Which network protocol has the longest range?

Does Z-Wave Plus have a longer transmission range than ZiGBee? I have to link to external location about 100 feet from house.

I think you meant network protocol?

The answer is a little bit complicated. In general, zwave plus has a longer range than zigbee home automation. However, zigbee transmits better through water, including rain and snow, so it’s more commonly used for outdoor implementations.

In addition, it is possible to use zigbee pro just as pass along antennas and get a range of 1000 feet or more, but that does require a pretty significant technical set up, so most smartthings customers aren’t doing that, although a couple are.

Finally, wifi has a longer range then either zigbee home automation or Z wave, so it sometimes used for reaching out buildings.

There’s a how to article in the community – created wiki on automating outbuildings that discusses all of these options and some other ones that you will probably find helpful.


So the short answer is Z wave plus, but it may be unreliable if it rains or snows.

The longer answer is read The how to article, and it should give you some good ideas. :sunglasses:

Yes I meant Protocol, I have looked at all the different methods for a mailbox and have tried a few with poor or limited results. I don’t want to hack an existing mailbox alarm, as it becomes expensive. So I was thinking of just a good Open/Close sensor. I tried the SmartThings Multi Purpose sensor and it totally failed. Didn’t even connect once paired. So I am limited. I assume some brands of sensors have better range than others. I know that the FCC requires certain power levels for devices, but we all know some are better than others.

I have an IRIS Smart Plug with the Z-Wave repeater turned on. It is midway between the hub and the mailbox. So about 50 feet from the repeater (In Garage) to the Mailbox. The repeater is on an outside wall in the garage so I wonder if that would help. I read the article and it was very informing, but not sure if any solution would work other than the repeater I have. Also who makes a Zigbee Pro repeater, they must be expensive.

A number of community members have said that the Z wave repeater in the iris plug just doesn’t seem to be reliable. If it’s working for you that’s great, but I just wanted to mention that.

Also remember that walls matter a lot. 50 feet with a wall in between is very different than 50 feet of clearer. Particularly an exterior wall, which generally has more materials that block signal than regular interior walls (unless, of course, you live in adobe or cement house).

Anyway, you can certainly try the Iris plug that you have or a different Z wave plus pocket socket and a zwave plus contact sensor. That may be all you need, although, again, rain or snow may sometimes be a problem.

Remember to run a Z wave repair utility after you put the contact sensor in the mailbox or if you change the position of the pocket socket. It can take a little while for the address tables to fully update, so you might not see the full results until the next day.

Check the error messages after you run the repair, and that will tell you if the contact sensor is reachable. :sunglasses:

Thanks again, I will look for a Z-Wave Plus pocket socket. Any brand better than others?

Sorry, I just noticed you said this is on an exterior wall? That is an actual outside wall exposed to weather?

If so, if it were me, I would wait for the new GE Zwave plus outdoor pocket socket to come on the market. It’s been certified, it’s just not in distribution channels yet. Model number 14284


If I misunderstood, and the outlet is actually inside the garage, DragonTech makes an inexpensive zwave plus pocket socket that’s available now.


But indoors, any zwave plus model should probably be fine.

No it is inside on an outside wall, so the repeater has to be inside. Thanks for all the suggestions I will do my research now.

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Is there a special device type for this or is it recognized by SmartThings?

It’s recognized as a generic zwave on/off outlet. :sunglasses:

Thanks again I ordered it, and will see if it does the job. I will next order the Open?Close sensor. Lots of options, so it will take me some time to do the research.

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My mailbox is 80’ away and I use the NYCE contact sensor with a DIY antenna to get the signal outside the mailbox. I have a Centralite outlet inside the house acting as a ZigBee repeater. It works good, even with the brick veneer on the house.

If you’re interested I can take a pic of the DIY antenna.

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I’d be interested in seeing that antenna pic.

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I might have to find the antenna for the Z-Wave contact sensor when I get it. I haven’t gotten that far yet. Just installed the Dragon Tech Z-Wave Plus Plug. It was the fastest pairing of any device as of yet. it paired over 60 foot from the hub.

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A few more questions regarding using a Z-Wave open/close sensor in a metal mailbox. I know Z-Wave will be blocked by metal mail box, so I have only one option.

1. Mount it inside the box, but how do I ID the antenna, so I can attach an external wire?
2. How do I waterProof it, other than the special two part spray?

3. I can mount it outside if there was a way to add an external contact, would I need an normally open magnet or normaly closed?

The mailbox will be opened to put in the mail, which is presumably the event you want to capture. So most people find the sensor transmits that event just fine because the mailbox is open. I’d suggest you just try a sensor and see if it works without needing to do anything else. BTW, a log of people use a tilt sensor for just this reason. :sunglasses:

If that doesn’t work, usually the next step is just to drill a small hole in the mailbox and put something over the hole which is waterproof but doesn’t block signal. Usually just a thin sheet of plastic will do.

Have you had a chance to look at the following thread yet? It might give you some more ideas.

I ordered the Monoprice Z-Wave plus door and Window sensor. I am not allowed to put holes in the mailbox. How big a hole are you talking about? Is that for the signal to escape? I looked a one of my other brand sensors and they have a copper stiff wire running along the side which I assume is the antenna.

I tried the Tilt sensor and it was broken two times do to it’s large size. That is why I went with the small Monoprice Sensor.

Rather than a contact sensor, which I had a lot of problems with due to a moving letterbox flap in the wind and once having the magnet suspiciously go missing. I just have a smartthings motion sensor inside the box and has worked extremely well over the past year. Temperatures get as low as -5c to as high as 35c+ (black metal post box in the sun) with absolutely no issues. Considering the box is all metal and 20 meters away from the house, wild temperature swings, lots of neighbouring wifi signals etc… I’ve had no problems with connectivity at all.

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That was the first attempt which was a utter failure, tried a number of times in different seasons still no luck. I am stuck with the contact sensor, and will mount it on the door and the magnet in the box. I hope that will work.

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I guess this works with Z-Wave but in my experience that would not work for ZigBee. ZigBee end devices generally poll their router every 5 seconds. The ZigBee spec is to only keep messages at the router for 7 seconds. If they don’t see the router either they just keep trying until the battery dies or they give up altogether after a while.