New HA - Poor Z-wave Plus performance

I recently moved my HA install from an RPi running Hassio to an Ubuntu VM on ESXi with an Aeotec Z-Wave stick. I’m noticing a massive degradation in the performance of my Z-wave mesh. With the RPi, my Z-wave mesh was rock solid and I never had any issues. With the new setup, Z-wave devices consistently show up Dead following a reboot of Home Assistant. Turning said device on resolves the issue until the next reboot.

The transition required that I rebuild the Z-wave mesh from scratch, which was a chore in itself. Each device had to be factory reset several times, including the Zwave Stick. Physically, the Z-wave stick is about 6 inches lower than it’s previous location but still maintains line of sight with it’s closest neighbor. I’m honestly at a loss for a cause of this problem. I can see a great deal of latency between devices in the Zwave mesh (thanks to the great Zwave visualization addons) but I feel this problem starts at the Zwave stick.

Is it possible that running this setup with a virtualized OS and a USB device in passthrough mode could introduce latency?

How well is your z stick placed?

Is it on the same floor, and in the middle of at least a few nodes and away from metallic items?

What are your walls made of?

Putting the stick on a short (1m) USB extension lead so it can be placed higher up might help.

I’d say the Z-wave stick is centrally placed. It’s literally right below the RPi where it used to be, on a lower shelf where my ESXi Intel NUC resides.

There are four Z-wave switches within five feet of the Zwave stick. These were the first switches to be added to the new mesh.

I live in a single story home built in 2017. All walls are wooden framed with (I believe) 1/2 inch drywall. Interior walls are not insulated.

I’m not opposed to trying a USB extender, although I’ll have to buy one once the stores reopen (It’s Christmas Eve here).

Did you find a solution? I just migrated to a Virtualbox from my Raspberry and have similar problems.
All my devices showed up, but my switches in HA don’t always update correctly anymore and Alexa will say there is a problem even if the light actually did what I told it to do.

I hesitate to claim that I’ve found a solution as I am still in the process of testing. That being said, my Zwave performance has significantly improved ever since I moved my Aeotec stick to the “charging” port (aka yellow USB port) located in the front of my Intel NUC. The Zwave stick has been in this location for several days without any degradation thus far.