On our most recent IoT podcast episode, Daniel called in to our voicemail hotline with two separate questions relating to his HomeKit smart home setup.
He currently uses Philips Hue bulbs and is wondering if he should replace one or more of them with Nanoleaf Essentials lights. Additionally, his home network runs on a Firewalla Gold router with second-generation Eero routers in bridge mode. Should he remove the Firewalla Gold and replace it with a much less expensive Firewalla device, and use an Eero router for network traffic?
Let’s tackle the lighting question first.
Daniel mentioned that he wants to use the Thread protocol, in which case, the Nanoleaf lights are the better choice. These already support Thread natively, and as Stacey can attest, device response time over Thread is lightning fast. So if Thread usage is the primary factor, then it makes sense to drop $20 a bulb for Nanoleaf Essentials lighting.
However, these bulbs don’t seem as bright as the current Philips Hue bulbs.
Nanoleaf says the average lumens for an Essential bulb is around 800, with a maximum of 1,100 lumens. In contrast, the color-enabled Philips Hue bulbs are also around 800 lumens, although Stacey says that in her tests they appear dimmer than the Hue bulbs, especially with the warmest tones. Additionally, and this isn’t a dealbreaker for HomeKit users, the Essentials bulbs only work with Google and Apple ecosystems when it comes to digital assistants. So any Amazon Alexa users wouldn’t want to make this switch.
In terms of the Firewalla Gold and Eero routers, I can understand why Daniel is considering a change. The Firewalla Gold has an MSRP of $500, which is much more expensive than the company’s Red, Blue and Blue+ products. That’s mainly because Firewalla Gold is actually a router, while the other Firewallas are not.
So to save money, Daniel could return (if he bought it very recently) or sell the Firewalla Gold and spend far less on a Firewalla Red ($109), Blue ($169), or Blue+($199). In this case, the Eero products would be the main router with a Firewalla device inserted on the network after the Eero. These Firewalla products offer good network and device protections, just as the Firewalla Gold does, which I reviewed a few months ago.
I have a 1 Gbps connection from my ISP, so I’d never drop down to one of the less expensive Firewalla products, else my home network speeds could be negatively impacted. I don’t know what type of connection speeds Daniel has, but using the chart above, he can match up his network speeds to the right product.
There is another option to consider here: Not have a Firewalla at all on the network and replace it with Eero’s Secure subscription service. You won’t get details on where your home network and device data traffic is going with the service, which you do on a Firewalla. However, it should offer similar overall protection. There’s a $2.99 monthly Secure plan (or $29.99 a year) and a $9.99 monthly Secure+ plan (or $99.99) annually.
The more expensive plan offers the exact same services and protections as the cheaper plan, but it includes licenses to 1Password, the Encrypt.me VPN service and Malwarebytes antivirus software. Unless you already use (or want to use) one or all of these services, the less expensive plan is likely sufficient.
To hear Daniel’s question in full, as well as our discussion, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: