Please end my never-ending hub misery

Please someone help me before I completely toss these Smartthings!

I have about a 5000sf area (not that’s not the size of my house, I wish!) that I need to setup with Smartthings. I’m so confused on what devices should be setup and how… here’s some specs I’m dealing with. Mind you, Ive been in IT for 20 years from networking to developer…

  • Area is 5000sf - nothing unusual like concrete/steel
  • My main wifi is xfinity with newest router / gateway
  • I have about 90 wifi connected devices
  • About 25 of my devices need to be “controlled by Smartthings”… like lights, appliances etc.
  • I currently own 4 “hubs” and 2 “wifi” hubs (this means when you flip the device over, it designates the device as either “Smarthtings Hub” or “Smartthings Wifi”.) I’m willing to get different device combos if I need to!
  • I do not have any issues with wifi except in one small area, nor do any devices or drop / fail.


  • I want my setup to be optimal! Here are the questions:
  1. Should my space only have 1 hub and a bunch of wifi devices?
  2. If I have more than one hub at my location what is the benefit vs. having the wifi device?
  3. If I have more than one hub - should they become sub-hubs? What’s pros/cons?

I have no need for custom automation where I need one hub to have certain devices for automation. I rarely even use automations.

Please take this from the angle - if you were me how would you setup your house to make it the best wifi and zwave/zigbee connectivity? Do I have one hub and many wifis? Do I do sub-hubs?

Thank you so much, I really need to get this right so. Ican move on in life.

Can you clarify this? Links to the products and/or model numbers would help. Also, what devices are you trying to add to SmartThings?

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I’ve moved this to projects so you can get personalized responses rather than just device specifications.

First things first though: most smartthings hub models are designed to be only one hub per network. It’s not like Vera where you can string a bunch together.

The exception is the two models which were specifically designed to set up a “Wi-Fi mesh network”. The first generation, now discontinued, was called “smartthings connect home.“ The second model, the current one, was called “Samsung smartthings Wi-Fi hub with Plume.”

These two models, and only these two models, can be set up with additional hubs of the exact same model as “ sub hub“ for the Wi-Fi mesh network and can all operate on the same Z wave and Zigbee network.

You absolutely cannot mix and match models together. And you can’t create sub hubs using any of the other smartthings hub models.

So most typically there would be only one hub for the set up you described.

The exception would be if you were using the Wi-Fi mesh model, in which case you would have some sub hubs, but they would have to be of the exact same model.


5000 sq ft is not an issue. We’ve created setups with a single hub covering 12,000 sq ft of house (yes house, not open space). It requires a good design/layout.

The key thing would be to have a good number of repeaters to give good coverage.

A note about z-wave repeaters, they have a 4 hop limitation so it would be great it keep the hub centrally located (if you have a v3 wifi hub then that should be easy). See this post for more details on how to design and check your z-wave network.

Similarly for ZigBee device you should have zigbee repeaters (mains powered devices). They don’t quite the same limitation as Z-Wave but keep in mind the longer the repeating distance the more the chances of errors and slower the response times. JD has some greats links for ZigBee design.


I don’t know if it’s “great,“ but the following covers most of the basics for Zigbee. (The topic title is a clickable link.)

That said, it’s important to understand the smartthings hub is a plastic box that includes multiple radios, each of which is used to create a separate network. There is one network for Zigbee. There is a different network for Z wave. And if you have one of the Wi-Fi mesh models, there is another network for Wi-Fi.

Getting good Wi-Fi coverage is a different issue than getting good Zigbee or zwave coverage.

That’s why knowing the brand and model numbers of the intended devices that will be added makes such a big difference in figuring out the optimal layout. :sunglasses: