Zigbee or zwave, which one is more prone to disconnects?

The reason I ask is because I have a zwave Aeon Labs alarm device that keeps disconnecting from the ST Hub at less than 12 feet from the hub. The problem is that it’s NOT reconnecting automatically like a WIFI device, it just shows up in ST Offline, and it’s a pain to reconnect, really a pain.
I know zwave was suppose to have a better range, but maybe not a better connectivity.
I am looking to buy some Door Sensors, and I don’t know what technology to use better.
From your experience waht do you guys recommend?

It’s not a matter of one protocol versus the other, it’s just how you have laid out your local network, and in particular the “backbone“ you have of devices which are capable of repeating. Zwave repeats only for Z wave. Zigbee repeats only for Zigbee.

In both protocols, a Repeater is typically a device which is connected to Mains power. Battery powered devices do not typically repeat because it would eat up too much battery life. But there are a few exceptions.

Sengled has decided that none of their Zigbee devices will act as repeaters. The ring alarm system has a battery powered zwave repeater which is to keep the security sensors working even if the power has gone out.

Most smoke detectors, even if they are mains powered, do not act as repeaters because nobody wants a smoke alarm to be delayed because the device is busy repeating a message for a light switch somewhere.

So, as always, the first rule of home automation applies: “the model number matters.“


As long as you have laid down a good backbone, either protocol should be reliable. Z wave does have somewhat longer range for individual devices, but then it is limited to four “hops“ per message while the Zigbee profile that smartthings uses can have up to 15. So both protocols can cover the same total distance easily, although it might take more devices with Zigbee.


Zigbee is a bit better than Z wave at handling high humidity situations, which is why it is slightly preferred for outdoor sensors and may be a little more reliable in a bathroom. But most people don’t notice a difference.

Zigbee has somewhat better power management, which is why you will notice that the inexpensive Zigbee sensors tend to be a bit smaller than Z wave sensors in the same price range. That’s because the Zigbee can use smaller batteries.

On The other hand, Wi-Fi can drown out zigbee, but does not usually interfere with zwave, so Z wave has historically been preferred for fixed point devices like light switches in DIY Projects where the homeowner may not have the tools to effectively identify and work around interference zones.


Have you had a chance to read the FAQ on wireless range and repeaters? It should answer most of your questions.

Go to post 11 in that FAQ, read that, and then go up to the top of the thread and read the whole thing. I will link directly to post 11.

A Guide to Wireless Range & Repeaters - #11 by JDRoberts

But as long as you have enough repeaters for each protocol, you should not notice a difference in reliability.

So both are good protocols, it’s just a matter of your local layout. :sunglasses:


Whatever works.

No seriously. I know it sounds trite. Some people have horrible times with Zwave, others (like me) have horrid times finding holes in the WIFI to park a zigbee signal in. This will be a experimentation on your part. Also, if it doesn’t work the first time there may be environmental issues around you can work around. ZWave and Zigbee are both great options, but not all options work for all people in all cases. You will (AND SHOULD) get MULTIPLE kinds of answers to that question you asked and it’s ok…


Is this the Aeon Labs Zwave Siren? What model?

What driver are you using with the device? Do you know if you’re using a new Edge driver? Or perhaps the stock DTH or something you installed?

I’m curious how long the device goes before being marked “offline”. Zwave devices (especially powered) are usually pretty stable unless there’s a range issue. Some of the device handlers use a “device health” parameter with logic that used to work really well but in the last 18 months or so it’s not reliable for all devices. Devices can be marked as Offline when they aren’t really.


I guess it’s the driver that was created by adding the device in that app (the new app) by selecting aeon labs alarm. I think ti takes a while, it happened to me once to forget unplugged, and after I saw it offline in the app, I plugged it back and it wouldn’t appear again. I remember having trouble reinstalling it

In the end, with what I can find right now on Amazon, I ended up with two top sensor contenders
Aqara door and window sensor - zigbee
Ring Alarm contact sensor (2nd gen) - zwave

So what do you guys think about the winner, here?

For contact and motion sensors I prefer ZigBee. They seem faster to respond. Of course your mesh fabric is important in determining which battery devices would work best.

I would not use Aqara devices on anything except their own hub. In the past they didn’t conform to ZigBee standards causing issues on other platforms including ST. They may work better now if they say they are ZigBee 3.0 devices but there are other manufacturers that do follow the spec.

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I agree: Aqara devices work well with their own hubs, but are prone to disconnect when paired with hubs of other brands. There are some workarounds, but they can be tedious. You will find lots of discussion of this in the forum.