Minimizing RF Traffic

I am thinking about what is the most efficient way to minimize RF
(ZWave and Zigbee) traffic and if this is worth it (I guess, yes)?

I am using only RM. I know, few other applications have built-in
traffic optimization but RM does not have it (yet).
Since traffic optimization is done on the application level I assume
neither ZWave nor Zigbee protocols does not care about it.
Next level could be Device Drivers but this is also not a case.
I am talking about optimization for the Control Commands such as
ON, OFF, Set Color, etc. sent to the devices.
Obviously Status Reporting traffic cannot be optimized unless you
can dynamically instruct the device not to send it.
Something like send a commands "start/stop status reporting".
This should be done on the device level but currently is not implemented.

So, my question is:
"is it worth to add logic to the RM rules for optimizing RF traffic?"
(If "yes", I know how to add this logic to the rules.)

First, I suppose it might be important to clarify your question. You mean things like not sending an "on" command if a device is already on, correct?

If so, my opinion on whether it is worth it is: no, unless you are having problems. There are two reasons for this. First, such an implementation depends on a device accurately reporting state back to the hub. Most devices (unless you have one that doesn't, like one of the pre-Plus GE/Jasco Z-Wave switches) report their status back to the hub accurately most of the time, but "optimization" can cause problems if they don't. So, this can actually cause problems in some cases. The only problem it would really solve is if you have lots of devices you're trying to control and your network isn't able to handle all of these commands at once. There are other ways around this problem, like "metering" (spacing out commands) or group broadcasting (only available for Zigbee right now, and it usually helps).

Second, such an app/rule takes more time to write and is more complex (so the chances of causing a problem by making a mistake there are higher than they would be otherwise, plus it may not even be worth your time in the first place). So again, my suggestion would be to spend your time where it is worth it, which may not be here.

Everyone's environment is different, and other people may have different opinions, so I'm not saying this is universally a bad idea--just my thoughts and my reasoning. :slight_smile: (If you're wondering what I do, I've only had one issue where I think this has matterd: Z-Wave blinds. I spaced commands between each blind out by a few seconds and haven't noticed any problems. Most of that work is done with the metering option in the Groups app, not me in a rule. I also avoid Z-Wave bulbs, though I do have a couple; most of my bulbs are Hue on a Hue Bridge, which does group broadcasting with rooms/zones for you, but the same is possible when directly paired to Hubitat if you set it up.)

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Thank you very much for your opinion.
Yes, was was thinking about sending redundant On/Off, etc commands.
There is always pros and cons for what should be done and how.
I have no idea what is going on ether ZWave and Zigbee network and
how busy is RF. Shortly I will get SiLab ZSick and convert it to Zniffer.
At least I should be able to see what going on on the ZWave RF.
BTW, is it something similar tool for the Zigbee?
Yes, optimization definitely will add a complexity to the rules but
for myself this is not a big deal (long experience with designing
digital logic).
And of course, you are 100+% correct- every case is unique.
There is no just simple common rule for dealing with optimization.

Have you noticed unacceptable delays in how quickly your automations are running (or other unexpected behavior)?

After I performed massive cleaning on the ZWave network everything
became very stable and reasonably fast.
However once in a while very noticeable delays are happening randomly.
As of now I have no idea why and unfortunately cannot come up
with somewhat reasonable explanation. Because these delays are
very random it is very hard to debug these cases.

Home automation devices, especially those that are battery powered are designed to minimize RF transmissions. The protocols are designed with a low data rate. Zigbee uses transmission rates ranging from 20 kpbs up to 250 kpbs. Z-wave is even slower with rates from 9.6 kbps up to 100 kpbs. Data is sent in short bursts called packets. Some devices may only check in with the hub every few hours, so transmissions are minimal.

In contrast, your WiFi router sends data many times faster. An 802.11n router using the 2.4 gHz frequency will send data up to 300 mbps, that is more than 1000x faster than Zigbee. Routers using 5 gHz frequencies are several times faster than that, often exceeding 1 gbps.

Thus, if you desire to reduce RF congestion in your home, the best way to do that is to focus on WiFi devices, especially those using 2.4 gHz channels which share the same frequency space as Zigbee and Bluetooth.

If you have devices that can be connected to your router using Ethernet cables rather than WiFi, it is best to hard wire them. Some devices are designed to operate with WiFi, but can be connected using an Ethernet adapter. I have a Fire TV stick operating in that manner.

If you have a device (computer, tablet, cell phone, etc.) that can operate at either 2.4 gHz or 5 gHz, make sure it is using 5 gHz channels to reduce congestion on the 2.4 gHz band.

The final thing you can do is chose your WiFi and Zigbee channels carefully. On the 2.4 gHz WiFi, the primary channels are 1, 6 and 11 as these channels do not overlap. Zigbee channel 15 fits into a narrow gap between WiFi channels 1 and 6. Zigbee channel 20 fits into a narrow gap between WiFi channels 6 and 11. If you can get all your WiFi devices off channel 11, that will significantly reduce congestion on Zigbee channels 20 and higher. If your Zigbee devices can operate on channel 25 or 26, that is ideal as it is at the upper end of WiFI channel 11.

Optimizing your WiFi will have a far greater impact on RF traffic that you will ever achieve making changes to your rules.

Well, for the Ethernent connections my preference is wherever possible
is wires. If it is WiFi then yes, 5GHz is a preference.
Now I moved from house to the apartment complex.
Sure, I can see gazillion of WiFi routers on 2.4Ghz band.
Surprisingly my Zigbee network is very stable unlike ZWave.
At the beginning I tried to avoid Zigbee devices because of potential
RF interfere. But it happens to be opposite.
ZWave has no interference (I don't know for sure but I hope) but
unfortunately far less stable vs Zigbee.

Like you, I have had more problems with stability of my Z-wave mesh than Zigbee. Others have reported similar issues. I am not quite sure why.

Since you live in an apartment complex, it is hard to say what type of RF interference you might have coming from your neighbors.

If I remember correctly, the high channels on zigbee are limited in power, so you may not get the same coverage as you would with the lower channels. I believe it is the channels 25 and 26 with this limitation. Someone please correct me if I am wrong (again).

You are partially correct, 26 is lower power. 25 and lower are all the same power

50% correct is better than my average. :slightly_smiling_face: