Best Zigbee Coordinator - What's worth getting and what price range?

Hey Folks,

Trying to get aditional Zigbee coordinators. At present using a modified first gen Sonoff Bridge attached via USB/Serial (ESP8266 removed), but I need another one.

I see in the market there are a few options. Some like the new Zonoff Zigbee 3.0 have an external antenna, others like Home Assistant SkyConnect do not. From internet research the consensus seems to be the CC2652P and EFR32MG2 are the best coordinators. Is this still true to this day or anything else I should be looking at?

Question: Both alternatives above cost in the range of €30. What kind of benefits do I get from attaching a EFR32MG21 radio to a USB Serial as I did on the sonoff bridge? As I don’t currently have any stability issues - Is range with the aditional antenna that much better to justify the upgrade from the €8 EFR32MG21?

In the past I have also seen folks using Ethernet zigbee corrdinators, which could be usefull due to better placement. Any recomendation for some of these that can still be flashed? hardware flash or even ESP8266 module swap is not a problem.

Is Thread on the SkyConnect worth paying for? I’m mainly using a mixture of ESP8266 and Zigbee devices and will not fully go off the cloud. I’m not much up to date on thread or how it will benefit me at the moment. My main reason to go with home assistant is compatibility across various device brands and customizable dashboards with export option.

Many Thanks!

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Yes it is. The €8 coordinator is €8 waisted. Unless you want to flash it with router firmware, which I did with mine.

I Immagine that’s what i did with the sonoff bridge. I had to reflash the SM-011 V1.0 (EFR32MG21) so I could use it with home assistant. In Effect, it became a ZBDongle-E with Internal Antenna. That’s what the €8 device is.

I didn’t had any stability issues with the EFR32MG21 - Is it the added antenna that makes the CC2652P better for range or are there any other intricacies to it?

You don’t need to flash them. They are extremely highly regarded. Waiting list is a day or so.

Highly recommend the Ethernet connection method. Placement is key!

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Well it is not all up to coordinator. Zigbee is a mesh network and you will need a good routers for that network. If ie. you are using smart zigbee bulbs for a routers they will work much less efficient than smart plug and not to mention smart outlets, that in my experience works the best as routers.
Than, there is a question on firmware that is used on those devices and all those small things that makes one network better than the other of the same type.
Anything base on cc26* chip should work as coordinator without any issue.
But zigbee is a mesh network, so you need good routers with good firmware so that this can work properly.

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For the routers I’m using these as they allow me to use a regular wall switch for the bulbs. But I have others wich are (also) permanetly powered (curtain switches for example).

But so far, just focusing on the issue of the coordinator and on the side debating on BLE lights and switches too.

I also use ccr and this is working great. I have usb cc26* cordinator with antenna attached to it.
I recently installed zigbee outlet from the ccr brand that is working for me like this and isome things in a room with low connectivity started to work much better than before.

Actually on my main house, I have two tuya Zigbee masters, one covering each floor. The idea is that if part of the network goes down, it doesn’t all go at once (it’s also served by different AP’s). I need to find out how to do this with Home assistant. It seems I’m limited to one zigbee radio?

I have always found the sonoff SNZB-02 problematic, and sure enough same with HA. The Tuya and aquara sensors work beautifully, with the tuya’s giving me the longest range (they use AA/AAA batteries).

With the tuya gateway, though, light bulbs are unuseable. They randomly flicker, which becomes annoying. Doesn’t matter the brand. I hope that’s not something I’ll experience with HA.

To be fair, I find the whole Zigbee implementation pretty flawed, with some devices just giving trouble no matter what. The ones that work are generally fine and the ones that don’t just give problems no matter what. So it seems to indicate the protocol is actually not as standardized as it should. WiFi devices are more consistent in that if there is wifi - they simply work :wink:

No. If using Zigbee2MQTT, you can have more then 1. It’s only ZHA that has this limitation.

I know the device. I have 3. One i’m using now as a second Thread border router, the second is flashed with Router firmware, the third is simply in my box with spare parts. They are simply not adequate as standalone Zigbee coordinators.

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