The Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm Home System Kit is a DIY wireless home security system designed to keep your family, valuables and home protected from criminals without costing you a fortune in the process.
In our review we look at this ystem and discuss how it meets the requirements of being able to depended on when it is needed . Plus we look at how its’ home automation features can assist in making life easier as well as adding another level of deterrent to your security.
It can be controlled and monitored from anywhere in the world you can get an internet connection from your smartphone. When it detects a security event it sounds the alarm and send out notifications to those who are set up to receive them.
It can be expanded beyond a home security to home automation with its ability to add switches and lights to make your life easier. These features can also help to give the illusion that someone is at home.
This system has a number of features that do set it apart from other internet based home security system but not all of them are included in the starter kit but they cover some of the weaknesses of the system which is good to see.
But first you need to set up and install the system.
- 1 Installation
- 2 Contract
- 3 Support
- 4 Cameras
- 5 Video Storage
- 6 Alarms
- 7 Notification
- 8 Remote Monitoring
- 9 Battery
- 10 Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit Sensors/Detection
- 11 Door/Window Contacts
- 12 Panic Button/Duress Codes
- 13 Setting The Alarm
- 14 Control Internet Hub
- 15 Timers
- 16 Protection against it being switched off
- 17 Coverage
- 18 Wireless or Wired
- 19 Zones
- 20 Dimensions
- 21 Features
- 22 Accessories
- 23 Pros
- 24 Cons
- 25 Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit Consumer Ratings
- 26 Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit Price
- 27 Summary
The starter kit is quick to install and comes with all the mounting hardware needed. You do need a screwdriver if you are going to screw the sensors into place rather than use the double back tape provided (which appears to be strong enough to hold the devices in place).
To set up and use the system you need an internet router and a smartphone with an iOS 6.0 or Android 2.2 or later.
There is a bit of set up work to get everything up and running but it is not technical just a little more than required with most internet based alarm systems.
It starts with plugging the internet hub into the router and the power. Then installing back up batteries (not provided if you want. Next you need install batteries into the sensors (again not provided). Then it is on to downloading the app on to your phone, setting up your account and adding the hub.
Finally is adding the remote and sensors which involves activating them and going into “learn now” mode for the hub to find and pair with them. At this stage you can name the sensors and indicate the zone or location you are going to place the sensors to help with notifications.
So not a big deal just more than you might expect with this type of internet/smart system. This set up process can be done easily within 15 minutes .
You monitor this system yourself so there is no contract to be signed that locks you in for years of monthly fees.
Also there are no monthly payments to be paid to use any functionality – it is all included in the price of kit.
If you are not keen on self-monitoring and want someone else to monitor (see advantages of unmonitored vs monitored systems for more information) then you need to pay a monthly fee and a different alarm kit. A good option for a professional monitoring system is Simplisafe2 Wireless Home Security System as you don’t sign a contract. It is a DIY wireless system that works in a similar to SkylinkNet except with a monthly fee (cancellable at anytime) for professional 24/7 monitoring of the system who dispatch emergency services when needed on your behalf.
The company seems to have responsive support. They can be contacted by email or by phone. There support hours are 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (EST) Monday to Friday. These are not the best hours if you have a problem as you are probably going to be at work during these hours particularly if you are in the same time zone making it difficult to speak to someone when you are at home with the kit in front of you.
My experience is that they are fairly prompt with product inquiries. When I contacted by email them for this review they came back to me within 24 hours.
The starter kit does not include cameras but you can add up to 10 cameras to the system. There are 3 different wireless cameras planned but one that is available at this time:
Indoor Pan Tilt Camera – HD camera with 1280 X 720. It can pan through 355 degrees and tilt through 120 degrees giving the ability to view most of the room (Digital zoom expected soon). It is plug and play and can control through the Skylinknet App. It have night vision and 2 way audio with microphone and speaker. Quality is HD so you can see more of what is happening and easier to see who is doing it. Again this is live feed only without the ability to record video. It is powered by the house supply but uses the WiFi for communication.
It does not send you notifications or video, you initiate the viewing and recording from the phone. It can work up to 800 ft away from the hub.
The following cameras are to be released this summer:
Wireless IP Camera. Resolution is SD 640 X 480 with night vision and 2 way talk with built in microphone and jack for adding speakers. It is plug and play. It has a fixed view only. You can watch a live feed from your phone. During the day it is color and at night the view is black and white. You can see what is happening but faces are a little blurred like you see on CCTV on TV so might make it difficult to recognize the perpetrator.
Wireless Outdoor Camera – Can be used indoors or outdoors with night vision in HD 1280 X 720. It has a fixed view. It is plug and play and works with WiFi nd can be controlled and viewed from anywhere you can get access to the internet with your smartphone for viewing live stream taking snapshots and recording stored on your phone.
Video is stored on your phone when you press the recording icon on your phone when viewing the camera. There is no facility to store on a flash drive or online or while you are not viewing.
The alarm included is housed in the internet hub. It is 110 db loud which is the equivalent of a power mower and is loud enough to disorient someone standing close to it and scare away an intruder, as they don’t like noise because it can bring attention.
You can hear the alarm from all over the house but it will sound muffled outside the home and is unlikely to catch your neighbor’s attention.
With it being housed in the internet hub it means that it will sound even if there is a power outage if you have installed back up batteries. The disadvantage with this approach is that it can draw the attention of the burglar to the hub and they may destroy it to stop the noise and also destroy the ability of the system to send out notifications but the notifications should have happened before they attempt to disable the system in this scenario.
When there is a security event the system can be set to send you and others you set up in the system a push notification to the Apps that a sensor has been triggered letting you know which one and when. It happens within seconds and can be received anywhere that you have a signal. You can then assess the situation and take the action you have planned to do in this eventually – checking your cameras, asking a neighbor to check your property or contact the police.
Other notifications you can receive are when the system is armed or disarmed and by whom or which keychain remote, when the batteries need replacing or when the hub has lost contact with one of the sensors.
The App also stores the last 100 events in a log that you can use to see what has been happening all in one place to keep up to date on what is happening at home.
You can control multiple locations with this system from anywhere you have internet access on your phone. As well as your home you could add a vacation home, business, your elderly parents home, your office and more. You’d receive notifications but also you can click on to the location within the App to control and monitor these locations.
The Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit home screen has icons representing your sensors and other home automation devices you have letting you know their status – such as closed or opened or security event. You click on these icons to the screen where you can make changes to their settings and status. You can see when your children arrive home both by them disarming the system with the remote but also from the status of the remote showing as being home.
You can change the settings of the alarm system for alarm delays, instant notifications and how they act in each of the different modes.
The App itself is fairly basic but it does this well which is what you want. There initially were some issues with App hanging but this does now appear to have been sorted by recent updates.
You can add as many people as you want to the system to be able to receive notifications, arm/disarm the system and monitor it. They all have the same level of access so they can make changes to the settings but you would receive notifications that they had changed. I’d prefer it if you could limit their access to arm/disarming and receiving notifications so you do need to ensure you only add people you trust.
The motion and entry sensors require batteries to operate. The internet hub plugs into the house supply but you can install batteries for back up in the event of a power outage.
Unusually and also a little annoying the batteries for all devices are not included so need to be bought separately. They are easy to source and install.
The internet hub takes 4 AAA batteries as backup. They should last up to 3 days in the event of an outage. You will receive a notification on your App when the batteries require replacing.
The motion sensor requires 1 AA battery. It is installed by removing the back using a coin and placing in the slot.
With normal usage it is expected the battery will last for 2 years before needing to be replaced. The system will give you a warning when it needs replacing.
The window/door sensors require a 1 AAA. This is installed by squeezing the edges of the sensor and popping off the back. The expected life of the battery is 2 years and the system notifies you when it needs replacing.
The keychain remotes has 1 X CR2032 battery. This is a coin style battery. This is an exception as the battery comes installed in the remote and should not require replacing for 2 years. To replace it you need to remove the back of the remote by unscrewing to small screws. You will know it requires replacing when the range has reduced significantly and/or when the red light at the top of the remote stops working when pushing the buttons.
The motion sensor is a passive infra red sensor that detects movement by sensing changes in body heat. It works best when people are moving across its field of vision rather than straight towards it. The best location for it is in a corner, wall or ceiling or you can place on a shelf.
To set up the sensor for use with the system is done with the App which takes you through the process and you need to activate it by removing the back of the sensor again using a coin. It’s not complicated but a little more involved than other internet based systems.
If the hub loses signal you will be notified to let you know there is a problem so you can sort the issue before you need the sensor.
The sensor has a 360 degree detection zone with a maximum field of view of 40 ft. It has a 20 second delay between each detection of movement to save power, most wireless sensors work in this way. It does mean you may only get one notification of an intruder if they move through the area covered within 20 seconds of the first detection.
There is the ability to change the sensitivity of the sensor to make allowances for pets but it will still be triggered by large dogs at the least sensitive setting. This is so smaller pets do not trigger false alerts while the system is armed.
The starter kit comes with 2 entry sensors made up of a magnet and a sensor/transmitter. One piece is mounted on the frame and the other on the door/window. When the door/window is opened more than 1/8th of an inch this triggers the sensor and a signal is sent to the control hub. As well as doors and windows it can be used to monitor other items that open and close such as drinks cabinets to notify you when they are be opened – such as when you are out and your children or a babysitter access it without authority.
They sensors will work with any type of door or window – opening up or down or sliding – you just need to place the sensors at the point it moves. If you have a curved frame or rough service you may need to use a shim to align the two pieces to be close enough to detect as being closed, but it is normally straightforward.
When the system is disarmed you can set it to chime whenever a door or window is opened and send a notification so in this way you know if someone is sneaking out or sneaking back in which you might want to know when you have teenagers or if you have children this might alert you they have opened a door they shouldn’t as they explore the world.
Panic Button/Duress Codes
There is 2 ways you can raise the alarm by pushing a panic button. A panic button is pushed in an emergency for an instant response by the system.
You can raise the alarm by pushing the emergency button on keychain remote for 5 seconds, this will sound the alarm and send out notifications immediately to those in the system. To prevent this happening by accident you can set the remote so the other buttons need to be pushed in a particular sequence before the panic button is pushed to sound the alarm.
On the App there is a slider bar you swipe with your finger that also acts as a panic button – you do need to be signed in to the App and on one of the pages to access this quickly.
This system does not have a duress code where you can type in a code to the system to turn the siren off but a notification is sent to those monitoring the system that you have been forced to do this. This is usual for self-monitored systems with only professionally monitored systems offering this type of service. If it is something you want without the hassle of a long term contract then Simplisafe is the system we recommend – you do have to pay a monthly fee but it is cancellable at anytime, it is portable and you install it yourself in a similar way to the Skylinknet system.
Setting The Alarm
The system can be armed in home or away mode. The home mode activates the window/door contacts but doesn’t activate the motion sensors so you can move around your home freely without triggering the alarm. The away mode activates all the sensors and is for when everyone is away from the home to give full coverage of the home.
The remote keychain allows you to set the alarm without having a phone or using the hub. It has an effective range of up to 600 feet. You can set the alarm in home mode or away mode and deactivate by pushing the buttons on the front. This is great for those who don’t have a smartphone such as elderly parents or younger children.
The system can be armed in away mode or disarmed by using the 4 number keypad and lock button on the front of internet hub by typing in the pass code (an up 8 number code set when you setting up the system) and pressing the lock button.
Control Internet Hub
The programming and control of the hub is done using the App. The hub communicates with your phone through the company’s servers and with the sensors wirelessly.
On the front of the hub is 4 number keypad and secure button, 2 LED indicator lights (showing status of wireless connection and power) and speaker for the alarm.
At the top are the jacks for the Ethernet cable to connecting it to your router and the power. At the back there is a door for installing the backup batteries and below this is where you can reset the system if it stops working.
In addition to controlling the alarm system you can also control any home automation products you may have added such as switches, dimmers and garage door sensors etc.
You can set delays for entry and exit of any length using the App. When you enter the system will beep until it is disarmed.
You may decide you don’t need the delays if you are using the App or keychain remote but if you intend using the internet hub you are going to need a delay when exiting and entering to get be able to/from the door before the siren sounds. You may also want a short delay in case you forget to turn the system off when you get home.
Protection against it being switched off
If there is a power outage the alarm system will continue to work if the backup batteries have been installed into the internet hub.
However, if a security event is detected the siren will sound but it won’t be able to send out notifications as the router won’t be working without power unless you have an UPS connected.
You can purchase an emergency dialer as back up in the event of power outage or the internet being down. It can contact up to 9 people with a 40 second pre-recorded message you record. It does give a second level of contact in an emergency. It will override an incoming call to get the notification out. at the moment this works with a landline or VOIP. They do plan to release GSM dialer in the near future.
The remote and sensors can be up to 600 feet away from the control hub which should give good coverage for most homes including their garage. The range can’t at present be extended or the signal strengthened but 600 ft is going to far enough for most homes.
Wireless or Wired
The system is a wireless when communicating with the sensors and controllers. It uses the frequency 433.92 Mhz so should not interfere with your WiFi.
However, it is not fully wireless in that the internet control hub uses a wire to plug into the mains for power and ethernet cable to plug into your internet router to communicate with your smartphone.
You can set the other home automation devices added to the hub to rooms or locations so that you can then go to that location and see and control everything for that room from one place in your App but the sensors are not added to locations.
You can change the setting of the individual sensors by each sensor to operate how you want depending on the arm mode. This is different to traditional systems where you do this by adding sensors to a zone then making the changes for the zone as a whole.
Motion Sensor – 2.5 by 2 by 1.38 inches
Door/Window sensor – 2.5 by 1.5 by 0.75 inches
Keychain Remote – 2.5 by 1.25 by 0.5 inches
Control Hub – 10.5 by 10.5 by 3 inches
In the starter kit you get:
1 X Internet Hub with power adapter and ethernet cable
2 x Window/Door Sensor
1 X Motion Sensor
1 X Keychain Remote
Installation hardware for mounting – screws and double back tape
The control hub can manage up to 100 Skylink sensors/controllers and 10 wireless cameras with one hub which should give enough security coverage for most homes and small businesses too.
As well as camera, motion and entry sensors and emergency dialers you can add:
Water Sensor – requires 1 AAA battery. It will detect leaks and moisture. Great for detecting leaks and preventing floods by being able to take action early. Can be used in laundries, basements, attics and near hot water heaters and the like.
Garage Door Sensor – this lets you know if your garage door is open or closed – so no longer do you need to worry about whether you closed it or not as you left for work. If you buy a Universal smart button receiver you can also close or open the garage door with the App. It requires 1 AAA battery.
Security Keypad – this is wireless keypad you can use to arm/disarm the system from anywhere in the house. It is useful near entrances to avoid the siren sounding as you enter or to use as you leave the house
Wireless Outdoor Siren – It is a 110 db alarm with bright red strobe light for installation outdoors. It has a solar panel for charging the rechargeable battery during the day. Works up 600 ft away from the internet hub
Indoor Siren – additional indoor siren is 110 db loud to provide more notification and scare away burglars. Works up to 500 ft away from the hub
As well as these more traditional home security system devices there are a number of home automation devices that can be added – such as automatic switches and dimmers. These can be used to turn lights and other appliances on/off as well as dim light. These can all help to give the illusion that the home is occupied when you are away discouraging any would be burglars.
It can only work with devices developed by Skylink which can help to cut down on the possibility of hacking but it does restrict you in terms of the variety of devices you can add to the system.
If you want a device that can help you turn your home into Smart Home that automates various functions and you can control with your smartphone this isn’t the right system but as a home security system it does the job.
If you are looking for something with capability to become a home automation platform then there are 2 possibilities
I’ve reviewed so far that fits the requirement. They do work out more expensive.
The SmartThings Know And Control Your Home Kit can offer similar home security functionality but because it is compatible with other devices using the automation protocols Z-wave and Zig-bee you can integrate products from other suppliers such as Dropcam Pro or various devices such as Smart Locks and so on.
The other option is iSmartAlarm which is also moving down that route with the announcement of its Zwave Z-stick accessory you plug into its control hub
No contract nor monthly fees to be paid
It is wireless and portable so can be taken with you when you move
Installation and set up is quick and easy and does not require special tools or knowledge
Can have up 100 devices controlled in one place for security and home automation
Can control and monitor it from anywhere in the world
Can add up to 10 IP cameras
Home and away settings
Flexible set up to customize it to fit your personal requirements
Can use screws or tape to mount sensors
You can add to the system as you want and as budget allows
Can adjust motion sensor settings to ignore small pets to avoid false alarms
Keychain remote for giving to people who don’t have a phone for use with the sensor
Panic button on the remote and on the App for use in emergencies
Can set system to chime when a door is opened when unarmed
It has a dated and old fashioned look
Does not integrate with other home automation devices so you are restricted to devices that are released by Skylink.
You have to monitor the system yourself so you can be on call 24/7 but you can add others to the system
Reliant on the company’s servers to connect with the alarm system
Does not have geo fencing so that it automatically arms/disarms when your phone is in range
The App can be buggy at times but it is being improved with each release and is more reliable now
No scheduling for automating when system is armed and disarmed each day
Remote keychain fob buttons not recessed so may arm/disarm by accident when in your pocket
Having read through the reviews there is some disappointment that the App was not working as it should be but that was left 3 months ago. There are some concerns about the set up being harder than expected.
But most people say in their reviews they are happy with the system and how it works now. The set up is a little more involved than other internet based systems but it is not difficult.
The App has improved since its initial release and for the most part the system works as described is the feeling from the other reviews.
For the price you get enough sensors for a small apartment with the ability to expand the system as you want and to control devices all with your smartphone.
To have enough sensors for a home you need to cover the entry points on the ground floor at least and any areas where you have valuables or that a criminal is likely to move through or search such as a living room and the approach to the bedrooms. As a minimum this is likely to be 10 entry sensors and 3 motion sensors. So, for this coverage you need to plan on paying extra.
With the ability to add more sensors, cameras , other automation devices and control them makes this a more economical solution than other automation style home security systems but more than traditional DIY home security systems such as PiSector and Fortress Security Store (although there is no home automation or smartphone App with these systems).
It does depend on what your aims are in deciding whether the price for this system is right for you. If you want a modern system that works with a smartphone and gives you the ability to add cameras smart switches but without some of the smart home functionality you see in other systems then this economically priced. But if you just want a DIY home security system like the 2 system mentioned above they may be a better option for you but they don’t come smartphone app to control them.
You can buy direct from Amazon where you get their customer service back up. You can check the latest prices at Amazon here: Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit
There are new systems that have been developed that have much more smart home functionality than this system. There are more traditional systems that cost less but don’t have the home automation features or the potential this system has to grow with more functionality added over time.
Having started with some of the negatives this system does do what it says it does at an economical price and compared with many products released recently it has few problems (and these seem to have been resolved). It is not the smartest looking system , but what it misses out on locks it makes up on doing the job. So, it is a DIY home security system that is easy to set up, monitor and can be relied on to work when needed in detecting and deterring criminal activity.
Filed under: Reviews
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!