Is there an advantage to (separate) range extenders over non-battery devices?

Moved into a new (to me) house. Past had zwaves and a bunch of Aeotec range extender 6’s, so I just plugged them in without thinking much.

This house has four thermostats (Honeywell T6) which are powered, and so can act as relays. They are fairly well spread in terms of the topology.

I am now moving to a new controller and excluding/including everything and it occurs to me… why am I using range extenders at all?

Is there any advantage over these non-battery powered zwave devices?

I should note the Aeotec’s are probably 5 years old, if the generation (they call it Gen 5) matters in terms of the answer. The T6’s are the 2007 model (I assume that’s a model not the year, the older non “plus” ones are 2003, these are FW: v3.0.2 SDK: v7.16.3).

Is a dense network of extenders better or worse (thinking the network overhead of what could be continual topology changes with too many options)?


The T6 cannot act as a relay. Relays are always listening devices. The T6 is a frequently listening (FLIRS) device, and FLIRS devices do not repeat. So while in your configuration it’s always powered, it still doesn’t repeat. It can also be powered by batteries, and in that configuration it still acts like a powered device, i.e. it responds to commands like an always listening device.

Is there any advantage over these non-battery powered zwave devices?

Usually not, a light switch will work the same. A dedicated repeater device is identical to other always listening devices except it has less functionality. Something like a plug might be able to be put in other locations a hardwired device cannot be installed, or being external to a wall/box might give an RF advantage. The Zooz ZAC38 extender (technically not an official repeater device) is interesting as it has a battery backup and will notify you on power outages (but doesn’t relay on power loss).

I don’t think that be an issue. Z-Wave devices find a route that works and stick with it until it fails (which can actually be a problem if better routes exist). So I’d say topology changes are usually user created via rebuild routes (heal). You can also assign priority routes if needed using Z-Wave JS UI.

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Well, it is acting as one, at least if I understand properly. Here’s the current topology it has found (I just added these over the last few hours). The thermostats appear as the hexagon and appear to be acting as relays? Or am I using the wrong term?

I should add that I included all the non-thermostats near the controller, they probably haven’t worked out if there is a better path yet.

Yep, you’re right, it’s repeating according to the diagram. The Z-Wave Alliance DB shows it as certified as a “listening sleeping slave”, which wouldn’t repeat. The DB is not always correct though, or not complete. It probably switches device type depending on how it’s powered.

Probably. I tried pulling them off the wall (to see the PIN) when I was including them, and it refuses to do any menu driven z-wave activity while not connected. It’s also possible that the database is for the 2003 variant - that version does not do encryption for example, and I had one for a while and am pretty sure it did let me include it while not on the wall.

So… no real advantage to the range extenders over these, given what it is doing?

Or should I just add them so there’s more density?

The link I provided is specifically for the 2007 version, it shows S2 Authenticated support. Devices certified as one role can sometimes operate as other roles.

They are both repeaters, so probably not.

I don’t think there’s one correct answer to this question. I would think adding more repeating capable devices to a mesh would almost always be better, just based on the definition of a mesh network. RF is complicated, you can’t really determine whether your thermostat is in a better position to act as a repeater than the other devices without testing it. As a last resort, having more repeating devices would provide more options to manually define routes.

Thank you.

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