Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, manufacturers put their latest technologies on display. We attended in hopes of finding some cool smart home products we couldn’t live without.
An absolute necessity rather than a frivolity, Bitdefender BOX 2 is a smart home cybersecurity hub that protects an unlimited number of your internet-connected devices from malware, stolen passwords, identity theft, spying, etc. It helps manage all the devices in your home and includes parental controls to monitor your kids’ online activities and manage screen time. (We purchased Bitdefender for ourselves during the show!)
Netgear Add-on Orbi Outdoor Satellite
We liked the Orbi Outdoor Satellite (RBS50Y) add-on product because it enables users to extend their WiFi up to an extra 2,500 square feet in their backyards. Many of our customers need stronger WiFi signals in order to connect outdoor security cameras and this product can deliver. According to Netgear, the Orbi Outdoor Satellite is the only weather-resistant outdoor WiFi mesh system available. It requires Orbi Router (RBR50, RBR40, RBR20 or SRR60) or can be used with an existing Orbi WiFi System.
Lutron RA2 Select Lighting System
Light switches may not be as exciting as other smart home products, but the lighting “scenes” enabled by smart light switches are a wonderful convenience. We liked Lutron’s RA2 Select product line because it’s ideal for larger houses, allowing up to 100 devices (vs. just 50 devices with Lutron’s Caséta Wireless system) and RF coverage for up to 5,000 sq. ft. of space (vs. just 2,500 sq. ft. with Lutron’s Caséta Wireless system). For even more RF coverage, you can purchase repeaters for an additional 2,500 sq. ft. of coverage per repeater or graduate to Lutron’s RadioRA 2 product line. (Lutron's Pico Scene Keypads shown in photo.)
For anyone needing more garage storage space, this is one possible smart home solution. GarageSmart’s MyLifter is designed to lift bikes, a kayak or canoe, a storage platform, car roof rack, etc., enabling you to keep them off the garage floor. Additional products that can be attached to the GarageSmart track such as a spotlight, speaker, extension cord, fan, parking assist/camera laser, air hose, and battery backup are coming soon. Also, coming soon is a voice module so devices can be controlled with Amazon Alexa.
For installation assistance for these products (or any smart home products), contact AvidWorks Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (800) 701-9021.
You may have great Wi-Fi inside your home, but how strong is your Wi-Fi signal outside where you’re looking to have cameras installed? You can determine this by standing as close as possible to a proposed camera location and running a speed test on your smart phone. Make sure you’re connected to your Wi-Fi network, and then try a service such as www.speedtest.net or www.speedof.me to check your network’s upload and download speeds. If your upload speed is less than 1Mbps, you will likely experience problems streaming video.
Here are some tips for improving your Wi-Fi:
1. Move your wireless router
Moving your wireless router out from inside a closet or underneath a desk may be all that’s needed. Or, you may want to move it to a room that’s closer to the location of your proposed camera(s). Then, run the Wi-Fi speed test again and see if your results have improved.
2. Install a Wi-Fi extender
Another option is to purchase a Wi-Fi extender, which will provide a stronger signal to a location that has a weak signal or that was out of range of the router. Ideal placement is about halfway between your router and your proposed camera location. Try different locations and compare Wi-Fi speed test results to determine the best final placement.
The number of walls a Wi-Fi signal must travel through can significantly affect its performance.
3. Upgrade your internet service plan
Keep in mind that all of your connected devices are sharing the same Wi-Fi signal and this can affect their performance. If you have an internet service plan that’s on the slower side, you might want to upgrade.
4. Use your router's 2.4GHz band
If your router supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, try connecting to your 2.4GHz band to increase your network speed outside your home. 2.4GHz travels through walls more easily and can potentially enable a better signal at the proposed camera location(s).