Changing a WiFi router - the hidden IoT?

Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution Guide
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Veteran in computer systems, malware removal and ransomware topics.  I have been working in the field since 1985.
Published:
Edited by: Andrew Leniart
Recently, my home WiFi router started to fail.  I was hesitant to replace it but had no choice.  Verizon replaced it for a small fee (it was an upgrade).  I then discovered just how connected my relatively unconnected home really is.

Recently, my WiFi router had been having intermittent dropouts.  It was easily fixed by turning the router off and turning it back on, but it was happening more and more frequently.  I finally decided, with my wife's encouragement, to replace the device.  It was easy enough to call up Verizon, who had provided the router, and they suggested upgrading to a newer version, the one I had was no longer made, nor was it supported (yes it was that old).  So I went out to the nearest Verizon store and picked up a new router.  It was not a big deal, and it turned out to be relatively easy to set up.


My home NAS (Network Attached Storage) is directly attached to the router, so it quickly adjusted.  But then it started getting a little more complicated:


  • My laptop asked for the new SSID and password
  • My Echo dot stopped working
  • My many webcams were no longer working
  • My Television was no longer able to access Amazon, Netflix, etcetera
  • My phone and tablet couldn't find a WiFi connection either
  • My electronic doorbell didn't ring
  • The Wemo outlets were now disconnected
  • Worst of all, the electronic lights I had installed in the kitchen, which worked with the Echo Dot, no longer worked


I previously had no idea how much I was connected.  I didn't even list the myriad computers and phones belonging to other family members, who come over occasionally, which will have to be redone.


Echo Dot

After reentering the information for my phone and laptop (both SSID and password), I decided to start off with my Echo dot.  This was a mistake.  I tried several methods of resetting the dot, since I thought this would have been the easiest method, and none of them worked.  I had bought a 3rd generation dot as a possible present for the previous holiday and ended up removing the 2nd generation dot I had and replacing it with the out of the box 3rd generation dot.  This was a much easier way to reset the dot.  :-)


The Electronic LED lights, powered by Sonos

Our friend convinced us we should get these under counter LED light strips, which are terrific, but were not easy to hook up.  He then found and convinced us to get a Sonos device which sits between the electrical outlet and a transformer that powers the lights.  The Sonos device is connected through the eWeLink app and can be controlled by the Amazon Echo.  


My wife loves that all she needs to say is "Alexa, Lights on" and the kitchen has more than enough lighting to prepare meals.  Although the Dot might be working, getting the lights to work was not as easy.  It took several tries before the Sonos device, which controls the lights, could connect with our router (not sure why).  Eventually, I got the Sonos to connect and almost immediately I heard, "A new device has been detected, how would you like to handle this?"


Webcams

This was one item I hadn't anticipated at all.  I had forgotten that when I set up these webcams I had to sync them to my router.  Part of the setup was indeed WiFi discovery.  I have many Wyze cams around the house and all of them needed to be deleted from the app and added back.  This seemed to be the only way to resync the cameras to my new router.  I still have 2 cameras that don't want to sync to the new router.  This is despite the fact that the new router is supposedly stronger than the previous one.


Television

Although my television needs to be synced with WiFi to get Amazon video, Netflix, etc., I was easily able to get regular cable TV without WiFi.  For this reason, I put off redoing the setup of the TV.  When I did decide to re-setup the television connection, I found it was much simpler than I had expected (I have a Samsung smart TV).  What is even better, the reason I changed routers was that it was dropping the connection in the middle of watching something on Amazon, which was extremely annoying.  Now I no longer have that problem.


Phone and tablet

I will admit upfront that I reconnected my phone before anything else (yes, I am like that).  It was very easy to connect to a new SSID from my phone (an android Samsung S8).  I also told it to forget the old SSID.  I did the same with my iPad, which is Wi-Fi only.


The Doorbell

When we moved into our house, over a quarter of a century ago, instead of a normal bell there was an electronic bell that had a remote ringer.  It was really a battery controlled bell rigged to get its power from the home electrical line.  Eventually, this just stopped working, and it was a lot easier to replace it with a Remo or Ring doorbell than to figure out what was wrong.  


I bought a Remo bell on sale and installed it.  Part of the installation, which I had forgotten about until I recently had to do it over again, connected it to our Wi-Fi router.  The bell will "ring" without that connection, but it won't alert you on your phone.  I ended up having to reset the bell in order for it to ask for the password for the new router instead of the old.


Remotely controlled outlets

At the end of last year, Costco had Wemo Echo compatible outlets on sale, 2 for $30.  I bought two and installed them at home.  It was great, I could now set them to turn on my various items so they would be ready when I got up in the morning.  Fast forward to the new router install.  The outlets now do nothing, not even supply electricity.  I haven't reset these up yet, they are just not a high priority, although they are nice to have.


I have still not reconnected everything and was only able to reconnect some of these things because I was sick one day, so I had the time to wander around the house.  Some of the webcams are still not connected.  I tried to connect a second echo dot and it keeps failing.


I was surprised that even though we attempt to stay less connected than most homes, the sheer number of connected devices was still astounding.


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Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution Guide
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Veteran in computer systems, malware removal and ransomware topics.  I have been working in the field since 1985.

Comments (2)

Brandon LyonFrontend Engineer and UX
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Commented:
Don't forget you can always change the new router's default settings so that it has the same name and password as the old access point.

This is one of the reasons I prefer zigbee solutions. The hub is the only part that needs access to the network and it's probably wired instead of wireless.
Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution Guide
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Author

Commented:
Probably would have been easier!

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