Range issue - 2 hub solution?

I’m trying to control some devices in my detached garage from my house (lights/garage door opener, ect). My challenge is that my detached garage is about 100ft away. My house is stucco so has a wire mesh lining on all the exterior walls which hinders signal transmission. Also, the metal garage doors don’t help the situation.

I’ve added Aeotec series 7 range extenders. One in the garage and one in the house as close to the garage as possible. This works about 85% of the time, but I can still tell I’m fighting a signal issue as some of the devices will still occasionally go offline or have really long delays in updating their status.

Unless there is a better range extender. I feel like my only option is a second hub. I DO have internet in the garage. I ran cat5 out there and have a eero mesh hub out there so the garage is on the same wifi as the rest of the house.

If I"m understanding other threads correctly, if I install a second hub in the same Location (“Home” in my case), and put that hub in the garage, it really won’t do anything. It won’t work as a mesh setup with internet backhaul like one would hope…right?

I know I can make a new Location (“Garage”) and set up the hub that way. However, what I’m not sure about, is this: If I have a smart switch in the house, that is installed in the “home” location and thus talking to my “Home” hub, can it say turn a light on in my garage that is connected to the “garage” location hub? I know I can’t have a device connected to both hubs, but am curious if you can control devices across locations that are attached to the same ST account?

If the answer to this is NO. What other suggestions are there? I wish so badly there was an ethernet backhaul smart things device that could do range extension and use wifi/ethernet cable to transmit the information over longer ranges.

I will leave the second hub question to @JDRoberts . I just wanted to ask if you have considered wifi devices (that have integrations with ST) to control the lights and garage door?

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This is a great suggestion. That would work well for these two scenarios, however, I do have longer term plans to incorporate a lot of other equipment and relays that wouldn’t have wifi options like that.

Further…I’ve also invested the $$$ in the z-wave devices in the garage, so would love to not need to replace all those.

There’s a lot to unpack here and unfortunately, I only have a few minutes this morning so let me just hit some top points.

First, my sympathies: stucco is always tricky with any RF setup. :thinking:

Now to specifics…

  1. Zwave single purpose range extenders don’t give you any better range than any other Z wave device of the same generation in the same location. We needed them back in the third generation, but now we’re in the seventh, and pretty much every mains powered zwave device transmits at the same power and handles repeating messages in the same way. So don’t spend your money on those. A smart plug or a wired light switch in the same location gives you just as much in terms of range coverage and better value for your money.

  2. smartthings allows you to have more than one hub per location now (it didn’t used to). And you can create routines in the app that include devices from both hubs, it’s just that those will always have to run through the cloud rather than locally. If that works for you, it’s the easiest way. Just add the second hub in the garage but call them both part of the home location and it should work fine.

The two hubs won’t be able to talk directly to each other, but because you have good Wi-Fi in both places, each hub will be able to talk to the smartthings cloud, so that’s how you tie everything together.

The only thing you would lose in this setup is direct zwave association between devices connected to one hub and devices connected to the other hub, but it doesn’t sound like you’re using that anyway.

  1. as of the time of this writing, the official features cannot combine devices from two different “locations”. But you can do this in one of the popular third-party dashboards, sharptools. They have a free tier which might be all you need or a pro level which costs about $36 per year. There’s a free trial for the pro level if you want to check it out. This is a very popular app, it runs in just about any browser, and has a lot of different features. You’ll find many discussion threads about it in the forum. They also have their own active community where you can ask more questions.

There’s all kinds of reasons to recommend SharpTools, but in the particular situation you describe, I think it probably makes more sense just to get two hubs and assign them both to the same ST location. But I did want to mention it. (The main advantage it has is that smartthings currently limits you to 200 devices per location, and some people are hitting that limit. So a second location, rather than just a second hub, does expand the total number of devices you could have on your account.)

(You probably already know this, but the new smartthings station hub does not support zwave. Just Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Thread. So in your case, you can take that one off your candidate list. )

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I suspect you’ll find over the next year that as the new matter initiative rolls out, there will be many Wi-Fi over matter options available in most device classes.

And even without that, Shelley has some really nice Wi-Fi relays, and they do have both a cloud cloud, official integration with smartthings and a community built edge Driver integration. Some models are UL listed and I recommend those. And they’ve been working with SI labs to really improve power management so they even have some competitive battery powered sensors with decent battery life. So Wi-Fi is now pretty competitive as far as device classes go.

Again, lots of discussion in the forum about this brand if you want to find out more.


And here’s the edge Driver discussion

Edge Shelly drivers for Gen1 and Gen2 Devices

Have had great success for long range into garage, metal freezer, out to mailbox and driveway with yolink products. Different frequency and longest range of any smart items that have seen.
Works with alexa and google pretty good. Not so much on smarthings that i can tell. Did not explore that much because got the integration with other lights etc thru alexa. But their hub and devices are inexpensive so I use it for the far out needs.

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Yolink lorawan have excellent range, but as you note, no integration with smartthings except partial indirect integration through Alexa routines (not SmartThings routines), Google routines, or ifttt.

I don’t think they help in this particular project, though, since the OP said specifically that they have a current investment in zwave switches that they don’t want to replace. :thinking:

Yolink personnel have said that they have some future hubs coming out in about a year and one of those may end up being a Matter bridge, which would allow yolink devices connected to the Yolink hub to be brought into smartthings eventually. But it’s not here yet, and, of course, no promises. Still, they might be a good option in a couple of years for outbuildings in a smartthings set up, but Only for people willing to buy all new devices. Still doesn’t rescue the orphaned Z wave switches that the current poster has. :man_shrugging:t2:

Y’all are AWESOME!!! This is soooo helpful.

Yolink…yeah. I’m pretty invested in Smart Things. Not looking to change hubs/technology, but really good info!

@JDRoberts thank you sooooo much! Your first reply is super helpful.

Your #1…well guess I just purchased those range extenders for no reason. D’oh!
Your #2: Yes, I’m totally fine on relying on the smart things cloud in this situation and not doing direct association with these few routines. Having said that, do I need to “tell” the garage devices to connect to the garage hub that i put in there? Do I need to uninstall these devices and reinstall them? Do I need to do a network “repair”? How do I tell the garage devices to connect to the garage hub…or is this an automatic thing???

Your #3…Sharp tools looks awesome. I’m hoping your #2 suggestion will work as it seems the easiest. I’ll check out Sharptoools if I continue to have issues.

Feel free to tag me if you have any questions. I’m the founder of SharpTools. :slight_smile:


They do serve as range extenders. It’s just that they aren’t any better at extending the range than any other Z wave smart plug of the same generation. So you can usually get more use out of the smart plug. But from a range extending standpoint, they are the same.

Your #2: Yes, I’m totally fine on relying on the smartthings cloud in this situation and not doing direct association with these few routines. Having said that, do I need to “tell” the garage devices to connect to the garage hub that i put in there? Do I need to uninstall these devices and reinstall them? Do I need to do a network “repair”?

Add the second hub to your account in the same “location” as the first hub.

Uninstall each device that you want to have connected to the garage hub and re-add it to your smartthings account. Once you have two hubs on the location, when you go to add a new zwave device it will ask you which hub you want to add it to.

After you have moved all the devices you want over to the new hub, run a zwave repair on each of the two hubs so that everybody knows who their true neighbors are.

I’m going to tag a few people who do have more than one hub in case there are any other tips they want to add. :sunglasses:

@csstup @orangebucket @Automated_House


One caveat to keep in mind you’ll have two separate Z-Wave or zigbee networks. Each hub will be the master controller of its own networks. As at @JDRoberts said you’ll still be able to have routines and rules work across the two networks, but it will require the cloud.

I run multiple hubs in the same location and there are really no side effects to it


You could even pick up a 2nd hand ETH-250 V2 hub off ebay for like $30-50. Which would work fine. Have even seen some 2nd hand V3 hubs for $50 on ebay.

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Yup! Picked up a v3 Aeotec (used) hub for $60.

I’ll make sure to do a device reset before install.

I’ll report my successes/or lack there of.


You may have meant this, but just to be sure, you’ll need to do a device “exclusion“ before moving it to the new hub, not just a “reset.“

A number of Z wave device manufacturers offer a “reset“ which just resets the parameter values, but does not change the network ownership information. That was intended to allow the end-user to make parameter changes without unintentionally removing a device from the network all together.

It’s an “ exclusion” which clears out the old hub’s Network information so the device is then ready to pair to the new hub.

As I said, you may already know all that, but I just wanted to be sure. :sunglasses:

Yes. My apologies. I was referring to the used hub. That one will get a factory reset.

Always a little paranoid about used electronics like this. Hahah

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Success! This all worked great. I have 2 follow up questions about the Direct Associations involving 2 hubs.

1). I have a switch and lightbulb on hub A and a switch on hub B. I have routines set so that both switches control the light bulb. I know I CAN NOT do a direct association with switch on hub B with bulb on hub A. However if I do an association with switch on A with Bulb on A, will this effect my ability to still do a routine involving the Switch on B (still via cloud)? I think not, but wanted to double check.

  1. with the move to edge, it seems you can now control direct associations via the smart things app. However I don’t see how to find the network ID’s from the app. Do I still need to go online to find these???

Zwave direct associations only involve those two devices, you can even unplug the hub and they will still work. They won’t have any affect one way, or the other on your routines created in the smartthings app. :sunglasses:


  1. with the move to edge, it seems you can now control direct associations via the smart things app. However I don’t see how to find the network ID’s from the app. Do I still need to go online to find these???

I’m not sure what you mean by “control, direct associations“ do you mean set up zwave direct associations? Some edge drivers allow you to do this, but they are normally the custom ones created by the community, I don’t think any of the stock edge drivers allow you to do so.

Anyway, as far as getting the device IDs, the easiest way is through the community created “API browser plus.“ or “simple device viewer.” See the following link for this and more afterGroovy questions:

Life after the IDE: Questions and Answers

Thanks for that link. I’ll read up on that!

Your assumption was correct: control=set up.

Every device I’ve added since edge (not that many) has the ability to add the ID’s to directly associate in the settings. All the zooz ones do this and so did a GE switch I added.

It has become popular in the custom edge Drivers. Are you using the one from @philh30 for the GE switch? I think he was the first one to include it. :sunglasses:

Yes sir! He is listed as the developer for the driver I’m using. Before the driver, the switch would install, but was the dumbest “smart” switch ever…these edge drivers fixed it and made it as I originally hoped.

Holy smokes…thanks for the tip on the api.browser plus and simple device viewer! Love those!!!

Seems to me like my issue has been resolved! Thanks @JDRoberts! No doubt I’ll come across more issues later on different topics! Have yourself a great day!!!