Email alerts, and push notifications to the Domotz mobile app, can be sent when a device fails to respond to a heartbeat, when a device is considered down, and when a device comes back up. Devices are considered down if they fail to respond to four heartbeats.
You can configure a standard alert profile where you select whether to be alerted on lost heartbeats, device down, and device up, and whether to be sent emails and/or push notifications. The standard alert profile can be applied to multiple devices, or you can create a custom alert profile for each device.
Mobile Push AlertThe Domotz apps allow you to set alerts on none to all of your devices as you choose. Further, Domotz sends alerts from the cloud, so it is not dependent on the local network. I found it useful to enable Domotz alerting via push notifications and email simultaneously. Getting a push notification to my handheld is useful for immediate notification, and having the notifications in my email inbox helps with keeping an event log.
The Domotz app has several network tools to provide a better picture of your network. It has a tool called Route Analysis, which is essentially a ping tool that sends 10, 20, or 50 pings to Spotify, Facebook, Google, or a website of your choosing. The results of this test give you an indication of whether there is any packet loss to your router, to your ISP, and to the target website. Below is a screenshot of the Route Analysis tool where I sent 20 pings to Google.
Network Diagnostic Ping
Another useful Domotz diagnostic tool is the speed test tool. The Domotz speed test tool uses perfSonar software and automatically detects the nearest perfSonar server to run the test. This tool allows you to trigger a wired speed test on your home network. This is a great tool if you're experiencing poor Internet speed and want to measure the performance of your ISP.
Below is a screenshot of a speed test I ran on my network showing I have about 57 Mbps download and 5.8 Mbps upload. The results of this speed test are pretty close to the results I get from speedtest.net, a commonly used website for speedtests.
Network Diagnostic Speedtest
The Domotz agent is also monitoring your Internet connection. To monitor your Internet connection, there is a "keep alive" signal sent between the agent and the Domotz cloud. If the keep alive to the Domotz cloud is lost, the Internet connection is considered down. My Internet connection actually went down during my testing period, and Domotz captured that outage (from 12:03 AM 2/18/16 to 2:20 AM 2/18/16) shown below.
A downside to the Internet connection monitoring feature is Domotz doesn't have an alert for Internet down, which would be useful. Domotz reports they are working on adding this alert.
Via the the Domotz apps, you can also remotely connect to devices on your network. Web Portal and Remote Desktop access is available today, with Console access labeled as a feature "Coming Soon."
I was able to remotely connect to my ReadyNAS admin screen by selecting the Web Portal option, specifying port 443 and https as the connection parameters, shown below. Clicking Open Connection resulted in getting prompted for my credentials, and I was logged into my NAS' admin menu. I had varying results with remote web interface access, as I was also able to connect to the web interfaces of a Cisco SG200 switch, but had trouble connecting to a Netgear GS108T switch, Linksys RV042 router, and QNAP NAS.
Remote Web Access
At the same time I had my ReadyNAS admin screen up, I was also able to also use the Domotz Remote Desktop tool to connect to a Windows 7 PC on my network. As my Windows PC connection came up, a message appeared saying "Connecting to Guacamole". Intrigued, I looked it up. Guacamole is a clientless remote desktop gateway, which supports VNC (Virtual Network Computing) and RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol.)
It's great Domotz was able to integrate remote connection software into their app. The end result is the Domotz app basically provides VPN access to your network, without the hassle of setting up a VPN router or VPN client software.
Another interesting Domotz remote access feature is integration with smart IP devices, which allows the Domotz app to be a controller for home automation devices. Domotz lists support for Belkin Wemo, Digital Logger, Time2, WISPP, and Orvibo IP power switches, and they are working to add support for more smart IP devices. With right IP device in your home, you can turn off lights and other devices via the Domotz apps from anywhere. We'll post an update to this review when we've had a chance to test one of these devices with the Domotz app.
The Domotz app allows you to grant temporary guest access your network. However, that guest first needs to set up a free account on Domotz.com, which involves entering an email address and password. Once the guest has created an account on Domotz.com, you can extend them an invite via the web or mobile app by entering their email address into the Collaboration menu, shown below.
The guest then logs into the Domotz web app and accepts the invitation. They now have access to your Domotz dashboard, device list, network diagnostics, and alerts menus, the same as you do. To remove their access, you click on the guest's email from your web or handheld app and delete them. In my test, I had the guest account logged into my network and I deleted the guest email. My guest access was immediately terminated.
We have reviewed several other small network monitoring systems, including Cisco's OnPlus and Belkin's Pulse. There is also a free network discovery tool called Fing with an associated monitoring product (not free) called Fingbox. All of these products, including Domotz, aim to provide a picture of your network and assist with monitoring, alerting, and troubleshooting.
When I reviewed OnPlus, it was about $7/month per customer site. Belkin's Pulse product, which was developed and eventually sold directly by a company named Jumpnode, ranged from a free product with limited functionality, to monthly service charges ranging from $49 per month to $199 per month based on the number of devices being monitored. Fingbox is about $6.50/month for the Home version to $14.00/month for the Pro version.
Domotz DIY is only $2.99/month for one agent and an unlimited number of devices. You can monitor up to four locations with Domotz DIY, but each location requires its own agent. The free trial period is 90 days, and didn't require a commitment or entering a credit card!
I like Domotz' provides the option of running its discovery and monitoring agent on a NAS or inexpensive Raspberry PI. Other neat Domotz features include remote device access and giving a third party temporary access to your network and integration with home automation devices.
But do many consumers really need what Domotz offers? Sure, it's nice to know when network device drops offline. But for most of us, spouses, kids and roommates take care of that. Domotz' ability to provide an inventory of all networked devices can be handy, too. But the aforementioned Fing does that nicely and other free tools (nmap) are readily available. The same is true of Domotz' internet connection monitoring and diagnosis tools; there are plenty of other options available (nmap, ping, tracert, etc.).
The two most useful features Domotz' provides, consolidated remote device administration access and the ability to grant access to Domotz' toolset to a third party, are more suited for network techs and service providers than average folks.
What would be more likely to get us to part with $3 a month would be features like knowing when something was connected that shouldn't be or whether any device was doing something suspcious. And how about traffic logging and reporting and bandwidth monitoring and alerts (both general and individual device)?
More in its current wheelhouse, I'd like to see Domotz add the ability to organize network devices by dependencies and display them in a topology diagram, like OnPlus could do. Integrating Wake On LAN, which Fing does, is also a useful feature. And finally, I'd really love to see a monitoring product that can not only monitor my Internet connectivity, but notify my ISP when my Internet connection is down, and send me a text alert. (There's no joy sitting on hold with your ISP waiting to report your Internet connection is down.)
Overall, I found Domotz to be a functional network monitoring tool with plenty of opportunity to grow. But I think it would be better served concentrating on selling to small network VARs and installers. Most consumers simply won't find sufficient value in Domotz, not even for $3 a month!