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TP-Link Wants Its Router at the Center of Your Smart Home

LAS VEGAS — All those smart devices theoretically coming to your home are going to need a hub to talk to each other. TP-Link is betting that hub should be the one that's already providing your home network.

TP-Link's SR20 Smart Home Router provides network connectivity while also serving as a hub for smart home devices. The AC1900 router includes built-in support for ZigBee and Z-Wave devices as well as those that connect via Wi-Fi. There's no price or release date for the SR20, though a TP-Link spokesperson said it's expected to be available in the second quarter.

MORE: What's Next for Smart Home: Simplicity Trumps Smarts

The smart home figures to be a new area of interest for router makers, as TP-Link isn't even the only company to announce plans for a router with connected home features at this week's CES 2016. Securifi's $119 Almond 3 also includes a built-in ZigBee radio in an AC1900 router; you'll be able to add support for Z-Wave and Bluetooth home devices with USB dongles.

TP-Link's smart home router will be able to use Wi-Fi to do things like turn on the lights when you (and your smartphone) come home at night just by detecting that you're within network range. You'll also be able to control and monitor smart devices from an app on your mobile device or the touchscreen on the SR20 itself.

At TP-Link's CES booth, a representative showed off a scenario where a connected motion sensor might detect that someone's on your front porch when you're not home. The motion sensor would alert the SR20, which would then turn on the smartlights, activate a connected security camera and send a notification to your smartphone.

For much of that scenario, TP-Link is happy to let other hardware makers supply the connected devices — hence, the ZigBee and Z-Wave support. But TP-Link also sees areas where it makes sense to offer its own connected hardware. The company already sells smart plugs and cloud cameras and plans to add smart bulbs and switches to its product lineup this year.