Z-Wave vs ZigBee vs WIFI – Choosing a Standard: Your Smart Home Questions Answered

Z-Wave vs ZigBee vs WIFI – Choosing a Standard: Your Smart Home Questions Answered

hello Automators, thanks for tuning in
again. Every week I get questions about which wireless protocol to use in your
smart home or to basically start your smart home and if you already have some
in your smart home how to continue to move forward and what’s the best
technology that we use now obviously for new home kind of new smart home people
you’re going to struggle with what these are in general so today what I’m
answering is basically z-wave versus ZigBee versus Wi-Fi and I’m going to
give you a breakdown of those technologies and what I think is the
best use case going forward for your home before we go too far forward I want
to tell you about a new thing we’ve started here on the channel now in case
you don’t know I’m now full time as a content creator what that means is I
have more time and space and ability to create more and deeper content for you
this video is an example of how deep and how detailed we can get and also how
easy we can make for you to go ahead and make purchasing decisions so what we’ve
done is we’ve created a patreon channel so if you don’t know what patreon is you
can basically pledge to creators on a monthly basis at a number of different
levels and I’ve set up a number of different levels over on patreon and
that means you can basically pledge to us but what I’ll tell you is I’m not
just looking for your donations I want to give you something back and I want to
start to share basically my knowledge at a deeper level for those people who want
it and for those people who are just getting into it this is a really great
tool and set of resources for you so check the link below and let’s move on
to the comparison here the first thing to talk about is what these protocols
are so z-wave and ZigBee are specially created protocols are standards
basically for smart home communication so they’re intended to be wireless
communication and they allow our smart home devices to pass information back
and forth so when you ask for a smart light to turn on it will
using one of those protocols and it could be using Wi-Fi z-wave or ZigBee at
this point to go ahead and cause that action to occur and it uses the same
protocol to feedback the status essentially okay I’m on at this percent
that you asked for so that’s what these protocols all do now there’s a bit of a
difference inherently to how we’ve been using Wi-Fi versus ZigBee and z-wave
z-wave and ZigBee are both what are called mesh networks now that means that
different devices within that network can actually be hoppers to send
communication down so on a ZigBee or a z-wave that network basically if you
have a device that is a repeater it can send those messages on and send the
messages back and so these networks tend to be relatively robust when we compared
to the original ways we used Wi-Fi and if you remember the early days of Wi-Fi
if you’re old like me then you’ll remember basically one router and out to
all of your devices and the coverage essentially was based on that routers
transmission power so you know that’s what the old Wi-Fi is now we have Wi-Fi
mesh network so you can see the Google home Wi-Fi mesh setups you know those
are a great example where you’ll have three devices in a home and they will be
mesh networked essentially to all of your different Wi-Fi devices giving you
in the case of Google’s where they sell you the 3-pack you’d have three
different routers essentially all on the same network where we start to see
additional differences is in what’s called the carrier frequency now the
carrier frequency is the speed of the wave that travels through the air that
will carry the signal so the ones in the zeros essentially that are being
transmitted back and forth in a z-wave network we’re in the 800 to 900
megahertz band and what you might might remember then
again this is kind of if you’re as old as me lots of the cordless phones early
on where in that 900 megahertz band so those can actually interfere with a
z-wave although generally when you hear people talk about smart home and and
smart home communication z-wave is less interfered with because there are less
of those cordless phones around but if you do have that that’s an important
piece for you to keep in mind ZigBee on the other hand is in what’s
called a 2.4 gigahertz range and that means when you look at Wi-Fi which has
traditionally been in the 2.4 gigahertz range as well those two can interfere
with each other now we’ll talk about that in more detail as we get further
and further but what also happens is Wi-Fi now has the ability to be in the 5
gigahertz band so you have lots of dual band routers out there they give you the
opportunity to be at two point four or five gigahertz if you’re having trouble
at that 2.4 gigahertz range as we talked about these three wireless protocols
then we need to talk about a comparison in terms of security what I’ll tell you
without getting really really deep into the details is all of these protocols
have at least 128 bit encryption on them so you can go above and beyond in some
cases and especially in the world of Wi-Fi there’s lots of different
encryption protocols and things that you can use to increase your security
passwords are obviously the most important piece of that security because
honestly as humans we’re a little bit easier to crack than the average 128 bit
encryption key set so you know on the ZigBee side there’s one thing that
generally people talk about about it being less secure than z-wave and that’s
a physical button press so essentially you know if you’ve used the easy setup
process on your wireless routers where you press a button and then you press a
button on your router and then the to pair and you never had to put in a
password that’s kind of what I’m talking about when I talk about ZigBee not
requiring that they don’t require a physical connection so
time’s that’s accepted as being less secure than what z-wave requires and in
general what your wireless signal requires as well being that these are
wireless protocols we still have to talk about a few more things now number one
how far can they transmit z-wave is generally accepted to transmit up to 100
meters so that’s an incredible distance and I think if you’re talking about a
rural situation where you want to get a connected device out in say a barn or an
external garage and I have lots of those around kind of where I live lots of
people have those and so getting a sensor a motion sensor or a water sensor
out that far could be a challenge with ZigBee which is generally accepted to be
10 to 30 meters now 10 to 30 meters again you have to remember these are
mesh networks so if you have a mesh device or a mesh repeating device that
towards the end of your home and you want to go 30 meters across to your
garage you should be good to do that the the range tends to shorten when there’s
more physical walls in the way or heavier kind of thicker walls as well so
you know that’s generally accepted for that transmission distance z-wave is
obviously a much further distance and that’s get that’s because of the lower
frequency range that it uses actually continuing on there’s a massive massive
differential in terms of how many devices you can comfortably put on these
networks and so z-wave this is where we start to see the tide turn a little bit
for z-wave they can get up to a maximum of 232 z-wave connected devices now
right now you’d think that’s that’s a ton like forget it why would I ever have
232 z-wave devices I’ll talk about that a little bit later now on on the flip
side ZigBee is capable of 65,000 devices
being on the network and I’ll tell you by the time you’re getting anywhere near
that you have bandwidth problems as is you have network problems as is there’s
just too much traffic going on so we’re not going to get to
that on the flip side Wi-Fi can be a very high differential between high end
routers and low end routers so you really have to think about that what I
mean by that is you know a low end router having 10 to 20 devices like a
Google home hub laptops computers and you know other devices that use high
bandwidth like iPads and iPhones 10 to 20 devices on that network at any given
time for a lower-end router is probably going to be your maximum it starts to
extend when we talk about a Wi-Fi light bulb because of Wi-Fi light bulb is not
constantly needing to broadcast or receive transmissions they’re not always
going through an update process so those don’t necessarily count I treat them as
kind of a third or a quarter of a device in general but having so many can be a
struggle for some of those earlier or cheaper routers out there as you get
more expensive and we talked about the mesh Wi-Fi router systems and I’ll get
to a new technology that really changes this as well but as we get to that those
those higher-end mesh router systems I’m thinking sixty to a hundred Wi-Fi
products is not out of the realm of prop of possibility here with current day
technology now as I said I’m going to get to a new technology that changes
that number as well towards the end of the video here there’s a major
difference in how these different standards are being basically managed
throughout the industry so wireless or Wi-Fi and ZigBee are both managed more
like what I’d say standards are managed but like in the industry so Wireless is
obviously a standard the 802 dot 11 all the different versions of 802 dot 11
that standard has been managed for many many years and again I can think way
back to when we were starting with like a and
minh aliy we had the G protocols and the B protocols and those were those were
big big news back then but those have evolved over time and we’re now at a
protocol called a tow 2.11 8x and that’s the new technology that i’m going to
talk to you about in a minute but ZigBee has also managed a lot like a standard
so you can you can go look at their standard for how to implement a ZigBee
device it’s very open and this allows some companies like Philips has done to
create proprietary versions to keep you within their system and again we’re
gonna talk about that but what it does also is it leaves
ZigBee protocol in the hands of many and the difference with z-wave is that is a
proprietary owned protocol and standard so on their website literally if you
have gone through the wrong steps or you’ve used their standard or their
protocol without getting certification they will say if it’s tantamount to IP
theft intellectual property theft so you actually have to work with that company
and the z-wave Alliance to make sure that your device meets their
specifications and you have a certification from them now ZigBee
requires certification as well to be called as a B device but again having it
proprietary on that z-wave protocol to me what that means is that protocol is
in the hands of the few whereas Wireless and ZigBee are
constantly evolving and are in the hands of many and that’s a big differential
for me as we go forward in terms of picking a protocol as we talk about
these wireless standards we have to talk about what those different frequencies
mean so at 2.4 gigahertz what you have is a higher frequency which means more
capability to transmit data and the lower frequency of z-wave that means it
can transfer less data and how does this impact you well as we go forward if we
think about the connected home and really creating automation that’s
smart you know today I can’t necessarily get something like current every second
or every half second from my smart home devices so if I want to use the current
going through a light bulb or say my oven or say whatever appliance I have in
my home right now I probably couldn’t get that fast and accurate data from
z-wave and you know ZigBee is probably going to be able to do that and because
it’s at that higher frequency it’s going to be able to provide you a little more
data but what’s that what that is going to do is utilize that ZigBee Network
more and more as we get more constantly on or consistently on data sources here
in the smart home so the only protocol that’s really being built to manage this
is Wireless so over time and this is part of that new technology discussion
that 802 11 a X protocol is specifically built to increase the number of streams
and the number of essentially on connections that they can use the number
of channels that they have so the number of different connections that they can
create and utilize and not be interfered with on the wireless band so what this
means is Wireless is being set up your Wi-Fi standard is being set up
specifically for the connected home and over time here what we’re going to see
is that continue to get better and better so let me give you an example of
the upgrades from 802 11 AC to 802 11 ax so one of the upgrades here and this is
specifically intended to help people who are in hotels have you ever been in the
hotel where they had where they say they have wireless you get there in the
evening you’re sitting down you go nothing’s working
because basically you’ve run out of connected streams or you’re not able to
maintain a connected stream because the router
having to constantly switch who and what it’s connected to
now the new ax protocol is intended to create longer packets so that means more
information is transferred in a single packet that’s very important because
then it’s one handshake to exchange more information on top of that it is now
capable of up to eight streams of connection per essentially a toe 2.11 ax
transmitter receiver so that’s up from I believe it’s four in AC and so they
basically doubled that what they’ve also been able to do is increase the the
capability or the bandwidth of each of those streams by a factor of four so
that’s an incredible amount of throughput increase just on essentially
one upgrade of the wireless network standard now how does that translate to
you well that means that you’re going to be able to have say today we talked
about kind of that ten to twenty those high bandwidth or high utilizing
products you’re going to be comfortable with a factor of I would say anywhere
from two to 16 times more products depending on how much bandwidth you’re
using all the time on your wireless network so that gives you a factor of
two – I can’t even do the math in my head but it’s somewhere near 600
different devices just on that protocol jump alone so again that’s 600 devices
what I’m talking about there is devices like bulbs if you really wanted to put
that many bulbs in your home that many smart home bulbs you could probably do
that with an ax system and 802 dot eleven ax system on a mesh router system
you could probably get to that level now so with all of this said where does that
leave you as the smart home owner or the smart home builder so you’re building
your new system let’s talk about that situation right now
ZigBee and z-wave are still ahead in terms of devices like these sensors here
so these are Samsung smartthings sensors and this gives you the ability to use
z-wave or ZigBee protocol so the Samsung smartthings hub and the wink hub – for
that matter those are dual protocol capable hubs so you’re going to need a
hub with a z-wave or a ZigBee device and with Samsung smartthings what I like
about them is they have lots of these battery devices and they connect to lots
of external vendors that you ZigBee protocol so here’s an example mice
angled element light bulbs here and these are the the classic bulbs they’re
a ZigBee protocol bulb that means they connect to Samsung smartthings directly
I don’t need another hubs so I still think it’s worth it and I will talk to
you about that interference that we talked about here between ZigBee and
wireless protocols but what I’m saying in general is that having a ZigBee hub
in your home is very beneficial still today and I think it’s still worth it I
wouldn’t go spending thousands and thousands of dollars in the ZigBee
protocol necessarily but I think to go and you know spend 300 to $500 to get a
security system in your home to get a lot of connected bulbs in your home I
think that’s worth it under Samsung smartthings the wink hub – or another
ZigBee hub like the Amazon echo plus – and the echo plus is a very important
device to talk about when we talk about wireless versus ZigBee and how that
interference all goes so the echo plus both the first and the second generation
devices have a ZigBee hub onboard and and for that matter so does the echo
show the new echo show here they have a ZigBee hub onboard so they’re able to
directly connect to these Samsung smartthings sensors the single bulbs
that I talked to you about lots of ZigBee products they can connect
directly to now what also important to notice this is a
wireless receiving and the the device is capable of putting out a wireless
network we know because it creates a wireless network during setup so they
have both a wireless transmitter and a ZigBee transmitter onboard the echo plus
so how bad can that interference be if Amazon can utilize both of those
networks on the same device because in a lot of cases when we’re talking about
network interference we’re talking about devices being too close to each other
broadcasting at the same time and the waves essentially cancelling each other
out so what I’m telling you is it’s not that bad
ZigBee and wireless can coexist and they do in my house on over it’s almost a
hundred devices now in my home that I have for ZigBee and wireless protocols
going at the same time when we talk about this what I’m telling you
ultimately is that ziwei ZigBee sorry and wireless protocols they’re not that
bad together if they can do it on this device and I have upwards of a hundred
devices now in my home between ZigBee and wireless devices there in my smart
home then it’s not that bad guys and you can go ahead and comfortably do that so
what am i recommending if you’re starting out I’m saying start with
wireless and ZigBee so make sure you get yourself a ZigBee hub it’s nice to have
the dual protocol one so that if you want to use some z-wave products and and
you want to go far in terms of transmission range you can do that so
it’s great to have a Samsung smartthings hub there or a wink hub too as well I in
general like Samsung’s hub and their system and how they’re they’re kind of
setting up automation there on their side of things and I’m sure Bixby is
going to be integrated they also have access to appliances and things as well
so you know there’s a lot of benefit with still going with Samsung
smartthings the eko plus again with that ZigBee hub is
capable of a ton as well so ultimately I think you could go with either and that
would be a fine way to start your smart home so now what if you’re one of those
people that already has a z-wave system I’m going to tell you a very similar
thing go get a Samsung smartthings hub and begin your transition process you
can utilize all of those different devices that you have or most of them
they’re not all going to upgrade seamlessly with smart things but in
general go get one of those hubs and start your transition process Samsung
will allow you to transition very easily because they also can connect through
your network to some of your wireless devices that’s how they connect some of
their appliances so they have that capability worked out they know how to
do it and they’re forging forward on that capability with their third version
of the hub so in general just a recap utilize Wi-Fi for your bigger items as
you’re building out your smart home plan 10 to 20 devices if you have kind of an
older router so smart hubs devices like that a thermostat generally tends to be
Wi-Fi although it’s not a big bandwidth device appliances as you’re upgrading
appliances to smart home things kind of plan those to be Wi-Fi based devices
they’re not going to be high bandwidth either but they will on occasion
download you know download updates your TVs things like that those are all going
to be Wi-Fi devices so plan around that now in terms of that protocol I’ve kind
of mentioned go ahead get a ZigBee device to create this other
functionality that’s what I tell you a Samsung smartthings a wink hub 2 or an
echo Plus or an echo show would do the trick in that regard and you know
personally what I’ll tell you is there’s still additional capabilities here with
Samsung smartthings that are over and above what the echo
plus can do in turn of ZigBee hub and the automation these
guys are catching up Amazon is catching up very very quickly and they’ve done
great work with that here in in 2018 and I’m sure it will continue in 2019 but
ultimately Samsung still ahead this is a little more of a technical setup but not
not anything that’s too difficult and of course you’re here watching automate
your life we’re gonna show you how to do those things now on that note guys I
talked about a little bit earlier in the video a new opportunity for you to get
additional content here from automate your life I know you’ve been listening
for a while here but I want to tell you this is the kind of content that I’m
going to be building within my patreon site so I want to really get down into
details give you guys a really strong breakdown and help you make those
decisions in your smart home so that you’re set up for success quite frankly
I’m telling you I don’t think z-wave is future proof enough right now they can
do the work to catch up I worry about the proprietary nature and I worry about
the bandwidth capability of the z-wave protocol so they can do work to catch up
we’ve seen ZigBee do work and we’ve seen Wireless or the Wi-Fi standard do work
to make their protocols better over time so I know z-wave can do it but right now
what I’m recommending to you is what I’ve given you here in the video so of
course head over to that patreon if you love this content head over there the
link is down below join us not only will you help me as a full time content
creator here in the smart home and home automation space but I told you I want
to give you something back for that so thanks again everyone for watching and
we’ll see you next time you


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    Thanks, great informative video! I kind of wish I stumbled on and scene a video like this in the beginning when I first started home automation. I never heard of z-Wave until about 4 months ago from my neighbor. Started home automation about a year ago with my first Amazon Alexa echo Dot. I'm presently running a GB router dual band 2.4/5Ghz and about 35 smart devices. With that I experience connection problems so I purchase a range extender which till today solved the problem.

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    Gareth Jones

    My smart home is mainly built around a SmartThings hub, when I buy devices I try wherever possible to buy ZigBee connected ones to help strengthen the mesh, at this point I've got 80+ connected smart home devices but still retain enough WiFi bandwidth to keep my gamer son satisfied with online gaming, my daughter happy with uploading video content to Tik-Tok & me able to watch 4k content on Netflix

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    I recently set up my "smart home" with smart bulbs, smart plugs, smart things hub and Google home mini. My only gripe is that my Google home mini is inconsistent with connecting to my Belkin smart plugs when giving it voice commands. I get the "*device* is not available right now" or "sorry there was an error with the *device*". The plugs are connected to my mini in the Home App, but just don't always work. Any suggestions why?

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    Gene Yuyiboy Jimenez

    I like that with my Wink hub I can use SmartThings sensors. When I switched from SmartThings to wink I didn’t have to re-buy everything.
    Great video!! 😊👍🏽

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    Lin J

    Excellent! I have purchased the Samsung hub v3. Your show confirms it was a good choice.

    However, there are times the hub disconnects for no apparent reason. Generally, a bit of fiddling about will fix that Or it will just re-connect on its own. I wonder if that’s to do with protocol interference?

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    Cecil Williams

    Best of luck, forgoing day job, difficult. Patreon is growing and many try that route. I hope you have corporate sponsors.

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    Thanks for the video you answewed my question about Zwave, I currently am a Nexia subscriber with a home with over 50 Zwave devices. Is it possible to add the SmartThings hub and run both hubs while transitioning away from Nexia? Can the smart Things hup import from Nexia or will I have add every device and automation and schedule manually?
    Thanks for any advice.

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    Richland Zee

    So I just bought a Lenovo smart speaker and since you didn't mention anything about the google home hub being "dual" zigbee and Wifi capable, is this something that can be updated through software or is it hardware-based? I am an early adopter of home automation and so far I have 1 echo dot, 1 lenovo smart speaker and 4 wifi smart plugs and I think that's only considered 4 connected devices since other 2 are the main "hubs"? I will likely add a few more things as in additional smart plugs up to 10 devices. Will this be ok to just using Wifi? Another question that I have is my wifi plug is compatible with IFTTT. That is something that I'm not familiar with at all but I think it is basically a software program within the device itself? Great content and congrats on your full time job! Btw, you kept saying old, how old are you? Lol.

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    Michael Behan

    Great video. One nitpick though. You kept referring to "wireless" when referring to wifi. All the standards you discussed, Wifi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave, are all "wireless" (plus a whole bunch of other wireless standards out there). Real good video though. I really liked how you presented high level overview of a smart home setup, and I hope you continue to expand on this theme in the future.

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    For me, I try to do the following as the order of preference when choosing product:
    1. Wired (best)
    2. ZigBee (since there's a wider array of devices that are available to me)
    3. Zwave (the number of devices are very limited to me, someone else's milage may vary).
    4. Wifi (I try not to go for devices like this at all costs, but I have some bulbs that are wifi unfortunately and irrigation device that is wifi).

    What I'm interested to know in the future is how Bluetooth will penetrate the market. Im hoping that this will provide a very stable connection and available for phones to interact with them.

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    Walter Gomez

    Brian, a couple of things. 1. the ax system means BOTH WiFi router and the bulb being 802 ax if one is not it will use the protocol of the older device.
    2. The Z-wave network is limited by the Hub if your hub is capable, like HomeSeer then you can add multiple Z-wave natworks and have 232 devices pero Z-wave node.
    And I agree I have Z-wave and WiFi devices all controlled by the same hub. I think selecting the hub is key. One brain to control all. I still wish GHome will enable the Z-wave side that they said is included already.
    Good video bud as always. Oh and I have a power consumption Z-wave and it works fine.

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    Tristyn Russelo

    For anyone considering Samsung SmartThings hub….
    Dont get me wrong. I love my SmartThings home. I have over 60 connected devices. Hue, zwave bulbs, zwave switches and dimmers, motion sensors, zwave door locks, zwave garage door opener, I even have a zwave relay to turn on my gas fireplace. It all works… most of the time.

    The problem with SmartThings (ST) is the app… or should i say APPS… there are 2 . SmartThings and SmartThings Classic (ST Classic). The new app does not do many of the tings that the old one does, and has no support for custom device programming. the new app has only 1 or 2 new useful features, so both are needed to do some things. Some people only use the old app.

    Everything will go well for you for the first month, maybe two, then one day, all of your zwave and zigbee devices will show OFFLINE in the newer app. But all automations still work, google commands still work, and all devices will show working in the classic app. The quickest way to get them back as online in the app is to pull the battery or turn off power, or unscrew the bulb for 10 seconds each, sometimes you need to re-add the device…

    Location detection by phone/app is HORRIBLE on non-samsung devices and works most of the time with samsung phones… My father's Note 8 has not come home in a month supposedly.

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    Tristyn Russelo

    For wireless AX standards to be effective, both the router and the wireless device need to support AX,
    so the router and the smart bulb both need to be AX. here is the problem…. most smart home devices sold TODAY, are using old wireless B, and G wifi chips. bareley any wifi smart devices use N, i have yet to see one use AC… maybe google hub or lenovo display do but… expecting smart devices to be AX ?? someday yes… but they will be expensive, few and far between.

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    Thunderbolts Rock

    Zwave devices in general will consume far less power and generally last longer on the same battery compared to wifi which in my opinion is highly desirable for battery powered smart home devices. Many battery smart home devices are designed to conserved power and not be network chatty to conserved power usage and this not require high bandwidth.

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    Andrea Mitchell

    i am using zigbee , zwave , wifi and 433mhz RF , honestly the 433mhz is the most reliable ( broadlink RM pro) , too bad Android is not very reliable all because i use a bridge app with it that runs on android ,

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    I’m using mostly Zigbee. The devices are tiny in size and batteries can last a couple of years. Z-Wave stuff are more expensive, bigger and draw more current. WiFi I try to stay away from but some devices requires them so no choice. They draw a lot of electricity and therefore needs to be plugged in. If your router or internet is down, you can’t use them. And all of these smart home stuff is still on 2.4Ghz. AX will have nothing to do with smart home stuff. There’s no need for big bandwidth, maybe only for 4k IP cams

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    MO Madness

    If I buy a product and it says uses Z wave. Will an zigbee hub work? Ex the echo plus zigbee? Thanks to anyone who answers

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    Ray Johnson

    if you were a home builder would you use aHattara DIN Rail
    with wifi,BT, z wave ,zigbee and gsm along with smart relays as a start for control and monitoring

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    I have an echo plus … seems to run plugs, bulbs, etc. just fine. you mentioned that you have a smart things hub in addition to the zigbee inside the echo plus … and you mentioned there may be reasons to still use the smart things hub … can you elaborate? especially considering how some users have experienced reliability issues with smarthings hub?

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    Dannie Hays

    I need more coverage with my Comcast modem / router. Would a Samsung hub be the way to go. Love you channel. Thanks Dannie

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    Perhaps things are different in Canada and the US. In Australia which requires different product versions, there is next to no support for ZigBee devices outside the semi bastardised hue.

    My advice would be to take a look at the devices you'd like to connect and base your decision on that. None of the other factors mentioned seem that relevant. If you outgrow a protocol then keep those devices and add new ones using whatever the next big thing is.

    You gush about the Samsung hub a bit without mentioning the many alternatives such as OpenHab. Perhaps now that you're full time on this you will be able to broaden your horizons.

    Think about providing information rather than recommendations. This is IMHO especially important when the recommendations are so arbitrrary.

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    Maxim Maximov

    I thought ZIGBEE 3.0 has a lot of products, but( !!!) I could not find ANY zigbee3 outlet. Maybe you give advice? I also looking for good ZIGBEE 3.0 switches but (!) did NOT find anything. Today, the best switches and outlets is ZWAVE. I think the leader zwave is Inovelli ! I really want to find switches and sockets with zigbe 3.0 but i need help.

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    Bob The Builder

    Great video – I like where your content is heading. This is way more interesting that the latest Google Assistant updates. I'm looking at getting a Hub that supports Z-wave, WiFi and Zigbee, but also think it's crucial that the Hub is able to work without the cloud. Am I right in saying the Smart Things Hub must be cloud connected to control any device type?

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    Ben Girdler

    How does this affect systems like the Phillips hue? If you haven’t entered smart lighting yet would you avoid a hue system and just go all Wi-Fi bulbs?

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    Congratulations on becoming a full-time content creator and having a Patreon set up!

    As a millennial on the older end of the range, I remember how bad WiFi used to be. In 2018, I upgraded to a mesh network and that has been the most significant WiFi change I've experienced in years. I'm happily using an eero system and haven't had a single issue since it started working.

    232 products on Z-Wave seemed like a decent amount until I learned Zigbee can support 65,000! I'm glad you stated 60 to 100 connected products on a mesh WiFi network is doable. I have been meaning to look that up for months and keep forgetting, so thanks for mentioning it. I have approximately 30 devices regularly connected to my mesh WiFi network.

    Wink has had too many ownership changes for me to have full confidence in them. I'm currently using the newest version of the Samsung SmartThings hub, which is the v3 that was released in 2018.

    Do you think the next version of Google Home devices will have Zigbee and/or Z-Wave built into them?

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    Ghita A.

    Can ordinary zigbee gateways communicate via wifi if they are too far out for zigbee signal (>40m) and there are no other zigbee repeaters? Can you extend the zigbee mesh over 40m with just 2 gateways and wifi? I would really appreciate your insight on this. Thank you!

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    Alejandro Hernandez

    Awesome info, I like z wave because the low frequency, the rest of wifi on 2.4 and 5ghz, zigbee not so much. thanks

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    Brendan White

    Philips have kept the Hue platform pretty open. Very little is proprietary.
    There are a few differences between manufacturers, but all hue and a lot of other platforms work fine on generic Zigbee platforms like SmartThings and Home Assistant ZHA because they are still either ZLL, ZHA or Zigbee 3 compliant. I can actually pull more function (temp, light level and motion) from a hue motion sensor in Home Assistant than I can from the hue eco system 🙂
    There are many Z-Wave Devices already can give real time power consumption statistics.
    This type of data is low bandwidth and Z-Wave is fine with it in domestic and small commercial installs 🙂.
    Obviously if you were heading up to over 300 devices you may have issues, but wired would be best for bigger installs 🙂

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    Brendan White

    Just a thought on wifi, you could have a dedicated wifi router for your smart devices. One that is separate from your data network.

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    Ethan Poole

    Carrier Wave frequency has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed of the signal, it is only a reference as to what frequency the carrier is located at (or where it would be were a carrier to be present as there is not always a carrier since it is wasted power and may be suppressed). When you tune your AM radio dial to 1450AM then that is your carrier frequency as the carrier is located at that frequency and the amplitude modulated audio exists in the sidebands on either side of that carrier. But all RF frequencies operate at the same speed of 99.99% the speed of light insofar as the actual signal is concerned. By comparison, the bandwidth, symbol rate, and modulation scheme will determine how quickly you may transmit data at any given frequency, but the speed of the actual radio signal is always the speed of light (in this case, through a medium that happens to be air). So you can transmit a given volume of data just as quickly at 1MHz as you could at 1GHz if the modulation scheme, bandwidth, and symbol rates are kept identical — however, it is often easier to license greater bandwidth at higher frequencies than at lower frequencies by virtue of the fact that 1MHz of bandwidth at 1MHz would be to own most everything at that end of the dial while at 1GHz it would merely span from 1.000-1.001GHz, but, still, if the bandwidth, modulation scheme and symbol rates remain the same then a given volume of data will transmit in the exact same time at both frequencies (barring any interference).

    That said, the volume of data actually being exchanged by any of these protocols for the purpose of controlling appliances and other IoT devices, in terms of their packet size, is so small that speed is really not the issue so much as ensuring secure and reliable communications and, in the case of battery powered devices, the need to also greatly conserve energy.

    I just wanted to correct the misconception that frequency has any direct relationship on how fast a signal travels or even, necessarily, how fast a given volume of data can be transmitted since that comes down to the bandwidth, modulation scheme, and symbol rate.

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    Brian L

    I enjoyed your video. A few things:
    1) I’d like to see some consideration as to what platform(s) you use and more emphasis on what the goals are. For example: if you use. Apples Homekit, and you want to use Zigbee or ZWave devices with it, you need to consider that you’ll need something like HomeBridge or home assistant to use them.
    2) Calling WiFi “wireless” can be confusing to people since they are all wireless.
    3) What about Bluetooth?
    4) In my opinion, WiFi devices just don’t have near the reliability of ZWave/Zigbee devices. Especially within HomeKit. Maybe that changes with AX, but personally, I’m ditching my WiFi devices because zwave/Zigbee works soo much better for me.

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    Jozef Gašparovič

    great all in one hub is athom homey. it have zigbee, z-wave, RF 868, 433, bluetooth, ir and looks great 😁

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    Artemis Kitty

    Technically we've had wifi-mesh-like networks for a while, so don't rule yourself out in case your hardware isn't the absolute newest. Just check to see if it supports WDS. (Wireless Distribution Service) – This is especially true if you, say, have your last 2 routers because you constantly upgrade like a lot of us do, and one or both of them is WDS compatible, either natively or using something like DD-WRT to set up a grid. Just be aware that with ANY "mesh" network, your speed will be limited to the slowest "link" you're passing through at that moment.

    Source: At the time both MCSE and Novell CNA – I started installing these types of what we'd now call "mesh" style networks for businesses using pro-grade wifi equipment around 20 years ago. (Granted, what we call WDS now is WAY better, but not "new", technically.)

    That being said… if you're buying now? Get a pre-configured one like the Google Home Mesh or something similar. It's a LOT easier and more stable/reliable. (One bad thing about WDS was that if you used multiple brands or even different models… it would sometimes drop packets just from compression chip speed differences, or some other little annoying detail, requiring more technical configuration to make it reliable and smooth.)

    Edit: Huh. Should have watched the whole video first. That packet size modification and compression changing there for 802.11ax? That's the same stuff you had to MANUALLY tweak to get a stable WDS mesh. (And test… change again… test… rinse, repeat.) Having that automated would be SO nice…

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    Artemis Kitty

    Thanks for this, I've tried to explain this a few times to people, but your video is WAY clearer and more understandable. This gives me a great reference to just send a link to, as you do a MUCH better job than me, heh. I can TELL them I use a home-made hybrid zigbee/mi-light/wifi system, but once I try to explain that it all ALSO operates through a custom bridge/wifi interface that I built to make them all work together… their eyes start to glaze over. I generally say "Go with Zigbee because it's cheap, easy to use, has a lot of support, and isn't brand-specific, in case you find something better and cheaper later on."

    Regarding the range, Zigbee by itself is short-range, sure, BUT if you drop even a 4-6dbi antenna on an NRF24L01 chip, you're looking at 700-1000m easily. Again, depends what you're going with at your house, BUT one single long-range mesh device on either end of the property, and you're good. (I can control the mi-lights etc. and see the zigbee devices at home from the end of the block with no problem, and I live all the way at the end of a cul-de-sac. Yes, even using the stock Mi-Light 2xAAA powered controller.)

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    Bruce Hobbs

    Great video but a not so great conclusions.
    "1. People who own Z-Wave systems should begin the transition away."
    There is really no good reason to do this. As mentioned many controllers can now handle all three protocols so why choose one in favour of the other. ZWave devices are typically more expensive than Zigbee but it is very reliable and there are many Hpme Automation devices that are not available in Zigbee or Wifi but are available in Zwave. Alarm system integration is one of the most important examples . Any really useful and comprehensive H.A .. implementation needs Zwave to work well. Zwave is supported by many large manufactures and its products will be around and working for many years yet.

    2. " People just starting should do the same in terms of buying a Samsung SmartThings, Wink Hub 2, or an Echo Plus"
    Although the video is very comprehensive no H.A discussion can be complete without mentioning that Smartthings Wink and Echo either do not work or work in a very limited way without the Internet. It is a matter of personal preference but I would not consider a system that did not work if my Internet went down or is dependant on a sole cloud provider. As H.A. gets more and more integrated into the home it becomes critical infrastructure and resilience, redundancy and reliability should be key purchasing considerations. I use a Vera Plus which runs everything without the cloud. People also have success with Hubitat and Home Assistant and others.

    And one more suggestion for a future topic would be IR integration into the H.A system. This is very key to a comprehensive system. I use Broadlink RM which is cheap and works well but unfortunately cloud dependant. However I do not consider this a mission critical component so I can live with it.

    Thant for the video I think you did a fine job of explaining the various protocols.

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    Michael Graff

    The current technology of mesh WiFi typically uses 5 Ghz to back-haul between the access points I believe. For those of us really old, we remember that WiFi started as WaveLAN and was in the 920 Mhz range. One WiFi (or even 2.4 Ghz camera) will eat your bandwidth really fast.

    Zigbee isn't going to go away, which seems to be implied in this video. Zigbee is used outside of the home world, is cheap to implement, and can have a very long range. If you want to bump your Zigbee network to an external shed, put two xbee high power units in both locations.

    Zwave is too proprietary for my tastes. Open standards are the way to go. For instance, I'm building an open source Zigbee hub, since while Smartthings works pretty well, all the non-totally-supported devices run in the cloud, which means I must have an internet connection for some devices to work.

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    Jody Whitlock

    So couple of things. Your explanation of 802.11ax was flawed, but not a big deal. Like it’s already been pointed out, 99% of the smart devices are 802.11b/g and for good reason. 2.4Ghz has distance and interference advantages over the higher 5Ghz. Plus, it isn’t feasible in most cases to have multiple antennas in your IoT device so you can’t utilize MIMO. Adding the extra BoM cost of 5Ghz when it can’t be used makes no sense.
    Also, 802.11g has less problems stemming from chatty devices, which your IoT generally is. While not a lot of bandwidth, the beacon probes and general AUTH acks are crazy and can overwhelm the processor of an access point. This is where mesh comes in, but there’s penalties in mesh as well.
    Lastly, ZigBee and 802.11g don’t generally interfere because ZigBee can use up to channel 16 of the 2.4Ghz spectrum, where’s as 802.11g is limited to channel 11, and in the case of 802.11n with 40Mhz wide channels then channel 12. ZigBee can use the lower channels if there’s clear airtime but generally I see ZigBee staying in the higher channels. Then it’s a transmitted power problem of 802.11g being able to outgain ZigBee because ZigBee is limited to a lower EIRP than 802.11g is so you can get jamming in that manner.

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    Josh Washington

    Um. A better idea for security: Use traditional 902.11 Wifi. Obtain a second wireless router, specific on the 5ghz band (completely different router) and hide the SSID. Be sure to name it something you may remember (For example: Josh Smart). Be sure to put a complex encryption key on this (Write it down, important so you don't have an issue with getting into it. Usually in IT, you save 3 different kinds of copies of the passwords). By 'complex', I don't mean length — I mean specifically: Uppercase, Lowercase, Special Character, and a number within a not-so-normal pattern or order.
    Why? It's a hidden SSID. In order to even know the router it's on, you have to know the SSID. Keeping it away from your normal router (hence, separate router) will allow you to remain 'hidden' from any other networks.
    Lastly, it's a pretty simple method to setup and future proof. I highly doubt the other variations will last the test of time with modern technology.

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    Matthew Marlowe

    Combine zwave for low bandwidth or battery powered sensor and 802.11n wifi for high bitrate or complex devices. Zigabee only when needed for bulbs. I've avoided 5ghz WiFi.

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    Brandon Ethington

    We have been using Iris by Lowe's and now they are going away. What should we switch to? Hubitat? SmartThings? or something else?

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    Brian Lockwood

    What are the options for setting up a few thousand lights in a large school? Home setup is easy but it seems impossible to find something as easy to use in the enterprise section….

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    Brian Lockwood

    instead of wireless how come the power connections are not being used for network linking. It's offered via these products https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-powerline-networking-kit/

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    I got wifi bulbs throughout the house I think it adds up to 27Bulbs in total. and some light strips here and there. then I got all the usual stuff like phones tablets tv's, computers etc etc. I'm having no problem what so ever on my network. then all of my sensors controlling the light and stuff are all ZigBee. besides the hub, which is ZigBee and wifi

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    Id say xiaomi has a lot to offer and its cheap as beans! I bought xiaomi because it was cheap and a good starting point. after a while, I realized hey this is great and good quality. not ill not use anything but xiaomi. as it also plays nice with Home Assistant and google home

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    Ryan Draga

    "128-bit encryption" doesn't mean a thing if you can leverage a device like a Wi-Fi Pineapple to gain access to the target network. Also, on the Zigbee side, you have AZF (Attify Zigbee Framework) which can enumerate Zigbee devices on a target mesh, then execute replay attacks on a given device within that mesh in order to gain access.

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    Dread Roberts

    Zwave and Zigbee are both with-in the Ham Radio Bands….. Evil Grin upto 1500 Watts https://media.giphy.com/media/3rgXBOmTlzyFCURutG/giphy.gif

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    I stop by to see differences between Z-Wave and ZigBee but I lost interest and patience to listen to you when you start talking about completely other things. Sorry, hope my feedback would mean something for you for future videos.

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    Peter Peters

    I use a Homey as base station. It supports ZigBee, z-wave and WiFi. And it support a lot of manufacturers of devices.

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    Oliver Lienhard

    good basics, but don't ignore your international audience… I talk about frequencies. Zigbee is an international standart while zwave is different in eg Namerica v Europe. So you probably can't use Xiaomi zwave stuff in the eu. but zigbee is… right?

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    Laurent Debacker

    Thank you for the good work. What really impressed me with Z-Wave is how plug-and-play the system is, after I add a device to my Z-Wave dongle, Home Assistant automatically knows what kind of device it is, all its features, and all configuration parameters, with explanation (it's based on Open ZWave which has 1066 supported devices out of the box). I was wondering if ZigBee has something similar? I'm also worried that WiFi devices may be less plug-and-play. Are there TCP or UDP protocols being supported to auto-discover devices on WiFi? While Nest devices are of very high quality, the way they integrate with smart home hubs is very bad, because all your data is pushed to the internet before coming back in your hub home. At least, Z-Wave is all local, without involving the internet. About the data rate of Z-Wave, max packet size is 64 bytes, and I see my devices transmitting at 40 kbps, that would be large packets per second. I read that ZigBee can go up to 6x faster. Finally, one big advantage of Z-Wave and ZigBee using groups is that a switch can command several devices without passing through the hub. With WiFi, you would need a standard to emerge to do similar things, until then, you need a hub to translate all the proprietary protocols used by each smart WiFi device. The worst is that many WiFi devices are even using undocumented protocols. They day that they stop offering their software, you're out of luck. Z-Wave and ZigBee have enough open software to keep running.

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    Tony Renfro

    I just got an Echo Plus. Will the Zigbee hub give me basically two ways to control my smart home? One with WiFi and one with Zigbee. If Wifi is down will I be able to use my Plus to control my home? Also, the bulbs and plugs I bought are WiFi based will this effect them being used on the Zigbee system?

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    Francois Vallée-Bernard

    Is there difference in term of battery usage between protocol/frequency? Looking for a smart deadbolt and they are driven by 2A battery, will wifi drain battery faster?

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    Tony Polcino

    mate very informative… but as you have both systems in your home which is the best interface to integrate them all and have them work seamlessly with Alexa google home and fibaro for example. If you tell Alexa set temp of floor heating to 25 you would like to have this information show on your interface seamlessly ..

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    One annoying thing why constantly say router… it’s an access point. YES most routers have an WiFi accesspoint build in buy its not the same.

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    prabhraj chadha

    you're soooo monotone….. be more expressive…
    its so boring to listen to you……
    not being rude just a suggestion …..you have content but say in way people get interested in listening to you

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    Ali Man

    Question, I want to replace my backyard motion sensor light system, can’t seem to find a zigbee or SmartThings one, you aware of one?

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    Forbidden User

    The problem im finding with WIFI devices is.. Every single different device, by every single different manufacturer REQUIRES you to download THEIR individual mobile app in order to associate it with your wireless network. I've not any of these devices that has it's own built-in web-configuration wizard that allows you to configure it without downloading and installing an app. What that says to me is.. These devices are going to become totally useless if that company either at some point goes out of business, or for some reason decides to drop support from their app, or drop the app altogether regardless if the device that you own, that you paid for, still works perfectly fine. I think more awareness needs to be brought to this issue, and begin blacklisting products that don't use open standards and forces you into their particular ecosystem, which they can totally kill at at any time they wish leaving you with nothing but a bunch of useless paperweight "smart" devices.

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    Mat Helm

    You lost me at Echo. If the CIA wants to bug my house, let them do it the old fashion way. By tunneling into my cell phone.. Amazon and Google store recordings, Mycroft does not…

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    Haliff Roslan

    i predict that bulb with ax protocol will add $10 the price of current b/g/n wifi bulb. Since its not availaible yet, make me feel even worst.

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    Sam Corace

    Could you provide a recommendation on a single gang light (Dimmable) and fan (Speed Controlled) combo switch that can be controlled by Google Home?

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    This was useful, upto 30 devices and my wifi is falling over, so need to go next step with that now + hub, thank you great vlog

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    Nathan Hawk

    You didn't talk about power consumption, and the pros/cons for each protocol on battery operated devices.

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    Guy Katz

    really smart home have inwall module such as relays. see: https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/switches/ for zwave and https://shelly.cloud/shelly-25-wifi-smart-relay-roller-shutter-home-automation/ for wifi. mabe you should make some demos of this and tell us your experience

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    CC Chodkowski

    I had my smart bulbs up nice working with Alexa. Comcast shutdown my internet for work and my Alexa along with my lighting no longer worked. My ceiling fans with their remote controls worked fine.

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    Also include Bluetooth Mesh, it new and very promising technology which requires no gateway. You can use just your Smartphone.

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    Jay Extarys

    What I like from z wave is clearer version. 500 series 700 series s2 and z wave plus. I tried looking for devices using the latest zigbee spec. Still digging for info. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place?

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