Events
House of Belkin

By Evan Bergstra - November 30th, 2014

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Check out what’s cookin’ at the house of Belkin.

The relationship between your phone and the world around you is evolving, and where the convenience factor of the device was once that you didn’t need access to a computer to send an email, it can now adjust the temperature of your gumbo in real-time from the office; or in the case of the recent House of Belkin event, a very fine chili. A Belkin rep walked us through the latest and greatest the company has to offer in wireless products for your home, and I’ll give you a brief recap of what I learned.

Routers

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Powerhouses. All three.

Over a decade ago the Linksys WRT54G launched, and quickly became an icon. The four-footed black and blue box with rear antennae saw dozens of versions and was a standard for consumers and businesses alike. Linksys likes to feel they have gone back to their roots with the WRT1900AC, a performance workhorse that is back-end accessible so it can be customized and adapted to the needs of any environment. It is designed to give you the best experience from the most and newest devices, and at $280 you certainly get what you pay for. Further information and specs can be found here. In the new line of Smart Wi-Fi routers are also the more affordable E8350 and the tri-band EA9200.

Range Extenders

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Have a dead zone in your Wi-Fi network? Guess who you can call?

Range extenders are really handy and I suspect that fewer people have them than would appreciate their value. The principle is pretty simple: correct the feeble areas of your wireless network with a single purchase. The two devices on display were the RE4000W, a basic and effective range solution for $90 and the RE6500, with a 30-dollar price increase and a heap of extra features. The RE6500 brings wireless-AC, simultaneous dual bands and an audio output for streaming wireless music from a tablet or smartphone to a stereo system. I want one.

WeMo

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WeMo is Belkin’s line of home automation products, which can all be monitored and programmed from an app. The line includes light switches, light bulbs, socket adapters, security cameras and now small appliances. The goal over the long term is to be able to program adjustable if-this-then-that functions with every electronic device in your home, and be able to access and manage everything remotely. The system also tracks power consumption from devices on the network, which can be a handy way to help keep your bills down. The first appliance on their roster is a crock pot, which seemed to me an odd choice to introduce the technology in the kitchens of the tech-savvy demographic most likely to buy, but I was assured that careful market research led them to the choice. The next tech we’ll see on shelves is a classic drip coffee maker, which I see as a more obvious choice.

The pricing of the hardware is competitive. Switches are $50 each, and if you’ve got lamps the two-bulb-plus-WiFi-plug set is $100. If that seems a little lofty it’s likely worth mentioning that the bulbs are made to last over 20 years. I don’t think I’m there yet; but if I had a little more money to throw around I could certainly imagine programming groups of lights in my house to climb simultaneously to half power when I walk in the door, enjoying the sound of big band jazz and the smell of warm stew.

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