Troubleshoot a Computer Western Weekender

The Western Weekender has asked me to do a selection of articles on topics relevant to their readers. 

I’m often asked what Smart Devices I have in my home setup. To gain perspective we are a family of four, with two children in University. We have over 15 devices connected to the internet. These included our NAS Box, computers, laptops, gaming console, mobiles, tablets, google home, Google Chromecast, WiFi light bulbs, ring doorbell, Nest smoke detectors, smart plugs and televisions.

I have two dedicated Ubiquiti wireless access points at home. Once installed all the internet dropouts and buffering issues we had disappeared. Before this, I was using the wireless that was on my internet router; it was unable to handle the number of devices.

The heart of our setup is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) box. It handles the file storage/sharing. It is our home multimedia hub and allows viewing of photos, videos and music on all of our devices including our TV. We use a QNAP device for this.

We have two televisions – a Samsung Smart TV and an older television. An Amazon Firestick connected to the older TV allows us access to streaming media platforms as well as catch up television. The Firestick is a Smart Device and plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and is the size of a USB stick.

Our Ring Video doorbell is a wireless device that when rung, will also notify me on my phone. I can via my phone answer the intercom and see who is at the door and speak with them. It has motion sensors and will record (to our NAS) anyone walking to our door.

We also have some Nest Smoke Alarms. These notify on your mobile of any problems and will specifically tell you which area has the alert. The battery will last ten years. Although being a Smart device they still operate as a normal smoke alarm.

To look after our solar pool heating, I have a TP-Link smart switch. Using IFTTT (If This Then That) app, I have it set up to turn the solar on off when the temperature goes above/below 28 degrees. IFTTT looks at the Bureau of Meteorology and when it reaches the required temperature sends a signal to the TP-Link switch.

Google Home can have many uses. We have ours hooked up to Spotify and primarily use it to play music. We also use it to stream Spotify to other devices using the Chromecast. It also controls the smart lights. Google home also has a connector to IFTTT allowing you to extend its functionality.

Most of these devices are low cost. So what’s stopping you start on your smart home journey.

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