Z-Wave Repeater

I live in a condo at floor 2 and would like to increase my reach in the garage (3 floors down). How far can a repeater like this (http://aeotec.com/z-wave-repeater) extend? Floors are really well isolated.

As a side note, concerning “Unlock when I arrive” lab app, if I set it with my mobile phone, doors will unlock way too early (bad as there are other people in the building when I’m 1 street away). And when I use my presence keychain sensor, I need to wait 10-15 seconds in front of my doors before it unlocks. That’s why I want to increase the reach of my z-wave, unless you guys have better ideas?

Generally all active devices are repeaters, so I would spend the money on something more useful that would work as a repeater also. Maybe an outdoor light module?

If you’ve got an area that could work, then what @docwisdom says makes sense… but I modify ‘active’ to say ‘powered’. As in a device that is plugged into an outlet or hardwired into house current. Usually battery powered devices are not repeaters.

If I recall correctly, Z-wave generally has a 30 foot range… probably more than that in an ideal situation (clear line of sight), but because of walls and doors and such, 30 is probably a more realistic figure.

Also, be aware that this is a z-wave repeater. Many of the “SmartThings” branded items are Zigbee, not Z-wave (Presence Sensors, Mutli-Sensors, Motion Detectors), so if you’re looking at using one of these devices in your Garage, a z-wave repeater won’t help with that.

Very good point! I didn’t even know that part.

I happen to have that Aeon repeater that was part of a bundle when I bought my Vera Lite. I successfully excluded the repeater from the Vera, but I’ve had no love at all getting it paired up with the ST hub. I’ve been able to pair it up again, and once again exclude it from the Vera, so I know it’s working, just not with ST. In my case I have an Ecolink garage door tilt sensor that properly reports about half of the time and I know it’s due to distance and the obstructions in between. I guess I’ll just install a wall outlet somewhere in between.


The idea was to extend the reach of my presence sensors. Are there any solutions to extend zigbee?

@djnightlife a SmartSense Motion sensor when plugged in with a USB cable is a router. As is the new SmartPower Outlet. Both will be able to extend your network.

@urman how far will it extend it? Can it cross a floor ?


It depends on a lot of things like what’s in the way (walls, doors, furniture) as well as what other signals might be interfering. Zigbee uses the same frequency range as WiFi, so a lot of WiFi chatter may make it harder for ZigBee signals to get through. That said, I think it should be able to cross a floor easily enough. I have a Motion Detector mounted in an upstairs window on the side of my house. It “points” down the road in the direction I come home (I live on a dead-end road, so only ever approach from one direction).

There are times when it my presence sensor will be detected 3 or 4 houses away. Of course, this is clear line of sight with no walls or anything in the way and no Wifi sources closer than 25 feet, so this is pretty close to ideal conditions, but it does give you an idea of max usable range.

I’m having problems getting commands and status consistently to my Schlage Century deadbolt, which uses Z-Wave, so I’m looking for a Z-Ware repeater to help with that. Since the Smart Things powered devices are still Zigbee I assume that they’re not Z-Wave repeaters, right? So what’s the best Z-Wave repeater to use with Smart Things?

Some ST branded devices are zigbee, some are zwave, you may want to ask support or check the Shop description. For example, the ST Lighting Kit includes one zigbee plug and one zwave plug.

I used the zwave plug from that kit as the repeater to my front door, and it greatly improved lock performance.

I don’t think there’s a big difference between one device and another if you just want to add another node to the mesh network indoors. Just consider line of sight and try to imagine signals pinging from one zwave device to another. Typical zwave range is about 60 feet although sometimes the waves bounce to your advantage and you get a longer reach.

Note that you can get interference from some furniture as well as walls. I am wheelchair dependent, and in certain positions my wheelchair definitely blocks the signals. We also have a large metal trashcan which was problematic. Moving it literally 6" to the right greatly improved mesh performance.

Aeon has a zwave repeater whose main advantage is price. But otherwise any plug in or hard wired zwave device should act as a repeater, it’s a mesh network.

Also, in general only Zwave and zigbee devices that plug in or are hardwired will act as repeaters, battery operated devices usually don’t repeat in order to extend battery life. It’s possible for a company to include a repeater in a battery-operated device, they just don’t usually. And a device can only be a repeater if it’s drawing power. But if a lamp is plugged into a zwave receptacle the lamp can be off and the receptacle still acts as a repeater. So most people just stick in another receptacle (in wall or plug in) to act as a repeater.

And we should also note that you can’t just plug in a repeater device and expect everything to improve–you have to get the network to recognize the new paths available. This article from the ST blog explains the concept. The detailed zwave instructions in the blog article comments are out of date, there’s a better way to remesh the zwave network now due to one of the updates since the blog article was written… But all the other stuff applies

@rcrowe getting a zwave repeater module itself is a easy diy project for people that don’t want to replace switches and outlets with smart ones. Many members here and well as myself have had great success with Linear/evolve smart switches and outlets, because you can add them into ST and they double as repeaters.

So I’m a bit new to this. What do you mean linear?

Will this switch extend my network as well:

Yes, as it is hardwired. Smoke detectors and CO2 sensors are the main types of hardwired devices known not to repeat due to safety reasons.

These are brand names like GE

Nortek is a major manufacturer of zwave devices in the US. They release devices under multiple brand names: GoControl and Linear are two of their brands. :sunglasses:

And, yes, the GE master switches are repeaters, although the auxiliaries are not because they don’t have their own zwave radios, the auxiliaries are really just wired remotes for the their Master switch.

Does this mean that each z-wave light switch that I would use acts as a repeater? Thx!


Pretty much all mains – powered zwave devices Will act as repeaters. This includes light switches, in wall receptacles, plug in pocket sockets, plug-in sensors, and in wall relays. Battery powered devices do not generally act as repeaters, because it would use up too much battery life.


So the hub being at the other end of the home will not matter so much if each room has a switch? If so, this is WAY cool. Thanks for all of your information. I’ll try to reach more and ask less. I’m reading through all of the recommendations from my thread earlier.

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Yes, that’s correct.

Both Z wave and zigbee home automation use a “mesh” topology where The mains powered devices can pass along messages for other devices until eventually the message reaches the hub. This can greatly extend the range of your network.

Z wave plus has the longest range for an individual device , usually about 60 feet inside a typical US home, but allows for a maximum of four “hops” per message. So the total range from hub to an end device like a sensor ends up being about 240 feet. If you place the hub in the center of your home both vertically and horizontally, that should be enough to cover most typical residential homes in the US.

Zigbee has a shorter range, around 40 feet per device in a typical US home, but allows for 15 hops into the hub and another 15 hops out. So it can actually cover a much bigger area even though each individual hop is shorter.

Battery powered devices don’t pass along messages for other devices, but they still participate in the network by asking their closest mains powered neighbor to pass along messages for them. :sunglasses: