Does Lutron Caseta Work Without The Internet?

Lutron Caseta is the single most popular name amongst its smart switches and dimmers.

This smart products brand has carved out a niche in the market that has established the Lutron name as not only high-end, but also highly reliable.

Even today, internet connections are not entirely reliable. You want to know that your smart switches are still going to function even if your Wi-Fi goes down. This is why many Lutron Caseta users are asking whether or not these devices can work without the internet.

Yes, Lutron Caseta does work without the internet. You will need an internet connection for your initial setup, but after that the Lutron Caseta only requires that its bridge maintains connection to the power supply in order for the Lutron Caseta to function. You will need to periodically reconnect to the internet and order for the Lutron Caseta’s internal clock to stay accurate.

What is Lutron Caseta?

Lutron Caseta Product Family
Lutron Caseta Product Family

Lutron is one of the most recognizable names and high-end smart tech. They have a wide range of products that covers everything from smart switches to smart plugs and more. Here are just a few of the products in the Caseta line.

Lutron products all start with their smart switches. These switches and dimmers can be used to control smart lighting as well as traditional lighting options. Like the rest of Lutron devices, the smart switches can readily integrate with the most popular smart home apps including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s HomeKit.

Lutron also has a few remotes that can help control these devices. These allow you to have access to the full range of control options in Lutron devices without needing to open up the app on your smartphone every time you want to make an adjustment.

Smart plugs are another product in the Lutron Caseta line. They have both indoor and outdoor versions of their smart plugs. These can be used to quickly transform not-so-smart technology into something a little more clever.

The Lutron Caseta line also has an exciting smart shade system known as Serena. This could allow you to have all of the smart technology features you’ve grown accustomed to, but now applied to your window shades as well as the rest of your smart home.

All of these devices connect to the Lutron Caseta bridge. The bridge allows all of your devices to connect into your home’s Wi-Fi system. The Lutron Caseta environment does require a bridge in order to function properly:

Lutron Smart Bridge Pro
Lutron Smart Bridge Pro

So, does Lutron Caseta need the internet?

What Lutron Caseta Needs the Internet For

There’s really only one major need that the Lutron Caseta system has for an internet connection.

In order to complete setup with your new Lutron Caseta devices, you will need to connect to the internet. This is an essential part of the setup that cannot be skipped. Without an internet connection, you will be unable to complete this initial setup for your Lutron devices.

Lutron Caseta also uses the internet to facilitate updates. Even if you don’t want your device to be connected to the internet all day and all night, you will need to reconnect periodically in order to keep them on the latest edition of the firmware.

Outside of this, there’s really only one key area that the Lutron Caseta system requires the internet for.

The One Big Thing that Lutron Caseta Can’t Do Without an Internet Connection

Lutron Caseta devices require an internet connection in order to maintain an accurate internal clock.

This might not sound like much at first. After all, you’re not really using your Lutron devices to check the time. However, the internal clock of your Lutron devices is incredibly important for their proper functioning.

Lutron uses this internal clock in order to facilitate the schedules you set for your smart devices. If you want your lights to turn on every day at 7 p.m., you’re going to need to keep that internal clock up to date.

Lutron Caseta app choose devices for grouped control
Lutron Caseta app choose devices for grouped control

Without an internet connection, this internal clock will become inaccurate over time. Users have reported that their Lutron devices stay accurate for several months without an internet connection. However, as the months go by the internal clock in the Lutron devices starts to drift away from the real world time. This can create problems including your schedules being out of sync with your day-to-day life.

If you’re looking to only have a part-time internet relationship with your Lutron devices, you can periodically reconnect to the internet to refresh this internal clock. This also helps facilitate updates to keep your Lutron devices working as intended.

Is There a Way to Setup Lutron Caseta Without the Internet?

While it is true that we did just say that you will need an internet connection to complete the initial setup before your Lutron Caseta devices, there is a workaround you can use so that you can have a completely internet free experience.

Whether you don’t have internet connection currently, or you’re just looking to minimize the amount of smart devices you have connected to the web, there is a workaround that can allow you to complete the setup of your Lutron Caseta devices without connecting to your Wi-Fi.

Technically, this still connects your device to the internet. However, it allows you to bypass connecting to your Wi-Fi.

Your smartphone likely has a Wi-Fi hotspot feature. This allows you to use your phone’s data connection as a wireless internet connection. You can complete the initial setup using the Wi-Fi hotspot feature on your smartphone. Your mileage may vary depending on the operating system of your smartphone and how it treats the Wi-Fi hotspot feature.

This will allow users to complete the initial setup without needing to have a proper Wi-Fi connection.

How You Can Use Lutron Caseta Without the Internet

The first step is realizing that you will need the Internet, or a Wi-Fi hotspot, to complete the initial setup for the Lutron Caseta family of devices. There’s really no way around needing the internet for at least the setup.

Once the setup is complete, you can disconnect your Lutron Caseta devices from the internet and have them work perfectly. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to reconnect to the internet occasionally in order to ensure that your devices stay synced with the real world time. This is the only need that Lutron Caseta devices have for staying connected to the internet on a regular basis.

The Lutron Caseta remote is a common way for people to control their devices without having to connect to the internet. These devices operate using Lutron’s protocol known as Clear Connect RF. This means that the Lutron Caseta remotes do not require the internet in order to control all of these devices.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes Clear Connect RF work.

A Little About Clear Connect RF

Before we can talk about Lutron’s Clear Connect RF, we need to talk about what Wi-Fi is.

Wi-Fi is technically a radio signal. That’s right, our modern wireless internet uses the same technology as the old-timey radio plays our great-grandparents used to listen to. Some smart devices stay connected via everyday Wi-Fi signals. This can create some problems.

The first major problem this can cause is that Wi-Fi has limited bandwidth. There’s only so much information that a Wi-Fi signal can carry before it gets overloaded and starts to become unreliable. Having too many smart devices on your home Wi-Fi can weigh down your system and make using the internet difficult.

BT Smart Hub 2 showing connected 5 Ghz WiFi devices
BT Smart Hub 2 showing connected 5 Ghz WiFi devices

Radio signals operate using what is known as a frequency. There are many different frequencies within the radio wave spectrum. If there are too many signals being sent across a given frequency, it can start to experience interference. This leads to poor performance and unreliable connections.

Clear Connect RF relies on a radio frequency that is hardly used in our day-to-day lives. This communications protocol uses the same frequency that is used by garage door openers and wireless car keys. This means that these devices are going to experience very little interference. It also means that they will not interfere with your home’s Wi-Fi or other smart devices.

Since the Lutron Caseta family uses Clear Connect RF, it doesn’t need your home’s Wi-Fi in order to communicate. This means that individuals without a Wi-Fi connection at home can still use Clear Connect RF technology. Lutron Caseta makes a great choice for people who are looking to add some more smart technology to their home, but don’t want to burden their local Wi-Fi.

There are a few other communications protocols used by different smart technology brands. Let’s take a look at the two biggest competitors to Clear Connect RF.

Similar Technologies by Other Brands

ZigBee and Z-Wave are other alternatives to Wi-Fi that are used by other smart tech brands.

Both of these Alternatives do not use Wi-Fi. That’s something that they share in common with Lutron’s Clear Connect RF. However, there is one major difference between these two communications technologies and Lutron’s Clear Connect RF.

ZigBee uses the 2.4 Ghz frequency, which is the same frequency that is used by Wi-Fi. However ZigBee relies on using a different channel within this frequency to not interfere with your home’s Wi-Fi connection. However, it can interfere with your home’s Wi-Fi depending on how it’s set up.

Z-Wave is better in this sense, since it operates in the 800-900 MHz RF band and so – like Clear Connect RF – it has less chance of interference too.

While the Wi-Fi and ZigBee communications protocols can manage your smart home well, Clear Connect RF has the lowest chance of interfering with other smart devices and your home’s Wi-Fi network.

All of the Lutron Caseta devices are able to connect without the internet thanks to the use of the Lutron Caseta Bridge.

The Lutron Caseta Bridge

Lutron’s Smart Bridge is the heart of the Caseta environment.

The Smart Bridge allows all of your Lutron Caseta devices to be interconnected into a central hub. This has some key advantages for individuals looking to limit the burden that they’re smart technology places on their local Wi-Fi network.

Lutron Smart Bridge Pro
Lutron Smart Bridge Pro

The Lutron Caseta bridge connects to all of the other Lutron devices using Clear Connect RF. This means that the bridge does not rely on your home’s Wi-Fi network to keep all of your devices operational. If your Wi-Fi goes down for any reason, the Smart Bridge is able to keep all of your technology up and running.

This includes much more complicated services. Options like Smart Away, scenes, and other smart features will still work as intended even if your Wi-Fi is down for extended periods of time.

The Lutron Caseta bridge can connect with other devices and technologies. It works with a wide range of voice controls including Alexa. It can also connect with Sonos and other smart tech brands. These features might require a stable Wi-Fi connection depending on the other brands technological requirements. Amazon Alexa, for example, requires a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to operate as intended.

However there’s one final way of operating your Caseta lighting system: let’s take a closer look at the Lutron Caseta Pico remote.

The Lutron Pico Remote Doesn’t Need Internet Either

A simple on off Lutron Pico light bulb remote
A simple on off Lutron Pico light bulb remote

“Remote” Might not be the right term for the Pico wireless control.

This device is much more than a simple remote. Lutron designed the Pico wireless control to function as both an in-hand remote as well as a wall-mountable control. These controls can put you in charge of everything from your home’s lighting to your audio systems. As long as the smart device can integrate with Lutron systems, it can be controlled to Pico remote.

The Pico remote has also been designed to fit in a standard decorative face plate which means you can mount it inside the wall and treat it more like a switch than a remote.

The Pico remote connects with Clear Connect RF just like the rest of Lutron’s technology. This means that this remote will function without Wi-Fi.

If you’re looking for a smart technology environment that is about as independent from wireless internet as you can get, the Lutron Caseta devices are the right ones for you.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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