Z-Wave is not dead

Many older Z-Wave 300 and 500 series devices does not unless they use a larger lithium battery like example CR123/CR123A (which many security system devices uses), but newer generation of Z-Wave 700 and 800 devices have signifigantly better battery life than most newer Zigbee 3.0 devices I have.

It is also important to remember that both Z-Wave and Zigbee depends heavily on mesh networking technology thus battery-operated devices on a mesh network that does not have many mains-powered repeaters/routers will drain out the battery much quicker if they need to keep resending messages because of poor reception to and from the closest mains-powered repeater/router.

So always be sure to add many mains-powered repeaters/routers close to battery-powered devices to keep their batteries from draining faster than nessesary due to them having to resend messages.

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Not in the consumer space. In the US, Zigbee dwarfs Z-Wave in device count, device types, retail availability and consumer purchases. It’s not even close. If someone told me Zigbee is 100x larger than Z-Wave I’d only argue that number seems low.

Two widely available brands that alone dwarf Z-Wave as a whole:

IKEA - all zigbee
Philips - all zigbee

Then you have import products. Tuya zigbee devices from 1001 brands, Aqara Xiaomi Opple, 1 million brands no one has ever heard of, etc. All zigbee. When you see something listed on Amazon, if it’s not WiFi it’s Zigbee. At Home Depot? Again, Zigbee if not WiFi.

No consumers outside of hardcore automation fans (like us) use Z-Wave at all. People using Apple Home, Google stuff, Amazon Alexa? They’re all using WiFi and Zigbee devices.

Z-Wave is so irrelevant in the consumer space in the US and Canada that if every product was taken off the market tomorrow, not a single “normy” consumer would even know. And those people are responsible for millions of purchases.

The combination of zero licensing fees and the ability to break standards at will is just too tempting for tuya.

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Uwe leads the development of the Home Assistant Z-Wave stick that we’re working on”. Wish granted:

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I understand it as most Zigbee fees are includes in the price of the chips, but the “Zigbee” brand and intellectual poroperty of the specifications is owned by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), formelly Zigbee Alliance, and if a manufacturer wants to market a product/device as Zigbee compatible using the Zigbee brand in order to sell it for profit then they need to certify the product and that still cost some money (even if some Zigbee devices are based on Zigbee radio modules that have been pre-certified).

And then they also need to get products/devices compliance tested and certified by various government authority agents / regulatory bodies, like the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the United States and European Commission (EC/CE) in the EU, to make sure it complies with electronics safety and radio rules before resellers can legally make their electronic device available to the public.

Some companies, and especially many Chinese companies, are infamous for ignoring all of that.

there is some very interesting reading on DrZwave web site detailing the substantial effort required to certify z-wave devices, as the antenna impedance matching is done in hardware on all 500, 700, devices. There are two chip type available in 800 series, and one of them is "software defined"as I understand it so that the device can be produced for all regions and frequencies. I would love to see a “Z-Wave-Home” project like ESP-Home that uses those 800 series devices and a web based IDE to open up the DIY z-wave market. Maybe Nabu Casa could also consider a z-wave device thet is similar to the SM Light Ethernet Zigbee form factor for connection over Ethernet to HA for a Z-wave controller. I can dream, Right

If you port ESPHome to Silicon Labs’s “EFR32 platform” then you are probably half-way there :wink:

While just adding support for Silabs EFR32 Wireless Gecko (32-bit MCUs) to ESPHome without considering Z-Wave or even other types of wireless support on the EFR32 platform would be A LOT of work! It is way over my head, though I do believe that such ports would be technically possible on paper, as ESPHome, which originally only supported ESP8266 before ESP32 support was added, was previously also ported to at least Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 platform (RPi Pico) about two years ago, and an independent developer is currently working on porting ESPHome to Nordic Semiconductor’s nrf52 (and nrf53) platform. Maybe such an effort is less impossible since Silicon Labs recently partnered with Nabu Casa to support Open Source development + Home Assistant and ESPHome developers’s announcement of the Open Home Foundation, but then you run into the problem that the current libraries and SDK for Z-Wave might not be compatible for use with ESPHome’s free and open-source licenses? If you are interested in researching/investigating this possibility then you should be aware that Silicon Labs Gecko SDK (GSDK) is on GitHub and that siliconlabsefm32 platform is available on PlatformIO, (but I do not think there is support for Silabs Gecko SDK in PlatformIO’s siliconlabsefm32 platform?).

I therefore believe that it is more likely that we will see Zigbee (and Thread) support in ESPHome sooner than we will see Z-Wave support, especially since ESPHome already supports the ESP32 platform (espressif32) and Espressif has recently released an ESP Zigbee SDK + four ESP32 SoCs with IEEE 802.15.4 radios (for Zigbee and Thread support); first ESP-H2 and ESP32-C6 then very recently also ESP-H4 and ESP32-C5.

FYI, if you are interested in helping out with the Zigbee support development effort for ESPHome then you should know a couple of other independent developers are already experimenting with YAML support for that ESP Zigbee SDK in ESPHome, check out this development discussion here → New level for Zigbee in ESPHome · Issue #28 · luar123/esphome_zb_sensor · GitHub (and the end-users feature request discussion here → Zigbee/Thread support on the new upcoming ESP32-H2 variant? · Issue #1397 · esphome/feature-requests · GitHub).

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