When it comes to repeaters, Zigbee lightbulbs make me crazy.
It’s very clear that ZLL bulbs repeat for others ZLL bulbs on the same network. You can test this with any hue bridge. It’s obvious that the bulbs repeat for each other.
SmartThings support has long had a published article that says that the GE link bulbs will act as repeaters when connected directly to the SmartThings hub. SmartThings engineering staff have confirmed that for me. But for over a year, some community members have been saying they don’t see them acting as repeaters.
I personally put 6 GE lightbulbs on one link hub (not the wink hub, the link hub, The little white square that plugs directly into the wall like a wall wart) and there was no question that the bulbs were repeating for each other. Range throughout the house depended on bulb placement, and when the hub was on the far side, removing a bulb in the center would lose communications with bulbs further past it.
Osram Lightify bulbs use the ZLL for their European models and ZHA for their US models. At one point, you could ask Osram support and they would do a firmware update to enable a profile change, but they seemed to stop doing that sometime last fall. That primarily matters if you wanted to connect devices to a Hue bridge. But it also means it’s really hard to know exactly what profiles any individual Osram device is using when somebody posts to the forum. We have members who swear the American bulbs will act as ZHA repeaters, and other members who swear they don’t.
multiple reports on multiple forums that Cree bulbs do not handle groupcasting well. That affects their ability to act as repeaters in some circumstances.
@JohnR posted a map of his zigbee network late last year showing Hue bulbs acting as ZHA repeaters when connected directly to the smartthings hub. Since then, he has posted updates saying that they sometimes work, but are not always reliable in passing along messages except for other Hue bulbs. He speculated that there might be a timing issue where the bulbs were slower than other devices and consequently messages were being dropped. Since Phillips only certifies the bulbs for the ZLL use, their support won’t even discuss them being used as ZHA repeaters.
yes, there is a new zigbee 3.0 profile due out soon (it’s already quite late), but it’s a Frankenstein monster stitched together from all the other existing profiles. It’s intended to provide backwards capability with any zigbee profile, but it is not going to change the behavior of any existing device. It’s really hard to predict what it’s going to do to repeating. Or what it’s going to do to the ZLL profile since that’s the only profile that doesn’t require a coordinator. But it’s not going to instantly make all existing zigbee devices able to talk to each other. It’s just going to try to clean up things going forward while not losing backwards compatibility. Early reports are that a lot of things are going to continue to be siloed, there will just be a 3.0 Coordinator that can talk to each silo.
All of which means – – what? I don’t Know, and I’m not sure anyone else does either. It’s clear that the ZLL bulb manufacturers didn’t care that much about what would happen if their devices were used with the ZHA profile. They got basic on off and dim, and they just didn’t worry much about repeating. Especially repeating for non-bulb ZHA devices.
So all I can say now is that the ZLL bulbs do repeat for other ZLL bulbs on the same network. That’s obvious in most cases.
What happens when you put a ZLL bulb on a ZHA network just seems to vary a lot. Some people continue to report that it works just fine as a ZHA repeater. Other people say it doesn’t work at all. Still other people say it works sometimes but misses some messages.
Like I said, drives me crazy.
At this point, it seems likely that a zigbee bulb paired directly to the smartthings hub May help strengthen your zigbee mesh, but you shouldn’t rely on it as the only ZHA repeater in a zone as it may miss some messages.
@Sticks18 , @Tyler , @tpmanley , @jody.albritton