Ethernet hub

How to Set Up the Wink Hub (and Start Adding Devices)

The Wink Hub is yet another smarthome hub that aims to compete with the likes of SmartThings and Insteon in order to create a central device that all of your other smarthome devices can connect to. Here’s how to set it up.

What Is the Wink Hub?

Smarthome hubs act as a central device that connects to your router (thus giving it access to your network and the internet) and then your various other smarthome devices can connect to it, like sensors, smart bulbs, smart outlets, and smart light switches.

Many of these smaller devices communicate using the Z-Wave and ZigBee wireless protocols, which is why a special smarthome hub is necessary in the first place—your router doesn’t support either protocol, so your phone has to communicate with something that sends out Z-Wave or ZigBee signals to your devices.

There are many smarthome hubs on the market, but Wink has one big difference from products like Samsung SmartThings or Insteon. Wink doesn’t make its own sensors, outlets, lights, and more. So whereas SmartThings and Insteon both make their own line of sensors and such to go along with their respective hubs, Wink only makes a hub. This isn’t a problem at all, though, as Wink simply relies on third-party manufacturers to make Z-Wave and ZigBee devices.

For instance, companies like GoControl, Cree, GE, Osram, Leviton, and Lutron all officially make products that can connect to the Wink Hub, and there are hundreds of other devices that can connect to the Wink Hub, even though they may not be officially supported, since Z-Wave and ZigBee are relatively open protocols.

Plus, the Wink Hub supports a ton of other smarthome platforms, even if they already have their own hub. For example, you can link your Philips Hue lights to the Wink app and control them from there (though you’ll still need the separate Hue hub to do so). Wink also supports Nest products, the Ecobee3 thermostat, the Ring Doorbell, Kwikset and Schlage smart locks, and even water heaters and garage door openers from Rheem and Chamberlain, respectively.

The Wink Hub is on its second generation, and the newer hub comes with better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as improved processing power. This guide will focus on setting up the second-generation Wink Hub (called the Wink Hub 2), but the instructions are nearly the same for either generation.

Setting Up the Hub

Start off by unpacking the Wink Hub, plug it into power, and connect it to your router using the included ethernet cable (plug it into any free ethernet port on the router). You can connect it to your router using Wi-Fi, but it’s best to use ethernet if at all possible.

It will automatically boot up and display a blinking white status light on the front.

Next, download the Wink app on your iOS or Android device.

Open up the app and either log in to an existing Wink account, or hit “Sign Up” to create one.

When you sign up, you’ll need to enter in your name, email address, and create a password.

Once you create your account or…

Will Using a Network Switch Slow My Internet Down?

You pay good money for your speedy broadband connection, and it would be a shame if a poor hardware choice was hampering your network. Are network switches to blame for your slow connection?

We get a not-insignificant number of reader inquiries about network hardware, especially concerns over whether or not a network switch is to blame for home network problems—primarily issues with connection speed and stability. Despite the suspicion that so many people seem intent on casting towards the poor network switch, it’s very rarely the source of network problems.

Like all statements regarding technology, however, there’s always and exception or two. Let’s take a moment to rule out any of the problems you might have with a network switch that could actually impact your network speed.

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Your Switch Is Actually a Hub

Hands down, with very few exceptions, when we’re helping someone troubleshoot performance performance problems after installing a switch, the switch is….well, not a switch at all.

You can read more about the difference between switches and hubs here, but here’s the gist. A hub and a switch look physically similar: they have X number of ports (typically in multiples of 4 like 4, 8, 16, 24, and so on) with one reserved for use as an input or a totally separate port labeled “uplink”. Despite their nearly identical appearance, however, the guts of the two pieces of network hardware are quite different.

The old and ubiquitous Netgear EN104TP Hub is the bane of network administrators everywhere.

A hub is a “dumb” device in that it broadcasts whatever it hears on the input port to all the output ports. This leads to collisions between data packets and a general degrading of network quality. If you have a hub set up between your router and the rest of your network, you’re setting yourself up for a huge headache.

A switch, on the other hand, is much smarter. It actively manages the connections between the input port and the output ports, so you won’t run into the collision problem or any of the other issues that plague hubs.

If you purchased the device in question within the last few years, the chance is…