Best Mesh Router large square footage and Zigbee and Z-wave smart devices

Hi,

I am working on getting mesh routers as well as installing zigbee based smart cameras.

For the mesh router, I need about 13,000 sq ft of coverage, 4 story building, some thick concrete walls. I am thinking this means I need more than one set. I have two questions I was hoping for help on: (1) Is there a particular mesh router system that is cost effective and will work particularly well given the square footage situation and (2) should I be looking for mesh routers with zigbee given I am using zigbee smart devices, how does the router help these devices if I already have a smarthub?

Thank you!

You’ll need to be more specific. By “Mesh routers“ do you mean “Wi-Fi mesh routers“?

If so, they are irrelevant to zigbee performance except that the stronger the 2.4 ghz Wi-Fi gets, the more likely it is to interfere with zigbee. :disappointed_relieved:

But if it means you will be moving more devices to 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi, then that’s good for your zigbee.

The only Wi-Fi mesh router that might participate in a SmartThings network are the specific models which are designed to do so: the now discontinued “smartthings connect home“ and the current “Samsung SmartThings WiFi with Plume.”

See the community FAQ (this is a clickable link)

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those are the best Wi-Fi mesh routers, many community members do prefer others.

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Thank you. I will just focus on the router with the best connectivity then. Could anyone make recommendations for the wireless best routers or wireless mesh networks for large houses? I am looking for one network to cover the whole space, I am okay having to plug in a bunch of devices, but do not want to run any new Ethernet cabling.

I recently set up an Orbi mesh system and an quite happy with it. It comes up as (or among) the top current WiFi mesh system in most recent reviews. Good, strong signal everywhere. The 3-unit pack I got is overkill for my 3000 sq ft house, but I got it on a sale at about the same price as the 2-unit setup so why not.

It has one SSID for both your 5GHz and 2.4GHz networks, and a dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel between the units. In all the speed tests I’ve run it’s screaming fast.

There is no Zigbee or ZWave on this, and so far my fledgling Zigbee network isn’t clashing with the WiFI.

Check out https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ they test and rate LOTS of different gear.

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I went to an eero mesh Wi-Fi system when we moved into new, 3000 square ft single story home last summer. Had to go to 4 units because the house is long and I have Nest outdoor cams on the outside of some stucco walls (metal mesh base layer)

Like the Orbi @Chris_Laudermilk described, the devices use the same SSID for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Backhaul either via dedicated wireless or Ethernet if available.

The eero ones are probably the most expensive.

You’re doing a huge space and could end up needing a mesh of a dozen devices. Get and read the manuals for your top couple of choices to be sure you can interconnect that many devices.

As mentioned, none of the Wi-Fi mesh systems do anything to extend Z-wave or Zigbee meshes. The latest Samsung mesh devices contain a Zigbee and Z-wave node but they are functionally separate from each other and from the Wi-Fi.

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Try to run some Ethernet cable at least between floors.

Most mesh routers (including SmartThings) will use the wired port as backhaul if plugged it. Best way to reduce Wi-Fi clutter and increase reliability and speed.

Unfortunately there aren’t any consumer products available that route ZigBee & Z-Wave over the wire. If necessary, you can install multiple SmartThings Hubs (under one SmartTiles Account) - but they do not work seamlessly together.

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I am using Nokia Mesh WiFi devices that I purchased at the beginning of the year for a 3,200 sqft home the has 3 floors. Like one of the other posters, I purchased 3 units because I got a deal where 3 was the same cost as 2. I have each of mine wired, but quite frankly, this was more difficult than connecting them together wirelessly. There is a nice app to turn these up, connect them and manage them. these are not the cheapest devices, but after using them for more than 6 months now, I can say that I am very happy with them. They offer stable wifi service on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. I have several Ring devices, which seem to be pretty finicky on wifi strength, in fact this is what drove me to a wifi mesh network, and with the 3 Nokia WiFi beacons that I have they get sufficient signal to the edges of my house where the ring devices are located.

As others indicated, I have not seen any devices that offer wifi along with the Z-wave and zigbee, but I have been trying to use the Z-wave Plus devices where ever possible and when I need greater signal strength I just use a Z-wave plug in device in a location between the SmartThings Hub and the device to expand the range.

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I have had a good experience with ORBI

One thing to be aware of is that many home automation devices work only on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band, not 5.0. That means that your phone or tablet will have to be on 2.4 when you go to set up the device for the first time.

Some of the Wi-Fi mesh routers will not let you select between the two bands, they just decide which ever one is best for you. So that means they keep putting your phone on 5.0 which can make installation of those home automation devices in possible.

So that’s just something to be aware of. It’s not an ongoing issue, it only affects you at the time of installation, but it can be annoying.

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I went with Unifi APs about a year ago and have been VERY pleased. Very easy to setup and tune via central controller. For SmartThings, I use several smart plugs that repeat effectively back to a single base with about 40 devices.

So far I haven’t run into that–the few devices I have on WiFi wanted me to hook up to their own SSID during setup. But if that does become an issue, at least on the Orbi, you can turn off the 5GHz radio if I recall correctly. I’ll bet most all of the mesh routers can do that.

Yes, they want you to initially hook to their own, but your phone has to be on the 2.4 band to complete the setup once the device has joined your network. Pretty sure that’s true for ring and Arlo, for example.

i like asus router they are power full routers

Most Ruckus (Arris) WiFi Access Points are IoT-ready with Zigbee and low-energy Bluetooth, besides WiFi. But this is more of an enterprise-level configurable solution. Not sure if they can be programmed to “talk” to Smartthings, though.
If possible go the hardwired way (multiple wireless APs wired to a dedicated wired router) this keeps latency/ping times low as opposed to an all wireless mesh solution but depends if your house has ethernet wiring available.

I had that issue with some Wi-Fi pocket sockets and my eero mesh. At the time I had a tablet that didn’t support 5Ghz so used it for the setup.

I did not have a problem setting up Harmony Ultimate remote but don’t recall details.

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Eero mesh has no provision for this. Both bands use the same SSID with no ability to control individual bands. You’d need to be able to control the radio on the phone or other device

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I had a chance to check the admin pages and it seems I mis-remembered or was thinking of SSID broadcast. Orbi does not appear to allow shutting off specific radios either.

I also have the Harmony Hub set up. I don’t think it cares on the 5GHz vs 2.4GHz. I set up the Orbi just before I did the ST hub, so connecting the two was through the Orbi.

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Curious if most people put their iot devices on the guest Network for security purposes?

I’ve had challenges with echo and harmony on the guest Network rather than the main network with my orbi setup. My Bryant thermostat is also a pain to connect.

My ioT is on a whole separate network from everything else. :sunglasses: