IOT

Is the a smart device that can control my circuit breakers?

Leviton LB120-S 20 Amp Circuit Breaker

Episode 1722

Jeff from Cedarville, CA

Jeff bought some smart plugs to install into his house. Is there anything like that on the breaker side? Leo says that's an interesting idea, but he doesn't know if you'd really want to do that. You have to be very careful what's on your circuit and you wouldn't want to install it yourself. But it's a great idea for making your home smarter and more controllable remotely. Here's one by Leviton.

Why do my Philips Hue lights disconnect from WiFi?

Philips Hue Lights

Episode 1716

Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ

Jonathan has a Philips Hue lights and uses the Wiz App to control them. But they keep disconnecting. Leo says that's a common problem, and he says that using the Home Hub will make WiFi connection to the lights more consistent. But Leo also thinks that the smart lights are more of a gimmick these days and really more hassle than they are worth. And they are expensive too. 

In general, smart home IoT as a technology still has a long way to go. 

Why is WINK charging me to use their device now?

Wink

Episode 1694

Jeff from Laguna Beach, CA

Jeff says that WINK is now charging people $5 a month to use his WINK Home Hub. Leo says that they've changed the conditions of being able to use their product, especially since it costs over $100. It's not unheard of to charge to store data, but it would be like Amazon charging $5 a month to use the Echo devices out of nowhere. And it's even more frustrating because WINK sold their device with "no fees" as a feature. Now they're charging fees. But if they don't, they'll go out of business.

Are my older Hue Lights secure?

Philips Hue Lights

Episode 1684

Alan from Charlton, MS

Alan wants to know if Philips Hue Lights would work as lights for a video webcast. Leo says since they can change colors, they can look really good on camera. But he also hears that older Hue bridges are being placed into its end of life. Leo says they are depreciating the older models, but that doesn't mean they won't continue to work. But the problem is, any bulb that is connected to the Internet may result in a security issue for your network. That's the main thing. It's important to get all the patches you can. But in most cases, you'll likely be fine.

What Antenna should I get for my house?

TV Antenna

Episode 1666

Steve from North Hollywood, CA

Steve has an AirBNB with an antenna to watch TV along with streaming. But his antenna is indoor and wants a better one for more options. Leo recommends visiting TVFool.com and AntennaWeb.org. You'll be able to enter your address, and it'll tell you what channels you get, where to aim the antenna, and what antenna is best for you. Steve is also having issues configuring his IoT devices. Leo says that most IoT devices prefer 2.4GHz over 5Ghz. So make sure you have the right band selected.

Are Smart Light Bulbs Secure?

Feit smart bulbs

Episode 1657

Kevin from San Diego, CA

Kevin bought some Feit smart bulbs from Costco. Leo says that LED light bulbs can be controlled by mobile phones. But he's concerned about security because they connect to his network. Leo says that's a concern with IoT devices. But if he can keep it up to date, he'll be fine. But the risk is there. He's also been using an Apple Airport. Leo says Apple isn't supporting the Airport anymore and he wants a WiFi 6 router. Leo recommends the TPLink Archer A7.

What baby monitor is the most secure?

Eufy Baby Monitor

Episode 1653

Darcy from Winnipeg, CAN

Darcy and his wife recently had a baby and he's looking for a good, and secure, baby monitor. Is there one that's really secure? Leo says that they are if the company keeps them up to date. Although RING took it on the chin with a hacker who hacked a Ring Camera in an 8-year-old's office, it turns out that this was due to a simple password that the mother had used with other devices. If you use a difficult password, then the RING Camera is a good option. Or, you can get a standard model that isn't internet-connected and is broadcast over a limited range.

FBI Office Determines Refrigerators are an Online Security Risk

FBI

Episode 1650

Looking at Internet of Things phenomenon, the Portland FBI issued a blog post talking about how connecting your computer to the same network as your internet-enabled refrigerator could pose a security risk. They advise changing the device password settings from the default, make them as long as possible and unique. Leo says that it's not practical to have a separate connection for your IoT devices. But regularly updating your devices and giving them a good password is a good idea.

Can I bring my Echo with me while traveling?

Amazon Echo Dot

Episode 1647

John from Indianapolis, IN

John recently returned from vacation to Prague, and he brought his Amazon Echo dot with him. He connected it to his travel router and reconfigured it for the Czech Republic, according to Leo's instructions. John had no problem with it. He could listen to music, podcasts, news from home. And it was his alarm clock. It worked great. Leo says it's a great idea to take that along with you.