Z-Wave/Zigbee range extender

Are people actually using these, or do they just buy smartplugs?

plugs, wall switches, etc.

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I have a couple of aeotec extenders. One is behind the buffet in the dining room, and the other is behind a headboard in the guest bedroom. Their low profile makes them perfect for those otherwise useless outlets.

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As you probably know, zwave repeats only for Z wave and Zigbee repeats only for zigbee.

Most Mains powered devices will repeat for their own protocol. The exception is usually warning devices like smoke sensors where you don’t want the smoke detector’s own message to be delayed because it’s repeating a message for a light switch somewhere. But otherwise, if it’s running on mains power, it probably repeats for its own protocol.

Zwave

Single purpose zwave extenders were useful back during the third generation of z wave when not every device used full power.

But we are now in the fifth generation (Z wave plus) And pretty much every mains powered device now transmits at full power, so you just don’t need the single purpose extenders anymore. People commonly use plug in pocket sockets, Light switches, zwave lightbulbs, And in wall micros as repeaters. They’re all good. :sunglasses:

If you still have older leftover single purpose extenders, you can certainly use them to strengthen the mesh, but there’s not much reason to go out and buy new ones these days.

Zigbee

Zigbee is a somewhat different situation. The zigbee profiles used for Home Automation are very low power and typically have a range of only about 15 m per device. However, you do see people occasionally add a much higher powered zigbee pro device if they need to get signal from one building to another or for use in an outdoor sensornet, typically on a farm. You can get range of a kilometer or even more from these, but they use a lot more power in operations.

But for ordinary everyday indoor use, it’s the same situation as z wave. You just use almost any mains powered device and it will also act as a repeater. Plug-in pocket sockets, Light switches, and in wall micros.

Zigbee light bulbs are much trickier than Z wave light bulbs, though, and there is a lot of variation from brand to brand. See the FAQ:

Conclusion

You probably don’t need a special purpose extender unless you are trying to get zigbee signal from one building to another. Just lay out the backbone of your network in a sensible way and your other mains powered devices can easily handle the repeating requirements for your network.

Start with post 11 in the following FAQ, then go up to the top of that thread and read the whole thing. :sunglasses:

I imagine most of us run both on the same hub. What I’ve found to be the easiest and cheapest is using Zooz light switches in every room - this puts a strong zwave repeater in every room.

And I bought a handful of Ikea plugs and placed one in every room. A few are never used or just always on but used for different devices - bathroom plug. This puts a zigbee repeater in every room as well.

With that sort of set up you know that every device is within range of a repeater and unless you have some sprawling mansion, no two repeaters are that far apart either.

Ikea plugs are $10 and Zooz switches generally run ~$35 but are obviously handy for much more than repeating

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I still have only a tiny network for Zigbee, but use an Ikea plug to get to the ST hub. Right now I don’t see a reason to use a dedicated repeater, just use plugs strategically placed.

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Same sort of thing for me. Outlets covered by furniture are a good spot for a repeater

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I often wish you could disable devices from being repeaters. Some lights in my backyard insist on routing through some Sylvania bulbs that are flakey repeaters in my experience.

I know you can unplug the bulbs and reset the zigbee network, but they tend to go back in the mix somehow. I’ve got plenty of plugs and switches.

I have one Sylvania bulb and have the same problems with it being a repeater. Things just disconnect. I moved the bulb to a different part of the house to get it away from the other devices.