Skylinknet and iSmartalarm are both DIY wireless home security systems that use the internet to provide you with the ability to monitor and protect your family, home and valuables.
Using the internet provides an efficient and cost effective way of monitoring your home from anywhere you can connect to it using a smartphone or other mobile device. They are quick to install and you avoid the monthly cost of third party monitoring and being tied into long term contracts.
You can quickly check up on what is going on at home and receive notifications when the security system detects a security incident.
Both systems operate the similar ways but there are a number of differences that set them apart from each other that determine which one is right for your personal circumstances and objecitves.
In this comparison of the systems I’ve looked at the important aspects of a security system and checked their specifications, product manuals and customer reviews. Due to this research I can give a detailed analysis of the similarities and difference of the 2 security systems.
First up is a quick overview of both systems then a comparision of each of the systems side by side.
Skylink SK-200 Skylinknet Home Alarm System Starter Kit
This system has an old fashioned look that makes it look like it has been around for years, but was only released in 2015. It doesn’t stop it being a system that works well with the internet and provide a good user experience.
This starter kit includes an internet hub with a 110 db siren, 2 window/door sensors, 1 motion sensor and 1 keychain remote. This would be good for an apartment but for a home you would add more devices to provide full coverage of your home. You can add them as you go as your budget allows.
It works with Android and iOS devices for monitoring over the internet. The App is free, it is basic but it is relatively straightforward to use.
Besides having more security sensors you can include environmental sensors, home automation device and cameras to provide further protection and security.
iSmartAlarm iSA3 Preferred Package Home Security System
You control and monitor it with your Android or iOS smartphone or device.
It started life as a crowd funding campaign and has moved on from there. They are improving and adding to the system as they go. It is now way past the initial launch and things have settled down although there are still hiccups from time to time.
It certainly is now looking more like a security system you can rely on for everyone rather than just those people who love the latest new products.
You add more sensors, smart switches and cameras. They are currently developing a plug in device that will make it compatible with other home security devices adding a lot more scope for home automation.
Read full review here
Both systems are straightforward to install. The hubs communicate wirelessly with the sensors so there is no need to run cabling through your house.
The sensors are pre-programmed to work in the iSmartAlarm. in setting up the Skylinknet you are required to go into the “learn mode” so that the hub can detect and sync with them. Not too difficult but it is an additional step to that needed for the iSmartAlarm.
Set up and installation for both systems doesn’t require any technical of DIY skills and can be done easily within an hour.
The Skylinknet support is responsive to questions and is open between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (EST) Monday to Friday. They also support email.
iSmartAlarm can be contacted by phone between 8.30 and 5.30 pm PST time, they also have FAQ page and forum. They are quick to answer.
The Forum and FAQ are good sources of information for questions and ideas.
Third Party Monitoring
There is no option for either system to monitored by a professional monitoring center.
You can have other people such as family, friends and neighbors set up to help you in the job of monitoring to provide cover when you aren’t available.
Cost And Features Comparison
Both starter kits provide similar devices in their starter kit, making a cost comparison straightforward. At this level the Skylinknet SK-200 is about $23 cheaper (with one less remote that costs approx. $20 so a net difference of $3) than the iSmartAlarm ISA3 as of 1 October 2015.
To look at this further, for a larger home I’ve assumed that there is a requirement 10 window/door contacts are needed, 3 motion sensors and 4 key remotes to get a better feel of total costs could be.
This give a comparative cost as of 1 October 2015 based on prices on Amazon at the time of $436 for the Skylinknet SK-200 and $493 for the iSmartAlarm ISA3.
The Skylinknet hub is limited to 100 devices (which is good). The iSmartAlarm in theory is “infinitely expandable” but , at present the company has limited each iSmartAlarm hub to 80 sensors and 5 cameras.
The iSmartAlarm looks better and they are moving to towards being compatible with other manufacturers devices which will provide better home safety and automation.
With Skylinknet you are going to be limited to the products that they make themselves which is limiting even though they have more available than iSmartAlarm today.
|Feature||Skylinknet SK-200||iSmartAlarm ISA3|
|Contract for Monitoring||No||No|
|Smartphones Supported||iOs, Android||iOs, Android|
|Cameras||Can be added||Can be added|
|Max Sensors/Devices Can be|
(Wireless standard for home automation)
|Return period/money back||14 days||30 days|
|Manufacturers Warranty||1 year||1 year|
|Wireless Coverage||600 ft||330 ft|
|DIY - 1 hour||DIY - 1 hour
|Panic button||Yes on key fob|
|Yes on key fob
|Entry Delay||Your choice||Up to 10 mns|
|Exit Delay||Your choice||Up to 5 mins|
|Power Backup||Yes - 72 hours||None|
|Siren - Loudness/Type||Internal|
|Price||$100 - 200||$100 - 200|
|Review||Read More||Read More|
Currently there are no monthly charges for either system for any of the services including the viewing of the camera. But this may change as they each provide more services.
I’m not sure how long this zero monthly fees will continue but it makes a good deal while it is the case.
Both systems do offer some scope for home automation but neither, at this stage, are compatible with z-wave or zigbee devices which is a home automation standard that allows the hub to work with other manufacturers devices.
iSmartAlarm have announced they are developing this capability. But as of now they have a smart switch which can be used to turn electrical devices on/off. They do have an IFTT (if this then that) channel which allows the system to interact with other devices to help in automating responses when certain activities or events take place such as when you arrive home it will automatically disarm or arm when you leave and much more. It works with Andriod and iOs devices, Nest and others.
Skylinknet can work with other devices, but only their own. Currently they have dimmers, on/off switches and controls for use with sensors and scheduling.
You can add cameras to both systems.
To the iSmartAlarm you can add 1 iCamera and up to 4 iCamera Keep cameras.
The iCamera is controlled by the App where you can watch live video feed. You can take snapshots of what you see using the App and these are stored on your phone and cloud. It can work up to 330 ft from the hub. It has night vision and a 640 X 480 resolution. It’s field of vision is 120 degrees. It can pan 350 degrees and tilt 120 degrees.
The iCamera Keep camera is a recent release. It has night vision and a resolution of 1280 X 720 p. It’s field of view is 77.5 degrees with pan of 350 degrees and tilt of 40 degrees.
It can detect sound and motion. It will capture a 10 second video when it detects either which is stored in the cloud, it will keep recording 10 second videos while it senses movement or sound. It can be set to send you a push notification to the App on your phone when it senses noise or movement.
You can also view a live video feed from the through the App.
To the Skylinknet system you can up to 10 cameras – at present the only camera released is their Wireless Network Camera. They do have plans to release 2 further camera types.
The release camera can work up to 800 ft from the hub. It has night vision and is HD with 1280 X 720 p resolution.
It doesn’t send notifications to your phone. You can view a live feed which you do using the App. You can do this anytime but comes in useful if you receive a notification of a possible break in you can check on the camera to see what is happening without have to go there yourself.
You can store the video on your phone by pressing the record icon on the App. It has 2 way talk with a built-in speaker and microphone. It can pan through 355 degrees and tilt through 120 degrees but there is no ability to zoom (actual or digital).
The 2 cameras yet to be released are a wireless IP camera with a fixed view for internal use and a wireless IP camera for outdoors.
The iCamera Keep provides more security functionality than the other camera (other than it can’t be used outdoors) with the ability to detect motion and store video for viewing later. It does cost $70 more than the Skylinknet camera.
Protection Against Being Disarmed
When the internet is down both systems are effectively down as you can’t receive notifications or access the system.
With the Skylinknet system they are planning to release an auto-dialler that works with the landline that can be used to send out notifications over the landline or VOIP when there is internet outage or power failure.
If there is a power outage the Skylinknet will continue to work (although the internet is likely to be unavailable) if you install 4 AAA batteries in the hub to give you up to 3 days of power. The iSmartAlarm doesn’t have a back up batteries so it is effectively dead in this situation – you do receive a notification to your phone that the company’s servers have lost contact with the system.
The iSmartAlarm will notify up to 3 people by phone, SMS or push notification when it detects a security event. It contacts you by phone up to a maximum of 30 times per month. You can set up as many people as you want to receive a push notification or email. You can view all notifications sent on your phone.
Monitoring of the system can be done from anywhere you can access the internet with your phone. You arm/disarm it and make other changes to settings. You can see when people arrive home by using the remote key FOBS as you are able to assign them to specific people in the system. The Super-user and Administrator are the only people that can make changes to the system settings.
Skylinknet will send push notifications to your phone (and anyone else you set up in the system) for security events, when system is armed/disarmed. You can view the last 100 notifications sent at any time via the App.
It is a basic App that allows you to monitor the system from anywhere there is access to the internet. You can add as many people that you want to receive notifications and monitor the system although they have access to change settings of the system.
As both systems are self monitored they don’t get the same level of discount that is offered with a security system monitored by professional monitoring center when you can get up to 15 – 20% .
Some insurance suppliers will give up to 5% discount for self monitoring but they do look at it on a case by case basis.
Pets and Motion Sensors
If you have pets that you leave in the home the ability of a system’s motion sensors to ignore pets is vital to being able fully arm a system while you are away from home. Otherwise you can receive a lot of false alarms.
The Skylinknet motion sensor has 360 degree coverage and up to 40 ft away from it. It can be adjusted to ignore small pets but large dogs will trigger the sensor.
The iSmartAlarm motion sensor can detect motion up to 33 ft and has field of view of 90 degrees so is best placed in a corner which is where these sensors are traditionally placed. The company says that they ignore pets under 30 lbs. By turning it upside it is possible to get it to ignore larger pets. You may need to play with the angle of it to get it to just ignore the pets and not humans as well.
The difference between these systems is the home automation aspects. Skylinknet seems to be going down the route of a closed system with only their own products being able to be used with it. This does limit you to their product range which currently is quite narrow with only a smart switch and dimmers at present.
iSmartAlarm has a more open policy towards home automation with an IFTT channel and developing z-wave capability. This gives the option to add more functionality and products to the network to get a fully automated home.
If you are wanting a good solid home security system then Skylinknet is a good system to choose. If you are looking for a security system with home automation then iSmartAlarm is the better option, however you do need to be prepared for there to be issues with it as it evolves over time as they release firmware updates and more functionality.
Filed under: Buying Advice
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!