Zwave plus or Zigbee

Hello smart people,

Im about to buy a few new items to connect to smartthings; sockets and motion detectors. But i am doubting if i want to continue working with Zigbee devices. Maybe i should switch to a zwave plus only system.

In the back hallway i have 2 Hue motion detectors and 1 Xiaomi button connected directly with smartthings and they give me nothing but trouble. They work maybe 90% of the time and the other 10% it stays dark in the hallway. Every now and then they also completely disconnect and i need to re-pair them.

I concidered they are simply too far away from the hub, but it really isnt that far. Also the lamps in that same hallway are a few meters further away from the place where my hubs are and they always work. The lamps (bulbs) are Hue lamps, so they are zigbee aswell. But the difference is that they are connected to the hue hub. So maybe smartthings doesnt work so well with zigbee?

Zwave plus on the other hand i never had any trouble with myself. And i have several devices using this. So right now it feels like this should be the way to go. The only downside is that its more pricy. The Xiaomi buttons look nice and are only 7 dollar each, but they are zigbee.

Also i have several more hue motion detectors which are not connected to smartthings, but straight to the hue hub. Never had a single problem with those. I like the way these detectors look and i would prefer to stick to 1 type of motion detector. But ofcourse its more important to have something that actually works.

What are your thoughts / experiences?

It sounds like you don’t have any zigbee repeaters other than the hub itself. If so, it’s difficult to evaluate one protocol over the other because you really haven’t set up a working mesh network.

Even when your devices are not very far from the hub, it’s better, particularly in the case of Zigbee, to have at least one repeater because it can just smooth out the working of the network. The hub is almost always busy.

Take a look at the following thread. Start with post 11 in that thread, read that, then go back up to the top and read the whole thing. (The topic title is a clickable link)

In general, a lot depends on the local architecture, as well as the strength of your Wi-Fi system. So one household might find zwave plus works better well another finds that zigbee works better, and a third find they can use both. Sometimes it’s just trial and error.

Definitely if you’re going to be using any battery powered Xioami devices I would recommend getting an IKEA Tradfri pocket socket or bulb to act as a repeater for every four or five battery powered Xioami devices.

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Thanks for that useful piece of information.

So if that really is the case it would mean zigbee is pretty bad with smartthings. All i do with zigbee is light up 1 hallway, either by sensor or by a button. If for that simple thing i already need a repeater it just sounds wrong to me.
Especially concidering i have a house full of hue sensors and bulbs connected to the hue hub which all work 100% without any repeaters.

The strength of my wifi could be too strong perhaps. I do have a pretty decent router (if that matters) which is located pretty much next to the smartthings hub. But again i will use to comparison to the hue hub. That hub is also at the same place and does not have the same problem.

I already use several zwave plus pocket sockets and i could order some more. That should give some good coverage since they all function as repeaters. Still seems to be to avoid zigbee would be the best option.

The IKEA Tradfri socket is pretty nice btw. Only 10 euros. I did not know about that device. And so do the small led spots, just need to find a way to make them go on/off when i open a closet door. Those items are all repeaters would most likely solve my problem?

2 little things I wanted to mention… you should move your st hub away from your router and each hue bulb acts as a repeater for the next. Just something to consider with the hue mesh.

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I don’t have any specific advice but I will say that Z-wave plus with SmartThings has its own set of problems.

My experience and that of some others is that once you go beyond 25 to 30 Z-wave plus devices you’ll start seeing … problems.

The heart of my home is a big open room that includes kitchen, dining, living plus the front door and doors to the patio. There are 29 Decora switches around this room controlling inside and outside lights. I’ve converted around 21 of them to smart switches. When I got to somewhere over 15 Z-wave plus devices I started seeing issues (slow response and missed commands).

I’ve swapped out a few Z-wave plus switches for Zigbee and seen some improvement.

I’m convinced that it’s best to go with a combination of Zigbee and Z-wave plus devices. And follow @jdroberts advice on constructing a strong mesh for each.

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I have over 100 devices and I can only offer anecdotal advice in conjunction with @JDRoberts technical advice. I’m an IT guy so not lost with this stuff.
I mix Z-wave and + with Zigbee (lots of Xiaomi). In the long run the only cross to bear is Zigbee repeaters. If I had to start all over everything powered by mains would be Z-Wave and the hub would be the ONLY Zigbee repeater. My only grief has been sleepy Xiaomi with Zigbee repeaters

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@John010 - I would recommend you build a strong mesh network for both standards. It is good practice to have hardwired repeaters that never get powered down distributed throughout the house. IMO, zigbee light bulbs are a good example of what NOT to use as they can be powered down by a switch. Also some brands have a bad reputation as repeaters. When starting out you will have a small number of devices so it is important to pick the first device locations strategically (within reliable signal reach - both ways!). It is not only a matter of distance but also obstacles between the device and the hub or next repeating node (ie: steel fridge, concrete wall). The more repeating nodes you have the easier it is to ensure a device finds a path back to the hub. Having repeaters will also help all your battery powered devices not drain their batteries. Its a pain and expensive to keep replacing batteries.

Both zwave and zigbee devices use very little power and both can suffer from interference and physical obstacles. Sounds like you are in Europe (…Euros mentioned) but not the UK (…meter instead of metre) so there is also a good chance you live in a home made of bricks, concrete, and other materials that can dampen the RF signals significantly. If this is the case, you might find that zigbee gets dampened more than zwave due to its higher operating frequency but I would not exclude it just because of this.

I have a couple hundred devices with most being zwave plus. I am actually looking at converting a portion of my zwave network to zigbee devices as I am tired of the zwave issues I frequently run into. My plan is to replace a number of outlets throughout the house, and possibly some dimmers/switches/fan controllers (not all, just one of these categories) so that I create a strong(er) backbone for zigbee as well. The goal is to spread the network traffic on 2 networks in hopes that my zwave network becomes more reliable and fast.

Going back to your case… you need to check the operating frequency of every zigbee system you have to see what channel/frequency they are operating on. You also need to scan your entire home to see if there are strong wifi networks (including yours) overlapping with the zigbee channels you are using. Interference might be a possible cause for the reliability issues you are having. Anyhow, with a strong mesh network, you should be fine regardless… at least that is my experience. I use Ubiquity Networks Unifi networking gear and have 4 APs around the house. The 4 APs use channels 1, 6, and 11. I also have Hue and ST zigbee networks which surely overlap with my Wifi, however they work perfectly… something I can’t say for zwave. Please note that each system that has its own hub is NOT repeating signals of the same protocol running on other hubs. In other words, HUE zigbee devices do NOT repeat IKEA’s Tradfri zigbee devices. Except for HUE, I am trying to avoid having multiple hubs so I only tend to buy devices that can run on my main automation hubs (ST and Hubitat).

If your router allows you to, set the 2.4GHz channels to just use 20MHz to reduce the chances of overlapping/interference. Move all devices that need bandwidth to 5GHz where you can use wide channels. This strategy works well for me. I don’t let my network gear or devices pick what band to use… I force IoT on 2.4GHz and browsing/media on 5GHz.

As others have mentioned, move your Hue and ST hubs away from the router (if that is where your wifi signal is coming from) or disable the Wifi on the router and use one or more APs installed around the house.

There is lots more to consider but this post is getting to long… most won’t even read it :wink:

Useful read:

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Hi,

Thanks for all the information. It seems that everyone agrees that the best way to go is to use both zwave and zigbee. So i will go and do that.

I do have brick and concrete walls and the hub is located at a bad place. But i only have 2 spots with ethernet cable and both are at bad positions for a hub.
I have tried before to put a wifi extender in the center of the house inside a wooden closet, i clicked an ethernet cable into that extender and connected it to the hub. It did work, but i wasnt happy with it.

Back to zigbee; i have 3 samsung phone chargers around the house. I could replace them with 3 of those ikea chargers with zigbee extender built in. This would be a good start? Also does anyone know if they support fast charging?

Aditionally i was planning on buying some more zwave plus pocket sockets. Instead i will buy some zigbee pocket sockets from ikea, which play nice with smartthings according to @JDRoberts

I can’t speak to IKEA’s quality or whether they follow the zigbee standard properly however I am not a fan of using plug in outlets as repeaters given they can easily be unplugged potentially causing issues to all the zigbee devices relying on that repeater. In the USA, Jasco will soon be selling zigbee 3.0 outlets that fit in your electrical boxes so that is what I picked as my backbone. Currently, I am using Smartthings plug in outlets and a few older Jasco light switches as my backbone. It works but not my ideal solution.

See if you can find an in wall outlet for your country. All zigbee products are listed here:

https://zigbeealliance.org/product_type/certified_product/

If not available, I would put a nice sticker on it that says “DO NOT REMOVE”.