D-Link IOT cloud evaporates

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I was astonished to hear from D-Link that it has shut down its cloud that makes its smart plugs work.  Pictured at right is one of the three DSP-W110 smart plugs that I purchased from D-Link in 2016.  I still own the plugs and one of the plugs still has a device plugged into it — a table lamp.

But as of today, I cannot turn the lamp on or off using the app on my smart phone.  As of today, the D-Link smart plugs don’t do anything any more. 

This offers a reminder of what it means to purcase an internet-of-things (IOT) device that depends on a cloud.  I still own the D-Link physical devices, and the physical devices have not physically failed, but for all practical purposes the physical devices have become bricks.  (Even now I can tap the on-off button on the smart plug, and the lamp turns on and off, but that is the limit of what the smart plug can do now.)

The march toward “brick” status for these devices had its first step in May of 2020 when D-Link quietly turned off the connection between its cloud and IFTTT (If This Then That).  I had not been making use of IFTTT with these smart plugs, so that change did not affect me directly.

Now in December of 2022, about six years after I had put these D-Link smart plugs into service, D-Link has turned off its cloud completely.

To its credit, I do see that D-Link made at least half-hearted efforts to let me know it was shutting down its cloud.  As I look back through old email messages, I see that D-Link emailed me on February 15, 2022 to say that it was shutting down its cloud.  At the time, I skipped over the message, which had the unhelpful subject line “End of Service Announcement”.  D-Link sent a second email on December 15, 2022 with a more meaningful subject line “Reminder: mydlink Home and mydlink Baby Camera Monitor End-of-Service this month”.  D-Link’s third and final email “End-of-Service for mydlink Home and mydlink Baby Camera Monitor” arrived yesterday.  D-Link said this:

As explained in the previous communication, while we try to maintain support and related services after our products are sold for as long as possible, technologies evolve and security requirements change, so we had to make this difficult decision.

As I click around on my smart phone, I see a dozen IOT cloud apps from various corporations.  Some of the corporations are small and some of them are corporations that I never heard of until I purchased their IOT device and downloaded the associated smart phone app, and placed the device into service.  I guess all of us have sort of vaguely known all along that any IOT device that we purchase might turn into a brick at any time if the maker goes out of business (meaning that its cloud evaporates).

But D-Link is a company that has been around for many years and is a recognized high-tech brand name.  I would not have expected to see D-Link turning a customer’s IOT devices into bricks.

Maybe D-Link is on the ropes.  The most recent press release on D-Link’s corporate web site is dated October 21, 2021.  That’s a pretty long time ago.

I am astonished to see that as of right now, Amazon still sells these DSP-W110 smart plugs (link).  The Amazon listing still says “Home Control From Anywhere with mydlink App”.

At this point I am glad that the IOT devices that I use for important home automation tasks are able to work without needing to connect to any cloud.  Most of my home automation tasks are carried out by Xytronics devices (see blog article Monitoring a sump pit) that talk to each other locally and do not need any cloud to do their jobs.

Have you had some IOT device become a brick because its cloud evaporated?  Please post a comment below.

5 Replies to “D-Link IOT cloud evaporates”

  1. Not being all that familiar with the technology (and thus blissfully ignorant of the complexities), it seems that they should have been able to provide enough of the control codes to allow someone to program a local network to operate the plugs once they knew they couldn’t continue to support them.

    1. Yes, some IOT devices are like what you describe. Some of them, for example, have a built-in web page that a user could use to control the device.

      I think in this particular case the D-Link company found that the SOC (system on a chip) inside the smart plug, being the processor and wifi interface, was so woefully underpowered and limited in memory that they could not upgrade the firmware to be decent. I think for example their connection from the smart plug to the cloud did not use SSL (was in plain text) and the code required to give it some decent encryption could not fit into the very limited memory and overtaxed the crummy processor.

  2. I have a D-Link surveillance camera and have been using it for years. I was seeing those end-of-support notices, but for D-Link Home. It turns out that the app I use, D-Link Lite, is still supported, at least for now. On my home computer, I use iSpy to show the image from this camera and another generic wi-fi camera, so I assume that I will still be able to use the D-Link camera that way indefinitely. When I am away from home, I should still be able to use the Lite program, until D-Link turns that off.
    Given that my two cameras work on WiFi, and I can see them using third party app, that may connect this thread to your recent thread on VPNs. Maybe I can figure out how to tap into both of those cameras remotely.

  3. Just another thing to add to the Internet of Sh*t… which is why I find “cloud-based”, i.e. cloud-dependent, technology highly suspect and I try to avoid. Sad thing is that it is not just cloud-based tech. GPS based devices also depend on interfacing with the server of the company that markets the device. When the company goes belly up, well, the GPS devices are as good as sh*t too.

    I had GPS Paby pet collars that were perfect for cats. The devices were small enough for cats, had bright flashing lights and an alarm/sound that could be turned on (without having to be within a certain distance)… perfect for locating a scared cat who is hiding. When the company went bust, so did the collars. Real pity because the Whistle devices are woefully lacking and not as good as those Paby devices. Anyway…

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