Question about the new 700 z-wave chip

Anyone know if the current Hubitat version will fully support the 700 z-wave chip?

No, it requires new hardware.

They could certainly release a new USB stick to add to existing hubs, or make a new hub version. But without additional hardware the existing hubs will not support zwave 700 features.

Zwave 700 devices are backwards compatible though, so zwave 700 devices could be used on hubitat as-is today, but wouldn't get most of the zwave 700 advantages.

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Thanks Jason, exactly what I needed to know. I think it is probably better to hold out until the new 700 series chip is in devices around Q1 2020 and maybe a new Hub is released. Would prefer to take advantages of the increased battery life and range.

This is the disadvantage of having integrated radios. As the standards progress you cannot take advantage of them unless you upgrade...

Plus the USB dongle method means that they can have 1 sku for the hub (but then multiple skus to combine the hub with the various frequency USB dongles to support Z-Wave in different regions).

At the same time the integrated radios make a cleaner, smaller package and allow for a more tightly integrated (and I assume) coded system rather than having to have USB drivers recognize every type of dongle that might be plugged in. Tradeoffs.

I, personally, would prefer the dongle method for future-proofing (such as this exact case) but I am loving my HE anyways. No regrets at all. When they come out with the next model, I will quite likely get it right away. Although I will be bummed to have to redo all my devices and such.

A couple points...

  • It'll probably take quite some time to get 700 series chips in all of the devices you'll probably want to use (switches, outlets, plugs, contact sensors, etc.)
  • When they do come out, they may be higher priced if the selection is limited
  • If you have any current devices, will you get any benefit from the 700 series devices without replacing all your existing devices? (I think z wave / z wave plus had this issue where you wouldn't see the improvements from the plus while there were still non-plus devices connected)

It'd be great for future proofing, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it for now...


Plus is backward compatible (like 700 will be) but you are right, you lose all the benefits of plus (that involved communication) if it did not "talk" plus all the way to a plus-capable controller. 700 will be the same way.

For those that might not know the specs, the brief description is:
Controller will only handle the newest communication method it is capable of. But Z-Wave standards so far require everything to be able to talk to older "stuff". This applies through repeaters also.
Ex1: If 700 repeats through a 500 (plus) to a 700 controller, it will talk as if it was a plus only.
Ex2: If 700 repeats through an original Z-Wave... The controller will only see that method.
Ex3: If a plus repeats through a 700 to the controller, the controller will see the plus methods.

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Can someone explain what I'm missing? When I looked over the SiLabs 700 marketing page seems to be mostly focused on peripherals and doesn't seem like much has changed for the hub?

The new features of the 700 chip set are:

  1. Increased power efficiency
  2. Nicer/better CPU for the peripheral (sounds like a Cortex M0 maybe M4?) with 64kb flash
  3. Due to the new CPU better tools
  4. SmartStart for easy inclusion...? QR code based inclusing...?
  5. Increased TX power (europe) and RX sensitivty
  6. Better wake up of battery power slaves. due to FLiRS.

Everyone would like increased RX sensitivity and the better range that it brings, but this helpful regardless of chip series. This means the 700 chips will hear any hub better, and the hub will hear the peripheral better in europe due to increased TX power regardless of zwave series.

FLiRS looks like the one thing that might get missed if you don't have a 700 series chip the hub, maybe?

With FLiRS, Z-Wave devices continually listen for a low-power wake up beam before consuming full operational power. This extends the battery life of motorized devices like smart locks and shades by maximizing sleep time and minimizing energy draw other than for events and status.

So unless I have a battery operated door lock, seems like 700 chip won't be a huge deal for the hub? What am I missing...?

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No, you are correct. It currently looks like only minimal changes for something like a hub. 700 is an incremental change, not a major rework.

They are nice features, but I probably wouldn't postpone my purchase waiting on it to hit the market in any large supply.

The big change on the hub side is how the driver and low level programming works - although that same benefit extends to the devices as well.

Having spent some time on a gecko zwave dev board (it is down the hall from me), the programming difference between zwave 500 and 700 is like writing in assembly versus c.