Is the z wave signal really that bad?

Hi, Looking for a little advice I’m expanding beyond lights and heating to now make a home assistant alarm system I decided to go z wave for this and baught a load of door sensors, water leak detectors and and a few powered alarms and sockets (thinking they would boost the mesh) all from aliexpress made by neo coolcam.

I’m running Hassio on a raspberry Pi with an aeon gen 5 z stick.

My problems are all to do with signal strength if all my alarms and door sensors were in one room with the Pi they would be working great, however I literally take them into the next room and they become unreliable or don’t work at all. I put a door sensor on a small outbuilding, no more than 2 meters from the house and no more than 4 meters in total away from the raspberry Pi that dosnt Work !
It’s worth noting that I live in a very old house all walls are brick and then lined with timber filled with insulation and plasterboard, is this just to much for z wave to handle ??

I’ve tried healing the network many times I’ve tried healing each individual nodes with no improvement ?
Am I missing somthing ? Could it be poor quality of the coolcam brand ??

I’m running a google WiFi mesh system that’s working well and is penetrating the walls and I have coverage everywhere ( I did connect the google nodes via wires though )

If the general opinion is z wave just isnt strong enough is there any recommended alternatives compatible with home assistant ? Somthing running on WiFi would be good, all my lights are running through tasmota sonoff devices and they are working great

Any help will be much appreciated

Maybe worth noting I also run the Honeywell evohome system for all my radiator valves, this has no problem communicating through the walls

Zwave has a range of like 10-20 feet if uninterrupted. About the same range as bluetooth. This also depends on the device, typically devices can boost the mesh. By design, some devices do not boost the mesh.

Typical areas of issue with signal.

  1. Inside to outside your house. Reason: Insulation.
  2. Inside your house to inside your garage. Reason: Fire resistant insulation.

That’s WiFi which has a huge range. Zwave is 20 feet from each device in wide open perfect conditons and the signal will be weak at that range.

I use zwave devices and they work well, but you need to have a tight mesh. I think the furthest device I own is 10 feet from another device. If you chain your devices to be within that range (inside) it should work. Then when you have a nice mesh foundation, you can start adding things outside and there will be a good chance that your mesh will grab it. You can also add zwave repeaters in spots that are hard to reach, but at that point you mine as well get another sensor to fill that spot instead of a repeater.

Neo coolcam power plugs don’t do much for your mesh network I read in a review. Perhaps a different brand would benefit your situation.

Good to know. @3reeman

I think this might be my main problem that the cheap coolcam plugs just aren’t creating the mesh network as they say they should, I’ve orderd an aeotec extender from amazon let’s see if it gets better results

Some things:

  • Using Z-Wave Plus only will boost the range of the mesh - once you add any non-Plus devices the range of the mesh will drop. I found a huge difference after I removed the last non-Plus device.
  • The mesh is built by the (mains/USB) powered nodes only - any mains/USB Z-Wave Plus device (it doesn’t have to be a repeater) will do that
  • Graphing your mesh will help you understand the connectivity
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Zwave has a range of like 10-20 feet if uninterrupted

That’s strange…Are you sure about that?

Everything I’ve read about most z-wave devices say 100 yards outdoors with no obstructions is the standard as long as it is AC powered. I know I have about 70 feet from my z wave mains powered outlet in my house to a z wave mains powered relay in my detached garage and I never have any issues at all. And all of my walls are thick concrete stucco.

I certainly get (more than) 20 feet obstructed range - though in my case it’s mostly drywall that’s in the way.

I have much more then 10-20 feet indoors. With many brick walls between

According to the devices I have, the range is 30 feet (for max efficiency). Sorry. Zwave repeaters have 100 yards. Just doing a quick google search shows that most devices have 100 feet, while repeaters have 300 feet.

Not to be too nitpicky…

It depends on what you mean by “most”. :wink: I mostly have line powered devices.

I’m pretty sure that every mains powered device is a repeater. You don’t have to have a specially designated “repeater” if you have line powered stuff.

But generally the range of most z wave networks can be pretty good if you have a good balance between line powered and battery powered devices.

All mine are line powered GE devices but they have a max uninterrupted range of 100 feet, not meters. Where the repeater claim they have 300 feet/100 meters. In the faqs for the product it says that the optimal range is 30 feet uninterrupted.

Things to note: Zwave works on a frequency of 908.42 MHz, which historically has a range of about 30 meters/100 feet MAX. So I do not trust that these repeaters have 300m, but then again technology changes.

In the US :stuck_out_tongue:

The range difference is mostly about older Z-Wave vs Z-Wave Plus - the type of device doesn’t really matter. The official “open air” range of Z-Wave Plus is 150 meters.


I must be doing somthing wrong, Ive got the new extender plugged in & paired no problems… i have run heal nodes i have run heal network and still things aren’t improving. The extender is only showing one neighbour which is the main controller, i’ve got some door sensors right next to the extender so surly they should show as neighbours ?

averageRequestRTT: 27
averageResponseRTT: 35
capabilities: beaming,listening,routing
friendly_name: Aeotec ZW117 Range Extender 6
is_awake: true
is_failed: false
is_info_received: true
is_ready: true
is_zwave_plus: true
lastRequestRTT: 25
lastResponseRTT: 35
manufacturer_name: Aeotec
max_baud_rate: 40000
neighbors: 1
node_id: 12
node_name: Aeotec ZW117 Range Extender 6
product_name: ZW117 Range Extender 6
query_stage: Complete
receivedCnt: 13
receivedDups: 0
receivedTS: 2018-08-16 19:13:04:797
receivedUnsolicited: 0
retries: 0
sentCnt: 19
sentFailed: 0
sentTS: 2018-08-16 19:13:04:762

You can’t force connectivity, also the door sensors are battery powered, so they won’t update their neighbour list until they wake next.

Oh I thought that’s what the heal network did, so is it now just a case of sit tight and wait, how long does it normally take ?

Until they wake. Battery powered devices spend most of their life in low power “sleep” mode. How often they wake depends on the device’s configuration - typically between an hour and a week.

I have many walls that my devices go through and the signal penetrates perfectly. Never have problems. I do have Plus devices only though so that could be your problem. I highly recommend staying with only plus devices and you’ll have a great experience.

5 Months on an i ended up switching to zigbee, In particular zigbee2mqtt and Xiaomi sensors, I’m having much more success and great reliability ( And its all a lot cheaper !! )

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