My Wink Smart Home Is Just Plain Braindead Now

Illustration for article titled My Wink Smart Home Is Just Plain Braindead Now

I recently took my first vacation in two years. It was fun! But I was excited to get home, raise my shades and relax in the finicky but sort of useful smart home I’d spent the past few months building. When I walked in the door, all of the automation was gone. The light on my Wink hub was yellow. This was not fun.


Buried in a week’s worth of emails, I found an email from Wink with the welcoming subject line “ACTION REQUIRED: Your Wink Hub Needs to Be Replaced.” In the body were these pretty laughable lines:

Your Wink Hub is now so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink Servers. This means that you are no longer able to control your Hub-dependent devices with your Wink app. It also means your schedules and robots will not function.

So Wink made its software too secure and bricked its own hardware. Cool.

I got in touch with my contact at Quirky, which owns Wink, who informed my that “Wink Hubs experienced a service disruption” on April 18, the day that I left for vacation. The problem stemmed from “a security measure [Wink] implemented in the early days of the program.” (Wink includes more details on a bespoke website about the boondoggle.)

Again, I didn’t know anything was wrong until I got back to the United States. But I knew that Wink was buggy from day one—read my whole saga below—so I wasn’t surprised.

Wink told me that the outage affected about 25 percent of all users. About 10 percent of those users ended up with bricked Hubs. I’m one of them. Now, if I want my dumb smart home to come back from its braindead state, I have to mail the hub back to Wink. I haven’t yet decided if it’s worth the trip to the post office or not.




They also posted a link to a page that will show how to get it back online without sending the hub. Basically it requires you to temporarily change DNS settings on your router to download the new firmware. Takes 10-15 minutes total. And they also gave everyone a code for $50 off any product on their website.