We have seen more than a few questions about them and since we love writing about this kind of stuff; We want to talk about what they are and what we use them for. Their differences, similarities, and everything you need to know about them. So basically at the end of this article, you will have a very good understanding between these two protocols.
What is a smart home protocol?
The smart home protocol is a wireless language that enables wireless devices to communicate with each other. The smart home protocol is also called smart home standards.
Some of the most common protocols are Zigbee, Zwave, Wifi, and Bluetooth. But we will compare Zigbee and Zwave because they are the most commonly used standards in a smart home. All smart hubs require at least one protocol.
Before we dive into what these protocols are, let’s talk about what there have in common.
Zigbee vs Z-Wave: Similarities
- Low powered – Both Zigbee and Zwave are low powered; They are using very low power, low delay, low bandwidth compared to other protocols like Wi-Fi.
- Mesh network – They are both Mesh Network, you can have multiple devices that can communicate directly with any devices.
- Network protocol – The first similarity between them is both are network protocol, and they require a host.
- User-base – Both protocols have a large user base or a large product based
What is Z-wave?
Z-wave is a way for two or more things to communicate wirelessly, it’s a low energy mesh network where devices can communicate directly with each other by sending very reliable and tiny flow potential bursts of data, but it still requires a hub or gateway, so a device can control all the other devices.
It’s almost only used for residential application; you use it around your home or office while other standards like Zigbee, which we cover in a minute, are better suited for industrial and wide-scale commercial applications.
Z-wave is very well suitable for Home Automation. Devices like door look, thermostats, and light switches don’t send large packages of data and often only send or receive data while they are in use.
Your garage may have a security system in place, but the door opener only needs to know when it’s time to open or close the door.
They clap data speeds at 100kps and the maximum recommended distance between mesh nodes is 40 meters, though older Z-wave gear has a maximum throughput 9.6kps and a 30meter range.
A data packet can hop between four nodes before it’s discarded but Z-waves network mapping is good so they will usually use the shortest distance with the fewest hops.
They transmit on the unlicensed part 15 ISM band Taxes instruments .pdf file link at 908.42MHz in North America and 868.42MHz in Europe.
Other countries have specific frequencies that they regulate Z wave to use, and all of this is important because Zwave can use the same radio frequency bands as consumer cordless telephones.
This isn’t an ideal situation, but it keeps Z-wave clear of the crowded 2.4GHz band that WiFi, Bluetooth, and a host of less popular standards use.
They introduced Z Wave in 2001, and as of 2012 is an option in the ITUs International Telecommunications Union G.9959 standard for a wireless device under 1GHz
What is Zigbee?
Zigbee Alliance created Zigbee to make a communication channel between localhost and local devices. They made it simpler and less expensive than other wireless personal area networks such as Bluetooth or WiFi.
The new Echo Plus is also a Zigbee controller. Zigbee is also a low power wireless mesh network standard, customized so devices will have a long battery life, we can use Zigbee for residential applications and it works well, but it’s also well suited for industrial and large-scale commercial use.
The network layer supports a star central hub and devices connected to it and tree groups of star networks connected to one-liner backbone networks and a generic mesh node to node layout.
Every Zigbee network needs at least one controlled device but can support over one. Support for multiple coordinating devices is part of what makes Zigbee a good choice for more complicated applications.
Zigbee support includes in micro-controllers with their own flash storage, so automation routines can be built and triggered as a need by software. Other types of Zigbee devices include routers; which can act as a network extender and ZEDs- Zigbee End devices which can only receive data from coordinator device and can’t relay data back
Zigbee is one of the global standards covered by the IEEE 802.15.4 group. It operates in the unlicensed portion of the 2.4 GHz bands but can also operate in the unlicensed 902 to 928 MHz Australia, North America, and South America and the 868 to 868.6 MHz Europe ISM bands
Transfer rates cap at 250 KBPS in the 2.4GHz band, 40 KBPS in the 915 MHz bands, and 20 KBPS in 868 MHz band. Data rates will be slower than the maximum, partly because Zigbee has more overhead.
They designed it to operate in hostile think crowded, congested and always changing 2.4 GHz band and has a built-in collision avoidance and retries abilities. The typical range is between 10 and 20 meters depending on any obstruction, but in the outdoor long range of 1,500 meters line of sight is possible as the output power of a Zigbee radio can reach 20DBM at 100 MW a lot stronger than you think.
It was first introduced in 1998, strength rise in 2003 and device in 2006, it is an IEEE 802.15.4 based specification and suitable for high-level communication protocol used to create personal area network with devices, such as home automation devices and other low powered, low bandwidth need the design for small scale project that needs wireless connection
Zigbee vs Z-wave: Range
It is important for your smart home protocol to have a good range because smart how are not just limited indoors alone; we have the Security cameras, garage doors, and other outdoor appliances and a device to automate.
Zigbee’s range can be as low as 10m to and can extend to a 75m line of sight, this we require you to keep your devices a little closer, to get better functionality. Keep this in mind if you have a larger space home.
Z Wave has a better range with 100m between the point of contact, and it will work great in a larger home. Interference and obstructions can reduce this range, but Z-Wave signals can still travel up to 50 feet with walls in the way and 100 feet unobstructed.
Key Differences between Z-wave and Zigbee
- Z-wave can connect to more devices than Zigbee.
- The radio signal range provided by Z-wave 30meters while it is 10-20 meters with Zigbee.
- Zigbee is an open standard by the Zigbee Alliance, Z-Wave is a closed standard, owned by Silicon Labs.
- Zigbee is less secured as compared to Z-wave. Z-Wave adds additional security by requiring every device to use unique IDs to communicate with your hub providing for easy identification.
- Power consumption is low in Zigbee, However, Z-Wave devices require less power, too. But ZigBee is still less powered.
- Z-wave can only make four hops in the mesh network, while Zigbee has no limit.
- Z-wave has a more certified product and device than Zigbee.
- Z wave has a lesser congestion problem.
- Z Wave requires a high-level certification.
These devices work with Z-wave protocol
- ADT Pulse
- Kwikset smart locks
- August smart locks
- First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Aeotec lighting
These devices only work with Zigbee
- Yale smart locks
- Philips Hue Lighting
- Amazon Echo Plus
- Bosch security systems
- ADT Security hub
- Sengled Smart LED bulb
- HeatLink Smart Plug
Zigbee vs Z-wave device
If you pick the right devices, you can get both protocols in one device.. Such as these:
- Samsung SmartThings hub
- Wink hub
- Honeywell thermostats
- GE appliances
- LG SmartThings
Z-wave and Zigbee, they invented both technologies to enable wireless communication between various wireless devices. Although both have different purposes, they have their relative advantages and disadvantages.
Basically, Zigbee is considered as a short-distance wireless communication while Zwave provides more privileges and long-range, many users. But they are both cost-effective ways to connect to the Internet. They also receive tough challenges from other standards or protocol like Bluetooth and Wifi
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