How to configure Yellow built-in Zigbee to use external antenna?

Tried search, no clear answer in any topic. But as many have seen, that this built-in Zigbee is poor. Lets say, VERY POOR. If 4 meters is too much, or 3m and one wooden wall, it is really poor.

I just added parts for external antenna, when there is place for them. It helped a bit, now i get four meters…
But now i need some help. How to change HA code to initialize Zigbee module to use that external antenna. If look at Silicon labs document, it can be done, but how in HA? I have no idea, even from where i should look…


Maybe this will help:

Yes. My picture…
Antenna selection via software is the problem.

Poor old Yellow is really getting a bad press. :roll_eyes:

It does seem to be true that the antenna is relatively low powered, but a stronger one will not “fix” the network, it will just mask the network’s weaknesses - you can practically guarantee problems down the line.

Zigbee is not wi-fi; the signal is supposed to be weak (otherwise you wouldn’t be able to get all those cheap battery-powered gadgets). It’s supposed to be bounced backwards and forwards between lots and lots of routers, very close together. Sometimes it will travel quite a long way, but three to four metres and a wooden wall could easily be too far, even for a larger antenna.

I haven’t tried the Yellow myself, but I would expect interference to be a bigger problem, with the coordinator jammed into a box with lots of other stuff. Get a dongle (with an external antenna if you like) and connect it on the end of a long cable through a powered USB hub.

I have few cheap ac-switches in “repeater” mode, but they don’t do that. Only the closest one works, next 3m ahead one is dead.

I did that extension cable for z-wave stick, and it was a huge improvement to range. But i’d like to use built-in zigbee module, when it is already there…

The range of ZigBee or ZWave from the hub is not as significant an issue as people think. The hub might typically only have two or three links to devices and that is fine as the Z mesh provides robust connection to all other devices based on repeater topology etc.

Improving radio reception at the hub can allow more devices to talk directly to the hub but it doesn’t especially help things if your mesh already has problems. That issue should be attended to first as it will remain and is likely to cause further issues later

You need to fix this issue as your network is broken outside of Yellow and not try a sticky plaster solution elsewhere to conceal the issue. Certainly add an external aerial if you must but your mesh integrity is already at fault… ‘cheap switches’ might be a clue….or local interference.

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Have to buy some other devices and keep testing. These available ones won’t build a mesh network, or i do something wrong…

I have an area in my house that I just can’t get ZigBee to traverse across (even a few metres line of sight) so I sympathise - in my case I am pretty sure it is interference from my smart meter. Fixing it even with channel changes hasn’t worked ….

I have had to force a rather extended secondary path around that area.

I’m going to +1 everyone here.

Yes the range in the yellow zigbee module sucks and why I don’t recommend them

But adding the antenna isn’t the solution. It’s more good solid routing devices. Just make sure some are close enough to the yellow for first hop. Battery devices don’t route. Most powered ones do route

But what you pick for routers matters. Not all devices play nice.

In a pinch i usually grab a bunch of IKEA pocket sockets - they’re very solid routing devices. I throw a half dozen around. If that fixes the problem then either keep the sockets or invest I good quality repeaters researched and verified to play nice with your other devices

If you have a small and local ZigBee network where all devices could directly attach via an external antenna on Yellow… then that of course would be a nice benefit.

External USB may work even better, attached via cable.

When Hubitat moved to external antenna many users have achieved total direct connections where before they had lots of problems. Try it and see , if you can find the additional info you need.

Sounds as if the closest one is connecting directly with the coordinator, but there is no mesh to allow the next one to connect.

Comparisons aren’t all that helpful because everything depends on the layout and construction of your house, but in mine (three floors, small rooms, thick walls - far from ideal) every router is within about 10 feet of four or five other routers.

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But should the next connect via first one? So i have thought.

Now we are again in network building, when my question was: Can anybody tell, how the antenna selection is made when the zigbee chip is initialized for use?

Only if it knew about it when it joined. If you added the routing device after the other end device may or may not move to use it.

Devices are supposed to check for better parent so on occasion but let’s just say many vendors play fast and loose here. Some devices swap parent on the drop of a hat. Some never change without being rejoined.

So… ‘it depends’. There’s a lot of variables. What kind of device down to model and even often which firmware revision as to whether it switches automatically

Read and try to follow my advice this is this thread about the same thing → Zigbee Utilization 90%, normal for 130 devices? (that is also directly related to this other thread → Is Home Assistant Yellow really unusable?)

I have posted answers and/or explainations to most if not all of your question that fost thread.

Huh. There is lot of load to my english skills… Have to take timeout and read closely.
But i can’t see answer to my question. It could be better the first step from HA, even there would be repeaters also.
Unfortunately just here is no Ikea… Can’t go and pick some good repeaters.

But not anything for antenna selection…

No. A mesh is more than a line of routers. Each one needs to connect with three or four others.

Quite funny. You can’t use zigbee, if you don’t have them many… Perhaps i figure this out in some day. Ordered three Ikea repeaters, maybe it is some start.

Exactly. If you just want to connect to a small number of devices, Zigbee is the wrong method. It’s at its best where all the lights and all the power sockets are Zigbee controlled - then sensor devices can ride on the back of the mesh they create.

Don’t throw money at it otherwise - it can be very frustrating.

Basically yes, you will have a very bad experince of Zigbee if you only add battery powered devices, but that is by design, which is why you should try to understand how Zigbee is meant to work before begin to buy devices, so recommend that you read these to start over again: