New Smarthings Layout with 200 devices (Europe)

This seems a little excessive. I’ll build bit by bit and then we see. If it involves that much maintenance, something must have gone wrong during planning or during setup, or it’s simply not the right product for the use case.

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Thank you everyone, appreciate your input on this one. I’ve decided to go ahead with it and give it a shot. I’ll start small, and I’ll document every step of the way in lieu of a backup since Samsung has not deemed it necessary yet. Which is a shame.

I am in Europe, and where I live we use mostly UK products. I will limit myself to stuff that has been used in the UK - and it seems that the proliferation of Z-Wave devices there is much, much deeper than that of Zigbee, even perhaps a mix makes sense. Yet a simple search for Zigbee and Z-wave on Vesternet’s website returns 51 items for Zigbee, but thousands of Z-wave products. Not a fair contest at all. AndI think that’s also because of the allowed frequencies here and their overlap with some mobile frequencies (never mind WiFi). This is what I can gather from my research though - I could be wrong.

Finally - I will have only 16 types of devices despite their large number, so I will start of with a number of wall switches, and actuators behind them, and dimmers, and shutter switches - to cover the most important functions, then take it from there.

@martin.borg - I am surprised by the distribution between ZigBee and Zwave that you found. It was my understanding that ZigBee was much more prevalent in the home environment in Europe while in the USA it is more commonly found in industrial settings. I believe you can use ZigBee devices from any part of the world (as long as ST supports them) as the frequencies they used are the same but that is not the case with Zwave. Check the link below to see the various frequencies used around the world:

Below I am pasting Europe and USA just a s a comparison.

Frequency in MHz Used in
868.40 ; 868.42 ; 869.85 CEPT Countries (Europe and other countries in region), French Guiana
908.4 ; 908.42 ; 916 USA, Canada, Argentina, Guatemala, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Mexico, Bermuda, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Panama, British Virgin Islands, Suriname, Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Turks & Caicos, Ecuador, Uruguay

Also, Zwave have to be certified so a good place to see what is available is the official website for the Zwave Alliance:

As for your build out I would confirm that installing line powered devices first is the best approach. I would add to start with devices closer to the hub and building outwards. Without going into details, Zwave and ZigBee devices communicate with the hub by hopping from one device to another based on a routing table that tells them how to reach the hub. The hops are limited in both number and length so this is why I suggest to build the mesh networks out starting close to the hub and moving outwards especially with a large house and walls that are likely made of bricks/cement unlike typical homes in the USA (wood, drywall). The lower frequency of Zwave along with the likely lower noise in that band should enable longer hops than ZigBee as the latter has to compete with everything that operates in the 2.4GHz ISM band. However I am guessing your home is not super close to many other homes and therefore the interference should be limited. I briefly lived in California and I was dazzled by the incredible number of Wifi networks with very strong signal around me that I had to compete with. I now live in TX and that is no longer an issue as everyone is farther away from me.

One other point I wanted to make is that you don’t necessarily have to adopt Zwave/ZigBee exclusively for every single device. For example, at first I was looking into installing 6 Zwave Smoke / CO2 detectors but then opted for 6 NEST Protect Wifi detectors as a better option. The Zwave ones were battery only and very limited in functionality. I also did not trust them lasting very long running on a battery. The Nest Protects were easy to integrate cloud to cloud so I did not have to give up on integration. I would avoid cloud to cloud integration where you need fast response time or where any downtime in that connection were to be too disruptive.


Good luck with SmartThings. BTW my advice would be to go with Z-Wave that is supported by all the other controllers so you don’t have to replace all of your ZigBee devices when you decide to move away from SmartThings :slight_smile:

I have nothing against Zigbee in fact I think Zigbee sensors are more responsive than z-wave. But the facts are currently all systems on the market fully supports Z-Wave and only a couple support ZigBee ZHA and with very limited support and ST only does it with a cloud dependency on top of it.

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@martin.borg - Don’t underestimate the value of power meters. There is a ton of automation you can do just buy knowing something is drawing power. For example… It is about 9:00 PM and you turn the family room TV on. It begins to draw 100 watts or something like that. You can create a rule that say…

After a (certain time or after lux <= 1000) and Family Room TV raises above 60 watts then dim the lights.


Huh? My setup is much larger than that and I have basically do nothing to maintain it other than replace batteries every now and then and replace the occasional bad sensor, but I’m going on 2+ years.


I’m @over 200 devices and things are pretty stable. I’m amazed at how few batteries I’ve had to change in two + years. I can’t imagine how long it would take to rebuild the system and hope I never have to fine out. Biggest issue is the occasional zigbee light drop off and LIFX bulbs dropping off after power outage. I do fear that I have forgotten much of the programming done to get the system to this point. Mostly from lack of needing to do anything to it. Set it and forget it has been nice but I’ll pay for it one day I’m sure. The once hobby haas become an appliance.


I’d say from all my devices my ZigBee sensors get 8-12 months of battery life and my Zwave sensors… um never had to change any in 2 years…


Thank you. I sense sarcasm in that “good luck” :slight_smile: My intention is to choose devices that are widely compliant, from reputable brands (Fibaro, Aeotec, etc.) and that have received good reviews… I’d rather spend a little more and be in the lknowledge that I can migrate should I need to.

I also hope to find Smartthings reliable enough to not have to migrate away from it. The biggest problem I see here is that for a house this size, I would rather have three inter-connected controllers, both because of the ever increasing number of devices (assuming I can then connect up to 231 devices to each and have increased processing power), but also for reliability of the Z’Wave connectivity on different floors.

Thanks for your valuable response. I too thought that Zigbee and Z-Wave would likely share the market. An yet, as I said, a simple search on Vesternet proves otherwise, and that is one of the biggest online suppliers of home automation devices in the UK. I’ll start out with Z-Wave and build slowly to gauge what happens along the way.

Zigbee uses the same frequency globally. Zwave is different depending on region*

*I think.

Zigbee is supposed to be more efficient with it’s power usage, yet none of my zwave battery devices have died in 2 years.

Thank you, all - really appreciate all your responses.

I’ve decided to jump in with a minimal expense at first for testing purposes. I repeat I am not a developer, but I have scripted and developed in the past, and I still work in IT to this day (though I have been in management for a long time now :confused: ).

I have ordered the following:

  1. Samsung SmartThings Hub
  2. Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Dual Nano Switch with Power Metering
  3. Z-Wave Fibaro FGR-222 Roller Shutter 2
  4. Z-Wave Plus Aeotec WallMote Quad
  5. Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Nano Dimmer

I hope and trust there is compatibility. None of the devices are in the “Works with Smartthings” list but I hope to find decent device handlers that let me utilise the full range of functionality offered by the manufacturer. If anyone thinks this is not the case, please let me know. I have seen some posts about some of these devices on the community here, but it’s not always conclusive. Pointers in the right direction are always appreciated.

Many thanks!

Also, don’t forget that powered dimmers, switches, and wall plugs are also great for extending your signal as they act as repeaters.


Indeed, yes, I will have plenty of powered switches, dimmers, and shutter switches littering the house. I should really be fine communications wise. Thanks!

I also wanted to add: I see often in forums the fact that Smartthings is cloud based, and that it won’t work unless the house is connected to the Internet at all times.

I would like to ask something else - does this mean that even a Z-wave light switch will be unable to switch on a light circuit? Let’s say the switch is connected to the hub via Z-Wave, and the hub in turn sends a message to a relay (or dimmer) switch to turn on a lighting circuit… Would this not work at all in the case of a loss of connectivity to the cloud? I find this a little too hard to swallow.

Many thanks in advance!

the switch will still manually work. it just can’t be controlled from the app or any automatons that run in the cloud.

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In the above scenario, you mention one z-wave switch causing the hub to turn on another device.
We’d need more information before being able to tell you if it would work or not, including the specific models of the devices and the SmartApps you plan to use. For example, all webCoRE Pistons will run only in the ST Cloud, and thus will not be able to change anything in your home if your internet is down. Depending on the reliability of your home’s internet connection, and the reliability of the ST cloud servers, this can lead to a significant amount of frustration for you and your family. If you choose the devices and SmartApps (i.e. Smart Lighting) wisely, you can get some decent local processing. See below…

(Disclaimer - This information applies to the Classic SmartThings - I have no experience with the new flavor.)
In order for anything to ‘Run Locally’ on the ST Hub v2, a few requirements must be met. First, all of the associated devices for the automation must be ‘running locally’. Second, you pretty much have to perform any such automations using the ‘Smart Lighting’ SmartApp from ST. If your automations meet these requirements, they can run locally on the ST Hub v2 (definitely not on the v1 hub - I am not sure about the NVidia Shield+extend, ADT, or Samsung Connect WiFi hubs).

Here is the basic architecture of SmartThings. It is heavily based on the cloud. For example, your cell phone’s SmartThings Classic mobile app cannot talk directly to the hub, even if connected to the same network. The ST Classic App must also talk to the ST Cloud Servers before it can communicate with the hub.


I am coming in late here, but it seems there are still quite a few unanswered questions about the protocols, so I thought I would just mention a few things. ( I was a network engineer and had worked with both Z wave and zigbee before ever purchasing smartthings for use in my own home.)

First, the forum already has multiple FAQs on Wi-Fi and zigbee co-existence. I would suggest reading those. You can find them in the FAQ section:

Next, while zigbee uses the same frequency everywhere in the world, it allows for a number of different “profiles” and these are not all interchangeable. They don’t even use the same addressing scheme. Smartthings uses the “zigbee home automation 1.2” profile.

Beyond that, different regions put different legal restrictions on the transmission strength that zigbee devices are allowed to use. For example, the US allows a signal strength of almost twice that allowed in the EU or the UK. Consequently, some zigbee devices which are legal to operate in the US are not legal to import or operate in the UK.

Zigbee is used a lot in Europe, but not generally for low-cost DIY systems because of the challenges of deployment so that you avoid Wi-Fi interference, particularly given that boosted zigbee cannot be used, Just generally restricts the size of the market. This is discussed in the zigbee versus Z wave FAQ in the community – created wiki, as it’s also probably the reason why Z wave is so much more popular for fixed location devices like light switches in low-cost DIY systems in the US.

If you only want to use Zwave devices, don’t select SmartThings as your hub. You will be much happier in the long run if you choose one of the hubs which specializes in Z wave. This is even more true if you intend to have an extensive network of more than 200 devices. Just as one example, SmartThings provides no network mapping utilities at all to customers. None. But the most popular Z wave – only platforms in Europe all provide some kind of network mapping utility. And most handle multiple controllers well, which SmartThings does not, which allows you to expand the number of devices.

Vesternet is a good place to research the various zwave platform options.

I had a few other thoughts on some of the specific points raised in the conversation above, but I don’t think they would necessarily impact your own project, so I’ll skip those for now. :sunglasses:

p.s. Specifically with regard to zigbee ZHA 1.2 devices for low-cost Home automation systems in Europe, there are a few options which are not carried by Vesternet which are quite popular with SmartThings customers in the UK.

These include the SmartThings brand of devices, Orvibo, and Hive. Osram also has some, although they include some special features which will only work with their own Gateway.

Schneider has a really excellent line, but they tend to be more expensive and only available through professional installers, so I don’t know many smartthings customers who have used them unless they already had that system.

Xiaomi is another option from a big Chinese brand, but they are only intended to work with their own Gateway and have a lot of what network engineers would call “idiosyncrasies” when used with a smartthings hub. They are still popular because they are so inexpensive, But they do tend to work best when deployed in a small installation, under 30 devices all within 40 feet of the hub. So more for an apartment than what you’ve been describing. People who try to get them to work through repeaters and in larger installations tend to run into a lot more problems with this brand. But you can research them in the forum if you are interested.


Specifically with regard to reliability and planning for outages, you might find the following article interesting:


Thanks for your reply.

I intend to use the Z-Wave Plus Aeotec WallMote and the Z-Wave Plus Aeotec WallMote Quad switches for all lighting and shutters (blinds and awnings) in the house - that is if my test goes well. The switches will then need to use the “Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Dual Nano Switch with Power Metering” as a relay in order to control lighting, the “Z-Wave Plus Aeotec Nano Dimmer” to as a dimmer device for some of the lighting circuits, and the “Fibaro FGR-222 Roller Shutter 2” in order to control all shutters.

All these devices require custom device handlers, i.e. they are not natively supported by the hub. And so I think that on its own means that they will run in the cloud, but I’m not sure. Some clarity here would be very helpful. As far as possible I’d like to keep it local, of course, but I know it might just not be possible. I intended to try and use as little automation as possible in order to avoid using webCoRE as little as possible since I read many times all webCoRE pistons run in the cloud.

That said, my Internet connection at home is quite reliable. I have a 70/12Mbps (DL/UL) fibre connection from one ISP, and a 25/3Mbps 4G connection from a different provider as backup. So the main issues would likely be latency and the reliability of ST services in the cloud.

Many thanks for your time!