Easing into the zigbee world of devices. Need direction

Very good to know.
"It's parent device." I get that; the outlet is the device closest to the mailbox. Is there a way to "see" the Zigbee network and the various device relationships? I use an IP scanner to see all my network devices, but am not aware of a way to poll Zigbee.

The built-in options are limited--the only thing is the table that the http://YourHubIP/hub/zigbee/getChildAndRouteInfo URL will spit out. You won't (necessarily) see all devices here, just ones in either direct range of the hub or close enough (one "hop"/repeater, I think?) that they show up.

Some community members use an Xbee to map their network, act as a (good) router, or both. There is a thread with lots of information: Everything Xbee. The XCTU software you need to "program" the module can also build a map of the network, whether the Xbee is added as a router (which you'd do for Hubitat) or acting as a coordinator. DeCONZ is another piece of software I know of that can map Zigbee networks, but it only works with a ConBee (or RaspBee) and I don't think there's a way to join those as routers/repeaters, only coordinators, so I don't think those would work with Hubitat.

But for the most part, Zigbee (and Z-Wave) are good enough about figuring out routes and there's usually not much reason to look into this kind of thing unless you're having problems--besides curiosity. :slight_smile:

Understood. When Tony mentioned "Parent device", I suddenly envisioned a star topology network, and wondered about a visualization. Likely wont need anything like that, but gotta ask questions to learn.

It's a mesh topology: the powered devices/"routers" are options that both "end devices," i.e., non-repeaters, and other routers/repeaters can route through. "Parent device" just means the device that the device in question is routing through/to, whether that be a router or the hub directly.

There are ways to visualize it, just not built in to Hubitat. The built-in "hidden" URL I mentioned above does show you at least partial information, just in a tabular format and not the graphs you might see some people make. But usually there's no reason to do either other than fun. :slight_smile: (Which, I confess, it is sometimes...)

The Zigbee designated parent/child relationship is part of the protocol-- a Zigbee battery powered device becomes a child device of one particular router at join time (the parent, which is an always-on router or the hub), and remains so until some disruption (or change in the environment) provokes it to find another one through an architected rejoin process. The parent can also evict the child if it hasn't checked in within a specified time interval; it can support only a limited number of child devices, so it needs to free up resources for re-use.

Though a child will keep track of other potential parent routers (it listens to their periodic link status messages), as long as it remains in the designated 'child table' of the parent, all communications to/from the rest of the network are only via that one parent device-- not directly from other routers in the mesh.

Messages intended for the child are routed to the parent, stored, and get retrieved during the child's wakeup interval when it polls the parent router. Unlike Z-Wave battery devices (which ignore and lose messages sent while they are sleeping), a Zigbee battery device is designed to have messages sent to it while it is asleep; they're received and held by the parent.

Lots of advantages to this child/parent scheme-- no need to physically 'wake up' a sleeping Zigbee device to immediately configure it (it will retrieve the config parameters from the parent on its next wakeup interval, within seconds), also no need for the special beaming repeaters that make Z-Wave battery operated locks possible.

A comment about motion sensors.
I was just trying to install a motion sensor at someone's house.
It was a bathroom, and I put the sensor on the wood casing of the door, hoping to turn on the switch immediately upon entering the bathroom.
I tried using the Sonoff. Great, small form factor. However, it took 3 seconds to turn on the light.
OK, I then put in one of my old centralite (Samsung V2) motion sensors. I don't think you can get them anymore. Response was instant. Worked perfectly. Not as small as the Sonoff, doesn't look as nice, but works like nobody's business.
I also think the Tuya (Zigbee) motion sensor responds quickly.

About to hit "Order" on yet more devices from Amazon. Thought I'd confirm. I seem to have found my Zigbee distance limits. The small Sonoff sensors (contact-motion-temp) don't appear to act as Zigbee repeaters or extenders.
Are the powered zigbee devices, (outlets, wall switches, smart plugs) the ones that effectively act as range extenders or Parents?

Most mains-powered Zigbee devices act as repeaters (whether directly powered or USB-powered). The rare exceptions I know of to this are Sengled products (both their bulbs and outlets; and bulbs are something you generally want to avoid as repeaters for other reasons) and the Hampton Bay Zigbee Fan Controller ceiling module. Battery powered devices do not act as repeaters--it would greatly negatively affect their battery life to be "on" all the time listening for messages to repeat. So, your conclusion is correct.

If you're looking for a recommendation, you'll get lots. :slight_smile: If you have a need for a specific type of powered device (e.g., switch, dimmer, smart outlet/plug, etc.) and can find a Zigbee version of it, that's an easy way to take care of two things with one device. There are also dedicated "repeater" devices like the Ikea Trådfri USB repeater, which is small and isn't too expensive (though does cost more than Ikea's smart plug that is also a repeater, though one that doesn't seem to have strong signal in my experience).

From the Z-Wave side of the world, here is a good thread discussing popular Z-Wave products: My Favorite Z-Wave Devices (Currently)

Don't listen to those Z-wave guys! Stay Zigbee! heh

Believe me, my muddled little mind can't afford yet another standard and associated learning curve right now.

There does not appear to be a standard or style indicator on Zigbee devices to let me know if it's a repeater or non repeating devices. Seems, other than the ones you listed, most AC powered units will have the bigger radio and capacity to act as a repeater. Is that a semi safe conclusion?

I'm not a Zigbee guy or a Z-Wave guy. If anything I'm a Lutron Clear Connect guy.
In reality, it's hard to find all the devices you will need to do an entire house automation if you constrain yourself to only one wireless protocol. I go best of breed. My lighting controls are all Lutron. It's fast, highly reliable, and if I'm not around a Lutron electrician can figure it out. My motion sensors are almost all Zigbee. The Zigbee sensors just seem to be quicker to respond. The rest is a mix of Zigbee and Z-Wave - water sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, door/window sensors . . .

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There are more z-wave items available, or so it seems. That is a problem in some cases. In the US, I couldn't find a zigbee 60amp 2 pole relay. And the radio distances are shorter. But if you can get your mesh right using wired zigbee devices then you end up with a lower-maintenance, self-healing network.

Okay, just ordered a pair of these. As I expand my network, these will allow me to easily test range to help fill in my mesh. They were pretty inexpensive, and specifically stated that they act as repeaters. Appreciate the help, all. now back to my Blue-Iris and Sharptools projects.

1-step forward, 2 amazon purchases back | 1-step forward....

But first, out to plow Snow before it gets dark and drops to -10 tonight.
6 degrees now, and that's the high for the next 5 days.



Yes. Same for Zigbee or Z-Wave. If it’s powered by AC, the general rule is it repeats ( there are exceptions, but few).

If it runs on battery, it is an end device and does not repeat because the power required would drain the batteries in no time (Z-Wave has a some devices that will repeat when joined connected to a power source, but will not repeat if joined while running in batteries).

Like others have said, you should be good the distances you're talking about.

And know that in a worst case scenario you can take that Ikea Repeater and separate it from it's USB plug with a USB cable (not too long) and then stick the repeater/antenna module in a weatherproof plastic box under an outside eve and avoid whatever signal blocking you might have in that shop. I have a fully metal outbuilding where I did this. (Side note: I was still amazed how much of that signal still got out through vents and seams to reach local devices outside...but still, the repeater placed outside was a big help)

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