at the rate of 75 bytes per second over Wi-Fi requires approximately 80 milliwatts of electrical power. Sending data at the same rate over Bluetooth consumes only 2 milliwatts. That being said, this is a concern when using battery powered devices. techin.oureverydaylife.com/…
    – gatorback
    Jan 2, 2017 at 14:38

3 Answers 3


"WiFi enabled" would describe the attribute you are looking for in those devices, but I don't know that there is a formal classification that specifically encompasses devices that are both home automation and WiFi enabled.


The classification normally refers to the type of the device (e.g. light bulb, dimmer switch, smart thermostat etc), and each device would normally have only one classification.

For each device there may be multiple communication methods (how the device is connected, e.g. Powerline, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RS232, etc) and communication protocols (e.g. Z-Wave, Fibaro, Insteon, X10, Devolo, Smartwares etc) which may or may not be vendor-specific.

If the device can be accessed over the network it might be described as "WiFi enabled" but this is not yet common for home automation devices, more typical for network-connected webcams etc. I for one would like to see home automation devices being WiFi ready like this without the need for bridge devices since they significantly increase the cost to implement a solution.

Lists of example technologies and brands above are not exhaustive, other good ones are available. Light bulbs are definitely not unicorns.


I'm pretty sure there is no established term for this category. Anyhow the search terms that help find such light bulbs are certainly Wi-Fi and No Hub.

Regarding the unicorn part of the question. There are several alternatives out there, e.g. the LIFX series (marketed built-in Wi-Fi, No Hub) or the Flux model (marketed Wi-Fi LED Smart Light Bulb).

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