Just got my device, and find it annoying to try and add devices. You can't add it via the mobile app it seems unless it's a Z-Wave? Because it seems for everything else I have to use the web or the web on the phone and have the device with in 15 feet of the hub. So I essentially have to carry it around the house and find a plug near by. Is this really the way to add devices?
My experience has been this:
- the mobile app is not useful for adding devices, but the built in website is sufficient.
- in a dense living environment, like a townhome or apartment the distance to the hub matters a lot more. In a house, competing radios are affecting the SNR as much and I’m able to pair even older pre Plus era zwave from across the house.
- make sure to run an zwave exclude on the device before including i. If the exclude succeeds, the include is likely to succeed too.
- pairing the zigbee devices is about the same
Augmenting what @durable-navy-blue-ot said, Hubitat is different from a lot of hubs in that they segregate Admin from User.
Admin == Adding/Removing devices; Selecting Devices an App are allowed to use; Etc.
User == Controlling or viewing the state of devices.
The above are ultra simplified, but the Mobile app is focused on the user functionality that can be performed from anywhere in the world. "Is there a Leak?" "Are the windows/doors closed?" "Cleaning people are there, let me unlock the door." and so on.
Admin functions often require touching the actual device, Include, for instance. Then you want to add that new device to some Rules and to a specific Dashboard. (Moving the tiles around on a single dashboard is a "user" function. Adding the device to the dashboard in the first place is Admin.) You'll want to use a browser for that, and if you're not inside the home, you'll want to VPN in.
I have what I imagine is a fully automated home, I don't use the Mobile App. It's unlikely I ever will. But I've VPN'd in countless times and "adjusted stuff." I do have a set of Dashboards via shortcut on my mobile devices, but not the Hubitat App. For me this is ideal. I want the security that the segregation provides.
Adding my voice to the above: I rarely use the mobile app. (Actually, I have it set up on a few devices, but it's mostly just a vehicle to receive push notifications and feed geopresence information to my hub--two functions it provides, none of which you need the mobile app for since there are also other options, but this one is an easy option.) It's also nice for occasional Dashboard access when away, since it's easier than finding a cloud Dashboard link you'd have to have grabbed beforehand (though that's also easy if you actually do it, unlike me).
Since you mentioned Z-Wave devices and the mobile app, I'm assuming you're using Z-Wave Smart Start. This is the pairing method where you scan the QR code and the device gets more or less automatically added. I've also never done that--I've always used "classic" inclusion, which you can do from the hub's admin UI, the same as you can for Zigbee and LAN devices (go to Devices > Add Device). This page is served locally from your hub and be accessed directly using your favorite web browser on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, phone, etc., as long as you're on the same network. It's similar to the admin interface of a router, network printer, or other device you may also have configured in this way at home.
The mobile app can help you find this page (Tools > Connect to Hub, or Tools > Find Hubs if that's not there), but going to find.hubitat.com yourself might be easier. Even easier long-term is reserving a "static" (DHCP reserved) address for your hub in your router--then you can just bookmark that address and get to it easily whenever, as long as you're on your LAN. (A reservation or static isn't strictly necessary, but it does make things easier since the IP address may change from time to time without it.) IMHO, this is easiest on a desktop, laptop, or tablet, but the UI is responsive and a phone would technically also work.
As far as pairing devices, both Z-Wave Plus devices (probably anything you're buying these days--and certainly so if you're using Smart Start) and Zigbee devices should be able to pair through your mesh. You will probably want to start near the hub and work your way out so you form a usable mesh as you go--otherwise you may, indeed, run into issues where the device needs to be close to the hub to pair. That can still be something you try for troubleshooting pairing, but it shouldn't usually be necessary unless your device manual specifically calls for it (e.g., some older locks or garage door controllers).
As with essentially any z-wave or zigbee hub, adding devices within about ten feet of the hub leads to a better long term experience. That's not unique to Hubitat, I've found. You then install the device permanently where you wish to place it, AFTER it has been added. I think that's the real issue you might be having, rather than the app vs. web admin. If you don't like that, I'd suggest another platform that's neither z-wave nor zigbee.
To add to the above, if you create your z-wave and zigbee meshes by adding line-powered devices in concentric spheres around the hub, then you should not have to move the hub around to pair line or battery-powered devices.
This is not necessary for most z-wave and (afaik) all zigbee devices. As others have detailed above, if one has healthy z-wave and zigbee meshes, pairing in place (ie where the device will actually be used) works just fine.
As a friend of mine says when she disagrees with someone, "Well, you do you."
I've found it helps quite a bit. I've paired near the hub, and I've paired "in place" with a very strong mesh, and I know what works for me, but your mileage may vary.
I can’t comment on your personal experience, of course. But I would suggest not suggesting to others that they either pair their devices this way, or find a new platform:
As everybody mentioned, you can use the web interface to build a mesh, starting with devices closer to the hub and adding further away devices after the closer ones.
This shouldn't be necessary for Zigbee devices if you have a sufficient mesh (aside from some "problem devices" like the Hampton Bay Fan Controller), but it was often recommended for "classic"/pre-Plus Z-Wave devices. Newer ones, however, should support Network Wide Inclusion, or NWI, and make this unnecessary. This is why Hubitat's docs recommend pairing in place: How to Build a Solid Z-Wave Mesh - Hubitat Documentation. (When I was new on SmartThings, I remember them recommending pairing near the hub. I had their v1 hub, which was classic Z-Wave. This advice probably stuck around for a while after the introduction of Z-Wave Plus, too. I'm not sure what they or other manufacturers recommend nowadays.)
Not doubting your experience--everyone's network and environment is different, and pairing a Z-Wave Plus (or Zigbee) device in place shouldn't cause problems given the ability to self-heal or manually run a repair if needed. Worst case is probably that you find out your mesh doesn't reach the destination location, the device won't work, and then you wouldn't have been able to pair it there, either.
But the need to do this shouldn't be the norm nowadays.
Well, to the OP and others reading this, good luck with whatever you decide to do. Apparently a lot of folks think you can install and then add. Give it a go... If it works, great! If not, exclude it and try my approach later. Good luck with it, whatever you decide.
Yes, based on the technical capabilities of zigbee devices, and most z-wave devices made in the last ~10 years. Plus the recommendations from staff in other threads that have addressed the same question.
This has generally worked for me. But I have a strong zigbee and z-wave mesh networks. That being said, there are some devices that pair "incompletely" unless they are very close to the hub. A good example would be Mijia zigbee 3.0 lux sensors. These sensors work well with Hubitat, but they exchange a lot of information with the hub during pairing. So I've only ever paired them successfully within a foot of the hub. Although post-pairing they work from their final locations.
The other thing you can do is use something like an Aoetec Z-Stick Gen 5+ which has an internal battery. You pair it with HE as a secondary controller and then walk around and include as needed. Note: this is ONLY good for pairing Z-Wave devices with no security which is what I do for the most part. My border devices like locks are all Zigbee.
Reminds me of pairing my Lightify 4-button switches. The have worked perfectly ever since, but I paired them about 6 inches from the hub with no other Zigbee devices connected yet.
Wow thanks for all the input! I'm making slow progress. I didn't think about the mesh setup which makes it easier. I'm still trying to figure out what some of my devices even are.
@user299 Have you developed any ghosts? Also post a current copy of your z-wave settings page so we can see where you're at.