Wifi 6 vs z wave and zigbee

Given that wifi 6 mesh routers are becoming more affordable and they can handle more devices, Do you think that furture wifi smart home devices could eventually beat z wave and zigbee devices? Just wondering what our community think about this.

Given that once a device has wifi, the manufacturers cannot help themselves from running everything through their servers, spying on me and slowing response times... I don't want them.

That said, the "market" doesn't share my preferences, so I won't be surprised if a patent dispute or "national security" or some other nonsense makes my offline smarthouse illegal. (only slightly sarcastic here)


Not on battery powered devices, no. Although it depends on your definition of "future". 20 years from now - who knows?

Even with some of the advances in lower powered wifi, it still has a long way to go on both idle power and transmit power versus any of the other purpose built protocols. Wifi has a hard time dropping down to really low data rate levels and has a long preamble/handshake which lengthens the radio "on time".

But wifi, and the handshaking, will continue to improve and might get there eventually. Dunno.

For mains powered widgets? Maybe! Where power isn't a problem, wifi gets a lot more attractive as a transport. It still has to be coupled with better protocols though - the transport is only one part of the whole puzzle. Feel free to read through the thread topic on this forum for more insight there.


WiFi 6 is great for Internet use. I try to connect devices using wired Ethernet when possible. When wired connections are not available, WiFi6 is great.

The problem with WiFi is that it is not a low energy protocol like Z-wave and Zigbee. Thus, while it might work just fine for light bulbs, switches, outlets and dimmers and fans that are powered by mains, it it is not so great for battery powered sensors.

I have a couple of TP-Link Kasa outlets that work with WiFi. They operate on the 2.4 gHz band, so they work just as well with WiFi4 (802.11n) as they do WiFi6. They might even work with WiFI3 (802.11g), but I dumped my "g" routers long ago. The bandwidth required by home automation is quite low, so the higher speed of WiFi6 is not a factor. However, WiFi6 does have somewhat better range than its predecessors.

It seems like Bluetooth LE or some future iteration of Bluetooth could one day be a direct contender in the space with Z-Wave and Zigbee.

there is the Project Connected Home over IP that is looking to have everything be wifi based. a lot of major companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance, etc) have all joined together on it

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Slight correction on that - project CHiP is looking for everything to be IP based, but its not limited to Wi-Fi. It will also include Thread (which is based on the Zigbee underlying physical layer, 802.15.4) and can also be over Bluetooth Low Energy as well as other protocols. Momentum seems to be building for it, but it seems that is probably a few years away.


Having used Bluetooth 5.0 Codecs for audio devices, I am not sure I would trust the current version for automation. Perhaps in the future an updated version might work, but then it would not be all that different from Zigbee.

Bluetooth, Zigbee, and WiFi all operate somewhere around 2.4 gHz.

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