WiFi or ZWave (or ZigBee)? The big question


I am using since a while now zigbee (xiaomi and philips) and WiFi (Broadlink, plus other brands, I think all using the ESP8266 chip) and some 433MHz sensors and switches (which I don’t like because of no status signal).

I found the WiFi not reliable enough (at least my few months experience), and I live in a single house, so I have some but little interference from outside WiFi (what happens in an apartment building with 10+ WiFi routers?).

Zigbee is a bit better, problem is I see lot of confusion between different ZigBee protocols, and there are not so many vendors around.

I ordered my first Zwave devices, so I have no direct experience yet.

For my final automation system I would prefer to rely on one system only

I was wondering what the forum has to say on the subject

Interesting… I get this question asked a lot at my work…
I don’t think there will ever be a preferred system.
There are so many systems to add to your suggestions:
Google thread and zigbee, Homekit using wifi and bluetooth.
Another great diy alternative is https://www.mysensors.org/

However, I think it is safe to say nowadays the radio with the most devices would be Z-wave.

I don’t have any zwave experience myself. It would be great if someone could share their thoughts on this (like installation ease and reliability)

It is an interesting question and one I asked myself a while back.
I had wifi issues, but I was able to sort them using an app on my smart phone to detect which wifi channels were in use. I turned my router off and got the app to scan. I made a note of the channels in use, then configured my router to use one as far away from the others as possible. Sorted out the problem nicely.
I’m using LghtwaveRF for the switches because they were the nicest looking switches. We have the group controller ones which run off a battery. They aren’t actually main connected.
Our lights are all Hue and we have a lot of Z Wave switches too.
It all works very well and very fast, even if I fire a command to turn on absolutely everything. Z Wave does a little while to sort out on a reboot though, that’s the only slow bit I’ve found.

yes but I found the problem repeating itself … at the end I solve it, but the management of it is a bit too much for my taste: I have a router and an extender, and I also have problem with Virtual MAC Addresses, ans also problem pairing ESP8266 objects to the network (it takes always minimum 3 try and more).
overall I just spend too much time, and after that is NOT rock solid, once in a while there are annoying hiccups

I would like a rock solid system, looking towards zwave, on how it is

I started out with Phillips Hue and zigbee. Quickly I found that most of the devices I wanted to talk to were zwave devices and have since eliminated all but one osram lightify product (under cabinet lights in the kitchen). I have found zwave very easy to work with and robust as long as you have enough devices to make a good mesh network. There are a couple of places where I had to install zwave outlets in order to get a little more coverage where there was a significant distance between two points. I only have one of those situations remaining now and that is down a long hallway to our master bedroom.
The decision maker for me was the realization that I didn’t have any lights that were not controlled by a switch somewhere. This really worked against the smart light concept since whenever someone threw the wall switch the lights became very dumb very fast since they were not getting power anymore. The availability of the zwave GE switches made them the logical choice for me, so I basically threw away about 10 smart bulbs and replaced them with smart switches and have been happy ever since.

1 Like

which stick or hardware you use for the zwave network.

Yes now I realize as well that the best is zwave switches with dumb lights, rather then smart lights. Smart lights occasionally do not work and that angers the whole family.

I think the best is a smart switch (that can be used also manually) and dumb lights. And of course sensors and smart plugs.

WDo you use anything to dimm the lights? Are special led lamp needed for the dimming purposes? I guess you lose the colour effect (but after few moinths of use I think is just a unuseful gadget) which I do not need much, but I like the dimming function

I use Wink for my connectivity, but am thinking about moving over to my zwave stick and for the life of me I can’t remember the model now, but it’s the one recommended out here most.

GE has good dimmers and has some fan dimmers as long as you are ok with the paddle switches as opposed to the traditional flip type switches. There are special LED lights that are “dimmable”. I use them although they are not smart lights, they just handle the change in voltage driving them a little better than traditional leds. I do still use two of the color lights out on my front porch. During the holidays I change the color on them whenever they are turned on to match the season. During Christmas, I had them switching between Red, Blue and Green. It freaked a few of my guests out.

Aeotec Gen 5?

The new Aeotec nano dimmer and switch will work with or without a neutral wire. Due out in late March/April.

My experience suggests z-wave. There are a lot of device manufacturers out there, and its the main option when you want to replace your light switches, which is a conclusion I think everyone reaches eventually, once they find out the shortcomings of smart bulbs. But why not zigbee? Good luck finding a zigbee controller and devices that work with it in a generic way.

besides are there any zigbee product taht goes behind a regular switch and makes it smart (like the fibaro product)?

You’ve been around here long enough to know, just ask a question and you will get an answer. Probably more than one answer :slight_smile:

Single relay I would think means it will replace one wall switch. Double relay would replace two switches in the same box. I use similar devices to these in my bathrooms where I have a light switch and an exhaust fan switch on the wall in the same electrical switch box. They are really very nice devices.

which are nice,
your switches or the fibaro relay?

but in both cases they interrupt one line, correct?

I am not an electrician, but had one in my house last week :stuck_out_tongue:
He told me that for some appliances (like a boiler) the SWITCH should disconnect both wires (Line and Neutral), so a SWITCH that interrupts only the Line (and not the Neutral at the same time) is very dangerous for heavy appliances.
For LIGHT switch ther eis no problem

I don’t use the fibaro relay’s. I use some devices similar to them that are available in the US. From my brief reading on it, they look to be similar in features and functionality. So I’m speaking about the functionality, not necessarily the quality of the fibaro switches (since I don’t have any direct experience with them).

I’m not an electrician either and have zero experience with european wiring standards. That said, I would believe your electrician and maybe you can get him to come back out and talk with you some more about it. Is your boiler a two or three wire system? I am not aware of any three wire zwave switches (what in the US we would call 220v)

mmhh well I expect the law of phisics to be the same on the other side of the atlantic.

I have 0,001 experience, what I can tell you that for each appliance we have 3 wires: Line, Neutral, Ground. Any socket that I opened has minimum 3

the third wire is GROUND, so should not count.

Maybe (maybe) what you are referring to is a 3phase, and for us is 380V, if I remember well, but you see those only in small factories, not in homes

The laws of physics should be the same. But the laws of building codes probably aren’t. The only way what the electrician was saying made sense to me would be if you had what I would cause a 220v system which has two hot wires a neutral and a ground. These are typically used on systems with large motors or heating elements.

But in either case, the two relay devices we were talking about probably not be what you are looking for since each relay is controlled separately.

I think what is for you 110V is for us 220V (home use).
What is for you 220V is for us 380V (small factory use)

In hour homes (220V) we have 3 wires: Line, Neutral, Ground (not 4). I suppose that in small factories they have 4 but not sure about that.