80 node zigbee network

you guys said to read the docs… so i did… here’s where i’m at… 80 devices… i keep adding router bulbs, ikea motion sensors, third reality wall switch/routers, and xfinity door sensors… this thing is amazingly stable… i have a few items dropping off, but they are the same devices that were dropping off when i had 30 devices… i would actually like to add more to it… topping out around 100+/-… I have more router bulbs coming… I’m using lots of the cheap ali express bulbs and have found they are actually pretty good! takes 10-20 days for stuff to show up and the fraud alert people from my credit union contacted me to see if i was a legitimate charge… but they pair immediately and seem to be reliable… light output is good… not quite as crisp as the sengled non-router bulbs i bought early on… But frankly, the much pricier sengled bulb with no router in the same fixture looks nearly identical as far as brightness and color…

i will suggest that you remember that an American Candelabra Base is different then a European Candelabra base, but Amazon has a bag of adapters for $15…

So any advice on continue to try to grow this one and troubleshoot a few dead spots? or look at a second zigbee stick? i’m using the sonoff 3.0 zigbee stick based on the ti-cc2652P and CP2102(N) and original firmware…

can a rPi4 w/4gb handle a second zigbee stick? do i install a second instance of ZHA and just pair the devices separately? i’m on channel 25 currently…

the only real dropoff problems i have are a few items that seem to drop off overnight… most rejoin during the day… some need to be re-paired… but they have always been offenders… I have additional router bulbs coming for those areas… one device is right next to the sonoff stick, so it might be bad device and act intermittently…

any guidance on the second controller? the current one is taped to the inside of the closet door where the raspberry pi is… it’s up high, and the door is a pressed 6 panel door… so the zigbee antenna is essentially talking through cardboard and glue and a few coats of paint… There’s an extension cable on both the zwave and zigbee sticks… the rpi is in a plastic case inside of a metal alarm control box that is interfacing in via evisalink v4… so everything is shielded well and the two rf devices are pretty well isolated… all of my wifi access points are on channels 1 and 6 in the 2.4 ghz band… i know of nothing that happens at night that would make the items drop off… no network or other event… nothing come on or off…

maybe my neighbor is doing nighttime EMP work… i dunno…

Thanks in advance…

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Sounds like you’re doing all of the things. You probably noticed a point where everything ‘snapped in’ when your mesh became strong enough. If it’s just a weird drop now and then honesty it may not be signal anymore. Especially with the setup you describe.

Unless you have spots that are farther than 20’ from a rrouting device at this point… Time to start looking for weird device interaction. For instance some companies routers don’t work quite to spec but work well with thier own gear. So you might use a specific pocket socket coughIKEA cough to be your routing device of choice in that part of the house.

Or I just kick out the offending device and find an alternative…

Im not splitting this network if I can avoid it. You’re not describing any significant issues. HA can handle a second stick USING A SEPARATE INTEGRATION meaning you would have to install Z2M or another zigbee solution to have a second network (one coordinator, one network)

Now you’re tuning the racecar.

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Zigbee devices are very sensitive EMF/EMI/RMI interference and have a relatively short range, thus I highly recommend that everyone using Zigbee devices start by understanding the limitations and work around them, so suggest that you start by reading and try to follow all the tips here → Guide for Zigbee interference avoidance and network range/coverage optimization

Especially be sure to connect the Zigbee Coordinator adapter via a very long USB extension cable to a USB 2.0 port (not a USB 3.x or USB 4.x port ) and also keep it away from USB 3.x/USB 4.x devices.

Note that hidden among those tips there is also a suggestion to upgrade the Zigbee Coordinator firmware, so that is at least a specific tip if you are still using old firmware, see → ITead's "Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus" (model "ZBDongle-P") based on Texas Instruments CC2652P +20dBm radio SoC/MCU

Those two things are best to begin with as they should resolve most issues.

If you are using Zigbee lightbulbs that act as Zigbee Router devices then be sure that they always have power. You should not have Zigbee lightbulbs connected via dumb wall-switch/cord-switch as it is a risk that someone will turn them off. Zigbee Router devices should always have power (always be available/online), otherwise any device connected to it will drop of and it will take time to reconnect (or sometimes not reconnect if that device has poorly written firmware as is known with older Aqara/Xiaomi devices).

If you are using Zigbee lightbulbs that are Zigbee Router devices connected via dumb wall-switch/cord-switch then you are really using the product wrong. Get instead some Zigbee lightbulbs that are specifically designed to be Zigbee End Devices (not Zigbee Router devices) if you absolutely need to connect them via dumb wall-switch/cord-switch.

If you need to use Zigbee lightbulbs that are Zigbee Router devices then do not connect them to dumb wall-switches/cord-switches and instead get some smart-switches or remotes to control them indirectly.

Regardless, I personally also recommend buying and adding a few such dedicated Zigbee Router devices as they were designed to act as a stable (always-on) backbone of a Zigbee network mesh:

  • IKEA Tradfri Signal Repeater ” and “Aeotec Range Extender Zi ” are products that work very well out-of-the-box, while a more powerful alternative is to make yourself some semi-DIY variant by flashing the correct Zigbee Router firmware to Zigbee Coordinator USB dongles and then using them as stand-alone Zigbee Signal Repeater devices in USB-chargers for power, like, for example, either the Sonoff ZBDongle-E (EFR32MG21 based) or the Sonoff ZBDongle-P (CC2652P) work great as dedicated stand-alone Zigbee Signal Repeaters with recommended firmware.
    • Buy a few additional new Zigbee USB adapters to use after re-flashing them with Zigbee Router firmware.
      • Reflash/reuse modern Zigbee USB adapters to act as Zigbee Router devices by changing Zigbee firmware.

Search these forums for more “Zigbee signal repeater” or “Zigbee range extender” Zigbee Router tips.

@macottom You can not simply install a second instance of the ZHA integration as each Home Assistant instance currently only allows to use of a single instance of each native/embedded integration that is built into Home Assistant core, (there are ways to hack around that by manually renaming the second integration of the ZHA component code that is really only something that ZHA developers do for testing).

If already using the ZHA integration and you absolutely want second Zigbee gateway then easists is to buy and connect another CC2652P-based Zigbee Coordinator USB adapter then install the official Zigbee2MQTT Home Assistant addon as it is possible to use as the same time (just select a different Zigbee channel when installing it).

You can even install as many external instances of the stand-alone Zigbee2MQTT application as you like because that is abstracted via MQTT, so if you want then you can buy more Zigbee Coordinator adapters to use with those (one Zigbee Coordiantor adapter per Zigbee gateway instance).

But as noted by @NathanCu as long as you are under a total 200 devices I would not generally recommend splitting a Zigbee network, if possible it is better to have all “production” devices on the same Zigbee network as having more Zigbee Router devices on the same Zigbee network will make it more stable will.

In my humble opionion the only good reasons why wanting to have two seperate Zigbee networks are:

  • You want to try out two different Zigbee gateway integrations, such as the ZHA integration and Zigbee2MQTT, which can sometimes a must if one or the other does not yet fully support a specific new device that you want to use, such as example ZGP (Zigbee Green Power) devices → ZHA integration support for ZGP (Zigbee Green Power) devices via zigpy?
  • You have a remote area that can not be reached due to being well out of range or shielded and you want to control Zigbee devices there using the same Home Assistant instance.
  • You want to have a seperate dedicated experimental “lab” or “test” Zigbee network to try out new devices or troubleshoot problem devices separately to not affect the “production” Zigbee network. This is at least something that most ZHA and Zigbee2MQTT developers/testers have for development and testing.

Anyway, Zigbee devices can only be connected to a single Zigbee network (and not to two networks).

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