mydlink™ Home – Kevin Wen guest blog

Kevin Wen

 

 

 

Imagine the scenario. You hurried out of the house to work, having rapidly ironed a shirt for that important meeting. But you can’t remember if you turned the iron off. Do you turn back, and risk being late for the meeting? Or take the risk that the iron may cause a fire?

It’s this type of dilemma that many of us face every day. Did I leave my hair straighteners on? Did I lock the door? Is my pet safe while I am not at home? I don’t want to return to a dark house and forgot to leave a light on.

Yet this unnecessary anxiety should become a thing of the past. We are entering the era of the ‘smart home’. The ability to monitor, automate and control your home easily from your sofa or from afar.

Home automation has been around for years, but has traditionally been expensive and complicated to install and use. But, thanks to advances in wireless technology and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, new products are simpler and more affordable.

Consider these predictions:

  • ABI Research predicts that more than half-a-billion wireless smart home monitoring devices will be deployed in homes around the world by 2018
  • The global installed base of cloud-based home management services, which allow users to remotely control household features like lighting and air conditioning, is projected to grow to 44.6 million at the end of 2018, up from 5.6 million at the end of 2013, according to IHS
  • Berg Insight believes that the European market is on the brink of entering a strong growth phase similar to that witnessed in North America. The market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78 percent during the next five years, reaching 8.7 million new smart home installations in 2017

It is this market opportunity that has stimulated D-Link’s entry into the home automation market. With 28 years of experience in networking, wireless, storage and surveillance, it was an obvious move to innovate and invest in an ecosystem of smart home technology; a range of intuitive, powerful and affordable products. This is mydlink™ Home.

We’re excited about our smart home range. It currently includes two home monitors, ideal for keeping an eye on people, property and pets, a motion sensor and a smart plug, all of which can be monitored and managed remotely via a smartphone or tablet using our free mydlink™ app.

Affordable to all home owners and with plug-and-play functionality, the products can also be set-up to talk to each other. For example, set up the motion sensor in the hallway alongside a Smart Plug connected to a lamp. When motion is detected, the smart plug is activated, turning on the lamp. The combinations are endless. The sensitivity of the motion detection can be controlled too – so that movement from things like pets and tree leaves moving in the wind don’t set it off.

Perhaps you invested in expensive speakers for your home in the past, and are now considering swapping them for a wireless music system – at equally great expense. Well don’t. Another product in the range, mydlink™ Home Music Everywhere, is an affordable way of converting home speakers to wireless speakers, to stream music from any Android or iOS device, or network-connected media player.

In the past, creating an automated home was expensive and required specialist installers. Not any more. Other smart home ranges use their own proprietary communication method, meaning they can’t interoperate. And very few talk to each other, allowing you to trigger events. We’ve solved these problems too.

D-Link is not the first to the home automation market, but we are the first company to give homeowners easy control at an affordable price.

We believe that home is where the smart is. With this mantra we have simplified home automation, control and security to such an extent that it should be commonplace in all households within the next three years.

Do share your experiences. What does your smart home look like? What products would you like to see next in our range?

Kevin Wen is president of D-Link Europe Ltd.

 

Sources:

ABI Research: https://www.abiresearch.com/press/more-than-half-a-billion-wireless-smart-home-monit

IHS Technology: https://technology.ihs.com/500501/cloud-based-home-management-market-set-for-rapid-growth

Berg Insight: http://www.berginsight.com/News.aspx?m_m=6&s_m=1

 

 

Will your Wi-Fi scale?

officeThe ready availability of low-cost consumer access points (APs) can lead to small businesses taking a piecemeal approach to wireless networks and simply buying APs as and when they need them. It’s an approach that works, but only where you can get by with just one or two APs. It can lead to all sorts of problems in larger, fast growing organisations.

One of those problems is down to the evolving nature of wireless technology leading to interoperability issues where different APs, possibly from different vendors, are asked to work together. More importantly, access points are not like cabled switches which can, for the most part, be installed and left to get on with things by themselves. They need to be individually configured with the names of the required Wi-Fi networks, for example, together with vital security and traffic management settings to both protect those networks and optimise the limited wireless bandwidth they have to play with.

Where only a handful of access points are involved they can be configured individually, but it takes time and, as numbers grow, so does the amount of effort required. Getting all those network names, passwords, VLAN and other settings right every time can be very difficult and mistakes will inevitably arise, as anyone who has had to key in lengthy security passphrases will know. Mistakes that can, at best, lead to a network that doesn’t work as it should and, at worst, to compromised security and Wi-Fi open to all kinds of abuse.

Tackling this requires a co-ordinated and controlled approach to AP deployment which, using D-Link products, can be achieved in two ways.

The first is to take advantage of the self-configuring cluster technology built into our business-class APs. Here you simply configure a selected master access point and have its settings automatically applied to up to sixteen others. This alone can save hours of repetitive programming and avoid costly mistakes. However, it can only be scaled so far and larger networks will need a managed solution, coordinated through a central controller.

Naturally, we have just such a solution but, more than that, we have a family of unified managed switches that enable businesses to manage their wired and wireless networks together from a single console. Moreover, unlike some managed wireless products, D-Link unified switches can be used with all of our managed access points, so you can start small with a self-configuring cluster and upgrade later without having to replace the APs.

D-Link unified switches employ centrally managed profiles to guarantee consistency and security across wireless networks which can be made up of hundreds of access points. Our technology can also monitor those networks with tools, for example, to detect and isolate unauthorised access points, wireless routers and Wi-Fi hotspots. Similarly guest networks can be implemented and policed centrally with strict control over when guests are allowed in, what they can see and do.

Lastly, through close integration with the switch technology that drives the cabled LAN it becomes easier to manage traffic and user access across the entire network, no matter how large it becomes.