Wink Hub Goes Down
Update April 17, 2020: We no longer use our Wink Hub. Read why.
Yesterday Wink had a major meltdown and ours was one of the many hubs impacted. There has been a lot of coverage in the press so we won’t go into the details here, evidently a security update went wrong and while they were able to repair some hubs over the air, ours is not recoverable and needs to be replaced. We need to wait for a return shipping box to arrive, ship back our Wink hub, then wait for it to be repaired and returned to us. We are guessing this means about two weeks before we will be back online again.
What makes this a little sad is that we are not surprised. We have many Wink and Quirky products in our home, and we were one of the first enthusiastic early adopters of the Wink Relay when it came out last November. After we got the Relay, we moved almost all of our home devices to Wink, added Trippers to several of our doors, and started using the Robots feature to automate many things in our home.
While we like the interface, the industrial design of the devices, the 24/7 customer support, and the availability of products at Home Depot, the Wink platform has just not been reliable. The Robots stop working for no reason, the lights controlled by the Relay and the Tapt either come on really slowly, groups of lights don’t all come on/off, or sometimes nothing turns on/off at all. The Tapt switch is in our bedroom and nothing is more irritating than waking up in the dark, tapping the light switch and nothing happening. We have already replaced our Wink Hub once and gotten in the habit of recycling the power every other day if the switches don’t work.
About a month ago, in our quest to test new platforms, we bought about a new hub from Zipato and have been moving a lot of our Z-Wave and Zigbee devices over from the Wink platform. The Zipato hub works locally rather than over the cloud and so far has been really fast and very reliable. At this point, we have kept Wink online only because we like the Relay and have put so much time and energy into trying to make the Tapt switch work. We have our kitchen lights paired to the Wink Hub and controlled by the Relay with the bedroom light still paired to the Tapt.
The problems with Wink highlight the major issue we see with many of these smart home systems – relying on the cloud. Lowe’s Iris is a lot more stable but has similar latency problems. While we love the ability to control things when we are away, when we are home we expect switches, lights, devices to turn on immediately when we flip the switch, click the button, or trip the motion sensor. And if there is some kind of outage or other issue like this one, we want our devices in the home to keep working.
At this point, we have submitted our request and are waiting for the box to arrive. It looks like Wink has also posted some instructions for us to try to recover the box ourselves, so maybe we can get it back online without having to return it. We will see.
Update: we used the Wink recovery instructions and it worked! Our Wink Hub is as good as new and the Relay and Tapt switches are working. So far, so good.