How to Build Your Z-Wave Mesh

Building a robust and resilient Z-Wave network can be challenging even to those who are truly tech savvy.

While Z-wave network is "self-organizing" and has "self-healing" capabilities, achieving optimal structure requires patience, time and a few good tips.

The following Knowledge Base article gives you just enough tips to build a strong Z-Wave mesh:

How to Build Your Z-Wave Mesh (or Keeping your Z-Wave Mesh Happy)

If you use Z-Wave devices, a strong Z-Wave network (mesh) is the key to a successful home automation. This network is the way Z-Wave devices communicate with each other and with the Hubitat Elevation hub, by passing commands back and forth.

Z-Wave devices build this communication mesh automatically, but it is not instantaneous. You MUST give your Z-Wave mesh time to establish itself BEFORE automating your Z-Wave devices. Automating devices too quickly can lead to dropped device and other issues down the road.

To maintain a successful communication, all Z-Wave devices must be accessible. Adding devices near the Hubitat Elevation hub, then moving them to their final location may also lead to dropped device and other issues down the road.

Follow these procedures when discovering your Z-Wave devices, to establish a strong mesh:

For less than 20 Z-Wave Devices

  1. Include (discover) your Z-Wave repeating devices one at a time, starting with the repeating device closest to your hub and moving outward. A Z-Wave repeating device is generally any device that is plugged into an outlet (“mains-powered”).
  2. Discover your battery powered Z-Wave devices.
  3. Let your hub run without any automations for 2-4 hours. This allows the mesh to establish itself.
  4. Run a Z-Wave repair utility (Settings > Z-Wave information > Repair Z-Wave).

For 20-80 Z-Wave Devices

It is strongly recommended that you add no more than 20 Z-Wave devices at one time. If you need to add more, then plan of adding them in groups of 20 devices or less. Follow steps 1-4 above for each group. IT is best not to add any automations between adding groups of devices. But if you must start automating devices before adding your next group, you will need to wait 3 days to allow the mesh to settle.

For 80+ Z-Wave Devices

Follow the procedures above to add your first 80 devices. After adding your 4th group of 20, stop adding devices and do not build any automations for 3 days. This will establish a strong Z-Wave mesh that is required to support such a system. After the 3-day break-in period, you can add 20 more devices per day, again following steps 1-4 for each group. Wait at least 8 hours between adding each group of 20.

Once you have added all of your Z-Wave devices, wait 3 days for the mesh to settle.