My Smart Home is fully alexa enabled, I use Amazon Echos and Dots around the house to control my lights, music and audio visual. As part of an expansion of this smart home ecosystem I decided that I would like to add a Fan into the voice control mix.
As such I purchased a TP-Link HS110 Smart Wi-Fi Plug, this is advertised as fully Alexa ready. These are consumer ready items, Simple setup is described on the box as Download the App, Plug it in and configure, sounds Easy.
The First Step was easy, Download the TP Link Kasa App. Although it wasn't actually called what they said it should be in the Play Store.
The instructions said to Download TP-Link Kasa when in fact it is called Kasa for Mobile.
Now this is a brand new product with a box design etc that clearly says it works with Alexa, so it's not old - I don't know why they can't get the name of their app correct on the documentation.
After you download the app you choose your device (in this case TP-Link Smart Plug) and power it up.
Once plugged in the Smart Plug was supposed to turn solid amber, It Didn't and it took a few tries of unplugging it and turning it on to finally get the app to connect with the smart plug.
What this product and app does is create a temporary ad-hoc wifi network from the smart plug itself. Your mobile phone will then switch off from your local wifi and connect to the plugs own wifi network.
Next we join the plug to your home network, it will search for your home network or you can specify which wifi network to attach itself to.
I ran into problems here, 4 or 5 times in a row the app informed me there was a problem and it couldn't connect to the network, to try and enter my password again.
I used the same password again without editing and on about the 6th try it finally accepted it, I was starting to feel a little bit less confident in the product at this stage.
This bit was easy, choose an icon and an easy to use name. As I was going to be using my plug to control a fan I chose Smart Fan Control as my Device Name.
This cheery image told me it was great, I was now presented with a list of my devices on the Kasa App. There was a picture of the Smart Plug with the Name "Smart Fan Control" and a Green Icon to the right of that. At this point I already had the fan plugged into the Smart Plug and the fan was working (on as in fans spinning). I can summise that the green circle with the power icon meant that the power was on.
There was a small location icon with the wording "Local Only" written below the name, I can guess what might be meant by that but will never be certain, see Step 6 and 7.
I finally get to control my fan with my mobile phone over my wifi, or at least that is the plan.
I pressed the green button and was presented with spinning around the arch, after maybe 10 seconds I was unceremoniously told "Can't connect to the device. Please try again later". This happened each time I tried to control it, until eventually it was just greyed out with no description of why or explanation.
Oh-Oh, Now I install smart home systems for a living - I know what I'm doing, No, Really!
The plug was in close proximity to both my wifi and my phone. My Home network runs at 99.9999% uptime - lots of smart home hubs (Philips Hue, Alexa, Kodi, Unraid Server, Logitech Harmony Home) working perfectly in harmony, so it's not that.
Yet I spent around an extra 2-3 hours re-installing, deleting the device off the application and re-installing it, trying to access it over IP (Yes it had requested and received an IP address from the router) and I couldn't get it to work once. I don't run my wireless in 5Gz mode so it's not that either.
Don't get me wrong, with time I could get this thing to work in my home - I've got 15 years experience integrating more complex products, but why should I? It's supposed to be plug and play, if it's this much hard work at the start, it's only going to get worse.