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Thread: Caseta Switches as "Mesh" or "Repeaters"

  1. #1

    Caseta Switches as "Mesh" or "Repeaters"

    I just came across an article in an e-zine called "The IOTPad" (, which I think contains a number of confusing and incorrect statements about Caseta switches and repeaters. The focus of the article was the Caseta Repeater (PD-REP-WH), but after describing very generally that device, the author then included a FAQ section which I believe contains some very questionable information.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q: Do Lutron Caseta switches act as repeaters?

    A: Yes, Lutron Caseta switches act as wireless repeaters to extend the range of Lutron's Clear Connect wireless technology, helping to create a more reliable and robust network for your smart home devices.

    Q: How do I extend my Lutron Caseta [network]?

    A: To extend your Lutron Caseta newtwork, you can add a Lutron Caseta Wireless Repeater to your system, which will help to boost the range and signal strength of your wireless network. Additionally, you can also strategically place your Caseta devices to optimize coverage throughout your home."


    I've highlighted some of the more questionable statements.

    First, everything I've read about Lutron switches in general is that they do not form a "mesh" sort of network, and do not act as repeaters. Only the PD-3PCL-WH Caseta Plug in Lamp Dimmer switch can function as a repeater, and only one is allowed to act as a repeater per system at a time (you can have more than one such plug-in dimmer on the network but only one of them will act as a repeater).

    So is the author of the article simply mistaken, or do Caseta switches actually "act as repeaters"?

    Second, I can find no information whatsoever anywhere that supports the statement that adding a Caseta repeater-- whether the PD-3PCL-WH plug-in module, or the dedicated repeater (PD-REP-WH)-- will actually "boost...signal" of Clear Connect. If the Caseta repeater acts like any other "repeater" of a wireless signal, it wouldn't actually "boost" the signal; instead it would because of backhaul overhead, actually reduce the throughput, because it technically "halves" the original signal that it is repeating. Can someone from Caseta confirm how the repeater actually functions in this regard? I realize that the use case for Clear Connect is a bit different than comparing a repeated wifi signal that is used, for example in streaming of video, where a sustained throughput may be much more critical than the very short burst signals that are probably involved in turning a light on or off or dimming it, but still, the statement about "boosting" signal, doesn't seem to make much sense.

    Lastly, I suppose if one is going to use a Caseta repeater, that one can, and probably should place the repeater "strategically". But that said, this author seems to suggest that one can place other Caseta switches "strategically" around one's house to "optimize coverage" and that just doesn't make any sense because in most homes, I would assume the majority of switches are in-wall dimmers and on/off switches, and those simply go where they go, i.e., you can't really place them "strategically."

    Picos, on the other hand, can vastly improve coverage and reliability, as well as switching and dimming options. But that's not what the author was writing about. And even Picos don't increase coverage of Clear Connect device communication with the system, do they?

    Anyway, just thought I would share this and see if anyone from Lutron has any thoughts about the info in the referenced article to share.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Lutron has only recently dipped its toe in the mesh market with their Type-X devices. These devices are only available in RadioRA 3 and HomeWorks QSX.

    Lutron repeaters extend RF coverage by 30-foot (radius). This has the effect of "boosting" the signal even if it doesn't meet the technical definition of boosting radio signals.

    In mesh networks you sometimes add devices that you don't necessarily want on the system to strengthen the mesh. For example, you may not want the laundry room on the system. However, adding a dimmer in the laundry may allow you to reach the garage which you do want on the system.

    Pico's can talk directly to a dimmer. If you had a dimmer that was 30' away from a hub/repeater the Pico could be an additional 30' away and control the dimmer. You are 60' away from the hub but you haven't really extended the range because the Pico would need to reach the hub/repeater control other devices.

    The author is NOT a home automation professional. He appears to be from New Zealand. I don't think Caseta is sold outside of the US.
    Convergence Technologies Raleigh, North Carolina

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info randyc. Good to know that Lutron is offering systems that employ a mesh approach.

    I get what you're referring to when you describe putting a dimmer in the laundry to extend the coverage to an area outside of where the dimmer is placed, but I just don't think of that sort of scenario as a using a switch or repeater in a "mesh" kind of way, because, well, Caseta switches aren't really mesh devices.

    And I still think using the term "boosting" signal is not accurate either, because the signal isn't actually "boosted" by a Repeater-- instead it's just extended out to cover a wider radius, which is really a different concept in my mind. For example, if a Repeater were to be placed directly next to a Caseta Hub, i.e., in the center of the Hub's original 30' radius so that it both were broadcasting their transmissions within the exact same area, the Repeater's transmission would not be "boosting" or increasing the Hub's transmitted signal, nor could it be any stronger than the Hub's; in fact it would halving the throughput of the original signal, because that's what repeaters or extenders do, due to backhaul overhead when the Repeater communicates back to the Hub. I'm pretty certain that given FCC licensing requirements imposed on manufacturers to gain approval to market wireless transmitting devices such as those in the Caseta system, that the transmission power is pretty tightly regulated, and I'm pretty certain that the Hub is probably transmitting at the highest level permitted, so it's doubtful that a Repeater could "boost" that signal by increasing the power of the transmission. I'm not an engineer, just a consumer who is really enjoying my new Caseta system, but I'm pretty sure that the FCC rules applicable to Caseta devices don't allow a Repeater to actually "boost" or increase signal strength beyond that being broadcast by the Hub it is repeating. See, e.g., the FCC rules applicable to the Caseta frequencies used here:

    In any event, I agree with you randyc, that from the consumer's point of view, range (i.e., distance from the Hub) can be expanded and extended by using a Repeater.

    And Picos are really amazing little devices. I just wish the author of the article would have written more about them when discussing how versatile the Caseta system really is.

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