Zwave 800: smaller, faster, stronger and better battery life

The zwave 800 chip has started shipping to manufacturers. It’s probably another year to 18 months before there’s anything consumers can buy and, yes, you’ll need a new hub, but very cool trajectory. They are really pushing this as a good fit for hotels and resorts, in part because of no interference from WiFi, which is interesting. No mention of Matter. Lots of discussion of the idea that this needs fewer individual devices than Zigbee/thread to cover large properties.

THE BIG ADVANTAGES OVER ZWAVE 700

Even less hackable: there’s an additional security structure called SecureVault to protect admin functions

Much longer range IF devices are using Zwave LR (which most aren’t, yet). Lots of discussion about “beyond the yard” range of up to 1.5 miles (but again, that will require zwave LR). Think parking lots, resort properties, outdoor lighting for multi acre complexes.

Way lower power consumption, down by 60% for receiving. Potential “10 year life” for coin cell batteries. Even if it’s 5, again, very appealing for the hospitality industry.

Smaller physical chip, so potentially smaller devices, helpful for light switch and outlet installations.

There’s some other improvements, too, but then we’re down into engineering details.

LONG TERM INDUSTRY IMPACT

Looks to me like this is the intended future of zwave: automation that can be deployed on really large properties with good security, lower maintenance costs, excellent range, and no interference from Wi-Fi. Hospitality, hospitals, some office complexes and some apartment buildings, but with the idea that individual residents would not be adding their own stuff to the system. I expect to see these packages sold with everything included, professionally installed, and with the option of professional ongoing maintenance.

Many people are not aware that Amazon has a commercial properties division that handles Hotels for their echo devices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of Ring based security/lighting automation rolled out in a similar commercial package with a Z wave component. But a few years off.

Alexa for Hospitality

Zwave’s biggest advantage long-term is that it’s not operating on the same frequencies as Wi-Fi. I don’t know if that’s enough to let it survive without matter support and shifting to an IP based architecture, but I think there are use cases where it makes sense.

I have no idea what this means for individual residential DIY systems. It can’t be a bad thing to have a reason to keep the protocol alive, though. :sunglasses:

Z-Wave Mesh Network Wireless Solutions - Smart Home - Silicon Labs

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And for those not yet familiar with Zwave LR, A separate initiative, Aeotec has a good explainer page.

One important feature is that it will support up to 4,000 devices per network instead of the previous 232. Again, though, you would need a new hub to take advantage of the LR features.

And the technical specs. Note that Zwave LR is not a mesh network: it’s a star, with every device having a direct connection to the hub. For those of us who are engineers, it’s especially interesting that you can mix both topologies on the same hub, which allows for backwards compatibility. So to use zwave LR, you have to have a hub that supports Zwave LR, but then you can have a mix of end devices, some that are using LR and some that are using traditional mesh. :exploding_head:

Both Z-Wave LR and traditional Z-Wave nodes can co-exist within the same network, enabling a wide variety and combination of Z-Wave devices and Z-Wave LR devices. To unlock the full potential of Z-Wave LR, both the gateway/hub and the installed Z-Wave device must feature Z-Wave LR. So long as both the gateway/hub and connected device feature the Z-Wave LR specification, that network has the capability to support both a mesh network and star network.

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