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D-Link’s newest Smart Home products introduces two high definition security cameras, a water sensor, and a smart WiFi power switch — with a simplified configuration process. But is D-Link’s vision of the Smart Home ready for your living space?

At the end of this review, we’re giving away a complete set to one lucky reader, worth around $350!

D-Link’s Connected Home Lineup

D-Link sent us an entire range of Internet-connected sensors and smart devices to test out. D-Link refers to its Smart Home products in this review as mydlink Connected Home. Here’s the four products we’re testing out today, the newest in the Connected Home range:

  • D-Link DCH-S160 Water Sensor–around $60 via Amazon
  • D-Link DCS-2330L HD Outdoor WiFi Camera– around $190 via Amazon
  • D-Link DCS-5020L Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera– around $90 via Amazon
  • D-Link DSP-W215 WiFi Smart Plug–around $45 via Amazon

dlink in boxes

D-Link produces a great deal more smart home products than the manifest above. Aside from the standard cameras and sensors, there’s also a motion-sensing sonic alarm, baby monitors, Z-Wave compatible devices, and a lot more. The range of products ranks as 2015’s largest collection of Smart Home products under any one manufacturer (with a cloud infrastructure).

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dlink product range connected home products

D-Link’s Smart Home products offer one big advantage over its competitors: they hook into D-Link’s ridiculously easy configuration and management system.

Configuring Your Smart Home

You can use any HNAP protocol-compliant Smart Hub (six cheap Smart Hubs 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford Are you ready to join the smart home revolution but worried that it's beyond your budget? Smart homes aren't that expensive, and there are plenty of components that the average homeowner can afford. Read More ) with D-Link’s Connected Home products, however, it appears that HNAP is not a widely used protocol and seems to exist only in ULTRA routers and D-Link’s Connected Home Hub. Users access all Connected Home devices through two options: a mobile device (either iOS or Android) or through a browser window.

Getting everything working requires access to a desktop computer and a router. Users simply install the browser extension, which exists for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

The browser extension allows users to configure their smart device via D-link’s mydlink.com website, which serves as a nexus for all of D-Link’s Connected Home range of products.

mydlink interface

For simplified setup and configuration, all of the associated IoT devices configure through D-Link’s online web-service, mydlink.com. Users must create a login before they begin networking their devices. For all but the indoor camera, the configuration process requires pressing the WPS button on device and then pressing the WPS button on the router.

wps button on the smart plug dlink

After pairing, users then navigate to mydlink.com, install D-Link’s browser plug-in, and then use the Zero Configuration pairing tool, which shows up at the bottom-right side of the browser window to finalize the connection.

zero configuration dlink

I should note that Chrome failed the pairing process and I was forced to use Internet Explorer (though this could be caused by my Ad-Block extension).

A Quick Vocabulary Refresh

I’d like to distinguish between three terms used in this article:

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Any seemingly mundane gadget which connects to the Internet is referred to as an Internet of Things device. IoT functions as an umbrella term, referring to almost everything with the word smart appended onto the front of product name.
  • Smart Home: The term Smart Home comes from the National Association of Home Builders 1985 conference on automating home appliances called Smart House. The term seems less general than IoT in that it refers to any sensor-bearing gadget, built for the home. Smart Home products add Internet connectivity and home automation features to otherwise mundane appliances, such as lights or refrigerators.
  • Connected Home: Narrowing the field even further, Connected Home products refer to sensor-bearing-gadgets, with Internet access. D-Link’s range of Connected Home products don’t differ much from standard Smart Home devices, except that they offer a simplified configuration process, provided the users also own an HNAP compatible Smart Hub or router.
  • mydlink: The term “mydlink” refers to D-Link’s Smart Home devices which show up in the mydlink interface. Each of their Smart Home products appends the connection protocol to the beginning of their Connected Home products. This allows customers an easy way to distinguish between Z-Wave and mydlink lines of product. I believe mydlink uses HNAP as its connection protocol.

So now that you understand some of the ridiculously confusing terminology, let’s move on to what we’ve got for review:

D-Link DCH-S160 Water Sensor

Want to save thousands of dollars? With D-Link’s new Water Sensor, you just might.

D-Link DCH-S160 mydlink Wi-Fi Water Sensor D-Link DCH-S160 mydlink Wi-Fi Water Sensor Receive push notifications when water is detected via mobile app Buy Now At Amazon $59.99

D-Link advertises its Water Sensor as a major money saver. Leaking water, as they claim, inflicts over $2,000 in damage on the average household. Following this line of logic, any home susceptible to water damage—those owning indoor appliances—should consider some means of protection. Many of the solutions out there rely on physical alarms or buzzers. These do not relay warnings to those at the workplace, on vacation, or otherwise occupied. Fortunately, the Internet-connected D-Link Water Sensor can and it retails for around $60-70 on Amazon. Non-smart sensors can run for around $35, so its IoT capabilities run a premium. But the premium seems worth it, given its ease of configuration.

dlink water sensor

The sensor plugs into a wall socket near any potentially leaky appliances, such as a washing machine, automatically detecting the presence of water. It features a WPS, quick-connect button and an RJ11 connector port (also known as a modem cable), which it uses to connect a water sensor. Along with the device and the water sensing cable, there’s a 3.3 foot extension cable. After connecting, the water sensing cable dangles onto the floor. The sensor must physically come into contact with water for it to register a leak, so merely bringing water into the sensor’s presence won’t trigger it. It needs physical contact.

On the downside, the pairing process, while simple, can go wrong in many ways. First, the WPS pairing process used for the other Connected Home products requires very little in the way of overhead. The Water Sensor requires a more rigid configuration and deployment process, requiring either an iOS or Android device. Also, the D-Link Home application for Android suffers from serious bugs. Among these irritants, it displays a tendency to crash while trying to pair devices to it. Second, it doesn’t offer a tablet optimized experience, so it won’t rotate. And I couldn’t find any way of upgrading the Sensor’s firmware, which is odd because all of D-Link’s other products automatically upgraded firmware.

water sensor wps button

Overall, the DCH-S160 brings something unique into the marketplace: after the smart fire alarm, the smart water sensor might become the next big thing in home security. The value proposition definitely exists—particularly if your home includes a washing machine inside of it.

D-Link DSP-W215 WiFi Smart Plug

The D-Link WiFi Smart Plug can turn any socket powered dumb device into a smart device. For example, users can connect a lamp to the Smart Plug. The Smart Plug then connects to your router and operates as a wireless, remote-controlled switch.

D-Link Smart Plug, Energy Monitoring, On/Off, Works with Amazon Alexa (DSP-W215) D-Link Smart Plug, Energy Monitoring, On/Off, Works with Amazon Alexa (DSP-W215) Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $52.60

Users can operate the plugged in device over the smartphone app, or through the D-Link web interface. I found the most convenient way to interact with the Smart Plug is through D-Link’s app. Users can set shut-down or turn-on schedules, or they can flip the lights on while away from the house. It’s useful for controlling individual components of your home while on vacation. It’s also useful for making it appear that you’re at home, even though you’re not. It could switch lights on during the evening, giving the illusion of occupancy.

smart plug dlink picture

The plug itself consumes around 0.8 to 0.9 watts while in operation, which is trivial for 24/7 operation. The utility of a smart plug depends very much on your imagination and use case: if you often fall asleep with a reading light turned on, for instance, or perhaps just want to make certain you’ve shut off all the lights and appliances while on vacation, the Smart Plug is worth a look. Psyching out potential thieves also might justify a purchase.

D-Link DCS-2330L HD Outdoor WiFi Camera

D-Link’s outdoor camera includes 720p resolution and night vision. It appears identical in function to the DCS-5020L, which features pan and tilt functionality, except it costs around $50 more.

D-Link HD Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2330L) D-Link HD Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2330L) Outdoor ready with IP65 rated weatherproof housing to protect against rain, dirt, sleet and snow Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

There’s nothing especially sophisticated about the DCS-2330L’s design or features that you can’t find in slightly cheaper products—except for its ease of configuration. Like most other network attached security cameras, the DCS-2330L possesses the ability to alert its user when triggered by motion. This can include some trivial matter, such as a cat. Or it can indicate the presence of something more.

IMG_6313

The only real criticism that I have of the outdoor camera is that it’s too obvious. Its white design makes it easily visible when used a security camera. Users can easily disguise the camera, but it would be more effective if the basic design included elements of stealth, such as a matte, black covering (and there is a black version of this camera available).

D-Link DCS-5020L Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera

The DCS-5020L camera comes in a conventional design, including a rotatable base, night-vision, and 480p resolution, which can transfer a video feed over the 802.11n wireless protocol. It’s effectively the same as the D-Link outdoor camera, except without the weatherproofing and with articulation. The outdoor camera includes a base, which can screw into a wooden surface.

base of dlink pan and tilt camera

The picture quality–regardless of lighting conditions–looks good. During periods of bright light, the camera displays standard 480p video. When lighting dims, the camera automatically switches into low-light mode, displaying images in black-and-white. The transition feels remarkably seamless, as there’s no jarring color transitions or sudden changes in picture quality. If anything, picture quality improves in low-light mode.

It’s also worth noting that the pan and tilt controls function through either the mobile application or through D-Link’s browser extension. The control scheme offers straightforward, although laggy, control over the pan and tilt capabilities of the camera.

black and white dlink pan and tilt

Notably, the camera also offers motion detection. Motion detection is configured via the D-Link app and triggers an alert, sent through the mobile application, whenever the camera detects motion. A sensitivity threshold would have been nice, for ignoring small objects, but it works perfect without such a feature.

dlink rotate tilt camera profile

Given its vast feature suite, the camera seems remarkable, although the price tag doesn’t do it any favors. Even so, the value proposition exists: for those desiring a simplified configuration process and an indoor pan and tilt, 30 frames-per-second, 480p security camera with night vision, this is the product for you.

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5020L) D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5020L) Ultra-smooth 340° pan and 120° tilt capability with 4x digital zoom lets you keep an eye on a larger area Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

Should You Embrace D-Link’s Vision of the Future?

There’s a lot of competition within the crowded router marketplace, but not in the area where Smart Home products synergize with routers. The combination of D-Link’s support infrastructure, mobile app, and ease of configuration make its ULTRA router D-Link AC3200 ULTRA Wireless Router Review and Giveaway D-Link AC3200 ULTRA Wireless Router Review and Giveaway D-Link sent me their newest AC3200 router, the ULTRA, and my wireless speeds went through the roof – and into outer space. This is a beast of a router, and you can win one too. Read More the perfect companion to its suite of cloud-enabled peripherals. Together, they create a winning combination.

On the other hand, while their range of products looks great, there’s a few things to consider before purchasing. First, Google’s OnHub router Google Announces New OnHub Multi-Protocol Wireless Router Google Announces New OnHub Multi-Protocol Wireless Router Google unveiled its answer to the Smart Home market in the form of a Smart Home hub called OnHub, a standard wireless router also capable of the most popular smart home network protocols. Read More hasn’t yet rolled out its Smart Home features, which would place it in direct competition with D-Link’s Connected Home product range. At present, D-Link’s closest competitors come from formats like SmartThings. Second is D-Link’s lacks a lot of interoperability with other smart home products. There’s IFTTT FREE MANUAL: The Ultimate IFTTT Guide, Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro FREE MANUAL: The Ultimate IFTTT Guide, Use The Web's Most Powerful Tool Like A Pro No passwords required. Read online, download free PDF or EPUB files or buy for Amazon Kindle. Read More integration and Z-Wave compatibility on a few of its products, but SmartThings and OpenHAB Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi OpenHAB is a mature, open source home automation platform that runs on a variety of hardware and is protocol agnostic, meaning it can connect to nearly any home automation hardware on the market today. Read More remain — to my knowledge — incompatible.

To Buy or Not to Buy

D-Link offers a very tangible value proposition: users can get a relatively inexpensive Smart Home configuration running in a matter of minutes. The total configuration time to get all devices running on my home network was around 30 minutes. Just ten years ago configuring a home network could take a serious investment of time. With D-Link they’ve put together a stellar package that carves out a unique market niche.

The only concern regarding Smart Home devices is that of firmware updates and security. However, this issue afflicts all smart devices, including smartphones (such as the far-reaching Stage Fright vulnerability How 95% of Android Phones Can Be Hacked with a Single Text How 95% of Android Phones Can Be Hacked with a Single Text A new Android vulnerability has the security world worried - and it leaves your smartphone extremely vulnerable. The StageFright bug allows malicious code to be sent by MMS. What can you do about this security... Read More ) and isn’t singular to any of D-Link’s products.

Buy it if you’re looking for a range of easy-to-configure Smart Home products. If you’re just looking for the cheapest DIY home automation products, consider looking into a Raspberry Pi running OpenHAB Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi Getting Started with OpenHAB Home Automation on Raspberry Pi OpenHAB is a mature, open source home automation platform that runs on a variety of hardware and is protocol agnostic, meaning it can connect to nearly any home automation hardware on the market today. Read More .

D-Link Connect Home Set (Worth over $350!)

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. egs
    October 20, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Thanks for selecting my name! I hope to put this to good use since I was actually shopping around for something similar.

  2. Laura Corrall
    October 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for such a fab opportunity. We've recently moved and this would make us feel much more safe and secure.

  3. Robert Michael Largent III
    October 13, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    OK. I have to buy a Raspberry Pi.

    I have been avoiding it for a long time and it just sounds like it makes too much sense.

  4. Prabhath Kaushalya
    October 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Thank you! great opportunity

  5. alfred chan
    October 9, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you and its good to have it!! :)

  6. thrtk3
    October 9, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Just what I need as I live In the swap with no security options.

  7. Doris Calvert
    October 9, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I would love one of these for our yard, been some problems in our area and would make me feel alittle bit safer

  8. Robert Largent
    October 6, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I've been using D-Link cameras for about 4 years. My complaint is, I have not found an affordable solution for recording the video feed from my 5 cameras.

    I can't always pick up my phone and look to see what activated the motion detector on my camera. And by the time I do look the culprit could be out of sight or not making any noise.

    • James Van Damme
      October 8, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      Seems to me you could have a video motion detector app running on a RaspberryPi somewhere, and if motion was detected, start recording a few frames per second for a short time after the detector shuts off. If you're on the internet, it could be anywhere.

  9. Jessica Lee
    October 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you! great opportunity for some real cool equipment!

  10. Jens Ken Lundstrom
    October 4, 2015 at 4:50 am

    Great giveway!
    Thank you for the opportunit!
    Good luck everyone!

  11. Bill McGovern
    October 2, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Having same gleam issue. No ad locker, logged out and back in. No luck.

  12. chemy
    October 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    For it looks ok (the d-link package) but the giveaway is working really bad, the video code is not working, the log in option is not working and the referral option is not working, if you send the link it gives you you are ending a link for the Huawei giveaway.

  13. Elinor Semira
    October 2, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    i already logged in to my makeuse account but in your gleam app it won't turn blue? thank you!

    • Kannon Yamada
      October 2, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Are you talking about the Grouvi app? If not, do you have an ad-blocker enabled?

      • Rene Gatdula
        October 2, 2015 at 6:13 pm

        AdBlocker already disabled..the first two tasks still gray..

    • Rene Gatdula
      October 2, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Same here..

      • James Bruce
        October 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm

        Apologies, try now.

    • James Bruce
      October 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      Sorry Elinor, try now. I'm still getting used to setting this login tracking thing up.

      • Elinor Semira
        October 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

        it's working fine now. thanks. :)

    • Anna Marie Marigomen
      October 3, 2015 at 10:05 am

      It is now okay on my end.

  14. Howard Blair
    October 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    While I used DLink routers exclusively in the past, major security holes in their firmware have been in the news lately. I'm going to pass on this.

    • Kannon Yamada
      October 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for mentioning that Howard. I read that serious flaws were found in HNAP, which undergirds a few of D-Links Connected Home products. They CLAIMED to have patched the security flaw, but analysts claim it was not adequately patched. I'm waiting to hear more before updating the article.

  15. Ryan McCallum
    October 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Would it be kind of ironic that all the pictures of this smart home equipment (meant to be inside your house) are taken on a park bench outside? lol looks beautiful though!

    • Kannon Yamada
      October 2, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      :-) Outdoor lighting is the best lighting.

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