Zigbee: Conbee, EmberZNet, XBee, CC2531 USB dongle? ZHA component, deCONZ component, Zigbee component, or zigbee2mqtt?


I wanna set up z Zigbee network.
Mostly switched sockets, temperature sensors (Xiaomi?), motion sensors (Xiaomi?), and window sensors (Xiaomi?). I’ll need routers as well to cover all rooms.

Now, I’m a little bit overwhelmed by the many options to use Zigbee in Home Assistant.

Hardware-wise there seem to be a couple of Dongles:

  • Conbee
  • EmberZNet (Elelabs etc)
  • XBee
  • CC2531
    As well as gateways. I’d prefer a dongle at my home server and not run another box.

Then software-wise there’s:

Rather than trying them all out myself I’m wondering if there are any recommendations regarding compatibility, reliability, ease of use, active development.
FWIW, I’ve already got an Elelabs Zigbee USB Adapter and also bought a Conbee I (as I wasn’t sure how actively Elelabs is developed).
But if there’s a better option I’d also buy another dongle.

Any recommendations what combination of Dongle and component to try first?

Thanks a lot!

If you have Conbee you should go with that. They continuously improve the software and firmware and its been really stable for a year.

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All of the options support Xiaomi sensors and are stable for those.
Since you have the conbee already I would agree with @Robban to use that.
I am using zigbee2mqtt and one of the benefits of that solution is that new devices are added daily, and can be added by the community.

Would you recommend ZHA component + zigpy-deconz or the deCONZ component?
I’m not super happy about having to run/maintain another software (deCONZ), but I guess I can deal with it if that’s the most reliable way.

+1 for Conbee and Deconz.

I tried zigbee2mqtt and it was good - no issues, but Conbee seems more polished for me and the range of the USB stick is better. I have 25 devices now and stable as a rock (8 routers, 17 sensors).

I’m running with standalone deconz and have never tried zha.

I’m using Zigbee2mqtt as it was the cheapest option when I started off 6 months ago. Was a pain when I started but since then a few FW upgrades and it’s now rock solid. Seems a wide range of device support but I’m interested in the recent development of the ZHA component or plugin as it’s now called and what benefits this will bring over Zigbee2mqtt? It was mentioned on the podcast but haven’t seen anything else

Which module did you have the CC2531 or 2530? I believe the range on the latter is better (50-60m). I’ve also seen mods for the CC2531 sticking an external sma antenna on it

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FWIW, I’ve tried Conbee I (with deCONZ) and Elelabs/EmberZNet (with ZHA) over the weekend.
Range was similar for both, but probably doesn’t matter all that much, as sockets and bulbs will act as routers.

I did find Conbee/deCONZ much more reliable than Elelabs though.

Especially Xiaomi end devices didn’t work well with the Elelabs dongle. The door, motion, and temp sensors required multiple attempts to pair. The door sensor then worked, but the motion and temp sensors didn’t report any data. My Bitron socket was less reliable and slow with Elelabs. With my Innr socket it wouldn’t recognize if the socket was switched manually with the button on the case. So overall not great or even useless. Not sure if this is a hardware/firmware problem (maybe HUSBZB-1 is better?) or a software problem (bellows/zigpy/HA). But in the end it doesn’t work well.

Conbee/deCONZ worked better, although my Xiaomi temp sensor also doesn’t work.
Everything else worked fine though.
I like that I can see the network mesh in the deCONZ GUI.
I don’t like that I have to start/maintain another service (deCONZ) on my computer. Would be nice if HA could talk directly to the dongle instead of having deCONZ in the middle.

I’ll probably write a more detailed report on device compatibility etc later.

I also tried Deconz over the weekend with a ConBee and the latest firmware install has killed my stick. It lasted 2hrs before I thought “huh, better install the FW update”.
I’m holding out hope that someone can talk me through fixing it up on their Github but otherwise I’ll have to buy another one and just buy 2 or 3 less sensors to make up for the unexpected extra cost…

Out of interest you mention the Xiaomi temp/humidity sensors dont work with Deconz? That’s not good for me as that was one of the reasons I was looking at Zigbee! :frowning: I’m sure I’ve seen them on the supported devices list…?

Yes, it’s supposed to be supported.
I assume it’s either a bug in the Conbee firmware or in deCONZ. I asked about it on their Github. Let’s see what they reply. It’s also possible that my sensor is broken. I ordered two more, but it will take some time from China.

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Xiaomi devices seem to be somewhat buggy in general (see e.g. this thread).

It’s also recommended to pair Xiaomi end devices (sensors etc.) near the router where they will be placed. Xiaomi devices tend to stick to the first parent node that they see and don’t move to other parents. So best to keep them very close to the desired parent (socket, bulb, …) that you want them to use. Some more details here and here.

But I do get the feeling that the Dresden team is trying hard to make them work. So I have hope :slight_smile:

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CC2531 - I now use 2 of them as routers on my Conbee mesh :slight_smile:

Hmm. I did not know that a CC2531 could be used with Conbee. Some how I thought Conbee FW was proprietary.

Ziggbee2MQTT works good, but it’s good to have options.

However this is a good reason to buy the conbee stick, deconz with a cc2531 stick · Issue #995 · dresden-elektronik/deconz-rest-plugin · GitHub

FWIW I use a Conbee USB stick with ZHA and it works well for me. Have about 15 devices or so paired (Ikea Trafri outlets, Xioami motion sensors, Xioami door/window sensors, and a couple ThirdReality light switches).

The only issue I have is that there isn’t any way that I’ve discovered to visualize your network. So I have no idea which end devices are connected to which router or coordinator. But I don’t have any issues with devices going offline, so I guess it doesn’t matter at the moment.

You can flash the CC2531 with the router firmware from here

It then is added as a light to DeConz and can be used as a repeater (the Conbee is the coordinator). The red LED on it is actually the light that you can turn on and off.



Hi markbajaj:
I did flash FW to CC2531 as router.
How to pair CC2531 with conbee?


From memory (a while ago), I just searched for lights in DeConz and pressed the small button on the CC2531?

I’ll see if I can find the webpage I used.



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