Daily Giz Wiz 768: Schlage LiNK

Episode 768 of the podcast

Schlage LiNK
Subject: Review of Schlage LiNK
Released:Wednesday 18 February 2009
Length:about 20 minutes
Download file:DGW-768.mp3 (9 MB)
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Short info

Unlock your doors remotely with the Schlage LiNK.

Detailed information

The Schlage LiNK is a door lock that allows different codes to be set for different users for keypad entry.  Its main feature, however, is its internet-enabled remote access so that commands can be sent remotely to the door lock from your computer or cellphone via the internet.

The (black) Wireless Bridge is connected to your home router connected to the internet.  You log on to your account on the Schlage website, send your commands from your cellphone or computer to the Wireless Bridge, which are then transmitted to the door lock wirelessly using Z-Wave technology (which uses RF, not infrared as Dick mentions in passing).  All communications are encrypted.  The commands include unlocking the door and changing the access code for a particular user.  You can check whether the door has been locked, and configure the system to send you notifications by email or text message of door entries (say, to check that a child has safely returned home, at what time).  All door entries are logged and kept for 90 days.

If you have a network-enabled security webcam you can also connect it to the LiNK system and monitor the webcam on the website.  The (white) "light module" also allows you to turn on a lamp in the house remotely.

As the web-based instructions and monitoring are conducted through the Schlage website, you will need an account and pay a monthly subscription.

Leo thinks this is really cool and would like to buy one in order to lock Dane Golden in at the TWiT Cottage after midnight, but has a small reservation about the security or hackability of the system.  The Schlage website says it uses "128-bit AEC encryption" (sic), "similar to online banking".  By that, they must mean 128-bit AES encryption via SSL (when you log on to your account online and send your commands through the website).

As to the wireless transmission to and from the Wireless Bridge, the only information available is that it uses Z-Wave technology.  According to the FAQ of Z-Wave's website, the wireless transmission makes use of the 900 MHz radio frequency band (908.42 MHz).  The Z-Wave chip uses a "3DES engine for confidentiality and authentication".  Presumably it uses the Triple DES encryption standard.

Another Gadget Show for Leo?

Dick noticed the other day that Leo was tweeting about who the audience would like to see if he were to do a hardcore gadget show a la TWiT.  Leo thinks that such a show might attract advertisers, which would help keep his crew employed, although he is not sure he will do such a show.

Printing Costs

Speaking of advertising, Dick remarks that the New York Times now accepts advertisements on their front page.  Leo read an article (see The Business Insider) recently that it would cost the New York Times half as much to give away free Kindles to their subscribers for reading the electronic edition as to deliver hard printed copies to them.

GE at Schenectady

Paul McElligott notes the happy coincidence in Episode 758 in which Dick did a GE product (the 911 Emergency Light Switch), and read a letter from Schenectady, New York.  Schenectady used to be a GE company town for many years.  His own parents met there in the 1940's while working for GE, and so one can say, that Paul himself is a General Electric product.

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