To Zigbee or not to Zigbee. Is that a question?

image The Swedish meatball emoji.

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So perhaps it wasn't just FUD.

I was wrong. From the Digi website

XBee-PRO 900HP
    Long Range 900 MHz OEM RF Module
    Superior LOS range of up to 28 miles* with high-gain antenna
    Simplified AT command set and advanced XBee API 
    Over-the-air firmware updates
    Software-selectable channel mask for interference immunity
    Advanced sleep modes: sleeping routers, pin sleep, cyclic sleep
    Try these modules out with a XBee-PRO 900HP DigiMesh Kit

If Z-Wave was the cheaper option, guess what I would have more of? I don't like all the include, exclude, repair stuff, but money talks.

So what are the good cheaper ZigBee alternatives?

Some folks seem to be pretty positive on Samsung’s latest sensors, and they are fairly low cost.

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Yes, unfortunatly as much as I hate to throw recomendations in that direction, they work, and are reasonably priced.
Also, the Sylvania contact and motion sensors are out there, these are centralite oem, same as the iris V2 devices, but slightly more homely looking...


Agree completely. I have one of the Sylvania and it’s fantastic but it can’t match the looks of the Samsung. I didn’t keep it but I bought a newer Samsung and it was really good.

Visonic MCT-340 E Contact/Temperature Sensor can be found for $15-ish. I picked up a couple for $11 each + free shipping (shoulda bought a dozen at that price). Also, we have a hack

There are a lot of zigabee advocates here.....and much of the industry is pushing wifi plus zigabee as the new home automation standards...mostly because manufacturers want to minimize their expenses and zigabee runs on the 2.4ghz band and doesn't require an additional radio plus zigabee devices can be tweaked so that they are in essence proprietary....forcing lockin of customers to specific brands and hubs (hue, iris v1, smart things future direction?).

It's easy to give in to the non stop marketing and ease of use of zigabee. Iris, other than its migration to v2, was a well run zigabee focused automation system. A proprietary system can innovate faster than a cross platform one …..but might end up in the long run buggier and less stable.

But, technically, I think a house built on zwave plus running at 900mhz for low bandwidth sensors/locks and 802.11ad wifi running at 2.4ghz for high bandwidth cameras/complex devices makes the most sense. Devices have different needs and this combination makes very good sense. 802.11ad will get rid of the bandwidth and device limits associated with 2.4ghz access points. As for zwave plus - you get much less bandwidth congestion, longer range, real interoperability, and the 700 series zwave plus devices will have very, very long battery life (potentially up to 10yrs on a single battery).

Most of the benefits of zigabee are on the vendor side, not the home owner - which might be why amazon is pushing it.

I'm using aeotec zwave bulbs for the time being. It does help to have a full zwave plus, not mixed mesh. Zwave plus does allow device discovery far from the hub with good repeaters and the possibility of future automated over the air device firmware updates regardless of device vendor.

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Of these three hubs, only one adopted a non standard zigbee profile (iris v1), but later supported zha and zll like the others, hue being primarily a bulb hub, doesn't support zha devices.

I don't agree with this, zigbee devices of a given type are far more interoperable than their zwave counterparts, largely due to zigbees more highly defined reporting and configuration schema.
From a device and hub vendors perspective this translates into less development costs.
I see this as a benefit to the end consumer, not a detraction.

Not that it matters, but personally while I have an equal number of zigbee and zwave devices, and having written a significant number of drivers for both protocols, if I were to start from scratch i would go all Zigbee.

Another less known, zigbee advantage being battery devices they sleep differently than zwave, zigbee devices per spec check into their parent for pending messages every 7.x seconds max, zwave battery devices have no spec driven check in interval. This is why many zwave drivers have pending status bits indicating the remaining unconfigured parameters, while none of the the zigbee devices require this.
With zigbee devices you can push configuration changes without the need to manually or programitacally wake the device up.


The original reason I went with Zwave was that there didn't seem to be as broad a range of devices. Ten years or so later that may not be the case. I'm not sure how much more I would build out my devices although if things were considerably less expensive, I might add a bunch of new sensors.

To me, that still seems to be the case.

But -unless you're chasing Banggood items- they're not often 'considerably' less expensive ...and you need more to build out the mesh.


Oh yeah, Ikea.

My decision was made for me. I have too much interference from neighbors for a lot of zigbee. I have a handful of zigbee devices (15 or so) but I'm used to sometimes huge delays with them. Also, I started down the zigbee path stronger than I do now but got frustrated that some of my spec (sylvania) repeaters dropped the cheap Xiaomi and slightly out of spec zigbee devices frequently so I backed off.

(BTW, I bought three tradfri plugs to repeat the Xiaomi deivces but... they are just too big and ugly for me and my wife... plus I still have two RGBW controllers that will drop Xiaomi so it didn't fix anyway.)

Why choose one or the other? Pick the best device for the job.

In my house I have primarily (all) zwave dimmers and switches. My in-wall outlets are zwave, the plugin outlets are primarily zigbee, and I have a mix of zigbee and zwave sensors, although most are zigbee.

I also have a Hue hub and a fair number of hue bulbs.

I find the ST zigbee stuff to be rock solid, and I use a mix of zwave brands (GE/Jasco, Zooz, & cooper I think).

Both I say!

That’s been my strategy as well, but I live in a relatively small apartment, so a weak zigbee and/or z-wave mesh isn’t much of an issue for me, regardless of how many/few devices of each protocol I use.

Yeah, my place is a 3 floor house of about 2800 sq ft, but it's stick built, and has very little metalwork on the upper two floors. Since all the floors are roughly equivalent in size, I seem to have very little signal blockage from the hub and a couple of Zigbee Plugs (repeaters) placed around the house.

I'm also fortunate to have a 'large' 1 Acre lot with reasonable setbacks between myself and my neighbors, both of whom would seem to be luddites in respect to Smart Home Tech (Zwave/Zigbee), so no worries there either!

My meshes seem to work pretty well. I was concerned about the basement, but since I moved from ST to Hubitat, I haven't had any problems to speak of, even with the Hub on the second floor. I did read the Xbee monster thread though, and through a couple Samsung Zigbee plugs in a couple of rooms on the first floor to act as repeaters (just in case!).


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That is usually my strategy in anything I do. But in this case, what is the best for the job? If I add Zigbee outdoors, the problem would be building out the mesh for the outbuildings.
I already have Zwave switches and contacts in all the outside buildings but I would like more motion sensors with temperature and a bunch of additional contact sensors. Indoors I would like to add some leak detectors and some more motion sensors.
Indoors I wouldn't have a problem with Zigbee, but outdoors, I just don't have places to wire in something (I really, really don't like plug in repeaters). A cheaper alternative was appealing, but what are they? I don't readily see much cheaper Zigbee devices other than Ikea repeaters and I don't want to rely on plug in repeaters.

Good Points.

My garage tilt sensor is Zwave. Zooz has a multisensor that does motion and temp, as well as an outdoor motion sensor.

Zwave contact sensors? hmmm. Seems like this might be useful, although I have no knowledge of it beyond what you read here: FortrezZ

There are a couple of other things mentioned on this link:

My interior door and window sensors are all Samsung, although I have a Monoprice door sensor I've been meaning to drill my door for...


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