Effective Outdoor Illumination

10 Minute Read

The Classification and Structure of Lighting Control Systems

Lighting control systems are essential components in creating efficient, sustainable, and responsive outdoor lighting solutions. Across the globe, diverse methodologies are employed to oversee the operation of street lamps, park lights, and other outdoor fixtures. Understanding these varying systems is key to optimizing light usage, enhancing security, and conserving energy. Let's delve into the structures and classifications of lighting control systems.

Effective Outdoor Illumination Street Lighting Control System QULON
Segment or Group Control versus Individual Control QULON

Segment or Group Control
versus Individual Control

Fundamentally, outdoor lighting control systems can be bifurcated based on the placement of their control elements. We have segment or group control systems on one end and individual control systems on the other.

Segment Control

Segment control systems feature a centralized approach, with a controller housed in a control cabinet that manages a collection of luminaires. This setup makes it easier to maintain and troubleshoot, although it offers less flexibility for individual light adjustments.

Individual Control

Conversely, individual control systems are characterized by the decentralization of control, with controllers integrated into each luminaire. This allows for precise and tailored management of lighting, including dimming and switching capabilities for each light source, thus enhancing efficiency and flexibility.

Individual Control: Last Mile Interface QULON

Individual Control: Last Mile Interface

Diving deeper into individual control systems, the "last mile interface" comes into play — the direct link that commands the luminaires. These systems further branch into wired and wireless configurations.

Wired Control

Wired controls imply a physical connection to manage lighting, often through a separate communication line such as Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI), or via the luminaire's power line using Power Line Communication (PLC) technology.

Wireless Control

Wireless controls operate via radio signals. These can utilize proprietary base stations, like Litouch, or public data networks such as GSM or LoRa to facilitate a broad range of communication needs without physical wiring constraints.

Types of Power Supply Lines

The methodology of lighting controls also diverges according to power supply configurations:

Centralized Power Supply

Systems with a centralized power source rely on a uniform electrical grid to energize outdoor lighting.

Local Alternative Power Sources

Some systems are equipped with alternative local power sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines. This approach is more sustainable and can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of outdoor lighting systems.

Control Methods: Timing and Adaptive Systems QULON

Control Methods:
Timing and Adaptive Systems

Control systems are further divisible by the control methods employed:

Time Control

These systems function based on timing, leveraging internal or external timers to switch lights on and off according to a predetermined schedule. This method is straightforward but lacks responsiveness to real-time environmental changes.

Adaptive Lighting Control

More sophisticated systems employ adaptive control, responding to varying conditions through an array of sensors — including photosensors, motion detectors, and brightness sensors. This approach allows for dynamic adjustment of lighting levels based on actual need, yielding higher energy savings and improved comfort for users.

Hybrid Systems
Combining Best Practices

Lastly, hybrid systems interweave elements from different classifications to form customized solutions that harness the benefits of both centralized and individual approaches, as well as wired and wireless technologies, alongside various control methodologies. The synergy of these technologies ensures optimal lighting performance and efficiency.


The world of outdoor lighting control is both complex and diversified. From segment controls to bespoke adaptive systems, the classification and structure of lighting controls are geared toward fulfilling the demanding requirements of urban landscapes. Designing these systems with an eye for scalability, flexibility, and responsiveness paves the way for smarter and more sustainable outdoor environments.

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