Exclusive: Ecotech Marine ReefLink

by | May 9, 2013 | Equipment, Industry, Technology | 0 comments


OK, here is what we know.  EcoTech, one of our favorite equipment manufacturers, is working on a new product line named ReefLink which includes a controller for managing their products via the proprietary wireless RF signal.  Since it has been 18 months since the Radion was released, and there is still no support for programming these lights via the Neptune WXM interface for the Apex controllers, we can assume that either there is a technical challenge or Neptune is simply waiting for Ecotech to release their new unified controller.  Both companies have gone on the record saying that programming the WXM to manage a Radion is a fairly easy thing to do, so if that is the case, why hasn’t it been done yet?  Neptune recently announced their “Apex Ready” certification, and we might be guessing here but Ecotech does not want to get into the business of building probe and outlet control systems.  So we expect this new product to manage their lights and pumps, and can itself be managed by an Apex or hopefully both an Apex and the competing RKE.  Also, as we’ve said here before, the Ecotech Ecosmart Live is half a solution, requiring users to have a computer hooked up at all times if you want to manage the system remotely.  We have yet to hear of anyone actually doing this.  One major advantage that Ecotech has is that they have already built a web service allowing remote computers to automatically connect to their network for programming, but this is an app that runs on a PC.  A great idea, in our opinion, would be for the new ReefLink to support automatic connections to their server.  Why is this important?  If you have a controller and manage it remotely, you probably had to set up a feature called NAT/PAT on your home router.  In fact, some users are unable to use any remote controller system because they are in a corporate or secure environment and cannot configure NAT/PAT as they do not have access to their router.  The solution to this problem is for a controller to initiate the connection outbound to a server so that outbound NAT is automatically setup by the router or firewall.  We have our fingers crossed that Ecotech knows that this is a really cool feature to have and eliminates the need to have people mess around with their home network.  An even bigger win would be for advanced users to be able to configure a different destination to connect to, allowing 3rd party monitors and management systems (proprietary interfaces are bad for everyone in the long run).  Oh and one other tidbit, Ecotech also holds a trademark for GrowLink which is described as a controller designed to manage a horticulture system, so we can probably expect to see either a new version of the Radions or an increasing emphasis on using them for all types of funky plants.  If you like where this story is going as much as us, keep an eye on reeflink.net (owned by Ecotech) and stay tuned for MACNA this year when we expect a bunch of product announcements.  Post your ideas on what this thing will do in our comments!

  • Josh Saul

    Josh Saul is a technology consultant for large global banks. He has been involved in the aquarium hobby for 20 years and has been SCUBA diving for more than 30.


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