Z-Wave network health

(Joel) #1

Hi All,

I thought I’d come to the offical forum to bring up some queries I have regarding SmartThings functionality.

  1. When working with Z-wave, I’m assuming the SmartThings Hub will be main brains of the operation, and hence needs to ensure if Z-Wave is used, that the mesh network is optimized. Other offerings have functionality that is vital to Z-wave networks where the mesh network is large (or small…) and has an optimization feature for example. This ensures no dead nodes come into play. Maybe I’ve misunderstood what SmartThings Z-wave support really means and you need another device to manage the Z-Wave network.

  2. I asked this via twitter yesterday, but thought I’d ask here: Will there be any support for a device that controls say a bluetooth device (i.e PS3) and / or Infrared? Seems pretty simple and a base requirements for IR, but bluetooth i’m interested in. The logitech device here comes to mind.

Thank you - very excited about how simple & powerful Smartthings is!


(Joel) #2

I’m hoping the network health is something that is on the table as it’s pretty important to have this if you want to support z-wave isn’t it?

(Ben Edwards) #3

Joel, Thanks for bringing this up here. We can easily miss things on Twitter :slight_smile: We have been focused on ZigBee network health and “self repair” of that network. Our hope is that those efforts will be duplicated for Z-Wave as well.

(Joel) #4

hi Ben - thanks for the reply. I’m guessing we’ll be able to find out if this functionality exists before the launch date so we can choose to go ahead or not?

I thought Z-wave was the winner in terms of wireless automation. Why are you focusing on zigbee?

(Chrisb) #5

I’ll readily admit that I’m not highly knowledgeable on Z-wave or Zigbee, so I’m very curious to know if there is a “winner” right now.  My minor research right now seemed to indicate that Zigbee was more popular with utility companies and the many corps.  Z-wave was more popular with the end consumer.

(Adam) #6

I have seen both zigbee and zwave working simultaneously. From a technical standpoint them seme pretty equivalent. But from a business standpoint it looks like zwave is big business choice and zigbee is open source community choice.

(Joel) #7

Zigbee us available to multiple manufacturers. Zwave is not. (only one I believe.

But zwave holds higher range and is really the standard in home automation for the consumer. There is a great table showing the difference but I can’t find it.

For my lights I am going to be using These www.diyhomeautomation.com.au/home-automation-products/46-wireless-1-touch-wall-switch.html for example. This model is Australian zwave frequency. Unfortunately we are limited to what we can get here but in the states you guys are set!


(Chrisb) #8

Found this link:


Lots of good info, but here’s the summary if you don’t want to read the whole story:


ZigBee and Z-Wave target the same general applications. Of the two, ZigBee is by far the more versatile since it can be configured for virtually any short-range wireless task. Profiles are readily available to minimize development time for common applications. On the other hand the protocol is far more complex, resulting in longer development times. Z-Wave uses a far simpler protocol, so development can be faster and simpler.

Z-Wave chips are available from only one source, Sigma Designs. They sell only to OEMs, ODM, and other major clients. More than 500 consumer home control products are available in stores like Home Depot and Lowes, but many don’t state that Z-Wave is used.

ZigBee chips are available from Ember, Freescale, GreenPeak, Microchip Technology, and Texas Instruments. Complete, ready to use ZigBee modules are also available from multiple sources like Atmel, CEL, Digi, Jennic, Lemos, and RFM.

For a given power level of 0 dBm, Z-Wave’s range is greater than ZigBee simply because the lower operating frequency supports it with pure physics (Friis formula). That also translates into a more reliable connection in some applications.

ZigBee uses the widely populated 2.4-GHz ISM band, which it must share with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other radios that can produce interference. Most ZigBee devices have co-existence features that help mitigate interference, yet the potential is greater in the 2.4-GHz band than the 908.42-MHz channel of Z-Wave.

It would appear that Z-wave has a stronger signal, and shorter development time, but is also a closed system and only available to large scale OEMs, etc.  Zigbee is weaker signal and might have issues with interfering with BT and WiFi, but is far more versatile and readily available to anyone.

It would seem that Z-wave is the stronger, more reliable choice.  But the fact that it’s closed and you probably have to pay a royalty to the Z-wave people means that Zigbee likely isn’t going away anytime soon.  Garage-workshop developers will likely gravitate towards the openness of Zigbee.

(Joel) #9

well i havn’t commited eitherway, but will be early next year.

As an Australian I have limited choice on what I can get locally. Z-Wave is available at a few stores, but I have not seen Zigbee anywhere. I know z-wave works on diff freq for countries, looks like Zigbee is the same.

I guess assuming smartthings support it, they’ll make it available internationally and supply correct frequencies/voltages.

(Andrew) #10

As part of building both ZigBee and Z-Wave support into the platform, and ensuring international compliance for the unique frequencies and power amplifications allowed.

The beauty is - as you may have seen in the live demo at Le Web - this gives our users the broadest possible application of use cases.  We just In the US, for example, there aren’t many in wall switches and outlets on ZigBee.  But the Z-Wave devices are readily available from General Electric (trusted).   So we did a demo of a ZigBee pluggable outlet controlling a Christmas tree and Z-Wave in-wall switches controlling the overhead lights, all working together.

So we think by building a more open platform, we’ll let consumers choose the right technology for the right use case.

(Rock Lobster) #11
As part of building both ZigBee and Z-Wave support into the platform, and ensuring international compliance for the unique frequencies and power amplifications allowed.
I guess this means a global Z-Wave controller in the hub (a first?), or different SKU for every region?

The good news is that I don´t have to change the european Z-wave switches I have and can spend my money on new Smart Things!

(Joel) #12

that would be pretty cool if it allows multiple z-wave freq’s running at once. but i don’t think that will be possible right? as the z-wave is mesh. if you have different types of freq running, they won’t be able to create the strong network.

hopefully Ben can give an update soon on if the repair z-wave network will be a feature in smartthings. pretty vital if you ask me. But I haven’t even touched a z-wave device! yet…