Migrating from Hue hub to Conbee - questions/thoughts about coverage and extending range

Hey all - I gave up on my Hue hub due to constant disconnects and availability of the lights in hassio. This has made automation a PIA and I was losing the WAF credibility :joy:

So I have been moving my Hue and Sengleg lights, Xiaomi switches, sensors and my other Zigbee gear to the Conbee II stick.

And I’m so glad I made this move!. Holy cow! The performance, responsiveness, and stability have been amazing. Reprogramming nodered for the tons of automation I have developed has been the hardest thing to do (not really) since the migration.

As I’ve been migrating I’ve been reading a lot here on the forums about coverage - extending the range, issues with the mesh, etc. Because I had issues with my Hue hub and lights, I began taking some precautions - not sure if necessary or not :slight_smile:

So here are my questions:

  1. Looking at my Deconz map, any issues I should be concerned with?
  2. I picked up some tradfri-signal-repeaters. I planned to put them on the 4 corners and center of the house.
    ---- Do I need them?
    ---- Do I have to pair them with my Conbee stick?
    Note: I do have other Xiaomi and Sengled bulbs mixed throughout the house.
  3. Is there anything I can improve at all?
  4. I have about another 25 devices to add - will I run into any issues?
  5. If I’ve been reading correctly, it seems I can add a cc2531in the mix as a router - will it be necessary?
  6. Would zigbee2mqtt be something I should look at longer-term?

I think more questions will come from the answers, so thanks for the education and help in advance!

Do you need them ? Hard to say. But since you have them already, why not use them ? But to use them, they need to be paired with your Conbee.

If you use the tradfri signal repeaters already, there is no need to add yet another router. Again, if you have the cc2531 already, it does no harm to flash it with router firmware and pair it. If you don’t have it, I would not bother. The tradfri signal repeater does the job as well.

Thanks for the reply, @francisp. That was nice and simple.


Yes - I am just starting with Zigbee at this level, so I’m no expert, yet :slight_smile: This is why I shared the Deconz map. Does it indicate any issues or if an improvement can be made?

I do have the cc2531 devices, but just a bad debugger, and I ordered a new one to be prepared, in case the Conbee II decides to act up. Hue has me all kinds of paranoid that performance will decline and get as bad as Hue was.

What do I flash it with? The same software used for zigbee2mqtt? Any additional configuration needed?

See any reason zigbee2mqtt would benefit my situation?

Sorry for the extent of the questions. Just trying to gather as much information as I can while I get started with all of this.

If you have the CC2531’s, just flash them with the Zigbee2mqtt router firmware and pair them.

I hear you on unreliable devices being a PITA and decreasing the WAF. For me, [the unreliability of parts of] my Zigbee network has recently been my source of frustration. I, too, have both Hue devices and a ConBee II, and have come to almost the opposite conclusion. My Hue devices, when connected to the Hue bridge, are generally some of the most reliable devices I have.

Have you determined whether the disconnects are due to individual devices disconnecting from the Zigbee mesh or the Hue bridge itself disconnecting from the LAN?

  1. If it’s individual devices, you may have interference that will still plague them when connected to the ConBee if it’s operating on the same channel as the Hue bridge was. Note that it’s easy to change the channel on the Hue bridge from the Hue app if you want to try a different channel to avoid interference.
  2. If it’s the Hue hub, you should figure out why it’s disconnecting or becoming unavailable, as you likely have other issues on your network. A few weeks ago, my Hue bridge would disconnect from my LAN periodically (all bulbs Unavaiable), and then I started noticing other network-related issues on other devices. For me, it appears that I had a bottleneck of VLAN traffic clogging up the uplink port between my switch and my gateway, which is my L3 router. Once I fixed that by changing my network topology, my Hue bridge is back to being completely reliable.

Also, some caveats for Hue devices on the Hue bridge vs. ConBee:

  1. AFAIK, there’s no easy way to set the hue lights’ power-on behaviour once connected to ConBee. When connected to the Hue bridge, you can easily set them to return to their previous setting when the power goes out and returns vs. the default of 100% warm white. I think you technically can do it with ZHA, but you have to manually manipulate the cluster settings on each bulb, which is a bit painful.
  2. The Hue motion sensors are MUCH more responsive within HA when connected to ConBee (with deCONZ or ZHA integration) vs. being connected to the Hue bridge. The response time is great with the Hue bridge when using automations within the Hue app itself, but the polling nature of the HA Hue integration renders them very sluggish.

What I’ve bottomed out on for now (which is reliable for me) is:

  • All Hue bulbs and light strips are paired to the Hue bridge and connected to HA via the Hue integration
  • All Hue motion sensors are paired to the ConBee II and connected to HA via the ZHA integration
  • All other Zigbee devices (about 50% routers) use the ConBee II and ZHA
  • My Hue mesh is on channel 20
  • My ConBee II is on channel 15 (default)
  • My 2.4G Wifi APs are on 1 and 11.
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Your experience is pretty spot on to mine and I did have overlapping channels - which I did correct. And yes, I agree with the Hue automation and performance being really stable - despite the multiple integrations required to make them all work reliably in haasio.

I’ve been a Hue and Hassio integration user for at least three years and I’ve been through all the integration hacks - highs, lows and woes. :slight_smile: But, we’re much closer than when this all started - when using robmarkcole’s custom components were the only way

I’m also a Node Red user and the reason I ended up there was due to limitations (capacity, number of rules and complexity) on the Hue hub. I am much happier since moving everything to Conbee. This coming with the aforementioned three year experience - it just all makes more sense and performs better.

So I think I’ve mislead a bit with this post. I should not have mentioned that I was having issues with the Hue hub, because I resolved the wifi channel issues. I really just wanted to have my Hue gear all on Conbee since it’s been performing much better overall.

My Conbee stick is on 15 and my Hue hub was also moved to 20 when I change it. I also have no network or uplink issues, so I’m good there.

I should have just asked about the Zigbee mesh along with the other questions I asked :slight_smile:

Thanks for the feedback and thoughts! Helped with confirmation that moving to Conbee, at least for me is the most beneficial.

And then that’s it? Put them around the house and they’ll be routers?

Should I still put out the Ikea repeaters also?

If you have them, just use them. The more routers you have, the stronger your mesh is.

OK - so I’m taking this as:

  • Flash the cc2531 with the zigbee2mqtt software.
  • Pair the tradfri-signal-repeaters and the cc2531 sticks to Conbee II stick.
  • Distribute throughout the house to ensure coverage and benefit from the stronger mesh.

Thank you!

No need to flash these. Just pair them. They work out-of-the-box.

Sorry - too much copy and pasta… Thanks again. Hopefully this helps others.

And thank you again, @erikg