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Everyone has heard of a Wi-Fi router, but a Bluetooth router is an entirely new concept. When Cassia sent me their new Cassia Hub Bluetooth Router, my first question was, “What do I need it for?” After using it for a few weeks, I not only got an answer to that question, but found it to be an intriguing concept.
As you know, Bluetooth is an up-and-coming technology that many of us use every day. Yet it has two big drawbacks. First, devices can only be paired on a one-to-one basis. Second, the range of Bluetooth is relatively short with many devices maxing out at about 30’.
The Cassia Hub Router solves both of these problems and adds other features as well. The Hub is a white cylinder about 8” tall and 5” in diameter. When seen next to the black Google OnHub Wi-FI router, as shown below, it is similarly shaped, but a bit chunkier. The actual plastic hub itself if about the same width as the OnHub, but the Cassia Hub is encased in a white translucent cover that ads about an 1” to its overall girth.
The back of the hub has a USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet port, power adapter and an LED indicator. It can be hooked up directly to your router with Ethernet or connected by Wi-Fi. The Cassia Hub will only work on a 2.4 GHz wireless network. 5Ghz networks are not supported. For most, this won’t be a problem since many of today’s routers have dual support for both networks.
Set up using the Cassia app on your Apple or Android device is fairly easy. If, after set up you can only connect once device, just go back and remove that pairing and make sure that you pair all devices to the Hub. The use of the app allows you to control all of your devices in one place and, since it is internet-connected, it also lets you control your devices from your phone or portable device even when you are not home.
The beauty of the Cassia Hub is that it allows you control up to 22 Bluetooth devices at the same time. Using the hub also increases the Bluetooth range to up to 1000’ and makes it able to go through several walls. It works with both Bluetooth LE and Classic.
I quickly set up the hub and two Cassia Bluetooth speakers. These white cylindrical speakers are similar to the Cassia Hub itself, but are a little smaller. The sound was good, but not exceptional. I was able to hook up another UE speakers as well giving me the ability to play all three at once. Four is the current limit on speakers, but you can also add other devices.
Setting up your speakers in this way you can play music natively from your phone or through SoundCloud. Cassia makes this setup much more usable with their support for AirPlay. They also promise that Chromecast for Android is coming soon.
But playing music is just the tip of the iceberg for the Cassia Hub. It can also control switches and light bulbs. The Cassia Hub Bluetooth Router retails for $99.99. You can also purchase an audio kit with the Hub and one speaker for $169.99 or the Hub with two speakers for $239.99.The Cassia Connected Home Kit includes the Hub, one speaker, one switch, and one multi-color LED light bulb for $229.99. Each item can be purchased separately and they also have a Cassia Personal Safety Sensor for $99.99. Although I haven’t yet tested the Safety Sensor it seems to have everything that a senior could hope for including fall protection in a good looking device.
All of the devices work through the Cassia Hub and in my testing all were easy to set up and worked seamlessly. Whether you want to control a coffee pot, fan, or heater the switch will let you control the connected device through the app on your phone.
The $30 Cassia light bulb was especially amazing. It is very similar to the Philips Hue color bulb that sells for twice that price. You can use the app to change the color and brightness.
Bluetooth has become one of the best methods for connecting IoT smart devices. Wi-fi, while currently popular, uses too much power for our exploding number of home devices. Zigbee and other standards have some problems in managing this plethora of smart devices, Bluetooth seems to handle all quite well. Since Bluetooth uses less power, it may be the perfect solution for IoT devices.
In a conversation with Van Keueger, COO of Cassia, he alerted me to the fact that Cassia is continuing to work on more applications for their products. Since their Bluetooth products can handle multiple connections at once, imagine that they could be used with sensors to track people in senior homes or to track players in rigby and soccer games. When you think about it, the applications are endless. Right now the Cassia Bluetooth Hub Router is an innovative home product that is useful and will be getting better and better. In the future you may also see this technology in many other applications, as well.