Questions about SmartThings WiFi Mesh System

And thank you Terry. Now that I understand the limitations of the network configurations, I guess I will need to get a 50 foot Ethernet cable for use when trying to reconnect z-wave devices.
Thank you again
Todd

I’m no where as smart as the previous 2 fellows who already posted.

In my own layman terms I think your confused, way I understand it, the WiFi portion and the Zigbee \ Zwave portions don’t work together. Each has its own purpose and reason for being in the hubs.

Sounds like you need to setup devices that act as repeaters to build up a mesh network for whichever protocol your devices use. Repeaters tend to be non battery type devices.

There is many many post and threads on the forum where it’s discussed in detail with recommendations on how to improve it.

If you can’t find what you need or looking for specific help a direct question would help.

Like? What does everyone use to extend their Zigbee network.

You’ll get lots of answers and results from a forum search using things like that.

I know that doesn’t really help, but I found it hard to figure out what your asking for help with.

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Except for Locks, most Z-Wave (and ZigBee) devices do not need to be right next to the Hub, because they can connect via the nearest Z-Wave (or ZigBee) repeater. You need to use the Z-Wave Repair function to optimize your mesh prior to adding more devices. To optimize ZigBee, unplug the Hub for 15 to 30 minutes.

The sub-Hubs will act as both Z-Wave and ZigBee repeaters. So will most line powered outlets and switches, but not lightbulbs (or battery powered sensors).

The SmartThings Hub can also be connected to your LAN via WiFi - but that’s where it gets complicated if your ST Hub also happens to be your “master Hub” that is connected to your ISP / cable modem.

Yeah, they don’t make perimeter maintenance easy. :disappointed_relieved:

For people who don’t have one of the Wi-Fi mesh systems, often the easiest way is just to use a Wi-Fi access point that has an ethernet port in the side and plug the hub into that. No 50 foot cable is needed. But you can’t do that with the Wi-Fi mesh systems, because they are providing the Wi-Fi. :disappointed_relieved:

Smartthings staff have posted many times in this forum that their typical customer has 15 devices or fewer and never uses any custom code. So there are quite a few power users in this forum who have run into “edge cases“ which the system just didn’t handle very well.

If the End device is one that can be moved close to the hub, you could go the “bench pairing“ route, Bring the device to the hub, pair it, put it back in its home location, and then run a Z wave repair. But obviously that’s annoying for devices like hardwired switches.

It’s not a good answer, but at least maybe it will save you some time looking for a better one.

TN - Thank you for the suggestion(s). Yes, I am sure you are correct about their being solutions posted on the net. Unfortunately, I know just enough to search with all of the wrong words and I don’t have the time to read a thousand pages of unrelated comments. I think Terry and JR have hit it on the head. I know enough abut z-wave and Zigbee to understand that the addition of a “repeater” COULD be helpful, but with the number of z-wave devices I have scattered about the property, I can’t possibility imagine where I would put it so that it would benefit anyone. Once upon a time there was a tool that would allow you to actually MAP the relationships of all of your z-wave devices. I have not found that tool to have been ported to the new environments.
Thanks for your suggestions. I think my next step will be to acquire a 50’ Ethernet cable so I can make my SmartThings Hub a bit more portable.

I forgot: since you are a professional, there is an installer tool you can buy that will allow you to map Z wave networks. It cost around $150, so I don’t know how that fits your operating budget, but it’s something that you take with you to each client site and then take away again so you only have to buy one of them.

Also, it’s not that you buy one repeater. It’s that most of your mains power zwave and zigbee devices will also act as repeaters for the protocol that they use. So it’s just a matter of laying out the backbone appropriately.

Read post 11 in the following FAQ, then go back up to the top of that thread and read the whole thing. It will answer most of the questions about repeaters.

Terry,
First of all, thank you for your critique. I needed to get it “all” off of my chest and the addition of a highlight to the questions would have bee VERY helpful to any reader. Thank you.

Your remarks bring two questions to mind:

  1. All three of the devices (all with the same model number) have routing capabilities. Why couldn’t they route smartthings (z-wave and Zigbee) messages.
    2, And you second observation leads right back to a question I put directly to the tech I was talking with yesterday about training: Are all the Samsung techs trained alike? And to they have sufficient training. Your remark leads me to be the answer is NO.

On a separate subject, a subject I have been working closely with Plume, the substitution of a new, improved, router for my network (Smarthings live behind my firewall) we discovered that there were undesirable packets trying to travel between the SmartThings hub and Samsung. After many hours of examination of packets, we discovered that the problem was not coming FROM the Smartthings devices in my domain, but from Samsung, trying to reach my Smartthing network. The data has been collected by Plume and is being taken back senior management on both sides.
Thanks again.

Good luck hearing back from Samsung SmartThings on this.

I don’t have experience with Plume’s support, so… who knows.

There is no “simple” protocol for wrapping Z-Wave and ZigBee over IP (WiFi or Ethernet).

A SmartThings Hub is not a Z-Wave/ZigBee “router”. It is a smart device that is securely joined to your Z-Wave and ZigBee devices and runs a operating system to receive and send specific instructions from the SmartThings Cloud via the Cloud API (which does, of course, run over IP - Connected by wired ethernet in Version 1 & 2, or optionally wired or wireless in Version 3.x). The Hub also can run instances of the Smart Lighting SmartApp locally.

Zwave lightbulbs are good zwave repeaters.

Zigbee lightbulbs are more complicated because it depends on the specific brand. For example, the IKEA Tradfri bulbs happen to be good zigbee repeaters on a SmartThings network.

See the FAQ for details:

FAQ: Are Smart Bulbs Repeaters? (Updated Sept 2017: the new answer is yes, but may be inconsistent)

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Originally smartthings was treated as a stand-alone division And had its own tech-support, all of whom had SmartThings systems themselves and who worked closely with SmartThings engineering.

Then in the middle of 2018, they moved all of the SmartThings support over to the regular Samsung corporate support group. Most of whom are people just working off Scripts and who don’t have the SmartThings system. ( for example, one community member called in with a question about a virtual device, and the support person wanted to know where they had bought it. :scream:)

So if you happen to get one of the customer support people left over from the original SmartThings group, they probably have a lot more hands-on knowledge than Samsung corporate staff.

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Thank you for your incite.

Now that I understand what I am dealing with, I will consider my options next time I want to talk to someone who might know more about a problem than me.
Todd

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I spent a lot of time working with Plume and they were equally concerned about the traffic. “Large Pings” and “Pings of Death” do not constitute traffic that I consider safe to enter my LAN, but if I want the benefits of SmartThings, then I am forced to live with the intrusion. I have had two routers hacked and I am doing everything that I can do to insure that it doesn’t happen again. There is SOLID evidence of where the traffic is coming from. There is no evidence why it is necessary (other that the SmartThings hubs go off line when I block Large Pings and Pings of Death.

As for your thoughts about routing of Z-Wave/Zigbee: I understand. It just seems that if all the hardware is present in each of the three “hubs”, repeating messages to expand the Z-wave/Zigbee networks would be no big thing. Oh Well. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t and I will just have to make adjustments to accommodate the lack of forethought by the SmartThings designers who failed to recognize the opportunity.
Todd

In this particular case, it’s not a lack of forethought.

Zwave and zigbee are both independent third-party protocols. They each have their own rules and their own security mechanisms.

The smartthings hub is a certified zwave controller and a certified zigbee coordinator.

If they don’t follow the encryption and security rules required by those independent certifying bodies they will lose their certification.

Copying zwave or zigbee messages over onto Wi-Fi and then transmitting them there would violate the security requirements of those protocols. So it’s just not an option.

There is a zwave over IP method available under the certified protocol, but it’s not a method that smartthings has implemented. (Or hardly anybody else, for that matter.)

All of that is just more detail on what @tgauchat was referring to when he talked about the secure communications between the hub and the end device.

First Rule of Home Automation: The model number matters. In this case, it might save you from having to move the hub at all.

By the way, we haven’t gotten to the point where you mentioned the specific model numbers of the devices you are working with. If they are Z wave plus and your backbone offers a zwave plus route back to the hub, then you should be able to pair them in place without having to move the hub at all as long as there is a zwave plus repeating device in range. :sunglasses:

But that requires that you have set up the backbone as discussed in the wireless range and repeaters FAQ.

JD, I did send the model number; it was in response to another message. It is ET-WV525. The tag on the back says something about z-wave plus. Im sorry you didn’t see the other post.

I think I have missed something here, but it may be too late anyway. In a fit of frustration, after having tried to reconnect by every way I could imagine (including moving one of the sub-hubs) I tried to do an exclude. That didn’t work either. Ultimately I just went into the API and deleted the outlet.

Any other suggestions (before I go out and purchase a new 50 Ethernet cable?
Todd

Hummmmm. Z-Wave Plus repeater device along the route. Given the age of some of the Z-Wave devices on the property, that may not exist. I don’t recall seeing anything on the API that would give me a hint that any of the local z-wave devices are “plus”. Am I hearing that this might be a situation where a Z-Wave PLUS repeater might be a good thing to add to the network?

Not having the tools I had in a previous incarnation, I can only fall back to projections as to who is closest. In the same room as this particular outlet (which is a hardwired outlet in a standard 2x4 box), I have one SmartThings Outlet (IM-6001 series), one wall switch (old style GE paddle switch) and one Iris by Lowe’s Garage Door opener. Where the mesh goes from here is at best: guess work. For all of that, it is probably worth noting that the primary SmartThings hub (AKA “Office”) is located perhaps 12 feet horizontally, and 16 feet below the specific outlet in question. Yes, I can figure out that is probably 20 feet, though a concrete floor.

Should I understand there is another solution, other than purchasing more Ethernet cable to support the tempory relocation of the “office” hub?
Thanks for you comments
Todd

Sorry for any confusion. When I said “end device” that means anything except the hub. A switch, an outlet, a sensor, etc.

If you give us the model numbers of the Z wave devices that you are trying to reconnect to the hub, we can tell you whether you should be able to do them in place if you have a proper backbone built. So you wouldn’t have to move the hub at all.

Did you get a chance to read the wireless range and repeaters FAQ yet? Because then we can talk about what the backbone is that you have for your mesh. :sunglasses:

None of those are a model number. :disappointed_relieved:

Seriously, first rule of home automation: “the model number matters.“

But if it’s a SmartThings branded device, it’s not Z wave at all: it’s zigbee Which could explain a lot of the problems you’re having, since neither a zwave exclude nor a zwave repeater will help if it’s a zigbee device. :disappointed_relieved:

You should be able to get the model numbers by querying the devices if they aren’t already in the device list in the IDE. (I know you keep saying “API“, and maybe @tgauchat or one of the other grandmaster coders can say more about that. There is an API which is used for third-party integrations. But the cloud interface that is available to customers for access to their account information is called “the IDE” and is at https://account.smartthings.com/. )

Anyway, I’m tired now, so I will let other people carry on the conversation.

But the point is if the device that you were trying to re-add is a zwave plus device and you have a path for that device all the way back to the hub that consists of only Z wave plus devices, you will probably be able to pair in place. That’s a new feature that was introduced with zwave plus.

( I don’t code at all these days, or read code, since I have multiple vision issues. I was a network engineer and worked with both zwave and Zigbee before ever getting a SmartThings system for my own use, so I tend to be more interested in communication protocols and hardware specifications than most of the people in the community. :sunglasses: )

Also, the concrete floor is probably killing the signal completely in that direction. It’s really hard to get signal through concrete.

First, I understand you may be “cooked for tonight”, so I will not look for a reply till morning.

That being said, I want to make sure I know what data to recover from the API device list. I think you are looking for this type of information:

GE Wall Switch Device Under bookcase west light

  • MSR: 0063-4952-3033
  • manufacturer: Jasco Products

(It would be nice if it were possible to add a column to the list and then down load the list.)

If this data could be useful to resolving my situation, I can collect it. Would you want ALL of the z-wave devices, or only those that appear to be potential repeater candidates?

I understand the reading/coding discussion. I avoid coding when at all possible because I am having trouble reading things also. BUT I AM NOT DEAD YET!

Anyway, thanks for your consideration and ideas where to look.
Todd