Switch to zigbee & CC2531 usb stick?

Hi all

I’m doing some reading on other (then wifi) wireless options.
Since I’m surrounded with a lot of wifi networks, I don’t think that’s the best way to add more devices to my home automation.
So it seems that zigbee is the next level of wireless automation and apparently zigbee2MQTT is very interesting.
Am I seeing that right?
I also saw some posts with Conbee sticks, are those comparable?

I run HA in a LXC container (check my sig) and I’m puzzled since I saw the possibility to insert that stick into a power adapter.
Does this stick have to be physically connected to the machine that runs HA or not?

Thanks in advance!

It doesnt when using Zigbee2mqtt but it does need to be connected to a PC running Zigbee2mqtt and HA subscribes to Z2M via MQTT; you can’t just plug it into a power adapter.

I suppose you could if you were using it as a router (not coordinator), but I wouldnt personally, the Zigbee range on the 2531 is woeful. I ended up with some Ikea repeaters and I plugged them into my WiFi access points USB port.

I hear a lot of people having issues with CC2531 in terms or range. Some resorting to using antenna, placing the USB stick on a USB extension cord etc. Personally, (maybe I’ve been lucky) I’ve not had any issues with range. My little USB is sticking out of a celeron NUC and is happily covering a 250m home. I have around 20 sensors and switches in total (appreciate that isn’t the biggest). If you are considering something more powerful, you might want to check here:

I believe it’s based on the texas instruments’ CC2652R which i believe is a bit of a beast.

That being said, no issues here with my little $4 stick.
If you’re interested in a flashing guide, you can see here - i did a full write up:

Hi guys, did you start right away with zigbee?

@ callifo: are you referring to the ‘phone-charger’ model of repeater from Ikea?

@ baldfox: which stick are you using?

Yes, they are actually 2 parts, first half is a crap 1A USB like phone charger, the 2nd part is a USB zigbee repeater. They work when I plug the repeater into my roof mount WiFi access point’s USB port and provide excellent coverage.

I’m using ZIgbee2MQTT and am very happy with it (although I only have 5 devices on it). However, for the radio I went with a ZZH based on the much newer CC2652. It also comes with a detachable antenna so range is great and you can change antenna to suit your needs. I did have issues when plugging the stick directly into my pi 4b - there was a lot of interference with the pi’s bluetooth and wifi radio. This had me scratching my head for a couple of days but then found out what it was and a simply 1m usb extension cable has fixed all those issues for me.

I’m using this one:

I’m using a simple CC2531, with a small debugging cable and jumpers. I write the firmware via Raspberry Pi.