Home automation is becoming very popular, and no wonder — it offers many advantages, not least of which is security for you and your family. Unfortunately, the cost of some systems put them out of reach to many of us. Skylink is one of a few companies offering DIY home security and automation at an affordable price. We’ve gotten a chance to check out their SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit and a plug-in on/off control device to see for ourselves if you can get great home security at a lower price.
The SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit includes three items: the internet hub, one motion sensor, and one window/door sensor. The instructions were very detailed and included a lot of pictures that helped us get up and running in about 10 minutes.
The first step was to install the free SkylinkNet app. It does not have the most visually appealing interface, but I have to admit that it is simple and straight forward to use. To get the internet hub connected, we first installed four AA batteries (in case of power outage), then plugged it into a wall outlet and to our wireless router. Once all that was connected, we followed the clear instructions to connect the hub to the app.
Next we installed batteries in the sensors — unfortunately, batteries are not included. The motion sensor uses one AA and the window/door sensor uses one AAA. Connecting the sensors to the hub was done through the app, and again, it was super painless. After tapping through the menu to find the correct sensor, you simply tap the “Learn Now” button on the screen and there is a little video to show you what to do.
We also wanted to attach the smart plug-in receiver so we could test out Skylink’s home automation. At first glance these instructions were amazingly complex and overwhelming, but after a few minutes of reading we realized that much of the instructions are for use with a remote control and not the app. Once we realized that, we skipped to step seven, and less than a minute later, we were connected!
Arming and disarming the system can be done within SkylinkNet app or by using the keypad on the internet hub. The eight-digit code for that keypad can be set and managed within the app as well. The SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit works as you’d expect — if a sensor detects motion or if the door was opened, the app is notified. What happens next is up to you. Do you want the alarm to sound? Then be prepared, because it is VERY loud and there are no volume controls. Of course, a loud security alarm is generally what you’d want, but if you need variable volume control, this option is not available. Should the alarm sound accidentally, you can stop it within the SkylinkNet app.
However, you may just want to be alerted when a certain door is opened or if someone walks through the room. In that case, you can have it send you a notification only, without the alarm. You can also set a duration after a sensor is triggered before the alarm sounds, which is handy for entering/exiting your home. Although you can’t freely program it to do exactly what you may want, the app does give you a fair bit of flexibility, including different actions for different days or times.
There are a few other devices available from Skylink such as cameras, moisture, and garage door sensors. You can mix and match up to 100 of these and control them all through the one app.
We mostly had a good experience with the SkylinkNet Alarm System Starter Kit, but we did have one issue during our setup. When we initially tried to add one of the devices the app simply stopped responding. While this was initially very frustrating, we called their customer service hotline, which the company makes very visible on their website. Within a couple minutes, we got simple, easy to follow tech support. Our problem? The hub needed a firmware update. Five stars for tech support!