ZigBee Setup (Consolidating Networks)

Before having even started with Home Assistant, I got myself some Hue Bulbs together with a Hue Bridge. This was my entry into the smart home world. In addition to this I got further lights and switchable outlets that are all connected to the Hue Bridge.
Here is a list for completeness:

  • 3* Hue Color Bulb in the Living room
  • 1* Hue Color Bulb in the Kid’s bedroom
  • 3* Hue Outdoor Spots in the Garden
  • 1* Osram Outdoor Plug in the Garden
  • 1* Osram Indoor Plug to control seasonal lighting
  • 1* Ikea Tradfri White Bulb for seasonal lighting
  • 2* Neuhaus Q Wall Spots with ZigBee support for the staircase lighting.

Then a few months ago I started with Home Assistant on a Home assistant OS on a Raspberry Pi. Just as it is, with increasing capabilities, the urge to automate increases as well. So I got myself some battery powered Xiaomi Aquara Door Sensors, which I run on a Dresden Electronics ConBee II Stick connected to my Raspberry. For now I have nothing to complain about. Everything runs smoothly side by side. But I got a couple battery powered Xiaomi Aquara Temperature Sensors incoming and am likely to order some motion sensors as well.

If I understood correctly, ZigBee generally is a mesh network, meaning each device increases the reach of the network and making it more stable. However some devices only use and do not provide the network, this may be true especially for battery powered devices. Therefore I am thinking about moving some, if not all devices connected to the Hue Bridge to the other ZigBee Network running on the ConBee Stick. I am guessing multiple networks in the 2,4Ghz domain won’t improve the situation (also Wifi is using this bandwidth).

One thing I am hesitating to move the lights to the ConBee Stick is the defined Scenes in the Hue App and the capability to easily use and change these.

What is your experience with ZigBee? Maybe you have come down a similar route? Happy to hear from you.

My setup has both a Hue bridge and the ConBee stick (running on different channels, of course).

Like you, I was hesitant to move my lights (all-Hue, and lots of) so use the Hue integration and Hue bridge for lights (and a few motion sensors), and the ConBee (with DCONZ) for everything else (mainly Aqara door/temp/motion sensors as well as some Innr smart plugs).

I’m very happy with this setup and haven’t found any limitations.

I was mainly worrying about the range, as the ConBee (DeConz) is only connected to Xiaomi Aquara Battery Powered Sensors. At the moment that network is stable. Time will tell, if it remains so, when adding more of those sensors throughout the house.
Maybe I will move some of the outlets over to the ConBee network. I am just not sure if generally all powered devices participate in the mesh network. Is there a way to find out, if they perform as a repeater, or only an end node?