Equipping a retirement home: can we have 100 hubs on one WiFi network?

Ok, I’m new to this communIty so be patient. I have a retirement community and want to add a smart hub in each residents apartment along with an Alexa dot. The entire community is meshed with a single WiFi with a master Alexa at the office. Question: is this even possible to have 100 smart hubs on a single WiFi with each smart hub managing various SmartThings?

  • Only Hub V3 (2018) can connect to the LAN and then internet / router via WiFi instead of cabled ethernet.
  • I’m not sure what quality of mesh WiFi you have, but consumer grade may not handle 100+ concurrent WiFi devices on it … but perhaps you already know the quality of your WiFi in general.
  • So … yes… You could, in theory, have many, even 100+, SmartThings Hubs on the same LAN / WiFi mesh. Depending on the ZigBee channel(s) and the spacing between the Hubs, you may experience performance issues due to the amount of 2.4ghz radio waves from all that stuff.
  • Fewer Hubs are an option with different complexities; but since the type of environment you’re trying to build is the first of its kind, you probably ought to build up slowly so that you can recognize at what stage problems occur and try to be flexible to solve them.

You should be prepared to spend a decent amount of time troubleshooting issues that will inevitably pop up with 100 hubs, 100 zigbee and z-wave mesh networks and (at least) 100 users with their android and iOS mobile apps.

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If simple voice control of lights is what you’re after, you may find it much simpler to just use Amazon Echo Plus devices, which have a built-in Zigbee radio. Therefore, no additional hub is required.

And since you mention that it is a retirement community, I’ll just leave this bit of fun here for you to enjoy! :wink:


Thanks for all of the replies. I’m interested in detecting motion between certain hours. Even though each unit has pull alarms, if a resident falls I want to be able to detect that there has not been my on for a while and use my Alexa device from the main office to intercom into their unit to make sure everything’s fine. So I need an Alexa or Google device everywhere that can communicate with the main office and a smart motion sensor that will text the office when no motion is detected. I have Central WiFi for all units. Once this is done, I plan to make each unit even smarter to assist the residents. This is just a baby step.

A single motion sensor might not be enough to avoid intruding when unnecessary. I would consider a combination of conditions that can reset a timer. For example, no lights being turned on or off, no motion, no doors opening/closing or whatever other thing may change with presence of a person in the unit. This way you reduce the chances of getting a false alarm if the elderly person doesn’t move for a while.

I am not sure whether this can be integrated with ST but this panic button may also be useful:

You could have it alert you, unlock the door, and turn on the lights when pressed. This may make it easier for anybody hearing cries for help to get into the unit to provide help.

I assume the units have at least 2 rooms, so 2 Echo dots might be better. This way you can reach the person in the main living area and in the bathroom (likely spot for accidents). This would also allow you to set Alexa up with the notion of Rooms which will allow the elderly person to just say “turn on the light” and Alexa will know what light is applicable.

I wonder whether there is a skill that responds to “Alexa Help!”…

Just a few ideas I wanted to share. Anything to keep our elderly safe! My grandmother in the UK broke her leg in her unit and later passed as she never recovered from it.

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I myself am quadriparetic, so I tend to follow these kinds of issues pretty closely. If it’s OK, I’d like to unpack your question into several different categories. And then we can talk more about each of those if you like.

I’m pretty tired today, so I’m going to just give you a quick answer any category, but there’s a lot more we can talk about when it comes to longer answers

I myself am quadriparetic, so I tend to follow these kinds of issues pretty closely. If it’s OK, I’d like to unpack your question into several different categories. And then we can talk more about each of those if you like.

I’m pretty tired today, so I’m going to just give you a quick answer to any category, but there’s a lot more we can talk about it when it comes to longer answers.

  1. Assuming You have commercial grade Wi-Fi which can handle hundreds of multiple streams at once, can you put 100 smartthings hubs on that network?

Short answer: The V2 hub, which is what most people In this community have, Doesn’t have a Wi-Fi radio at all – – it gets directly connected to ethernet. So you would need to put a Wi-Fi access point in each apartment with an ethernet port and then connect the individual hub to that. Technically, that part should be doable.

The newest model hub, the V3, does have Wi-Fi, but I have no idea what would happen if you tried to have that many on the same network.

  1. Would this kind of configuration make sense for safety monitoring for a retirement community? :face_with_head_bandage:

Short answer: no. The standard smartthings hubs are not reliable enough. The company themselves says so. Here is the official product usage guidelines:

Fortunately, last year smartthings introduced a new model hub which uses different technology and has much more reliability. That is the ADT/Smartthings security panel. If you follow any of the links to “security“ on the SmartThings site, they now take you to this model line. I know it costs more, but for the type of project you are discussing, it’s definitely worth it.

  1. Could you just use an echo instead? Short answer: Probably not. While I like the original idea, The echo did not support sensors until literally today. But while you can now ask if a window is open and the echo can answer, the echo just doesn’t have logic which is complex enough to meet the use case you described.

So if all you wanted was lights and locks And an intercom system, I would definitely look at the echo as an option. But once you add sensor requirements, I just don’t think the system is there yet.

  1. what have other community members done for monitoring elder safety or similar projects?

There have been quite a few project reports on this. :sunglasses: Check the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, look down to the bottom of the page for the project report section, and look at the list “accessibility.“


  1. Are there other people using SmartThings for multi unit setup’s?

Short answer: there are a few. In particular, there’s one community member who had an apartment complex with a couple of hundred units. But he ended up creating his own software for monitoring and management. Anyway, you can find his project report and some others on the quick browse list for “second homes” which is also the list that has the landlord reports.

Anyway, that ought to give you a few things to look at.


There are several, although now most people either use the official calling feature , The official Intercom feature, or an echo routine (not a smartthings routine) as the routine can be made to trigger multiple smart home devices at once. :sunglasses: