BTW, if you use the phone number, you run the risk of duplicates.
That’s not an RBoy requirement (well… not technically): He’s just providing software which does not affect the Z-Wave or ZigBee network performance in anyway.
He’s just trying to ensure you have the best possible reliability. Fewer hops is actually more reliable, if, indeed, you are within 10 feet and have minimal interference (i.e., keep your SmartThings hub a few feet away from your WiFi router).
That’s what I was thinking. They were telling me that I needed 6 repeaters for 6 Schlage locks, even though they were all within a few feet of each other and all within 10 feet of the ST Hub.
The ST Hub is connected to the router via Cat 5 and is a foot away.
So there’s no requirement or need for additional repeaters in this scenario?
Thanks so much,
I asked about my situation and the response was that I’d need to install 3 versions of the software, 1 for each Air BnB listing. I’m not sure exactly how to install the same software multiple times and even how that would work. They also said that a single lock couldn’t be part of more than one listing.
It seemed like more work than just updating codes manually.
Good point about the pin, but with three apartments and all being temporary codes, it’s unlikely that two guests at the same time would have the same four last digits of their phone number, and also try to use them on a different apartment.
That being said, it could generate a random 4 digit code if it wasn’t any more difficult.
“Definitely” not required.
The great thing about “repeaters”, though, is you can easily add them if you ever start to encounter problems with connectivity.
This I would like to see. 6 doors all within 10 ft of a central point without obstruction…
Big : hive
I believe what @maddie was communicating to you was that for reliable ST performance you should have repeaters close to your locks to create a strong mesh. You can choose not to have any repeaters. Most folks who use our software find that having repeaters make programming more reliable especially if you have a large number of locks.
However if you’re sure that your locks won’t have any issue with the mesh go ahead and use them without repeaters. We are just sharing best practices to make your experience with ST hassle free.
As @tgauchat pointed out, our software has nothing to with the mesh. The apps run on the ST platform.
If things are working great for you with any repeaters, excellent! However if you start seeing programming issues you can always add a repeater or two. I don’t think you need 6 repeaters (z wave has a limit of 4 hops anyways).
It’s actually 5 locks all clustered very close together. One lock is about 20 feet from the hub but the only obstruction is a wooden door.
Main Front door enters to two apartment doors - That’s three
Just below those doors are two more doors - That’s five
Thanks very much
Thanks very much.
I tried to explain the setup and couldn’t understand how a repeater would be helpful if the hub is so close to the locks in the first place. Just seemed like an extra hop and more latency.
I also couldn’t understand installing the app multiple times, one for each listing. As I’m a complete newbie to ST, I couldn’t get my head around how multiple apps would work. Are there multiple icons on my iOS device?
I think Maddie mentioned that you are working on integrating multiple iCal calendars (listings) to a single instance. With that, would you be able to then have the locks be accessible across listings? For example, if there is a shared access door for two apartments, then each listing could write the code to that lock.
I understand and this question accounts for about 99% of our support requests. A repeater adds a level of redundancy in the mesh which makes the mesh stronger and more resilient to issues (lost commands etc). Normally if you’re just using a single lock with a simple lock unlock command it works just fine. However when you start programming multiple locks simultaneously that puts a fair amount of load on the mesh and experience has shown that commands gets dropped or lost. You’re not the first person to ask this question, we can only show anecdotal evidence of what works best. Here is an example:
In general adding a few (upto 4) repeaters makes the mesh stronger and more redundant (more nodes pick up the broadcasts so if one node fails or there is a timing issue or collision the other node transmits the information) but the downside is that you could introduce some latency. In the case of programming locks, resiliency is preferred to latency i.e. ensuring the commands reach the locks and responses from the locks are reported back to the hub
Again each setup is different. You appear to be very savvy about your setup. You can always experiment with what setup works best for you.
The quality of the mesh is beyond the scope of the app, the apps sure programming engine has built in some detection for dealing with lost commands and does retry programming if it detects a collision or a lost command.
As for installing the app multiple times. We’ve got detailed step by instructions to install the code and the app on our website here:
If you need to install the app more than once just follow steps 8 through 10 for each additional app install. What this does is you’ll see a separate icon and listing for each time you “install” the app on your ST mobile phone. Since the current version of the app can only handle a single iCalendar URL, you will need to install the app once for each property with its own iCalendar. You can give each app install a unique name. Say “RLA Property X” so you can identify by name which app instance is handling which property and correspondingly which lock(s) (while a single app instance can program multiple locks, locks should not be shared between app instances)
Regarding the multi unit feature, yes that’s in the pipeline for the next release where you can have multiple property calendars in a single app install and even share locks between properties.
Hope this helps.
This helps a lot and good to learn something new.
Another question for you and forgive me if this isn’t the right forum and I should be doing this through email directly with you, if I get the commercial version of your app, will it be a free upgrade to the next version?
You can refer to our website for the latest offers and details. Feel free to email us for any question about the offers or licenses. The current commercial lifetime license will include updates to the next version.
There seems to be some confusion between “hops” and “repeaters” for a Z wave network, so let me see if I can clear up a couple of things.
A Hop is one leg of a message route
A “hop” refers to an individual transmission path segment of a message between two devices. this will normally be a message coming to or from the hub. Along the way, Z wave works as a kind of pony express relay system, where one device will carry the message as far as it can and then pass it along to another who will carry it as far as it can, and then eventually it will get to the destination.
Z wave has a hard limitation of four hops maximum Per message. That means if an end device is more than four hops from the hub, it becomes unavailable and messages can’t get through.
Typically each zwave device will have a transmission range of around 40 feet inside a typical US home, with Z wave plus going up to about 75 feet. But there are a lot of things that can reduce the distance the signal can successfully travel, such as brick, Adobe, cement, foil backed insulation or chicken wire lathing inside the wall, mirrors, fish tanks, Big metal objects like appliances or cars, water pipes, etc. Exterior walls are almost always more difficult to get signal through than interior walls. And metal doors can be extremely difficult to get signal through. Clear glass is usually OK, tinted glass can be a problem.
Sometimes two devices can be just 6 feet apart but not able to communicate because there is an 8 inch brick wall in between them.
Which Devices can repeat?
Most mains powered Z wave devices can repeat for other zwave devices on your network. The exception is usually smoke alarms: you don’t want a smoke sensor to wait to give an alarm because it’s busy passing along a message for some light switch somewhere.
Most battery powered Z wave devices do not repeat because it would use up too much battery life.
But there’s a catch…
That said, you want the repeater which is physically closest to a zwave lock to support “beaming.” This is an optional feature, so not all devices will do it.
Lock manufacturers have to meet two conflicting consumer demands. First, people don’t want to change the batteries In a lock more than once a year. Second, they want the lock to almost instantly respond when someone enters the code or runs an automation. (Basically, no one wants to be standing outside in the rain while they wait for the lock.)
OK, the normal way to extend battery life on a Z wave device is to make the device “sleepy,” that is, it is inactive most of the time and just wakes up periodically to see if anything is going on. But that doesn’t work for locks, because it would make the wait time Longer than people will tolerate.
So zwave came up with “beaming” which is A way to have a repeater which is close to the lock hold its messages and re-transmit them the instant that the lock wakes up. That’s very different than the pony express paradigm. Instead of just trying to get the message from one place to another as quickly as you can by passing it from rider to rider, when the message gets to the last stop before its destination, it is held there, and is soon as that station realizes the lock is awake, they tell them that they have a message waiting. And again, this was optional when it was introduced.
So for Locks, you want to always make sure that the repeater closest to the lock, ideally within 10 or 15 feet of it, supports beaming.
And to be honest it’s usually better If This repeater is not the hub, because the hub is always busy. Some random light switch sitting nearby may be better able to get messages to and from the lock very quickly because to be honest it doesn’t have that much else to do.
You can check the conformance statement on the official Z wave alliance product site to see if any specific model device supports beaming.
How many repeaters do you need?
First off, there’s no problem with having extra repeaters in a room. In fact it’s a good idea because it allows for alternate path if one repeater’s busy. Z wave is smart enough to figure out that if there are four repeaters in a room it shouldn’t use up all the hops on those four. It will always try to get the maximum distance out of each hop if it can. The algorithms for doing this Are really complicated, but you don’t have to worry about them. Just know that if you have two light switches and an in wall receptacle in one room, you’re not going to use up all your hops just because there is a choice of repeaters nearby. That’s basically the same as keeping multiple riders at one pony express station. It increases the options when messages come through but it doesn’t mean that the rider on a horse at station A is going to try to give the message to another horse right next to them. It just doesn’t work that way.
Best practices depends on the number of devices you have that need to use repeaters. If you have a room with 12 sensors in it I’d go ahead and put multiple repeaters there just to make sure they’re all not waiting in line for the same repeater to get the message out.
Just remember that for locks, the repeater which is closest to a lock will be designated to hold its messages when it is asleep. This is probably where somebody got the idea that you should have one repeater for each lock. It’s not really required, but it’s not going to hurt anything, and it may help keep messages from getting delayed-- but only if the repeaters support beaming.
If I understand what you’re describing, everybody walks in through the same main entrance and then they immediately see four doors with smart locks. One is the entrance to the basement apartment. One is the entrance to the main floor apartment ( where the hub is). One is the entrance to the common laundry room. And one is the entrance to the upstairs apartment. I’m assuming that each of these is built like an exterior door, so it may be harder to get signal through than a typical bedroom door.
So you have five smart locks that are quite close to each other. Most of them are two exterior doors away from the hub. And the main entrance door is one exterior door away from the hub.
None of these locks can repeat for each other: they are all battery operated devices. They’re all going to sleep part of the time. So you need a beaming repeater device to hold their messages, and usually it’s best if that’s not the hub.
You could probably do it with one in wall receptacle in the lobby area as long as it supports beaming, but you do run the risk that it could get overloaded with five doors to handle. There’s also the problem that people do tend to come and go at similar times, which means it’s more likely that the repeater will be busy when someone wants to open the door.
I’d be surprised if you needed five repeaters, but since this is a rental situation and you want your renters to be happy, I personally would probably use three.
Normally, putting a repeater inside one of the other apartments wouldn’t help you at all because the message would probably hit the lock before it hit the repeater. But again we run into that beaming situation. So it actually might help your network integrity to have a beaming repeater inside The living spaces, again just to hold the messages for the lock. It’s something you might just have to do trial and error with. But I would prefer to see them in the lobby area except for the one where the hub is.
So…there’s no problem having more than four repeaters, that does not affect in any negative way the The strength of the mesh. In fact it just makes the mesh stronger by giving each device more choices. Zwave is smart enough not to use the hops that it doesn’t need to.
But you need the repeater which is closest to each lock, or at least within about 10 feet of it, to be a beaming repeater. Zwave Locks have special requirements.
And while you don’t really need one dedicated repeater for each lock, I probably wouldn’t put three or four locks on the same repeater or the repeater might just get too busy to get the messages out in a timely fashion. I understand why @rboy might recommend one repeater Per lock: it makes his customer support issues simpler since messages are less likely to get lost. But for budget reasons I don’t think you need to go 1 to 1.
You do absolutely need to get repeaters that support beaming, though. Remember with the lock it isn’t just about distance, it’s about holding the message until the lock is awake and then transmitting it very quickly.
And you do need to run a Z wave repair once after you have installed all the repeaters or the locks won’t know they are there and they won’t use them, no matter how physically close they are. .
@JDRoberts Fantastic response. Thanks for the detail.
Could you send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org? Hoping to get in touch with you outside of smartthings community.
Sorry, I’m not available for individual conversations outside of my family. Please see the following thread (the thread title is a clickable link).
This was a really helpful response.
I have properties with 6 or 7 Yale Smartlocks and had not noticed any reliability issues. I added a lock out some distance away and SmartThings kept reporting it as OFFLINE.
I picked up a bunch of GBP9 mains switchesfrom Ebay a couple of months back and assumed that they would be repeaters but adding one made no difference whatsoever - until I read your post and did a ZWave Repair. Now, all is well so thanks for that.
As it turns out these are beamers as well so all good.
It may be worth checking out this topic from @JDRoberts which elaborates the above in more detail:
FAQ: why would I need another beaming repeater if my zwave lock is already close to my hub?
Yes, that was a really interesting guide. Although I had seen no issues, apart from range as a result I have added a beaming repeater onto each of the floors of my properties.