Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Thanks. Well based on this and the rest of your post, I’ve really done almost everything I can at this point. I purchased three Aeotec Range Extender Zis (1 for reach floor and in strategic locations).

And I also purchased three Sonoff ZBDongle-E’s, but I’ve been unable to get the firmware to flash as I’m running into this same issue where it’s getting to the bootloader, but never actually transferring on all combinations of the Sonoff dongles and my Mac and Windows devices for flashing them. And unfortunately, I’ve been unable to get any of the other known methods you’ve shared multiple times to recognize the Dongle. I really don’t get why these devices will not take the firmware transfer.

So aside from the Zigbee dongle router issues, it sounds like there’s no need to heal and my system should optimize over time, but I guess my last two questions are:

  1. Are Hue Bulbs known to be bad routers?
  2. Is there anyway for HA to know one of the bulbs (routers) is not actively connected or unavailable?

It sometimes find a device unresponsive to commands via the UI, but the ZHA interface shows it has good RSSI and was seen within seconds of my interaction. These are all Hue bulbs that I’m finding this with by the way, so the questions are related. Back when they were managed by Hue Hub and before I found a good location in my home, I would sometimes find bulbs Unavailable, but they would show this way in HA. It’s really weird that ZHA continues to show them as good despite clearly not working.

That depend will depend on many different things;

  • Are they running Zigbee 3.0 (or later) firmware? If not they may not be interoperability friendly.
  • Do you have many of them close enough to each other? If so then that might compensate for them not being great repeaters, but on the other hand if you have loads of them then you might sooner or later reach the maximum limitation of total amount of Zigbee 3.0 devices you can add to your Zigbee Coordinator adapter (if which case you might need to setup a second Zigbee network).
  • And most importantly; Do they always have mains power or are they sometimes powered off because still connected to wall-switch or cord-switch?
    • Zigbee Router devices need to always be powered on and it will not be good for your Zigbee network mesh if your Zigbee Router devices are sometimes powered off because of “bad usage” as they will stop routing and devices connected to them will take time to reconnect.
      • Tip is to otherwise remove the physically wall-switch / cord-switch if and when smart lightbulbs is used as then they will not be accidentally powered off and stop routing.

Personally recommend using smart wall-switches/modules instead of smart lightbulbs for these reasons.

Yes, they should show as “Unavailable” in ZHA UI (or Zigbee2MQTT GUI) if they are working properly.

If that does not work on a specific device then there might be a bug in the device firmware that prevents that or your Zigbee Router devices are not passing along the message. Regardless suggest upgrading firmware on both your Zigbee Coordinator and your Zigbee devices, including Zigbee Router devices.

FYI, devices becoming “Unavailable” or not changing state on command is otherwise the most common symptoms of interference problems and range issues.

The bulbs are gen 1 and gen 2 Phillips Hue, so I haven’t been able to confirm they are running Zigbee 3.0 firmware, but I’m thinking they’re not since they’re the older variety? I started this post specific to my setup and experience to not stray too far from this thread.

To answer some of your other questions/suggestions here:

  • Yes, they’re strategically placed throughout my home with only a couple that are further than I’d like…but those haven’t been troublesome for me.
  • All mains powered devices are on all the time and not tied to a manual switch. Some have smart switches attached, but those are set to be on all the time and not allow for power cutting by the action.
  • My controller is a SkyConnect and fully updated per the information I’ve found so far.

Good to know that I should see “Unavailable” when they’re “unavailable.” I’m going to start unpairing and repairing these troublesome devices through the nearest router if/when I see issues moving forward to see if that helps. Appreciate the response and suggestions.

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I have a couple of questions. My setup is a Sonoff Zigbee Dongle-P coordinator and I have various aqara sensors throughout my house. I followed @Hedda advice and bought a Sonoff Zigbee Dongle-E and got it flashed with the router firmware. Started working immediately and seemed to have great range. I did have problems with some of my sensors that were relying on the router for connection, IIRC they would go offline and then i discovered my dongle wasn’t working. I tried a couple of things and ended up using a different power brick as opposed to the usb hub with a usb extension cable. For whatever reason it started working again. Until a power cut recently which seemed to kill the Zigbee dongle - there was quite a big power surge for about 3 seconds before the power went out. I have a feeling a power cut may have also been responsible for the problems i had in the first instance.

I looked online extensively for a place I could get the Tradfri repeater from but no where ships to my country (NZ).

I ended up buying 2 of these instead as I seen some people review them saying they act as repeaters and work with HA. They do indeed appear in ZHA as a router, but they are not great. I got 2 in case they didn’t give enough range hoping I could daisy chain them. Up until right now I had the question can a router talk to another router then back to the coordinator and I’ve just checked the network map and can see that is how they are connected although the second (further) router also has a link to the coordinator which I find strange as I thought it was out of range. The closest router is around 13m from coordinator and farthest one is 16m, and around 6m between each, all going through walls. I’m finding the sensors in the far corner of the house another 10m or so away are dropping off every now and again which is frustrating. In comparison the Zigbee Dongle-E which was around 23m from the coordinator and between the 2 of them seemed to provide stable connection for all devices.

I’m at the point where I’m sick of spending money on cheap dongles and plugs from china and just want a reliable solution even if it means I have to spend a bit more. I just looked at the Aeotec repeater and seems Amazon.com reviews are good but not so good on Amazon.de, might have to do more research here.

I am curious about whether I could run an RP SMA extension cable into the ceiling and then use a tee joiner to add in another antenna every 10-15m or so instead of all these routers/repeaters that need mains power. This way everything talks to 1 device - the coordinator. Can anyone see any problems with this? My only other option is to move my HA set up to a more central location which should work better but then creates a problem moving my RF bridge too far from a sensor outside so then I have to try and extend the range on that somehow.

@bigdogevan Would you mind sharing specifics as to how you successfully flashed the Dongle-E with the Router Firmware? Or even share via DM? I’ve literally tried three different devices with three OSes and multiple app methods (as outlined multiple times above), but have been completely unsuccessful in getting these devices to the Router Firmware.

I too thought it would be straight forward but struggled for a few hours until I found this post. See my reply also.

Thanks a lot @Hedda!
I was struggling a lot with my Qnap NAS HA in VM and the Sky Connect dongle.
At the end it was the USB 3.2 Port. I added a old USB2 Hub and now it works flawlessly!
Thanks for the detailed explanation.

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If can not get a hold of the “IKEA Trådfri Signal Repeater” or the “Aeotec Zigbee Range Extender” then suggest you consider buying a few CC2652P-based USB dongles and flash them with Zigbee Router firmware, or alternatively many more mains-power smart-outlet Zigbee power-plugs for same purpose.

Personally, I recommend having at least three (3) dedicated Zigbee Router devices in any home/house.

“ZBDongle-P” with Zigbee Router firmware is highly recommended → ITead's "Sonoff Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus" (model "ZBDongle-P") based on Texas Instruments CC2652P +20dBm radio SoC/MCU

Zigbee is meant to utilize a mesh network and for that you will need to add a lot of mains-powered Zigbee Router devices if you want to get better range and coverage or if you live in a large home with walls/floors/ceilings with building materials that block wireless signals in the 2.4GHz frequency. See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking

Zigbee is designed to work using “mesh networking” so yes Zigbee Router devices can communicate through other Zigbee Router devices, so the key should be to just add more Zigbee routing devices.

Zigbee routing devices are “the glue that holds the whole thing together” so adding more known good Zigbee Router devices is what will make your Zigbee network mesh stable, robust, and resilient.

However, a Zigbee mesh network will only work as designed as long as all devices follow the Zigbee specifications and allow pass-through of all messages from all devices, including those other than their own brands, which sadly not all Zigbee manufacturers do and there are unfortunately some poorly developed Zigbee devices that do not pass along all meaning, which is bad if you introduce such a device and other devices connect to it and expect it to forward its messages. I do therefore not recommend buying just any cheap mains-powered device if the main purpose is for it to work as a Zigbee Router device for extending the range and getting better coverage.

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha#best-practices-to-avoid-pairingconnection-difficulties

Note that some Zigbee devices are not fully compatible with all brands of Zigbee router devices. Xiaomi/Aqara devices are for example known not to work with Zigbee router devices from Centralite, General Electrics, Iris, Ledvance/OSRAM, LIGHTIFY/Sylvania, Orvibo, PEQ, Securifi, and SmartThings/Samsung. Better results can usually be achieved by using mains-powered devices IKEA and Nue/3A Home or dedicated DIY routing devices based on Texas Instruments CC253x/CC26x2 and XBee Series 2/3 Zigbee radios.

I do absolutely not recommend doing that and strongly recommend against it! Not only is Zigbee Coordinator limited to how many Zigbee devices it can connect directly (known as “Direct Children”) and the firmware on each device should technically be tuned/optimized for the specific antenna that it ships with, but what you suggest would create a “star network” (also known as “hub-and-spoke” network) instead of a “mesh network” which is a bad idea as that is not how a Zigbee network topology is designed to work, that is that in fact the opposite how Zigbee networking is supposed to work → https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_network

You actually do not want a too good of an antenna on the Zigbee Coordinator as it is better if Zigbee End Devices (ZED, e.i. battery-powered devices) always connect through a mains-powered Zigbee Router device that is located closer to it as that should make its connection more stable and make it draw less battery making its batteries last longer. Again, just add more Zigbee Router devices instead.

For even more references (which will all tell you to first add known good Zigbee Router devices), read:

And watch these:

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@NugentS I replied to question(s) from Home Assistant & Zigbee Extension in this thread below.

The best solution will for sure be to buy and add a whole bunch of “known good” Zigbee Router devices.

Please follow → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Zigbee technology fully relies/depends on mesh networking and therefor works best when you have all your devices in a single Zigbee network with many “Zigbee Router” devices, as such the best way to extend the range and coverage of that Zigbee network is to add more Zigbee Router devices (mains-powered devices that will act as Zigbee signal repeaters / Zigbee range extenders).

If you need your Zigbee network to reach far away or through walls/floors/ceilings with dense building materials then you should first consider adding a few dedicated Zigbee Router devices that are known to work better as Zigbee Router devices than other products, such as for example the IKEA Trådfri Signal Repeater and Aeotec Range Extender (which both work better than most out-of-the-box), or for great Zigbee Router devices consider flashing a few Zigbee USB dongles/adapters that have external antennas with Zigbee Router firmware and use them as stand-alone devices in USB-chargers for mains-power, see the first post in → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

You can also optimize the placement of your Zigbee Coordinator adapter by using either a very long USB extension cable or buying a network-attached Zigbee Coordinator adapter (like Tube’s Zigbee Gateways or ZigStar LAN Gateway) that simply uses Serial-over-IP to communicate with the computer that runs your Zigbee gateway solution (such as the ZHA integration or Zigbee2MQTT) instead of using a Zigbee USB dongle (which in reality is a Serial-to-USB adapter), however that will only enable a more flexible installation as it just allows you easier relocate your Zigbee Coordinator to an other located, so in practice, it is just an alternative to using a very long USB extension cable (which you can also get by buying a USB Over Ethernet RJ45 Extender Adapter Kit for using an Ethernet CAT5+ cable as a very long USB extension cable).

Note! It is not recommended to connect Zigbee Coordinator adapter using Serial-over-IP over WiFi, see:

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha#warning-about-wi-fi-based-zigbee-to-serial-bridgesgateways

https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/advanced/remote-adapter/connect_to_a_remote_adapter.html

So if you decide to buy a network-attached Zigbee Coordinator adapter (like example Tube’s Zigbee Gateways or ZigStar LAN Gateway) then get a wired Ethernet variant as the serial-protocols that Zigbee Coordinator adapters use are known to have issues if used via Serial-over-IP over WiFi.

Unfortunately no, Zigbee is a wireless-only protocol that does not support any type of IP-bridging at all, so there is no way to split up a single Zigbee network in two different locations by extending it via an Ethernet network. Also, Zigbee only supports a single Zigbee Coordinator per Zigbee network, so no, you can not extend a Zigbee network by adding another Zigbee Coordinator at a different location and connecting them over an Ethernet network somehow.

The only option you have there is to instead set up several independent Zigbee networks, each with its own Zigbee Coordinator, which will have no interaction with each other whatsoever at the Zigbee level. That is, you can for example run one instance of the ZHA integration and one or more instances of Zigbee2MQTT, (again each instance will need its own Zigbee Coordinator adapter and will run its own independent Zigbee network).

Using two or more separate Zigbee installation instances independently is still a common solution for those who have two areas/locations that are so far away from each other that is it not possible for the Zigbee wireless signal to reach it even if adding many known good Zigbee Router devices to extend the range and coverage.

Other than ZHA and Zigbee2MQTT Zigbee gateway solutions using Zigbee Coordinator USB adapters instead of stand-alone gateways/bridges/hubs such as set up will technically work exactly the same as if you would have some Zigbee devices paired to a Philips Hue Bridge and some other Zigbee devices paired to an IKEA Trådfri Gateway or Samsung SmartThings Hub. That is, you then use Home Assistant to tie together all your devices to be able to control and automate their entities.

PS: By the way, a tip is that you do not need to through away yourSONOFF Zigbee Bridge as it is at least possible re-purpose ITead “SONOFF Zigbee Bridge Pro” and “SONOFF Zigbee Bridge” as Zigbee Router devices if you first hack them and then flash the Zigbee chip on them with Zigbee Router firmware. This is a similar concept to flashing Zigbee USB adapters with Zigbee Router firmware as mentioned above, however, with SONOFF Zigbee Bridge products not having an external antenna but instead only have a circuit board antenna on the board they are known to have the best reception.

https://community.home-assistant.io/t/itead-sonoff-zigbee-bridge-pro-zbbridge-p-new-cc2652p-and-esp32-based-zigbee-gateway-to-wifi-bridge/378924

https://community.home-assistant.io/t/sonoff-zbbridge-sonoff-zigbee-bridge-from-itead/187346

https://community.home-assistant.io/t/zb-gw03-ewelink-ethernet-zigbee-gateway-now-hacked-with-tasmota-zbbridge-so-can-be-used-via-mqtt-or-as-a-remote-zigbee-adapter-with-home-assistant-zha-and-zigbee2mqtt/341223

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Late but sure I just wanted to say THANKS for such awesome information and dedicated guidance @Hedda , this is incredibly valuable.

I think I this point I reached a reasonable amount of stability in my network (details: Seeking advice to get to reliable ZigBee, incl. low level diagnosing - #7 by adamantivm). Sniffing traffic was fun.

The most important missing TODO from your list that I really liked is building myself a few dedicated repeaters with Sonoff dongles. As soon as I’ve finished with the basics I’m going to take care of that.

Thanks a lot for all your dedication!

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Thanks a lot for this guide!

I’ve been happy with my setup for two years and I wasn’t aware that zigbee is so sensitive to interference.
I always had just one Wi-Fi router in my house and home assistant was running perfectly on my RPi 2 and CC2531, but recently I bought a Google Wi-Fi mesh with three access points and looks like that killed my zigbee network - ikea motion sensors and light switches just doesn’t turn on the lights anymore or there is like 10 seconds delay - so annoying… I’m getting lots of timeout error messages…

It started to drive me nuts, I already reinstalled home assistant on a new microSD card, I had to restore a backup and then restore the devices, I already wasted so much time looking into this, I was considering getting SkyConnect or just IKEA hub but looks like I might just need some signal repeaters.
I’ll get three of these IKEA ones and I hope that helps, otherwise I’ll try IKEA hub next and if that doesn’t help I’ll just replace my zigbee devices with Wi-Fi devices.

It might be a silly question but do I just add these to Zigbee2MQTT or do I need to somehow re-pair some devices to each repeater?

Yes you just add Zigbee repeaters / range extender or other mains-powered products that act as Zigbee Router devices to your existing Zigbee network in your gateway solution the same way as any other device, the Zigbee network mesh will automatically move devices to other Zigbee router for best signal if it working properly, you should only need to re-pair/re-join Zigbee devices with very poorly coded firmware that refuse to move automatically (such as for example old Aqara and Xiaomi devices which are infamously known for needing re-pairing/re-joining if you add or remote Zigbee Router devices). When Zigbee is working correctly you have no control over which Zigbee router that devices connect to as the whole mesh network will all just work automagically to balance itself for best signals and routing, as each device should continuously monitor its neighbours to reconnect for better route after a while (some devices do this every hour while others can take 24-hours)

Do not get an IKEA hub, that will not help at all. All Zigbee gateway solutions should in theory really perform the same if you just add enough Zigbee router devices, as it will mostly depend on how many Zigbee router devices you have in your Zigbee network and where exactly you place them to achieve optimal range and coverage, and again also on generally doing everything you can to avoid interference.

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Thanks so much for your reply.

The only thing I find weird is in each room with a battery operated light switch and motion sensor I’ve got at least one light bulb that is plugged in to mains 24/7 - if light bulbs act as repeaters, how will extra repeaters help? Would I have to add them between the RPi and the actual end device or in the same room as a light switch for example?

I’m attaching my device map below if that helps.

Usually the dedicated Zigbee repeater / range extender products are better at acting as Zigbee Router devices because they will normally have a stronger radio, larger antenna, and firmware that can handle routing for more devices while most standard Zigbee devices are limited to only (commonly just handling routing for around 5 devices or so each).

Noticed on your map that you so far do not have that many Zigbee Router devices, so relatively speaking you are just starting to build your Zigbee network and that is when adding a few dedicated Zigbee repeater / range extender products will help the most. Once you have adding many more ordinary mains-powered products that act as Zigbee Router devices (say when you maybe have 30+ Zigbee Router devices that are always online) then you should no longer need to have dedicated Zigbee repeater / range extender products as your ordinary mains-powered products should offer enough coverage to achieve the same effect. So when in doubt, just add more mains-powered products that act as Zigbee Router devices.

Also, users need to be aware before buying that not all Zigbee lightbulbs are Zigbee Router devices, some are only Zigbee end-point devices which means that they do not always have to have power.

Based on your device map I would suggest adding more Zigbee Router devices (preferably some dedicated Zigbee repeater / range extender products) between your Zigbee Coordinator and your rooms, as then your existing Zigbee Router devices that you have inside the rooms (which look to have weak signals on your device map) can connect indirectly via those Zigbee Router devices instead of having to connect directly to the Zigbee Coordinator.

e.i.: Zigbee Coordinator ↔ Zigbee Router (new) ↔ Zigbee Router (e.g. bulb) ↔ Zigbee End-Device.

You might also want to add some more Zigbee Router devices closer to sensors that are further away (on your device map you can see that a couple of your end-point devices have a much low LQI).

RSSI and LQI is hard to intepret but at a quick glance it looks like your devices are meshing really good but your existing Zigbee Router devices have weak signals so should definitely consider adding more.

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Thanks again for your reply.
I’ll get three of these TRÅDFRI Signal repeaters then and hopefully that helps.

My only concern is that it used to work flawlessly before I bought Google WiFi mesh which I’d want to keep but you cannot customise a channel setting on WiFi as it continuously scans surrounding networks and automatically changes to a channel it thinks is best.
Ideally I’d want to exclude one channel from Google WiFi so then I can set it on Zigbee2MQTT but there’s no option to do that.
You can change a channel in Zigbee2MQTT but then you have to re-pair all devices - I don’t have time to do that…
Isn’t there a hub that also changes the Zigbee channel automatically?
I’m suspecting that one of my three Google access points (nodes) that’s not connected over ethernet backhaul mode creates too much traffic and just kills zigbee network…

If you want the best setup that does not cost much more then highly recommend instead getting three (or more) Sonoff ZBDongle-P or Sonoff ZBDongle-E adapters to use in USB-chargers for power after converting them into dedicated Zigbee repeaters / range extenders by flashing Zigbee Router firmware.

While IKEA Trådfi Signal Repeater is good (and better as a dedicated Zigbee repeater / range extender than for example the IKEA Trådfri Control Outlet), the CC2652P and EFR32MG21 based ones with external antenna like those Sonoff ZBDongle-P or Sonoff ZBDongle-E adapters work great as dedicated Zigbee repeaters / range extenders, best of the best!

If that does not help then recommend reconsidering changing to other Zigbee channel (as well as taking all the other suggested best practice actions to avoid interference that are listed in my original post).

hmm, you can change the Zigbee channel in ZHA integration without having to re-pair ALL devices. I do not know how Zigbee2MQTT has implemented changing channels, perhaps Z2M developers have not yet implemented broadcasting of channel change which gives the devices a heads-up that the channel will change, (it could also be that it is old or wrong information as it is possible in most Zigbee solutions, and while not all Zigbee devices support changing channels without re-pairing, most devices do).

Anyway, the fact is that most Zigbee Router devices (mains-powered products) should handle switching Zigbee channels and will usually reconnect themselves automatically within 1-hour or so and you can even force that process to go quicker by power-cycling devices. It is normally just the Zigbee End-Point devices (e.g. battery-powered devices) that will be re-paired/re-joined. You should not lose any configuration or data as long as you only re-pair/re-join the device and do not remove the device from your Zigbee gateway solution.

No (that is not how Zigbee is designed to work), but many Zigbee gateway solutions do at least perform an energy scan on the initial setup and pick the least congested channel at the time of creating the network.

You also have to remember that practically almost all commercial Zigbee gateways/bridges/hubs from companies only support a limited set of specific Zigbee devices that they have certified for their Zigbee gateway/bridge/hub, and most only support devices from their own brand, meaning that you can just buy any device with a Zigbee logo on the box and expect it to work.

If using Home Assistant then the only Zigbee solutions I would even consider for a fresh installation are the ZHA integration or Zigbee2MQTT, (and deCONZ/Phoscon also works good if migrating from another ecosystem that used it, however, I would not personally recommend it today for a new installation).

Yep that sounds very plausible. Be sure to connect all your WiFi access-points and other devices to Ethernet if possible. IIRC I am pretty sure that was one of the tips in my original post above :stuck_out_tongue:

Most such WiFi solutions that assign channels automatically tend to primarily use WiFi channels 1, 6 and 11 so suggest try changing to Zigbee channel 25 (as many devices do not support Zigbee channel 26).

Obviously, you always also want to locate your Zigbee Coordinator and all your Zigbee devices as far away as possible from your WiFi access-points and any devices that use Wi-Fi, regardless of setup.

Here is by the way good article explaining this is Zigbee and Wi-Fi Coexistence → https://support.metageek.com/hc/en-us/articles/203845040-ZigBee-and-WiFi-Coexistence

hehe, you do not have many devices now, so will feel much worse later when you have loads more :wink:

If you want to keep your Google Nest Wifi then you got to be willing to work around its limitations.

I have owned a similar WiFi solution myself in the past and learned my lesson of not doing enough research, so sold it before owning it even for 1-year and bought UniFi APs from Ubiquiti, no regrets.

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@macottom I am going to answer you here in this other thread since the reply was more relevant here.

You asked several questions in your thread titles “Stock sonoff Zigbee 3.0 stick” but answers to those questions are really general to all Zigbee Coordinator adapters and Zigbee Router devices in general.

Highly recommend reading all the tips my original post in this thread → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

Yes your Zigbee devices will resolve all network routes by themselves automatically, but you need to be aware Zigbee relies on network mesh technology and all deceive signals are very weak, so you can not only add Zigbee end-point devices to your network as those will not help route any traffic or extend the range and coverage. Instead, you need to add products that also act as Zigbee Router devices (which most mains-powered devices are) as those will route the traffic from other devices to build out your Zigbee network, extending the range and coverage

I personally do not recommend buying Zigbee lightbulbs that act Zigbee Router devices unless you remote the dumb switch that can turn of the power, because your Zigbee network expects that all your Zigbee Router devices are always available and therefore a Zigbee end-devices connected indirectly through a Zigbee Router device usually takes 1-hour or longer to reconnect (and some Zigbee end-devices with buggy firmware will sometimes never reconnect to other Zigbee Router devices than it was initially paired with).

If you want to control ceiling lights then a better option is buying smart Zigbee switches and/or dimmers to control dumb lightbulbs (though you might need to also buy other dumb lightbulbs if get dimmers).

If you are just starting out I suggest you consider buying a few dedicated Zigbee Router devices. Again, recommend try follow this extended guide to get started with a best practice setup/environment from the very beginning → Zigbee networks: how to guide for avoiding interference and optimize for getting better range + coverage

It depends which model you bought and firmware used, but in general most modern Zigbee Coordinator adapters (like those based on CC2652P/CC1352P and EFR32MG21 SoC radios from Texas Instruments and Silicon Labs respectively) can handle controlling around 100-200 Zigbee 3.0 devices (depending on your setup and environment) or thousands of older Zigbee devices that are not using Zigbee 3.0 security features, (the reason they can not handle more Zigbee 3.0 devices is that it has a higher security overheard and the current generation of SoC radios do not have enough RAM, so that could be higher with newer Zigbee radio SoCs in the future). Regardless of which Zigbee Coordinator adapter radio is used, they can not connect to all devices directly, you are going to have to add Zigbee Router devices to extend the maximum number of devices that can be added to your network.

ZHA docs explain most need to know about how Zigbee works (like how it depends on mesh network):

Especially read and try to understand all in these sections from the ZHA integrations documentation:

If nothing else then avoiding interference remember network mesh is the key and simply adding more and more Zigbee Router devices to your network will make it more and more robust.

PS: Note that ITead sells two Sonoff branded Zigbee dongles/adapters that are based on different radios. For more details see the existing threads about Sonoff ZBDongle-P and Sonoff ZBDongle-E:

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thank you for your detailed and informational answer… i was a smartthings guy and had about 25 zigbee devices… life was good, but i wanted more… so i’ve hit a wall at 32 devices in my HASS setup… i’ve been reading… watching videos… and there was much i didn’t know! at this point, i’m expecting 4 smart plugs/repeaters from Amazon today and have basically deleted all but a few of my zigbee devices and am going to start from scratch once the repeaters are paired… I’m anxious to get some hands on with it using the additional capabilities…!!

I did order a pack of two Sonoff ZBDongle-P but in the mean time I moved the RPi from the opposite side of the house to the kitchen where most of my devices are.
That did not make any difference, so I decided to go ahead and change the channel from 11 to 25. I tried that before but I was trying to save time by not re-pairing all the devices - it looked like the devices were connected again but the lag was still there so I changed it back to 11.

Next day I decided to do I properly, I changed the channel again to 25 in Zigbee2MQTT, I had to delete the coordinator_backup.jason file and then re-pair all devices but now it’s working perfectly again!
I also put the USB coordinator on an extension cable but I’m 99% sure the channel 25 was the solution - it should be the default one!
In that case I don’t these the Sonoff repeaters and I’m sending them back, that saves me £40.

Yep, that was it, thanks so much! I didn’t want to do this because of re-pairing all devices but looks like that was the best thing to do.

Yes, I always prefer a wired connection over Wi-Fi :+1:t2:

Yup, that was it, thank you!

I did some research and I was going to invest in Ubiquiti as well but I found people complaining about the lack of parental controls: https://community.ui.com/questions/Feature-Request-Parental-Controls-for-the-UDM/9e9dce1e-9e85-4181-aa65-1b630c62668e?page=1
With Google Wi-Fi I can just pause the internet access on a specific device or group in a few taps via the iOS app - it works well :ok_hand:t2:

Tip is to research each new device before you buy as some are known so the community can say if it is bad Zigbee Router devices that do more harm than good if they do not pass along all messages. See:

https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha/#best-practices-to-avoid-pairingconnection-difficulties

https://zigbee.blakadder.com/search.html

https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/supported-devices/

The is as very good reason it is not the default. Zigbee channels 11, 24, 25, or 26 are commonly only supported by relatively modern Zigbee hardware devices with newer Zigbee firmware, so be aware that if using any of those channels then your coordinator may not be usable with some older Zigbee devices. Almost all solutions use Zigbee channel 15 as the default because it offers the best compatibility with old Zigbee devices as well it offers less chance of interfering with the most commonly used Wi-Fi channels compared to the other Zigbee channels that offer the same compatibility with old Zigbee devices, (that is why if possible it is generally much better to change the Wi-Fi channel on your WiFi access-points then to change Zigbee channels).

Again, adding more Zigbee Router devices is still recommended. Zigbee network will become more robust as add more and more Zigbee Router (ZR) devices, but those don’t all have to be dedicated.

That is why many people instead choose to only buy a couple Ubiquiti’s WiFi access points (which price is surprisingly reasonable) and just use them in stand-alone mode using a separation of concerns design principle approach in which modem, router/firewall, and WiFi access-points are separate devices (instead of an all-in-one that will be Jack of all trades, master of none), so then you likely want to use them in combination with some other flexible router/firewall solution like for example something like the Firewalla product series if want an easy to use router/firewall with parental control features, (someone else might alternatively prefer pfSense and OPNsense if they wanted a DIY router/firewall that is extremely advanced). Combining a few Unifi Access Point WiFi 6 Lite with a Firewalla Purple or Firewalla Gold (together with maybe an UniFi Lite 8 PoE switch for wired devices and Power-over-Ethernet to the WiFi access-points) is a very powerful yet relatively user-friendly solution if want the best of both worlds on a budget. Check out this review with a similar setup:

https://go.indiegogo.com/blog/2022/04/firewalla-purple-honest-review.html

Tip is that you get the Firewalla Gold series then it can run Unifi Controller as Docker container image:

https://help.firewalla.com/hc/en-us/articles/360053441074-Guide-How-to-run-UniFi-Controller-on-the-Firewalla-Gold-Series-Boxes

Anyway, it is sadly true that while Ubiquiti’s UniFi gateway/firewall router feature set does have Network Traffic Management and Traffic Rules for blocking sites/services, it does unfortunately not yet have any real Parental Control features for easily blocking access based on the time and day, etc., (though there are workarounds, and being a parent myself and had an Unifi Dream Machine for many years now I first selected to simply set up a dedicated SSID for the kids and automating times to turn off and on that whole SSID by temporary disabling/enabling it with the UniFi Network integration for Home Assistant, however, that workaround will not work if have large age differences between your kids as UniFi APs are currently limited to only four SSIDs, but once a kid gets their own cell/mobile-phone they quickly figure out how they can use it to get around blocks so then the only solution I found was to take their device when we do not want them to use it).

I believe the reason why Ubiquiti’s UniFi gateway/firewall router functionality is missing Parental Controls is that their product lines have never really been meant for home users and instead their target audience has in the past always primarily been commercial installations, at least until Ubiquiti more recently released their non-Pro “UniFi Deam Machine (UDM)” all-in-one WiFi-router so hopefully the feature set for the Dream Machine series might change in the future because of that product.

Well that want way too much off-topic, so I will stop discussing alternative WiFi solutions in this thread.