Smart hub range issue

I have a smart things hub in our house that is about 15 feet from the back wall of the house. We have a cabin in the backyard about 30 yards from the house. I have a SmartThings multi sensor just inside the double pane window in the cabin to measure cabin temperature. The smart things hub is next to my wireless router in the house that is wired/bridged to a router in the cabin.

My problem is that the multi sensor in the cabin only stays connected to the smart hub periodically then loses connection. I then need to bring the smart sensor into the house and reconnect and then bring it back out to the cabin. Does anyone see a solution to improving the range of my fSmart hub in this situation? There is a plug-in in the outside soffit of the cabin where a repeater could be plugged in but I live in Minnesota. I also could move the Smart hub to the router in the cabinbut I want to continue to expand smart things integration in the house and this method would only reverse the problem. Any help is appreciated!

Yes, any mains powered zigbee device which includes the Smartthings branded outlet would be able to act as a repeater.

Take a look at the Z-wave and Zigbee appliance switches that are rated for outdoors (for example, I think ge makes one) and check if the temp operating range is anywhere close to the temps you get during Minnesota winters, which might be tough. If you find one that works with Z-wave, then you’d have to put a z-wave temp sensor in your cabin instead of the ST multi (which is Zigbee).

30 yards is far. At our clients homes we have tried a contact sensor for wooden mailboxes and it will not reach 20 yards even with a repeater. The walls, outside elements etc can really reak havoc sometimes

That particular sensor is zigbee. So the first thing to do is to make sure that your SmartThings hub is at least 10 feet away from any Wi-Fi router or access point. Wi-Fi can drown out zigbee.

Next, it sounds like the range is just too far. Exterior walls are always difficult to get signal through, but if you have clear glass windows, that helps. Even so, with typical US residential architecture the rule of thumb for reliable zigbee transmission is about 40 feet per “hop.” With zigbee you can have up to 15 hops into the hub and another 15 out during a message relay. But you would need to have at least one repeater in the yard and maybe two. Battery operated devices do not repeat. Most mains powered devices do.

There is a how to article in the community – created wiki on automating an outbuilding that should give you some more ideas.


You should first try moving the ST hub away from the WiFi router to a less noisy RF location. Higher up will usually give you marginally better range.


Thanks for your suggestion. My closet that has my router and other equipment in is at the center of the house. I don’t have any flexibility in moving the hub any higher than it already is. Any other suggestions? Thanks again

Thanks for everyone’s response. When you refer to mains powered I assume you mean any zigbee plug in device. Can you verify. Also, I assume you don’t mean this is a power line type repeater and the the product only repeats from device to device via wifi. Could you verify this to. Thanks in advance. John

Mains powered means powered from the mains-- any plug-in device is probably a repeater as is any one wired into the wall. So typically light switches, plug in sensors, in the wall outlets, relays wired inside the wall, and pocket sockets. Battery powered devices are not repeaters because it would use up too much battery.

(There are about a dozen different names used for pocket socket by different manufacturers: “plug in modules,” “socket switches,” “smart outlets,” " Smart switches," “smart plugs,” etc. this can get very confusing as it isn’t always clear whether someone means a wall switch, an in the wall receptacle, or a plug-in. So in this forum we tend to use the term “pocket socket” because at least it doesn’t get confused with anything else. :sunglasses:

Pocket sockets are very popular as repeaters because they don’t require any wiring and you can just move them from one outlet to another if you want to test a different location. )

Zigbee and Z wave are both wireless radio frequency protocols. As is Wi-Fi. Three separate protocols. So a zigbee device doesn’t normally use Wi-Fi at all, it doesn’t need to as it is already communicating wirelessly.

If you are interested, you can read more about repeaters in the article in the community – created wiki