D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215)

Jun 26 2014


Home automation has always been one of the most sought after pieces to anyone’s home or home theater environment—at least to our fans. Getting ready to watch a movie, you press a button and the lights dim, the curtains go down, and your movie collection shows up. In the past this was impossible to suggest without an exorbitant price tag, as most home automation systems operated on their unique network and required proprietary and expensive hardware—not to mention the software that required a computer programmer to configure! D-Link’s newest $49.99 Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215) is just a small component of home automation, but it’s attempting to do so over your existing wireless network, and with an extremely simple smartphone utility to configure and use.

Features

So what is a smart plug? Simply put, it allows you to toggle the flow of electricityto any electrical  device plugged into the smart plug via your smart phone—you can turn it on, turn it off. In addition to that, you are able to view the device’s power consumption, set a threshold to shut it off if it uses too much electricity, schedule the device to turn on/off at a specific time, and finally has overheat protection if the smart plug gets too hot. All of these features are available to control from your home or remotely—for example, if it’s connected to your space heater, and you forgot to turn it off on your way to work, you could login to the app on your phone and do so from the office.

Here are the full features:

  • Power Scheduling - Easily create on/off schedules for your devices
  • Local and Remote Control - Use the free mydlink smart plug app to instantly turn devices on/off from your smartphone or tablet
  • Simple setup - Easily connect to existing Wi-Fi with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup button)
  • Thermal Protection - A built-in thermal sensor will automatically turn off overheating appliances
  • Energy Usage Statistics - Monitor power consumption of connected devices
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity - Requires no additional hub or device, works with any Wi-Fi network

Technical Specifications

General
Standards

  • IEEE 802.11n1

LEDs

  • Power / Status

Functionality
Support Functions

  • Smart Remote Control
  • Push Notifications
  • Energy Use Statistics
  • Power scheduling
  • Overheat Protection

System Capability

  • iOS 6 or later
  • Android 4.0 or later

Physical
Dimensions

  • 3.54 x 2.40 x 1.40 inches    

Weight

  • 4.41 ounces

Power Input

  • Input: 100 to 125 V AC

Power Capacity

  • Up to 1800W / 15Amps

Temperature

  • Operating: 32 to 104 °F
  • Storage: -4 to 149 °F

Humidity

  • Operating: 10% to 90% non-condensing
  • Storage: 5% to 95% non-condensing

Certifications

  • FCC
  • UL

Warranty

  • 1-year and indoor use: indoor use only2
    1. Maximum wireless signal rate derived from draft IEEE 802.11ac and IEEE 802.11n specifications. Actual data throughput will vary. Network conditions and environmental factors, including volume of network traffic, building materials and construction, and network overhead, lower actual data throughput rate. Environmental factors will adversely affect wireless signal range. 
    Keep the DSP-W215 away from wet environments

Device

The D-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215) arrived in a small retail box with no Styrofoam—the box acts as the tray for the plug unit, and then there is a quick start card which has this unit’s activation code, and then a GPL Code statement pamphlet. The plug measures at 3.54” tall by 2.4” wide, and is 1.4” thick. When used on the top most outlet you are still able to utilize the lower socket which is greatly appreciated. It comes only in the pearl white, similar to most US outlets already in your home and does blend well.

There is a power button in the center, and an LED for its status (amber when off, green when on), and to the right of that is a status LED that helps when configuring the unit and shows amber when it’s connected and idle. The back of the unit contains the pin code necessary to pair the device to your smartphone—this same number can be found on the quickstart card included in the package.

Usage

Installation is about as simple as one might expect—find a device you wish to control via your smartphone, and then place the Wi-Fi Smart Plug in between the current plug and outlet. The real power of the Smart Plug lies in the MyDLink App available in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, for free.

Once installed, you simply connect wirelessly to the Smart Plug via the app, and then connect it to your wireless network. My home is configured with an 802.11n network (supported by the D-Link plug), but when I took the plug to the furthest most point of my upstairs bedroom—where I get 3 bars on my laptop—I was unable to find my network to connect to. This was a bit disappointing, but I did have a spare network range extender so was able to connect to that location successfully.

My favorite feature of the app is the calendar utility, which lets you see how much your particular device has been using, at what time. In my particular instance, I connected our water cooler to it, and I found that at random times early in the morning it was consuming more power, so I decided to implement a schedule to shut it off at night.

Conclusion

If your main desire for this type of device is simply to turn a component on or off, then you’re probably much better off buying a $5 timer from Home Depot. However, if you are looking at not only a lot more control from your devices but also some greater visibility to what their actual power consumption is, then D-Link is building out a great ecosystem with their Wi-Fi Smart Plug (DSP-W215). The device was incredibly easy to setup, use and learn. The ability to control and monitor things remotely is great. I think the only challenge is that while the ecosystem is wireless based, you can’t cross companies—given that Belkin and D-Link are competing in this space, once you start down one route, you won’t be able to utilize both together from the same app (both will work in the same home, you would just need the appropriate app from the company). That being said, D-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug does everything as advertised, at a reasonable $50 MSRP.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Simple app to learn
  • Scheduling feature
  • Shows power consumption
  • Affordable home automation

Cons:

  • Could be costly to implement throughout house
  • D-Link infrastructure can only be controlled by D-Link Software

 

Thanks to D-Link for providing the review unit.

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