Work Over Wifi? It's own network? Range?

I’m new to smarthings and am wondering, do the “things” (motion sensors, door sensors etc) work via your existing wifi network or do they only connect via wireless directly to the hub?

We have just over an acre of property, decent sized main home (older, so solid, with walls that wifi doesn’t penetrate well) and a small guess house about 60 feet away. I have several unifi ap’s setup to get solid signal throughout but the motion sensors in the guest house are REALLY hit or miss; hence my question?



SmartThings supports several different protocols. The hub itself actually doesn’t have a Wi-Fi radio at all, it connects via ethernet connector cable to your regular router.

The SmartThings hub is a white plastic box that contains four different communication devices. There is a Z wave controller, zigbee coordinator, the ethernet connector, and an inactive Bluetooth radio.

And a device, like a motion sensor, might use any one of these protocols. If it is a Z wave device, it will communicate directly with the Z wave controller in the hub. It does not use Wi-Fi.

If it is a zigbee device, specifically if it uses the zigbee home automation profile (ZHA 1.2). It will communicate directly with the zigbee coordinator in the hub. Again, Wi-Fi is not involved.

If it is a Wi-Fi device, it might communicate with the hub over your local area network by going through your router, or it might communicate with the hub “cloud to cloud” where it talks to its own account over the Internet, that account sends information to the SmartThings cloud, and the SmartThings cloud communicates back to the hub at your house Via the internet and the hub’s Ethernet connection.

You can Read more about the protocols that SmartThings supports in the community – created wiki FAQ:

As far as your guesthouse, I suggest you read the wiki article on how to automate an outbuilding. It should give you some ideas. :sunglasses:

Also, the stronger your Wi-Fi is, the more difficult it will be for your zigbee devices to communicate because wifi can drown out zigbee. ( Z wave is on a different band and is unaffected.) so if you have a lot of boosted Wi-Fi on your property, you may find that the Z wave motion sensors work better.


These are samsung smarthings motion sensors and open/close sensors, do the samsung ones work over wifi? Thats what I’m trying to find out; there is zero information on this online.

EDIT: I finally found it online, they work via zigbee, which kind of sucks for my guest house. So, next question then, can you have TWO hubs on the same network?

The Samsung smart things motion sensors use zigbee. This is mentioned in the user guide for the device as well as the technical specifications on most vendor sites. There is also a label either on the back of the device or inside the battery compartment that will say zigbee or have the zigbee logo. It will be next to the FCC license number.

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Short answer is no, not over WiFi.

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I found where it says zigbee, thanks, but can anyone tell me if two hubs can be used in the same network / home so the sensors that are too far away from one hub can connect to a different one and all work together?


That’s covered in the wiki article on automating an outbuilding. :sunglasses:

That page actually doesnt say anything about whether you can have two hubs work in unison on the same network. It talks about a ton of alternatives to X, Y or Z … but doesn’t say anything about it.

Just looking for a yes or no…two of them either will work together just fine or won’t?

This is the first paragraph of the wiki article.

Automating an outbuilding can be challenging for many reasons. This article assumes the network in your main building has a SmartThings hub as the primary controller. SmartThings cloud architecture does not allow the use of two SmartThings hubs on the same account “location” [1]

And if you follow that link which is in brackets, you would come to the official support article

So the reason the alternatives are listed is because the first paragraph already says you can’t have more than one hub and have them work together and control the same devices.

I realize this stuff is probably annoying, confusing, and sounds way too technical. It’s the price of having the hub support multiple protocols. The main reason we have a wiki is because so many people have the same questions, and the answers do get fairly complicated if they’re going to cover the kinds of variations that different set ups will have.

Just be patient with us, and people will be glad to help. We just can’t necessarily give simple answers to what are in fact fairly complex questions. SmartThings is a very powerful, very flexible system. But it’s not always intuitive, and the answers are often different for different protocols, which is what makes them complicated.


How far are we talking? Is it a different building? If not and we are just talking about a normal home, one hub should be fine with a few zigbee and zwave wired devices throughout the house.

When I say wired devices I mean: wall switches, receptacles, pocket sockets.

For example…

Zigbee Wall Switch / Dimmer

Zigbee Wall Plug (pocket socket)

Z-Wave Dimmer

He says it’s

a small guest house about 60 feet away.

And that he is specifically having problems with the SmartThings branded motion sensors in that building.

Since they are zigbee, he may be able to put a zigbee repeater near a glass window in the main building facing the guest house, and another in the guest house, and get signal into the guesthouse that way. But the distance is a little far. It would be worth trying.

If that doesn’t work, he’ll have to Consider some of the other options mentioned in the wiki article on automating an outbuilding. Maybe a zigbee repeater in the yard, or one of the other alternatives.

Somehow I missed the guest house. It doesn’t sound like he has ethernet out there thought… Trying the repeater might be his best bet.

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Really just depends on exactly what he needs it for. If he has good Wi-Fi in the building, and he just wants motion sensors to turn on lights or to alert him, there are a couple of good Wi-Fi motion sensors that might work. Or he could try Z wave plus Motion sensors, as they’ll have longer individual range and might not need a repeater in the yard.

Just comes to the details, and probably some trial and error testing.

Now I am motivated. I’ll have to give this a try tomorrow.

I have a plug about 80ft from my house I was considering attempting to use the gardenspot minis at.

Garden spots in the yard should be a lot easier to reach than motion sensors in the guesthouse. First, you don’t have to go through another exterior wall, which makes a big difference. And second, garden spots are mains powered, they will have a stronger signal and are not sleepy devices. :sunglasses:

Yea, I left the part out about a contact sensor in the mailbox.