Why Your Brand-New Smart Home Devices Won’t Work, and How to Fix Them

It’s well past time for mornings to be a time of generosity and togetherness, not shattered aspirations and nervous breakdowns. However, when your buddy or loved one is held up attempting to set up a smart-home gadget they received as a present, joy can become anger. Because these devices might need complex configurations, such as smartphone apps, Wi-Fi passwords, and integration with a smart speaker, things could go horribly wrong in a variety of ways. Take a breath before you call someone obnoxious names you may not be able to take back.

1. Why won’t my device connect to my home network?

The majority of today’s Wi-Fi routers utilize two wireless frequencies (with us): 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The issue is that almost all smart-home devices can only use the 2.4 GHz frequency, so if your phone is connected to your network on the 5GHz band, it won’t be able to detect or communicate with your new smart-home device (this appears to be the most perplexing problem we regularly encounter). Make sure your smartphone is linked to the network where you’ll want your smart device to live before installing anything or downloading an app. (A few security cameras and other devices can connect to a 5 GHz network, but we recommend avoiding that because of wireless range issues.) If your device still won’t connect, poor Wi-Fi signal strength might be the problem. Smart plugs or cameras won’t work in areas where phones or laptops also have difficulty connecting. Try moving your router to a central location or installing a mesh router if possible. An extender or repeater might also solve the issue.

2.Why do I need to provide my email address and a password in order to use this gadget?

If you’re renting a home, there’s a chance that your landlord may give you an electronic key or access code to get in and lock up when you leave. If so, make sure the company that provides this service has some sort of contract in place. This will offer peace of mind as well as greater security for both renters and landlords because it secures the connection between these devices (i.e., thermostat, smart doorbell) through an encryption protocol. Anyone could connect to and control your thermostat, say, or peek through your security cameras if you didn’t have such protection in place.

Your username might be an email address, a phone number, or just a random name. (But it’s never all three). The most crucial detail, however, is to use a secure password—and make sure it’s unique for each device you have. Do not reuse the same combination of username and password for your smart devices or anything else—as we all know, sites get hacked occasionally, and if somebody steals your go-to password combo from one site , chances are they’re going to try using it on other platforms as well. (This is the sort of scenario that has occurred with Ring and Nest customers, among other things.) Everyone should use a password manager, which can generate uncrackable passwords and store them for you so you don’t have to remember anything.

3. Why is this device requesting permission to access my location information?

An essential way to make your home ‘smart’ is by using your smartphone’s location tracker. Some systems need an address or general location for set-up in order to offer features like geofencing; this technology allows things like thermostats and cameras to turn on and off according to your current whereabouts. Certain apps can activate sprinklers or other appliances inside your home according to the local weather, but in order for this function to work correctly, the app needs to know your location. Addresses are also necessary for devices that connect with emergency services like security systems and smoke alarms.

Do you dislike it? In the settings menus on both iOS and Android devices, you can turn off location tracking. Of course, if you turn it off, you won’t be able to take advantage of those benefits. Remember that even if your lighting, cameras, and other smart-home gadgets aren’t tracking you, other programs and your smartphone are.

4. Why won’t the app connect to my smart device?

If everything is where it needs to be, device setup should be a breeze. Many devices utilize Bluetooth for installation but the range on Bluetooth isn’t very good. That means your phone will need to be close to the device, within a few feet, during initial connection. After the device is all set up though, you’re able to connect remotely via Wi-Fi. Just make sure you’re using your home’s 2.4 GHz network!

While most devices come with Wi-Fi built in, some don’t which then limits their range to Bluetooth. Other devices, like Philips Hue smart bulbs or Ring outdoor lighting , rely on other wireless signals and require a bridge or hub to be installed to connect as well as gain remote access.

5. Why is my brand-new device insisting I download a file?

When you first set up a new smart-home device, it usually immediately urges you to download an update. Don’t be concerned—it isn’t spyware. It’s only that the firm has made improvements in the weeks or months between when the gadget was created and the day you’re unpacking it in your living room, and it wants to share those enhancements with you. You should download that file and install it on your new devices. Most devices will automatically update or allow you to enable automatic updates, making the process smooth in the future. After your new gadgets are up and running, consider how to utilize them more effectively or make them operate better together. We provide tips for getting the most out of your smart lights, how to grow your smart home with sensors, and how to keep hackers away.


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