Bill asked: “I got one of those D-Link routers that look like a spaceship. It’s got 3 channels. Just installed a Linksys range extender upstairs. How secure are these systems? Or what is the best, most secure system to automate things like turning lights on and off in a house?”
Bill, these systems are as strong as the encryption you’re using. Ideally you want to be using WPA 2 + AES encryption, and you’re better off having WPS or Wireless Protected Setup disabled, since WPS has been an attack vector used against WPA networks for a while.
There are still some security vulnerabilities when you use those settings, but they generally require that you’re already connected to the network, so they’re not a big threat to smaller networks or homes.
As far as secure IoT systems, well… we have bad news for you. HP did a study in 2014 that showed that 70% of IoT devices didn’t even bother with encrypted networks, that 60% used insecure web interfaces and did not use encryption when downloading updates.
Frankly, when it comes to lights, that’s not a huge concern, but IoT systems also include smart locks, smart garage door openers, and more. If security is a top concern for you, you may want to wait a little longer, this lack of proper security is a recognized issue that is being worked on. Your best bet may be to wait for an updated lineup of smart hubs that takes encryption more seriously than the current ones.