What is the Hue Bridge, and is it Needed?
The Hue Bridge is the hub, the control panel, the heart of the Hue echo system. The bridge is the device that talks to your bulbs, tells them what to do, when to turn on, colors to be and what to do. The bridge uses ZigBee to talk to your lights and also stores and sets your animations, timers and settings.
The bridge itself is mains powered and connects to your network via an ethernet cable, it is quick and easy to set up.
Guide to the Hue Bridge
The small hub that allows you to adjust your hue bulbs using your phone or tablet, be it at home or away on holiday. With the bridge connected to the internet you can access your hue bulbs when away from home, allowing you to turn lights on and off if you are on holiday for example as a security measure.
The hub doesn’t require an internet connection and can be used perfectly fine with it. However it does need to be connected to a wire router, as the bridge it self is not wireless.
Downsides with the bridge is that it is an additional piece of hardware you need to purchase adding to the cost and investment in the Hue echo system, additionally the hub is not wireless and therefore needs a wired connection to your router.
You only need one bridge and it can control up to 50 lights across your house.You can purchase this kit with either two or four bulbs
Is it needed?
With the release of updated Hue bulbs, they now include Bluetooth, so no bridge is required to use the Hue system. That being said there are differences between having a bridge and just using Bluetooth.
With Bluetooth bulbs you can have up to 10 lights, however to control these bulbs you will use your Bluetooth enabled phone and must be within range of that bulb. Bluetooth doesn’t work over a long range, and therefore you will have to be in the same room to control the bulbs. On the other side if you have a bridge you can have up to 50 bulbs and be able to control them anywhere in the home, as well as when you are away using the internet.
With no bridge and using Bluetooth bulbs you will need to use the Bluetooth app, this will let you:
What is the Hue Bridge range?
The bridge must be connected to your interest router via an ethernet cable, as there is no wifi enabled on the bridge. The bridge itself uses ZigBee to connect to the Hue bulbs, each bulb can also link to another creating mesh network allowing you to cover a large area with Hue bulbs and for them to all still work as long as they are within a range of each other.
The internal environment will effect the range, such as walls, where the bridge is located and how close the bulbs are to it.
How many lights can a bridge control?
The latest gen 2 Philips hue bridge (Square one) can control up to 50 light bulbs and 12 accessories at a time.
Can you have 2 Hue bridges? If you have added as many lights as you can to a bridge, then you may need to add another one and this can be done, however via the app you can only control one bridge at a time so will need to switch between two Bridges, go to Settings > Hue Bridges and select the Bridge you want to control.
Buying a Philips Hue Bridge
If you are looking to buy a Hue bridge then a starter kit is a great way to get a bridge and bulbs in a package that makes for good value compared to buying it all individually.
This starter kits includes a bridge, 3 bulbs and a dimmer switch. Perfect for kick starting your hue set up and using in a single room such as living room or kitchen.
If you already have Hue bulbs or looking to upgrade from the 1st gen hue bridge then you can buy it on its own. Amazon sell the Hue bridge, you can also by it from most electrical online stores.
Hue Bridge Differences
You can tell which bridge you have and which is the latest from the image below.
The first gen bridge is discontinued and not supported anymore, there are also new features such as Hue sync that will not work with the 1st gen bridge.
You can view all the philips hue bridge lights here that you can buy and use.
Hue Bridge 3.0 Coming Soon?
At the moment their are no reports or rumours of a new bridge, the latest model is currently 2.1.
From a new bridge we would love to be able to add more lights and accessories as well as being able to back up our settings.
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