FYI, ITead has about a week ago announced on Facebook that their CC2652P based “Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus” will be released soon and it sounds like a premium product at a low-cost price.
Update! Initial batch(es) have already sold out, however, pre-ordering is available at Itead official store.
Note! It’s strongly recommended to use with long USB extension cable to avoid EMF interference!
Most experienced Zigbee users in the community know that Texas Instruments CC2652P is together with the competing Silicon Labs EFRMG21 chips at this time the most capable and most powerful multi-protocol MCU with 2.4 GHz radios on the market. CC2652P radio chip is currently also the most popular as a Zigbee Coordinator and Zigbee Router in the DIY Zigbee userbase community because it is newer so the firmware is well maintained and is stable/mature in both Zigbee2MQTT and the built-in ZHA integration for Home Assistant. Just like Silabs EFRMG21, TI’s CC2652P feature an integrated Power Amplifier that is technically capable of +20 dBM amplification (though legally the firmware is probably not allowed to be configured to use more than +10 dBM amplification).
According to their marketing material, it will come pre-flashed with Texas Instruments Z-Stack 3.x.0 coordinator firmware and it should work out-of-the-box with either Home Assistant’s ZHA integration (which depends on zigpy so will probably work with Jeedom Zigbee plugin too) and Zigbee2MQTT (a.k.a. Z2M, which depends on zigbee-herdsman so will probably work with IoBroker Zigbee as well).
In addition, ITead specifically mentions that this TI dongle can alternatively function as a Zigbee router (presumably by flashing Zigbee router firmware instead and open access buttons as pressing a button to enable pairing/joining mode is usually required).
It is based on Texas Instruments CC2652P (CC2652 with integrated +20 dBm amplifier) Zigbee radio and features a metal casing + an SMA connector with an external antenna. It looks a little on the large side for USB 2.0 Type-A so could connect it directly if have no other USB devices but with this using 2.4 GHz frequency band like most other Zigbee adapters it is still recommended to always use a USB extension cable in order to get it away from the computer or any other electronic appliances (and their cables/wires) so it gets less radio frequency interference (RFI) and will thus achieve better signal reception.
It is based on Texas Instruments CC2652P (CC2652 with integrated +20 dBm amplifier) Zigbee radio and features a metal casing + an SMA connector with an external antenna. It looks a little on the large side for USB 2.0 Type-A but still recommend using a USB extension cable.
Interestingly it uses a Silabs CP2102N UART-to-USB chip so wonder if it will have unique ITead VID and/or PID strings specific for this adapter so can be added to autoomatic USB discovery in Home Assistant?
PS: I understand ITead went with CC2652P instead of Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 for this “Plus” dongle version because of the current silicon chip shortage (which Silabs parts suffered for more than most).
Hopefully, we will also see ITead release a new fixed revision of their cheaper Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle with proper RF shielding and either corrected PCB antenna design or better yet a ceramic chip antenna.
As we know, ITead’s previous ‘non-Plus Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle’ is/was based on Silabs EFR32MG21 SoC which has just as powerful MCU and radio, but sadly was proven that implementation in ITead’s first Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle PCB board revision had a badly designed integrated PCB antenna with poor tuning and no electromagnetic shielding which caused huge issues in radio reception, and to this date, it has been listed as “out-of-stock” since after the initial batch was sold out. Again, very sad since that could also have been a great Zigbee Coordinator adapter if it had been properly engineered. Hopefully, they will decide to take another stab and redesign that as a new product after the chip shortages as it would be great if they could also offer a Silabs EFR32 based alternative for extended compatibility.