For some reason i can’t find an answer to this anywhere. I’m planning on getting either phillips hue or lifx. Phillips hue seem to use zigbee technology. I plan on using all z-wave devices throughout my house. Are the Lifx bulbs z-wave? If so…do they act as a repeater?
LIFX bulbs are wifi, specifically 2.4ghz. No z-wave or zigbee and they do not repeat z-wave or zigbee.
LIFX is WiFi. Philips Hue is ZLL (ZigBee Light Link). SmartThings is ZHA (ZigBee Home Automation).
Now after saying these three technologies, ZLL should fall back to ZHA if a ZLL coordinator is not found. Many in the community highly recommend connecting the Philips Bulbs to the Philips Bridge and not directly to SmartThings. The bridge is supposedly more reliable and you get additional functionality (I do not own the Hue system so I can’t give personal feedback). However, if you do that, they will not act as SmartThings repeaters.
Ah ok. Interesting. So if i’m using z-wave everywhere else having Hue act as a repeater wouldn’t much matter to me…right? Now i guess it’s a preference things…or whoever has the next good deal
Yes - The cool thing about SmartThings is that we are a bridge between all the different protocols… and speaking of good deals - Osram Lightify bulbs are on sale in shop.smartthings.com through the end of the year! (<- shameless partner plug)
Wow that actually seems like a heck of a deal. $140 for 5 bulbs…$28/each. I’d just need to get a hub to go along with it.
Osram (Sylvania) Lightify bulbs are ZLL and work directly with SmartThings (in ZHA mode). The hub is currently on sale for $75 ($25 off). There is also an Osram gateway (hub) you can buy if you want to go that direction but it only works with Osram devices.
If you like the LiFX bulbs, then get them. You can still control them with Smart Things, it works cloud to cloud.
All of the brands seem fairly similar. I was under the impression i needed a hub to make phillips and or osram to work and that lifx doesn’t need a hub. I would likely be happy with any of them. If i can get 5 osram bulbs for $140 and do not need a hub or anything else that seems like a pretty good deal.
wait…the osram’s are zigbee. So they would need to be pretty close by to the smartthings hub in order to work well if i didn’t have any other zigbee devices around…right? My hub is going to be on the middle floor, and these lights are going to be upstairs. So i’m not sure if that’s the best idea.
ZigBee (and Z-Wave) work as a mesh. Each hardwired device acts as a repeater (bulbs are hardwired). If one device can’t reach the hub directly, but can reach other ZigBee repeaters, those repeaters will relay the messages between the hub and device.
WiFi will work as long as each device can connect to your wireless network, but most devices (including LiFX) are dependent on the cloud meaning they will not work if their cloud, your internet or your wifi is down. Though many don’t see that as a detriment as SmartThings is also dependent on their SmartThings cloud for the majority of the hub’s actions.
Okay great. About how far away do you think the first device in line could be away from the hub? Is it different for each technology (z-wave vs zigbee)?
It can vary greatly based on the number of walls. SmartThings states 50-100’. However based on actual results and different setups, many recommend less than 40’ between ZigBee or Z-Wave repeaters or 60-80’ for Z-Wave plus. Remember that is omnidirectional, so in your case, from the hub through the ceiling.
Also many in the community recommend the Iris smart plug (ZigBee HA version) if you need to extend your mesh. This smart plug works as both a ZigBee and Z-Wave plus repeater.
excellent…i appreciate it!
If you buy the Iris plug, these instructions show how to add it. As a note, the built in device type handlers from SmartThings work so you don’t need to install the custom code.
I entered pairing mode and plugged in the Iris smart plug, it instantly connected as a ZigBee on/off device (you can go into your IDE and change the DTH to SmartPower Outlet if you want power reporting).
To add the Z-Wave repeater, while in pairing mode, I had to press the button quickly 5 times. This automatically added a Z-Wave device. That device is not controllable through SmartThings (as it is only a repeater) but needs to be paired if you want to use it.
Thanks again, I appreciate it! I just ordered the OSRAM lights…a 5 pack of color and a 5 pack of whites. I’ll probably go to Lowes and grab the plug just to have it on hand, it should only help.