Stock sonoff Zigbee 3.0 stick

How many devices can this handle? I’ve read 32… where I
seem to be stuck… other things say 100-200??

Something like 240 total. It can only handle 32 directly connected. You get 240 by having routing/repeating devices.

According to the author of the firmware for Z-Stack_3.x.0, it supports up to 200.
The Sonoff USB Zigbee 3.0 Dongle plus is based on the CC2652P chip so it looks like the latest firmware now supports up to 50 directly connected devices.

so any suggestions on a repeater? light bulbs do it, or a range extender type device? does it figure it out or do i need to do a lot to get those additional zigbee devices?

Ikea sells nice repeaters, or you could buy another Sonoff Zigbee P dongle and flash it with router firmware.

@macottom I moved my post with my answers here → Guide for Zigbee interference avoidance and network range/coverage optimization - #44 by Hedda

Yes, light bulbs (at least my Hue light bulbs) can be repeaters.
Most mains-powered devices can be reporters.

This zigbee network information is much more involved than i realized… i’ve done some studying and research on the zigbee mesh network and repeaters/routers… so i’m anxious to get some repeater options up and running… i’ve got a hue hub and 4 white bulbs that might fit the bill… Also there are inexpensive repeaters /plugs… anxious to “build my mesh network”…

The Hue hub will not be able to act as a repeater. It is its own Zigbee coordinator. If you have Hue bulbs, I’d recommend just leaving them on the Hue hub and use the Hue integration.

Third Reality has some smart zigbee outlets that list having the onboard repeater… $30 for 4 of them… amazon says they’ll be here tomorrow… so i sync them to my sonoff stick and then additional devices know to add on from there? the layout map will show who’s a repeater and who’s an end device? does it kind of figure itself out via the mesh technology or do i need to add respective devices differently?? i’m hopeful the 4 plugs placed around on different floors will give me more devices and better reliability… ultimately i’d like to have about 60 zigbee devices… this should do it if i understand correctly…

i’m not that big of a fan of the hue stuff… frankly, i was gonna ditch the hue gear completely, but was looking for something in hand to be a zigbee repeater… these plugs i ordered will hopefully work and the hue stuff can go completely away… i bought the 4 white bulbs and the bridge when i first started playing with all of this… found stuff cheaper and better as i moved forward…

Yeah. ZigBee devices will check link quality with their neighbors and, ideally, will change routes to the repeater with the best signal quality.

There are some oddball end devices that, once they connect to a particular router, refuse to re-route without being reset and paired again.

Correct. I would not hyperfixate on this unless you have problems. The map is good for trouble-shooting. Thing like, XX number of devices suddenly go offline, so you check the map and figure out they’re all going through the same router. Which would indicate a problem with the router itself.

Most likely. Most plugged in devices will also act as routers as well, so you’ll undoubtedly add more repeaters as you add devices. Most bulbs do not repeat (with exceptions like Hue and (if I’m not mistaken) INNR which will repeat ZigBee LL), but most others will. Only other exception I can think of are the Aqara FP1 radars, which do not operate as routers.

I wasn’t either (assumed they were overly priced; which is the case for most of their bulbs). One thing the hub does very well is drastically simplifying some of the more complex ZigBee features. For example, you can use ZigBee to create groups and scenes. These are different than settings the same options in HA directly.

When you do a group with ZigBee, all the devices are controlled with a single command for each action. When you do a group with HA, it’s just sending a command per device behind the scenes. The difference isn’t huge unless you are, for example, turning on all the lights in a room. The HA group may exhibit the popcorn effect because the commands are making it to the devices at different times. With a ZigBee group, all the devices receive the command at the same time.

When you do a scene with ZigBee, the color/brightness/etc. are stored in memory and just recalled versus by a simple command versus the settings being commanded. This, typically, means the bulbs in the previous example will turn on at their correct settings per the scene. When using a scene in HA, it’s sending the settings as the bulbs are turning on, so you’ll get that momentary “wrong setting” flash. This can be as simple as the light turning on a little brighter than expected for about half a second. Or, if changing colors, it comes on at the previous color and switches after that half second. A ZigBee scene negates that problem.

Back to Hue, it simplifies all this with the UI and doesn’t even tell you. From an end user perspective, it’s a much simpler setup. These can both be replicated with standard Zigbee setups, but it’s more convoluted since you are actually manipulating the individual settings to get them going.

it’s not that big of a place and its stickbuilt with drywall inside… i do have lots of wifi access points to potentially cause problems… i need to go into the wifi network and play with channels… it’s been working pretty well, but i’ve added a bunch of zigbee bulbs and door sensors that have complicated things and apparently maxed out what i can do hooked directly to the usb controller…

i’ve seen references to flashing the sonoff stick with other firmware or using mqtt? what does that do for me?

Probably more trouble than it’s worth. MQTT uses a different Zigbee software stack called zigbee2mqtt. There’s pro/cons to using it over ZHA and plenty of threads about it on here.

Here’s a good visual for deconflicting Zigbee vs WiFi:

Excellent graphic!! And wow… they’re right on top of each other… lol… so i can steer my wifi channels… usually by access point… can you steer zigbee channel usage, or do you just have to get out of it’s way…??

You can change the ZigBee channel, but that usually means having to pair the devices again. Typically a good idea to keep that static and adjust the wifi channels around in. The graphic shows the ZigBee channels at the bottom. If you keep wifi to channels 1,6,11 and ZigBee on either 15 or 20, then you should be alright.