Network and computer essentials for a smart home

Smart thermostats, smoke detectors, door locks and appliances have gone mainstream and are finding their way into more homes than ever. What sometimes gets lost in the list of cool things those smart devices can do is that they are connected. Without an Internet connection, most of them fizzle. Poor Wi-Fi means a poor user experience and for many people, their wireless router is the weak link in the smart equation. In this post, I’ll review the network and computer essentials for a smart home that lives up to the billing.

Kickstart your home with a smart tech makeover

Post-CES 2015, we have a lot to absorb about what we can do to our homes. Smarthome gadgets are coming out at a rapid pace, and with many manufacturers now working together to allow you run their devices on the same apps, it’s good to get in tune with just how you can turn your every day home into a smart one.

CES 2015 Smart Home Roundup: More from Trusted Brands

What is that you’re looking at to the left of this text?  Would you believe it’s a wifi camera, LED light and doorbell set up?  Neat isn’t it?  That’s the Chamberlain Notifi, one of a few devices I mention in the second Smart Home Roundup from CES.  This time I’ll jump into brands that you know and have seen at Best Buy and BestBuy.ca, and may see again in the future. From Parrot, to Samsung and even D-Link, what’s else does 2015 in the world of Smart Home have to offer?  Come take a look.

CES 2015 Smart Home Roundup Day 1: HomeKit and NEST

The world is watching CES right now, especially with intent on Smart Home and Wearables, two of the categories poised to explode with this year’s announcements.  With lots to cover in the next few days, we stop in on the first products announced for the iOS HomeKit and the growth of the Works with NEST program

Review: Netatmo Weather Station

Whether good or bad, the weather is the one thing we all have in common. Probably why we talk about it so often. The Netatmo Weather Station bills itself as the the first personal weather station. It lets you monitor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, air quality and even noise from your phone, tablet or computer.

Review: The newer and smaller Insteon Hub

We’ve covered Insteon products here before, including the original hub last year. This year, Insteon has a new hub that provides the same in-house product support, along with promising easier setup than the original hub.  However, if you’ve already got the old Insteon Hub, and some of the old x10 products that the first one supported, is it worth upgrading to the new hardware?  Read on to find out.

D-Link Wireless Routers and Network Solutions

Since its early days as Datex Systems (circa 1986) D-Link has specialized in connecting devices. Today, the company is well known for wireless routers designed to optimize home Wi-Fi network performance in a wide range of price points. It also offers Wi-Fi extenders and even kits that utilize a home’s electrical wiring as a network in order to boost Wi-Fi coverage and performance. I’ve put together an overview of D-Link’s wireless routers to help explain why you might want to consider this company’s products if your network isn’t living up to expectations.

Connected home: how a tablet can be your smart home hub

We all know that tablets are great multi-purpose devices. They connect to your home Wi-Fi network. The bigger display lets them show more information, making them better than a smartphone for things like reading or web browsing — yet they’re still portable enough to carry around the house with you. They have the power to play video games and the battery life to last all day on a charge. All of these attributes make tablets ideal as the hub of one of the hottest high tech trends: the connected home. Your tablet can do everything else it does, plus offer the connectivity and apps to be your smart home companion.

Light up your life (and home!) with Belkin’s new WeMo Smart...

For the past couple of years, Belkin has been slowly but surely growing their line of WeMo products.  The Smart Lighting system is a new addition to the mix, and is a little different than the others.  While most WeMo products communicate directly with the app, the bulbs communicate through a centralized plugged in cube (called the “Link”) and works from there.  It’s way easier to set up than it sounds, and it’s now available at Best Buy.  Come check it out!

Smart Home Gifts that are DIY Simple

  Smart TVs are now the dominant TV, but what about Smart home products? They are not far behind in becoming just as pervasive in most homes. Smart home gizmos are usually technologies that are linked to our mobile devices and that add a lot of convenience to our lives. Most of us cannot live for an hour, let alone a day, without doing some activity on our Smartphone. But Smartphones have a lot more capability than what we use them for, and Smart Home products tap into that underutilized capacity. They also make great gifts, so here are my top picks that will delight just about anyone.

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