Bulbs as network extenders. Are they repeaters or just receivers?

Are bulbs like GE Link, Cree Connect and Hue Lux, Zegbee extenders (repeaters) or are they just receivers?

Receivers. Unfortunately. I believe the hue bulbs are ZLL repeaters for other bulbs, but not sure about the hue lux ones. They don’t repeat all zigbee signals though.

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This is discussed in the repeater FAQ. it depends on the manufacturer. Most of the ZLL bulbs only repeat for the ZLL devices in their own mini network. This includes Hues.

A few which use the ZHA standard instead, including (Osram Lightify in particular), will repeat for other ZHA devices.

I didn’t know this either until @savij mentioned it in the FAQ topic:

*ZLL = Zigbee Light Link
ZHA = Zigbee Home Automation

Most zigbee home automation devices, including SmartThings hub, use the ZHA profile. The exception is zigbee smart bulbs, most of which use ZLL, but they don’t have to.

The two profiles are compatible but not identical.

GE links have been confirmed by the manufacturer not to repeat. However they could have. Go figure.

Thanks for the info!

It has to do with the fact that ZLL doesn’t require a controller (hub), while ZHA does. There was concern that ZLL devices might repeat for the wrong networks, like from two adjacent apartments.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with zigbee 3.0, when all the profiles get merged.

Oh, and we should also mention that zwave smart bulbs like Linear and Domitech do act as zwave repeaters. That can be useful when you want a zwave repeater high up.

I’m pretty convinced that my GE Links are working as repeaters now. I turned a few of them off at the switch last night and I could no longer turn off the Cree bulbs in my kitchen. As soon as I turned the GE bulbs back on, I regained control of the Crees. I can’t think of any other explanation for this.

This also seems to explain why my Cree lights in my hallway became less reliable after I switched two bulbs in my entryway from GE to Cree.

Are your bulbs hooked up directly to St or through a hue hub?

Zll modes allow for bulb repeating but not all ZigBee device repeating so it us possible. But unless ST pushed firmware to the bulbs this couldn’t have been enabled. However hue could have.

They are connected directly to ST; I don’t even own any Hue products yet.

The ones I turned off last night are outdoor floodlights that I bought just 2-3 months ago. Maybe GE updated the firmware on some of the bulbs at some point.

I’m a new user here and can’t seem to find a good answer on this. Can anyone confirm if the Cree (BA19-08027OMF-12CE26-1U100) does function as a Zigbe repeater? I’ve just installed two of them in my ST system.


Do you still have the package?

If it says ZHA, it should act as a repeater for other kinds of zigbee devices. If it says ZLL, it may only repeat for other ZLL bulbs.

This varies by manufacturer and I haven’t seen a definitive answer on Cree yet.

No, packaging is gone. There were more on the shelf, I’ll stop by and check!



short answer: when paired directly to the ST hub, a Zigbee bulb will adopt the ZHA profile and will show on a Zigbee network map as a repeater as long as the bulb is on power. However, multiple community members have reported that these bulbs are inconsistent when acting as repeaters, and messages for devices of other device classes may be dropped or lost. So they may be able to help strengthen your network, but you should not rely on a bulb as the only ZHA repeater in a zone.

Using lighting as repeaters in instrumental in my just-being-designed ST network; especially with mixes of battery & wired, Zig ZHA & VLL(which is clear thanks to good community info) & zwave and zwave+.

Would really appreciate it if someone could confirm that they (the ZHA bulbs) only repeat when ON. This doesn’t make sense to me when they are listening all the time for an incoming “event”. I guess a firmware guy could make a special effort to turn off the redistribution (power?) but it seems losing a great benefit.

ZHA bulbs only repeat when they are on power, but just like any other switch, the status in smartthings might be “off” and the bulb might be dark but it could still be on power. After all, that’s how the radio works.

As long as the bulb can hear the next “on” network command, it can also repeat. Just like an in wall outlet or a wall switch.

Or to put it another way, “off” status in the SmartThings mobile app is not the same thing as offline. Online and off status can still repeat. Offline cannot.

Again, though, just because the bulb can repeat doesn’t mean that it will. Multiple community members have reported that even though the bulb shows as being a repeater on a third party zigbee network map, sometimes messages are missed. Not sure why, this does not happen when ZLL bulbs are repeating for each other.

In any case, having the ZHA bulbs on power should help strengthen Your zigbee mesh, but you should not rely on the bulb as the only ZHA repeater in the zone.