Are all the stories about seamless Wi-Fi switching and Google Street View wardriving getting you down? Is your WPA2 password, well, "password"? Fear not, worried Wi-Fi lovers; researchers from Institut Polytechnique Grenoble and the Centre Technique du Papier have you covered -- literally -- with their spiffy new Wi-Fi blocking wallpaper.
FrontPoint primarily targets the do-it-yourself crowd, but will connect you with a professional installer if you’d prefer to pay someone else to hook everything up. Our review is based on self-installation using similar components to what ADT and Vivint include in their package deals. Thanks to FrontPoint’s excellent documentation and telephone support (needed only for system activation), we had the entire system installed in less than 30 minutes.
APX Alarm Security Solutions, armed with a hefty new investment from Goldman Sachs, relaunched itself as Vivint in early 2011 and embarked on a major push into the home-control market. Thanks to leading-edge technology and extremely aggressive prices—the company heavily subsidizes its customers’ equipment purchases in exchange for longer-than-typical 42-month service contracts—we think Vivint has become the company to beat.
Vivint’s home-security/home-control system includes everything we like about FrontPoint Security’s system, including Alarm.com monitoring services, but the 2Gig Go! touch-screen control panel that Vivint installs is considerably more advanced than the Simon XT products that FrontPoint offers.
We reviewed ADT’s Pulse Premier system, which consists of a primary alarm panel mounted inside a steel wall-mount cabinet, a plastic control panel with a text-only LCD and a rubber keypad, a second control panel with a seven-inch LCD touch-screen, and a Z-Wave control module with an integrated Wi-Fi access point.
The hot trend in today’s home-security market is to bundle home-control technology into the same package as the alarm system. Instead of a sensor just sending an emergency alert message to a central office, these systems can also turn on lights inside and outside your home while simultaneously triggering video cameras to record what’s happening. If fire sets off a smoke alarm, these systems can automatically shut down your HVAC system to prevent smoke from being spread throughout the house.
After several months of testing hybrid home-security/home-control systems from three major service providers, we’ve concluded that the two great technologies go great together, just like peanut butter and chocolate. We’ve also found that the systems can be expensive, that elaborate systems can be difficult to configure, and that some service providers make shopping for a system much more difficult than it need be.
Allow our pain to be your gain: We’ll provide a deep dive on every component, tell you which devices we think are essential (and which are just nice to have), explain how the systems work, and provide valuable tips on how to avoid getting screwed when you go shopping for one. We’ll wrap up with hands-on reviews of dealer-installed systems from ADT and Vivint, and a DIY system from FrontPoint Security.
Logitech is launching a new app for iPad owners that will allow for remote viewing and management of their Logitech Alert digital video security system from any place they take their tablet. It's called "Logitech Alert," and it's just one of a family of apps Logitech says it is designing for the iPad. With it, iPad owners who left their notebook at home can still check in and make sure everything is as it should be.
While D-Link’s DCS-930L is designed to be placed anywhere in your home or office, the Y-Cam Bullet is a big, heavy outdoor cam designed to be bolted to the wall. If you have what it takes to make that happen and run electricity to it, you’ll have yourself an amazing piece of surveillance equipment. Connecting to your network wirelessly or through Ethernet, the Y-Cam delivers excellent video and audio recording capabilities. It even has a speaker, so you can interact with whomever wanders onto your property. The infrared LEDs not only look way cool, they let you see in the dark up to 50 feet.
If you had any lingering doubts that we’re living in the age of surveillance, the DCS-930L should dispel them. Never has it been so easy to watch what’s going on when you’re not there. Once you follow the simple instructions in the installation CD to set up the wireless networking and your account with My D-Link, you can place this light little box almost anywhere indoors. Then, wherever you are in the world, you can log into D-Link’s website by way of a web browser, iPhone, or Android phone and see what’s going on. More advanced users can set up the camera to upload video to a local or remote file server, either continuously, or in response to motion detection.
Depending on the size of your home, a professional security system may not come cheap. And once you're finished paying for the hardware, there's the monthly fee to contend with. Swann Security has another, less expensive option.
If you can do without the "high-priced hassle of professionally monitored systems" and are willing to bank on loud sirens fending off would-be crooks, then you might be interested in Swann Security's new Home Series Alarm range. The Home Series Alarm Range is an entire line of window, door, and general motion detection alarms that can be used by themselves or in conjunction with a Swann home surveillance solution.
Each alarm emits a 110db+ siren when activated and run as low as $10. The basic Window Alarm, for example, costs a single Hamilton and comes with a self-adhesive pad for tool-less installation. If the built-in sensor detects the vibration of a window during a forced entry, the alarm goes off.
There are several options available, including a $30 wireless ceiling alarm with 360-degree monitoring up to 9 feet. For the full rundown, see here.