Zigbee range seems very distance sensitive

Just noticed a aqara sensor wasn’t reporting door closing properly. I just moved the USB extension a cord by maybe 50cm. Once i moved it up a little bit it is working fine again. The conbee stick 2 and the door sensor were maybe 5 meters apart, with double bricked walls and one floor difference (admittedly with some metal blocking (fridge).

I don’t have any repeaters (although i am going to install some aqara light switches and maybe some ikea plugs (but i don’t want to loose sockets just for a repeater, i think i’ll stick with devices that can double doing 2 things at once).

I want to do zigbee as i don’t want to rely on vendor apps (to much dependant on scenes right now), but i also don’t want to install repeaters everywhere, i don’t have to do this with wifi and it seems i’m compensating for Zigbee or environmental issues that i otherwise would not have to do (e.g. Wifi). For a lot of stuff i’d ultimately like to go local (e.g. Zigbee) but i find the range so far somewhat lacking.

The quick route of something not being supported in HA is using scenes in Tuya (anyone doing this?). I think everyone seems to favour the Zigbee route, but Wifi i almost never have this issue.

Anyway just some thoughts.My experience is just one, i only have 3 aqara sensors, and 1 flood sensor (which also went offline probably due to the same reason).

Sensors absolutely prefer to find a mains powered router rather than directly talking to the stick. In the room my stick is, I have TWO Aqara Sensors, one of them is within 10cm of the stick, but still they are all routed through an RGB light strip in the room.

If you want some reassurance.:

None of this has ever dropped off the network. Though I am running Zigbee2MQTT on a separate Pi because Home Assistant is running on a Virtual Server, no where near any of the Zigbee stuff.

As you can see, it has very low overhead.

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Interesting, thanks and good to know. Any reason why you are using Zigbee2MQTT instead of decent? (i have no experience with MQTT).

I see you have a lot of Gledopto zigbee strips! I’m currently looking for RGBIC/WLED strips (and expand the zigbee mesh wherever i can) but seems Zigbee doesn’t have the bandwidth for those. I’m guessing they are a good choice for a zigbee led strip ?


With brick walls and a fridge in the way that’s a lot of signal obstruction. Moving the coordinator likely resulted in a stronger signal, because of one or more of the following:

  • The direct signal path had less obstructions
  • A new indirect (reflected) path appeared that had a stronger signal
  • You moved the coordinator away from a source of interference

Zigbee is low power - you shouldn’t expect a massive range between devices. It’s also a mesh network - you need those routers/repeaters.

As you start building the mesh network things like this should be less of a big deal.

The spec says 100’/30m (First we’re not talking about any long range or 3.0 enhancements - that comes later) 100 Feet, OK. Mind you that’s ‘Line of sight’ no obstructions. In my unscientific experience doing a LOT if installs. I START by cutting that in half for a more real-world experience because walls exist.

THEN because anything that can go wrong, will - cut it in half again, too much power isn’t a problem - So I plan my network with a maximum node distance of 25’ (~5-7m) between repeaters. with no more than 4 hops between the stick and the farthest node.

Also - the Aquara devices could be causing an issue. Depending on which version they may be using not exactly standard Zigbee and may drop off: I’m going to have to throw away all my Aqara sensors : homeassistant (reddit.com) I believe it’s better with the newer zigbee 3.0 stuff but I swore off Aquara stuff early on and never got any because of this issue.

Also beware of interference from known sources:
USB 3.0 will interfere with Zigbee if unshielded / poorly shielded cables are too close to a device. You will see many recommendations for using a USB 2.0 hub and moving the Zigbee stick away from a device it’s connected to.
Zigbee and 2.4Ghz Wifi share radio spectrum. certain combinations of Zigbee and Wifi channels will cause Wifi to drown out your Zigbee network. (This is a huge problem where I live - saturated Wifi. I had to manually move all my Wifi away from Channel 11 to clear space.)

So - More repeaters, watch your Aquara stuff for issues.

Thanks Nathan, What sensors are you using now?

The only ones I have on Zigbee are my internal door sensors. I use the NYCE 3010 hinge sensors. I also have Keen smart vents and Sengled bulbs on Zigbee with Peanut plugs and GE/Jasco Zigbee outlets as repeaters.

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You’ll be amazed how useful a few mains-powered smart plugs can be. Find a place half-way to your most remote zigbee devices, and look around. You’re bound to find a lamp or something you’d like to smarten up.

So true about the vendor issues with WiFi devices! Zigbee is my first preference now. Even with two access points, my relatively small house has areas with weak WiFi signals. And forget about covering outbuildings. But with Zigbee and a few mains-powered devices sprinkled around, I have smart devices way out in the back of the barn.

Getting rock-solid WiFi everywhere takes some effort in design, and/or some cost. There’s zero configuration and maintenance with Zigbee. No static routes, no APs to configure. They just build themselves a stable mesh network. Weak spot? Stick a smart plug in somewhere in between.

To date I’ve found no vendor compatibility issues with ZHA devices. Admittedly, I don’t use color-changing bulbs, dimmers or audio stuff. Probably as you get into more complex controls, custom vendor apps and integrations start to look better than one-size-fits-all solutions.


Thanks Tom, i’ll see if i can extend the mesh. Good to get some experiences in the field here.

They exist. Check every device at the MODEL NUMBER level before buying. If oyu have a device that ZHA doesn’t support, Zigbee2MQTT allows you to write custom handlers for ‘unsupported’ devices if necessary.

The reason I went with Gledopto was because the first strip I bought from Amazon, cost £25. It had very good reviews. Those good reviews were very well deserved. At £25 a go, (although they don’t come with power supplies… so it’s really more like £39 for a USB plug and a USB extension cable as well as the strip). I really can’t complain. Put it this way, I refuse point blank to pay Philips Hue prices, ever.

Like another commenter here, I have not encountered ANY vendor issues. I have SmartThings, Xiaomi / Aqara, Gledopto, TuYa and Innr. It all works.

As for why Zigbee2MQTT? Well it took 2 minutes to get running on a Pi using Docker / Portainer.
It updates once a month and it adds support for new devices very quickly.
The Xiaomi light sensor for example for already supported by the time it shipped to me, and the TS0203 contact sensor was added about 15 days after I got mine.
The SmartThings IM6001-MPP01 had a glitch that caused it to report temperature, axis, contact state etc in separate messages every 10 -15 seconds, which as you might image flattened the battery very quickly. But the glitch was reported to the project and fixed within a days and available to everyone in the next months update.


Nice, thanks.