SkyConnect + Gen1/Gen2 Hue Bulbs on ZHA - How Reliable Is This Setup For You?

Does anyone have a SkyConnect paired with older Gen1/Gen2 Philips Hue Bulbs working well?

I migrated from my 43 Hue devices on Hue Hub 2.0 to ZHA with SkyConnect a few weeks ago and the experience has been OK. Here are the details of my setup:

  • 3 story home
  • SkyConnect (Controller) connected to HA NUC via powered USB 2.0 hub and USB 2.0 extension cable - originally in lowest floor, but now on middle floor in exact location of where Hue Hub was previously
  • 40 Hue Bulbs (Routers), 5 on top floor, 10 on middle floor, remainder on lowest floor
  • 3 Hue Switches (End Devices)
  • 3 Aeotec Extender Zi (Routers), 1 on each floor of home
  • 7 Sonoff ZBMINIL2 (End Devices)
  • 4 Sonoff SNZB-02D (End Devices)
  • 1 Sonoff MINIZB (Router)

After installing the extenders/repeaters, I was hopeful this would solve any reliability issues, but I’m still periodically seeing devices appearing available in the UI, but not showing as “unavailable.” In fact, I installed the ZHA Network Card so I can see all RSSI at a glance in addition to the network visual. There’s usually one or two at -79/-80, a couple in the -70s, and the rest -60 and better.

Due to this post on range/coverage optimization, I was asked if they’re running Zigbee 3.0 firmware and I then realized all of these bulbs are Gen 1 and Gen 2 and I’m not sure if they support Zigbee 3.0. They were fully updated to the latest available firmware via Hue Hub as I was certain to check for updates before migration, but I’m obviously no longer able to easily update them when connected via ZHA. Here are the model numbers I have in my network:

  • LCT001 - 11x
  • LCT002 - 17x
  • LCT007 - 1x
  • LCT014 - 5x
  • LLC020 - 1x
  • LCT026 - 1x
  • LST002 - 1x
  • LWB004 - 3x
  • RWL020 - 3x

Does anyone know if these bulbs support Zigbee 3.0? Or if the age of the bulbs could be contributing to my experience.

I also haven’t found the limit for SkyConnect, but I believe Hue Hub was 50. I’m starting to think I should just migrate the Hue bulbs back to the Hue Hub and have two Zigbee networks (or get rid of SkyConnect and the non-Hue devices since I have a strong Zwave network already).

Here’s my network visualization. My current plan is if/when I find a device unresponsive, I’m removing it from the network and then re-adding it via a nearby router to see if that helps with reliability.

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I believe that the Home Assistant SkyConnect dongle (which is based on Silicon Labs EFR32MG21) will today support 32 directly connected devices (direct childred) and a total of about 200 Zigbee 3.0 devices at maximum or a lot more older Zigbee devices (e.i. Zigbee Home Automation 1.x and Zigbee Light Link 1.x devices) than that if running in NCP mode.

It is really only Zigbee 3.0 devices (and newer) that are taxing on the current general of modern MCU in newer Zigbee Coordinator adapters because of the overhead RAM needed on the SoC for running the added security features that Zigbee 3.0 devices implement. Older Zigbee devices use very little security so have almost no overhead and therefore you can probably add thousands of such older devices as long as your Zigbee Router devices can handle routing them.

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If you are however running in experimental Multi-PAN RCP mode then it can maybe add more Zigbee 3.0 devices because parts of the Zigbee stack will be offloaded to the host computer.

Check out this thread for further discussion on the SkyConnect features and functions:

I really don’t think I’m at the limits here, but either way I’m going to revert back to Hue Hub for the bulbs and have two separate zigbee networks. There have just been too many times I go to control a Hue Go and it’s unresponsive, yet HA shows good RSSI and nothing about it being unavailable. If I restart the ZHA integration, it miraculously works. I really don’t get it.

Suggest report it as a new issue to Home Assistant core repository with debug logs from when occured:

ZHA developers should then be able to narrow it down from those debug logs if it is a bug or otherwise.

The workaround option is to instead buy Texas Instruments CC2652P based Zigbee dongle as different stacks will work differently with different troublesome devices. See example ITead Sonoff ZBDongle-P:

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