Trying to extend Zigbee network

I was able to set up Zigbee2MQTT, using a Sonoff 3.0 dongle as a coordinator, I also have paired 2 Sonoff S31ZB plugs, which do show up as a router, but when trying to connect an Aqara door and window sensor, I can only pair it with the coordinator, not with either of the zigbee smart plugs. I am trying to extend my mesh network, and I figured using the zigbee smart plugs I would be able to pair to them and not the coordinator.
I have also tried using ZHA and Deconz. I have read that these plugs are capable of acting as a router to extend range. Not sure if I am forgetting a step. Thanks for any help

I’m by far no expert when it comes to zigbee but I’ve had my share of issues with it. There shouldn’t be anything special for a smart plug. First make sure they have a good LQI. I would say 100 or better.

Depending on the size of your home and how spread out your devices are you may need more routers. Don’t know how big your zigbee network is but I’ve noticed that there is a limit on how many devices that can connect to each router. For me I can’t go past 5. Not sure why.

Lastly 2.4 wifi can and will cause interference with the zigbee network. Not only your wifi but depending on how close your neighbors are theirs too. Zigbee2MQTT defaults to channel 11. ZHA defaults to channel 15. I found that channel 25 works best for my zigbee network. I have about 40 zigbee devices and it has been rock solid since changing to channel 25. Something to look into if you are having problems with devices dropping offline or slow to respond.

Here is a link with tips that will be helpful.

Generic best practice tips on improving Zigbee network range and general stability · zigpy/zigpy Wiki · GitHub

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Aqara products are notorious for not following proper zigbee protocol and have had issues like this in the past or even worse adding items like peanut plugs later and eventually all my Aqara sensors dropping off the network.

The way I solved it is to switch all my plugs to Aqara plugs and seems like it extended and works well.

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