Multiple (two) hubs on one network?

I’ve seen some threads about multiple hubs on one account, but I’m looking to put two hubs on the same network. One in main house, one in secondary - they share the network together. Is there any issue with this? One hub won’t reach between the houses.

Have you tried extending the network by other means? SmartPower Outlets, in wall switches?

@Ben we need wired extenders! I don’t but I’ve seen many topics about stuff like this lately. It’d be nice if Aeon or somebody made a z-wave to Cat5 module that let you run it wherever the cable could reach given its own limitations.

Just my two cents. Maybe a more expensive vendor like Fortrezz as it’s more of a niche request.

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Each zwave network can only have one primary controller.

Technically you should be able to set up one SmartThings Hub as a secondary to another, I just don’t know if anyone’s actually done it.

I do know this is pretty common with Vera installs when you have outbuildings, like a barn: cable the two hubs together. But again, I don’t know what would happen with ST.

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Vera is a zwave to Ethernet bridge. So, for that matter, is the SmartThings hub. I can put a router in one building, run cable to a ST hub in another building, and, Bingo! Ethernet to Zwave bridge. :wink:

Zwave allows for secondary controllers in part for just this purpose.

Again, I just don’t know if the ST software handles bridging controllers.

@Ben en: I haven’t tried anything yet, I’m looking for the answer before I buy :smile:

I don’t know the Vera doesn’t seem very clean. Adds another layer of troubleshooting.

How far are the two areas you want to connect?

@Ben: Two separate, full large houses, separated by another house in-between. Maybe 100 feet. I am going to use wifi extenders to link the two. My family is moving into the other house, but not always there, so ST is a good use for controlling things from my house without having to walk over and maintain it for them. I’m just guessing, given the amount of walls and distance (my hub is at the opposite end of my house from where the other house is located) that the hub won’t reach. Not even sure what I would do to pair a device the first time - I’d have to set it up in my house and then install it over in the other house. If a second ST Hub will work, I’m happy to spend the $99.

A. if it’s 100 feet, you may be ok with zwave plus

If it’s truly only 100 feet from window to window you may be able to use zwave plus devices to repeat that far. So it may be a non issue. If you have to try to get through brick walls on each side, though, it’s more problematic.

Zwave and zigbee are both mesh networks–many devices can relay messages to their neighbors. So it’s not the distance to the hub that matters, but rather the distance to the nearest neighbor device that can repeat messages. There is a limit of 4 hops total for zwave, though. With two large houses, that could be a problem.

B. Two hubs set up as two locations

If you’re willing to pay for two hubs, you might look at just setting up two “locations” on the same ST account. Several community members act as the tech support for a relative’s house that way, or manage a home and a vacation property. In your case you would just run an Ethernet cable to the second hub at the second house.

Also found out that, unlike Vera, ST apparently does not support bridging of multiple hubs in one location, so looks like that option is out. But as long as each hub controls its own devices, it’s ok.

The following discusses both issues:

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/articles/203064530-Can-I-use-two-hubs-in-one-location-

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That really seems to be the appropriate solution in this case. Two separate homes obviously (?) = two Locations.

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I try to avoid “obviously” when it comes to home automation. :wink: everybody has different preferences and priorities.

If you have two locations, you have to maintain two sets of rules, and run two dashboards to monitor everything. To some people, that will make perfect sense, to others it will be annoying.

Agreed… I didn’t think through the various possibilities.

I’m a little confused as to how SmartThings is supposed to handle multiple locations with respect to SmartApps (and the mobile UI)…

I thought this was the hierarchy: ("->" = 1 to many).

  • Account -> Location(s) -> Hub(s) -> Things.

And I thought / hoped that all SmartApps (and the mobile UI…) at the “Account” Level, not “Location”… and that’s what this screenshot implies…

  • Account -> SmartApps
  • Account -> Events
    and so on (heck, even Account -> Devices …

I was under the impression it branched differently:

Account --> LOC 1 – Hub 1 --> Loc 1 Devices

Account --> LOC 2 – Hub 2 --> Loc 2 Devices

That is, the account is 1 to many for locations, but each location is a separate parallel track.

Each location is limited to one hub per the support article above.

Each hub controls its own set of multiple devices.

Aren’t you two saying the same thing ? - OK I think you are just saying only one hub per location.

Right, in mine there is only one SmartThings hub per location and each hub controls its own devices and cannot control the devices of the other hub.

In Vera, the hubs are bridged together, and it fits @tgauchat’s structure. A location can have multiple hubs and each hub can talk to all the devices.

I had my house set up with two hubs at one point, as things were very spread out and I had major z-wave problems. Both hubs were on the same LAN. In ST they were two separate locations. Everything worked as expected, although one did have to switch back and forth between the two locations in the mobile app to manage things. So I can attest that this definitely works.

Eventually, I resolved my z-wave problems and combined into a single hub that was more centrally located.

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Oh, just in case this wasn’t obvious: each SmartThings hub must be directly cabled to your internet router, they don’t use WiFi. So to put a second hub in the second house, you need to run Ethernet cable from the Internet router in the first house to the hub in the second house.

That’s why it may be worth seeing if you have window to window line of sight where you could put both a zwave and zigbee repeater. That gives you wireless connection between the houses.

Most mains powered devices will do double duty as repeaters, including some light bulbs.

The newest zwave generation, zwave plus, has longer range.

But again you might run out of zwave hops. (4) Or even max out the device max for one zwave network (around 250).

Zigbee can handle thousands of devices and up to 10 hops on one network, so it’s a little more common for multi building installs.

Two hubs does give you the most flexibility, but will require a corded connection between each hub and the Internet router.

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Yep, understood - the wifi extender has a hardwire Ethernet port on it that I would plug the ST Hub into.

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@bravenel Thanks for confirmation!