Automating my home Part 2: Network Switches, Ecobee 3 Thermostat, and Starting to hate audio

As the move gets closer, I am getting more excited about home automation.  We should have keys in a few days, so I will be going through the house the day before we move in to do some planning on where to place the TVs, the Media server, and most importantly the wireless, but that is a topic for another time.

In Part 1 I talked a bit about the TP Link switches I purchased.  Those have since come in, and are now installed.  I was less than impressed with the user interface, as it turns out it is a java based interface that only works on windows thus far.  I worked on getting the discovery running on my MacBook, but gave up and just ran it in a Windows 7 VM which is never ideal.  The configuration was pretty simple, I toyed with VLAN configurations to isolate my media systems, but that caused to many challenges around DHCP, DNS, and Airplay which is surprisingly important in my house suddenly.  I ended up leaving them on a single flat network for now, but I was able to add several devices back onto the network such as our 6 year old XBOX 360 which I refuse to buy a wifi adapter for or replace with an XBOX One.

I have been doing a ton of research on smart thermostats, I was really leaning toward Nest, but a little research on systems integration led me to Ecobee.  We are an apple house for better or worse.  I tried to change to Android once, and my wife convinced me it was not a good idea.  After talking it through with her, it occurred to me that the reason she likes Apple products is they work.  The iPhone, the iPad, the Apple TV, they are all intuitive.  She doesn’t want to fight with the technology she just wants it to work.  This is a critical lesson, I love tinkering, but I love my wife more.  Since I travel for work, it is important that things at home not need to be rebooted, or fixed, similar to an enterprise user.  Looking at Apple’s homekit, it seems like they are going to make things far more user friendly.

I am spending more time recently on audio.  My wife seems very interested in a wireless audio system.  I looked into Sonos as I mentioned before, but I am not thrilled about the lack of airplay support.  I think I have settled on bluetooth as the technology for wireless audio, so I am researching more options in that area.  I prefer to have something that is standards based and free from specific app requirements.  The only exception is apple specific protocols since they are a standard, albeit a closed one.  More to come on this as I continue to narrow down the technologies, I suspect in the long run Bose will win out due to quality for it’s size, but this is also another excuse to go to Bestbuy and research.

More to come, I am still debating home networking, a new television, and a number of other crazy ideas.

Automating my home Part 2: Network Switches, Ecobee 3 Thermostat, and Starting to hate audio

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