Hubless peer connectivity

I worry about having all relationships depend on the hub and want to understand better how I can do something like turn on my lights when the hub is down or the network is or when there is any other such glitch.

There has to be some central “brain” controlling the setup. It doesn’t have to be SmartThings, but it does have to be something. The end devices are usually pretty stupid and aren’t capable to doing things like if this -> then this type of things.

Think of it like your different components on a computer. If you don’t have a computer controlling things the mouse can’t move the cursor around on the monitor.

Me too… Its horrible when the internet glitches or Smartthings glitches and your Wife is trying to turn lights on and off and she can’t…

Why does there have to be a central brain? The world is inherently decentralized and Insteon works very well with peer relationships. For that matter so do Z-wave and Zigbee scenes? All these devices have smarts to do Z-Wave and other protocols – managing peer relationships is pretty simple and far far far more resilient and scaleable than a centralized hierarchical system. Even X-10 is decentralized.

I think you over estimate the brains of most z-wave and zigbee devices.

Most z-wave switches just receive on/off commands. Even things as basic as scenes are really just a remote of some sort sending on commands to selected switches. And certainly these devices don’t have the ability to do advanced functions like:

Turn on at sunset for three hours, then turn off.
Turn on when a presence tag comes home if illumination is below a specific level.
Turn on at 10% illumination if motion is detected, then off 5 minutes later ONLY between 10pm and 8am.

And even these “advanced” functions are really basic with what SmartThings can do:

Monitor a Garage door and if it’s open for more than x-number of minutes, send a text to a phone and send a phrase to an Ubi.

  • or -

When a phrase is said to Ubi, turn on selected lights, turn off a different selection of lights x-number of minutes later, and check to see if any doors or windows are open… if so, send a phrase to Ubi to explain which ones.

This is not something a “brainless” mesh of zigbee or z-wave switches/sensors can do.

So who said scenes? I just want to press a switch A and have light B come on.

Let’s not get distracted by a discussion of how much computing power it takes to perform various tasks … just assume that I understand distributed systems and programming.

I must be missing something; why wouldn’t a Z-Wave or Zigbee switch activate its load, regardless of the hub’s connection to the cloud?

The problem is getting the message from a source such as a switch on the wall to the switch that controls the light. As I understand it native Z-Wave supports that but it seems as if the SmartThings messages all go through the hub. If there is a way to set up peer messaging please tell me – there may be a way and I haven’t found it. This a case where I do want third device (a computer) to setup the relationships since the physical ends points may be inaccessible.

[quote=“bobfrankston, post:6, topic:4248, full:true”]
So who said scenes?[/quote]


Frankly, I’m new to the whole HA stuff… ST is the only setup that I’ve used. But I’d be a little surprised if any of the other systems can do anything more complex than a remote turning on/off selected lights (scenes) without a larger brain running the system. Like Vera, it might be a local brain vs. ST’s “cloud” brain, but all the work I’ve done with various z-wave devices has shown that they are pretty stupid by themselves.

If the z-wave product in question is a controller, then yes, this would work and various devices do work as secondary controllers withing the ST environment and don’t need the Hub to function. But this is only if they are a controller. Not just any z-wave switch is a controller.

Is there any documentation on the protocol and details and how to setup the relationships?

Depends on which remote/controller you’re talking about. Generally these aren’t “officially” supported so it’s a bit of trial and error. Search for the device that you’re trying to setup on the forums and see if anyone has a guide for doing it.

This is not true if your focus is within a network. For example lets say you have all ZigBee devices. if you have a ZigBee light or ZigBee power outlet they can be bound to a ZigBee switch (Hub is required to do this binding). Once they are bound the flipping of the switch sends packets directly to your light or outlet the SmartThings hub is not required.

The problem is when you have multiple devices on multiple networks like zWave and ZigBee you have to have a gateway between the two that will convert the protocols.

[quote=“JohnR, post:13, topic:4248”]
This is not true if your focus is within a network. For example lets say you have all ZigBee devices. if you have a ZigBee light or ZigBee power outlet they can be bound to a ZigBee switch (Hub is required to do this binding). Once they are bound the flipping of the switch sends packets directly to your light or outlet the SmartThings hub is not required. [/quote]

I’m not aware of a standard zigbee or z-wave switch that can be associated with another switch/outlet/light bulb. I think it has to be a “controller” type device. But that doesn’t mean I’m right of course.

I do owe @bobfrankston a bit of an apology though… after re-reading his first post he definitely isn’t talking the complex sort of interactions that I was thinking about.

In looking through the Zigbee protocol it appears that the devices are peers rather than depending on a designated hub. Control is a function and not a separate device but signaling is not all about control. An outlet should be able to send a message when a plugged-in device starts to consumer power.

I would like to know more about how Z-Wave compares

Here is a standard ZigBee switch that can be bound to this standard ZigBee plug.
Switch URL
Plug URL

You can also bind motion detectors directly to the plug. You can find more information on device binds in the ZigBee spec.

Indeed “you can even set up binding through the free iSmartenit app” seems to be what I want – using the controller to setup a relationship that is direct and independent of the controller.

Yep but keep in mind their software may be free but you will have to buy a hub or USB device to use it.

There are two types of device binds:

  1. Bind Request (initiated by a ZigBee Coordinator). SmartThings can do this in a custom device type. Very cool and powerful stuff!
  2. End Device Bind Req (initiated by the two end devices who would like to bind together). If the two devices you would like to bind together support an End Device Bind Request (not all do) you can bind them right now with your SmartThings hub (I have done it several times). I don’t know if SmartThings officially supports this but it does work and it is part of the ZigBee Spec. Basically the process is this: Push a button or move a jumper on the device to put it in bind mode. Do the same thing on the second device (follow the device’s instructions).

What happens behind the scenes is both devices will send their capabilities (supported clusters and end points) to the SmartThings hub and the hub will then send bind commands to the devices to bind them. So the two devices have to be compatible with each other like a switch and power plug.

Please keep in mind this only works with ZigBee devices that are joined to the same Home Automation network. It will not work between a ZigBee device and a zWave device or even between a ZigBee Home Automation Network and a ZigBee Light Link network. You will need to go through the SmartThings hub to do that!! That is why we need the SmartThings Hub!!!

I understand – was just using iSmarteInit as an example. With Insteon I wrote my own app since the protocols was (sort of) document though they not support it in Houselinc (or did). But that’s a whole topic in its own right.

Does Z-Wave have a similar direct bind capability?