Zigbee range extension over ethernet? Multiple coordinators?

Hi all. I’m running Home Assistant on a Pi5 with a Sonoff Zigbee dongle. The antenna is about head height fairly centrally-placed on the ground floor of the house. I’ve successfully got some Zigbee switches connected and working and I’ve found the network visualisation map.

I’ve got my office in an outbuilding connected by (buried) ethernet and it seems to be just too far for Zigbee to reach. I can’t really put anything in the middle as a router to bridge the gap - it seems to be at least intermittently too far.
I’ve read that you can only have one coordinator and also Smartlight say that “Connect as many coordinators to one server as you need. Cover with your Zigbee 3.0 networks different rooms and buildings and control them from one Home Assistant”. Given that there could well be overlap in signal from both coordinators, is this a problem? I could see things like switchable sockets being moved back and forward between the house and office on occasion so pairing to one network would be preferable. Presumably if I flashed it with router firmware, it wouldn’t then make any use of the ethernet link back to HA. What’s the best way to deal with this?

Many thanks in advance,

Multiple coordinators = multiple Zigbee networks.

There is no such thing as a range extender over ethernet.

A Zigbee device can only be connected to one coordinator, and ZHA can only use one coordinator. If using Zigbee2MQTT, you can have as many coordinators as you wish.

Given both quotes, it is not a problem.

That will be a problem. You will need to re-pair if changing networks.

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Thanks Francis. Not the news I wanted but at least saved me buying the hardware and finding out the hard/expensive way!
May have to see if I can get double sockets to act as repeaters and bridge the gap. Might be possible as I think there are some in plastic back boxes on the outside wall of the house and there’s an outdoor socket that is plastic and might be deep enough.

Recommend you read all these community guides about Zigbee to hopefully save time and frustration in the long run

What Smartlight means is you can convert the SLZB-06 Coordinator to a router using their firmware update.

I own two and confirm an additional one can be used as a router and the antennas are solid. I cover nearly 8000 sqft

I had a similar problem, I have a detached garage 10-15 meters from my house. I solved the gap problem by installing Zigbee bulbs in all 10 of the outdoor lamps (four are on outside of the garage, rest on the outside of the house).

@LiQuid_cOOled Thanks for replying. Once you’ve converted it to a router, does the ethernet play any part at all or is it just a means of powering it? Just thinking that if the ethernet doesn’t play any part in the transport once it’s a router rather than a coordinator, it’s not really any different to using something like the Ikea Tradis range extender…although it probably has a better antenna.

At the moment, I’ve got an Aurora AOne Zigbee Double Smart Socket on order as if I can fit it as a replacement for the ‘dumb’ socket in the weatherproof outdoor enclosure, I think it may just bridge the gap. Tested the theory with a switchable plug in it (but the lid doesn’t quite close) and one in the kitchen and it seemed to just about work. Came down this morning to find that switched off at the wall so clearly not a reliable longterm fix!
WiFi is probably an issue but there’s not a lot I can do about it - if I free up some channels to make a gap, other people’s kit will just move in.

@fleskefjes I’ve not got a string of outdoor lamps, just a number of cheap solar things that die shortly after you get them out of the shop. There is a floodlight on the back of the house that currently has an RF433 relay in a small outdoor enclosure and I’m thinking that might be an easy replacement to form the other end of the bridge. I’ve already got a LightwaveRF wall socket that’s controlled by an RF433 remote (via automation within HA) so the same principle ought to work for the RF433 wall switch sender that controls the floodlight currently…but with the added bonus that there would be state reporting for the lamp allowing for turning it off after it’s been left on for while.

OP in this thread had a similar issue like you, he solved it by setting up a separate zigbee network. Since you already have a cabled connection out to the garage you could set up a coordinator there with a separate zigbee2mqtt instance running on your regular HA instance. There’s a trick (adding / to the end of the URL) so you can run multiple Z2M instances on the same HA instance.

@fleskefjes If I’m not forced to complicate things by bridging a separate instance via MQTT, I’ll avoid it. Also would mean that I couldn’t move things between the two networks without re-pairing them. Not a massive hassle but bound to lead to mistakes.

I’ve got a double socket in the outdoor enclosure. Bit of a squeeze to get it in - needed to trim back some of the plastic standoffs in the enclosure because the plate of the socket is thicker. Once I’d worked out what was stopping it going in, it was ok.
Now that’s part of the mesh, I’m getting LQIs of 117/50 from there to the plug in the office, 54/41 to the coordinator and 55/40 to the plug in the kitchen. All links are red or grey which suggests that it’s not ideal but it seems reliable so far. I might replace the external lamp relay anyway just to give it a bit of resilience.

@fleskefjes suggestion is described in the SLZB-06 manual as well.

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Essentially power only from the zigbee perspective. Functionally, it would be identical to something like a ZBDongle-P flashed with router firmware and plugged into a usb power brick.

The only advantage may be the ability to reboot it remotely, but I’ve never had the need with the ZBDongle-P’s I use for routers.


I did also try this setup in the thread @fleskefjes is referring to, using two SLZBs as routers in my ZHA network (assuming they had stronger antennas than the average router).

Didn’t work for me (no straight line of sight, concrete and steel), but it might work for you.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I think it’s just about working with @fleskefjes stepping stone approach. Once I support it with another external device at the other end of the bridge, it should be decently reliable. It also replaces a device that doesn’t provide state feedback as an additional benefit.


Fleskefjes wasn’t suggesting multiple routers. Both of us suggested two separate ZigBee networks connected via ethernet. I set mine up as a router, but based on the diagram and instructions posted , multiple coordinators is a viable option with the SLZBs. Sound like @Cenedd is close.

No, Fleskefjes suggested two different options. One of them was multiple networks and one of them was a string of outdoor lights to bridge the gap. I can’t easily do that as I’ve not got the outdoor mains power in the places that would need but I can, now the idea has been planted, put a device in an outdoor box at each end to achieve the same thing. It’s a bit eggs-in-one-basket but it seems that one outdoor device is just enough to make the bridge so two should improve it.
I didn’t want to go the route of multiple networks with MQTT partly because I didn’t fancy negotiating the extra complexity (to be honest!) but also because my network isn’t nailed down yet so devices may move. If it’s one network, they’ll just learn different routes by themselves but if it’s multiple networks, suddenly you have an isolated device because you forgot (and I would!) to re-pair it.
I’ve got a pair (one for front lamp and one for back) of SonOff relays now so I just have to get up a ladder over the weekend and swear at things for a bit :smiley:

I’ve had the issue trying to get zigbee to reach external locations (front gate, shed in back yard etc)
Two things I found that helps…

  1. set your zigbee network to channel 15. That puts it in the gap between wifi channel 1 and 6, and then make sure you don’t use any wifi channel between those. Also hope that your neighbour doesn’t haha)

  2. buy some zigbee switch modules from AliExpress.
    They are tiny and you can put them behind/inside outdoor power outlets, light fittings etc… and can help bridge the gap… They don’t have to “do” anything useful if you don’t need them, they can just route traffic.

Remember zigbee is a mesh network, so having a few devices doing this is always better than just one… That way if one is having a bad day, it doesn’t mean that all other devices down the line drop off

Cheers. I’m on 20 (gap between 6 and 11) at the moment and there is one git overlapping that frequency…but it’s me (project box on auto channel) so that I can change.
I might have a look and see if the grass is greener at 15 but I think it’s probably noisy across the band. Spotted one station that looked like it took up pretty much all the channels.

I’ve got some of those switch modules but I am finding them a bit hit and miss. I’ve got one that keeps sorting of dropping off the network - if you press it’s physical button it turns on/off and state is updated but it ignores HA commands. Distance is maybe 5m from the coordinator. Same module seems to claim links to modules much further away so I’m wondering if they’re not great as routers.
I do have some links that have achieved high enough LQI to be shown as amber on the visualisation chart!
The Yagusmart wall switches seem to be quite reliable so far…but with no neutral, they function as endpoints rather than routers. The SonOff ZBMiniL2 are the same.

I was going to try ordering another SonOff stick, flashing it with router firmware and putting it in the loft to see if the better antenna can get it to redistribute connectivity better.

The SonOff ZBMini in the rear floodlight does act as a router and has helped bridge the gap…but I’m not sure I’d describe it as dependable yet.

Some more changes with some good and some bad results. I ordered a couple more Sonoff Zigbee controllers and flashed them with the router firmware. While I was at it, I flashed the original with the latest coordinator firmware. I used ubuntu as I had it running on a PC already. The process is simple if it’s explained well. This guide was good: Flashing the firmware via cc2538-bsl | Zigbee2MQTT
…although as I’d been following a mish-mash of other things, I’d actually installed with ‘apt install’ python3, python3-magic, python3-intelhex and I think python3-serial may already have been installed.

So now I have a stick in the loft, two floors up (ground, 1st, loft) and a stick in the workshop. I’ve also turned up the power to 19 on the two routers (via the control in HA) and on the coordinator (via config.yaml).

The good news is that I have red and even yellow links in my visualisation chart now. There’s even a green one! …although that is between a plug and a router that are maybe as much as a foot apart, so nothing to get too excited by!

The bad news is that it seems harder to pair things with the network. I added a Candeo dimmer switch in the bedroom just below the loft and it wouldn’t pair either by adding devices or by adding devices through the loft router. I had to take it out again, wire it to a plug and lamp and pair it within touching distance of the controller. Once done and back in the wall on the 1st floor, it works really well despite being in a metal back box with a metal front plate. I did find - when we went to bed - that it needed a capacitor wired across the light fitting to stop it flashing. A filament bulb in the fitting stopped it for the night though.

I also had some Sonoff SNZB-02D temperature displays and they’ve basically fallen off the network and I can’t pair additional ones at all. I did try turning the power down on the coordinator (back to 9 rather than 5 admittedly) but it didn’t seem to make any difference. I can only assume it’s a firmware issue. I’m open to suggestions of solutions though! :smiley:

It has improved reliability of various switches and also the link to the workshop/office which is an outbuilding.
Overall a win but a shame I can’t get the temperature monitoring working as I was going to combine that with a switched heater as a more accurate thermostat than the one on the heater bar - just to keep the temperature from dropping too low in the winter.

is their any electrical connection between your flat and your garage?
if so, you could install a ethernet by power line and then connect your SLZB with PoE to Zigbee2MQTT or ZHA.

There is but there’s also a pair of CAT6A lines between the two. I wanted to avoid the extra complication of going MQTT to be honest and also the fact that devices would be tied to one network or another and not moveable between them without re-pairing and reconfiguring any automation attached. Some of the plugs have a tendency to get moved around between places still.
With the newer firmware and higher power, the link works quite reliably now…but I just can’t pair the temperature displays.