How HA runs on RaPi without Zigbee or ZWave radios

I’m sorry but I’m very new to this technology. I really like what I see about HA but how can HA be run on a device such as a Rasberry Pi or Windows when those devices don’t have Zigbee or ZWave hardware/radios? Can this hardware be added to a Ras. Pi? How exactly does this work?

You plug in a USB radio. e.g. here’s one for zwave:

Or you can connect to some radio devices via Ethernet. e.g. this Zigbee radio

I see that the Zigbee radio also has ethernet. Does this mean that HA running on a Pi talks to this radio via the network? I work on IP networks all the time and am very comfortable with them but have never worked on Zigbee or ZWave devices but want to start. I’m trying to understand the way they communicate so I don’t buy the wrong thing or miss all the requirements.

If you buy the components @tom_i suggests, and a Raspberry Pi 4, you can’t go wrong.
Buy an inexpensive Z-wave switch and a Zigbee button. and start learning.

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It’s basically serial over IP. The interface to the zigbee chip is essentially a serial connection. The MCU it’s connected to exposes it over a tcp socket when accessing via the network.

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I use a HUSBZB which plugs directly into my RPi USB port.

One thing I did on the recommendation of some folks here was get a small USB extension cord so the Zigbee radio isn’t right next to the WiFi radio in the RPi. I didn’t notice any difference, but it sounded like a good idea.


You will when you are at the outer edge of the range of the device.
What happens is “desense”. If you have two devices in close proximity communicating asynchronously on the same frequency band, one cannot “hear” the communications meant for it if the other is transmitting data.

Sorry, I should have elaborated: “I didn’t notice any difference, but I left the device on the USB extension cord because it seemed like a good idea.”