Smartest Home

Z-Wave Or Zigbee

by Soheil Sereshki | August 8, 2018
Z-Wave Or Zigbee

Z-wave or Zigbee?

Which protocol is better, Z-wave or Zigbee? It is an open conversation like Sydney or Melbourne? Each protocol has its cons and pros.

Zigbee is an IEEE 802.15.4-based specification used to create personal area networks with small, low-power digital radios, for home automation systems that need wireless connection.

The technology defined by the Zigbee specification intended to be simpler and less expensive than other wireless protocols such as Bluetooth or more general one Wi-Fi used in applications include wireless light switches, home energy monitors, security systems, and other consumer and industrial equipment that requires short-range low-rate wireless data transfer.

Zigbee need low power which limits transmission distances to 10–100 meters line-of-sight.

Zigbee was conceived in 1998, standardized in 2003, and revised in 2006. The name refers to the waggle dance of honey bees after their return to the beehive.

Zigbee operates in radio bands: 2.4 GHz in most jurisdictions worldwide; though some devices also use 784 MHz in China, 868 MHz in Europe and 915 MHz in the USA and Australia, however even those regions and countries still use 2.4 GHz for most commercial Zigbee devices for home use.

Similarly, Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol used primarily for home automation. It is a mesh network using low-energy radio waves to communicate from appliance to appliance allowing for wireless control of residential appliances and other devices, such as lighting control, security systems, thermostats, windows, locks, swimming pools and garage door openers.

Like other protocols and systems aimed at the home and office automation market, a Z-Wave automation system can be controlled from a wireless keyfob, a wall-mounted keypad or through smartphones, tablets or computers, with a Z-Wave gateway or central control device serving as both the hub controller and portal to the outside.

It provides interoperability between home control systems of different manufacturers that are a part of its alliance. There are a growing number of interoperable Z-Wave products; over 1,700 in 2017, and over 2,400 by 2018.

The Z-Wave protocol was developed by Zensys, a Danish company based in Copenhagen, in 2001. The Z-Wave Alliance was established in 2005 as a

consortium of companies that make connected appliances controlled through apps on smartphones, tablets or computers using Z-Wave wireless mesh networking technology. The alliance is a formal association focussed on both the expansion of Z-Wave and the continued interoperability of any device that utilises Z-Wave

Z-Wave is designed to provide reliable, low-latency transmission of small data packets at data rates up to 100kbit/s. The throughput is 40kbit/s and suitable for control and sensor applications, unlike Wi-Fi and other IEEE 802.11-based wireless LAN systems that are designed primarily for high data rates.

Communication distance between two nodes is about 30 meters, and with message ability to hop up to four times between nodes, it gives enough coverage for most residential houses. Modulation is by Manchester channel encoding.

Z-Wave operates at 868.42 MHz in Europe, at 908.42 MHz in the North America , 921.4 ; 919.8 in Australia, New Zealand This band competes with some cordless telephones and other consumer electronics devices, but avoids interference with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other systems that operate on the crowded 2.4 GHz band.


For smart-home wireless networking, there are numerous technologies competing to become the standard of choice. Wi-Fi consumes a lot of power, and Bluetooth is limited in signal range and number of devices. Other network standards competing are Z-Wave, Insteon, Thread and ZigBee. Among these, Z-Wave has the longest open-air operating range at 90m (outdoor) and 25m (indoor). Zigbee has more number of devices capability (65,000) while Z-Wave's is 232).

Z-Wave has better interoperability than ZigBee, but ZigBee has a faster data transmission rate. Z-Wave operates at 908 MHz in the US, which has reduced noise and a greater coverage area. ZigBee operates on both 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies. Zigbee and Z-Wave are both mesh networks, this means signals can hop from one device to other device and each device doesn't need to connect to Wi-Fi. But they usually have a central controller which connects to the internet. Z-Wave allows up to four 'hops' between the controller and the device while Zigbee doesn't have a limit.

The Z-Wave MAC/PHY is globally standardized by the International Telecommunications Union as ITU 9959 radio, and the Z-Wave Interoperability, Security (S2), Middleware and Z-Wave over IP specifications were all released into the public domain in 2016, making Z-Wave highly accessible to Internet of Things developers.

From Security point of view both Zigbee and Z-Wave use the same AES-128 symmetric encryption and claim that they are safe and secure.

Some smart home brands that support Zigbee known as Zigbee certified products include:

* Philips Hue

* Wulian

* Samsung SmartThings * Amazon Echo Plus (with Alexa for voice controls) * Hive Active Heating and accessories

* Honeywell thermostats

* Belkin WeMo Link

* Yale smart locks

* ADT Security Hub

* Somfy blinds and drapery motors

* Wulian

* LG SmartThinq And some smart home brands and devices that support Z-Wave include:

* Samsung SmartThings

* Wink hub

* Fibaro

* Honeywell thermostats * Hogar Milo (with Google Assistant for voice controls)

* ADT Security Hub * August smart locks

* Yale smart locks

* Logitech Home Harmony Hub Extender

* Somfy

* GE Appliances

* LG SmartThinq

* Kwikset smart locks

In Smartest Home we provide both Fibaro and Wulian which are based on Z-wave and Zigbee protocols respectively. While Fibaro uses smart modules which provides more compatibility and suitable to retrofit already built homes, Wulian manufactures Smart Switches and Sockets which makes them more cost effective.

Making the Decision

Choosing the best smart home solution and products comes to individual’s requirements and desire.

Before making any decision seek advice from specialist and surly consider your budget.

For more information about Fibaro and Wulian products check our website

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