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What to look for in the future? WIFI? Is Z-wave dying?

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    What to look for in the future? WIFI? Is Z-wave dying?

    Dear HS friends!

    First thank you for all your help you provided me so far. This is really a great community and HS is really a great! 3 years ago when getting into home automation I decided to go with HS3 and Z-wave protocol. I decided for Z-wave over Zigbee as it had better distance range. Now I have about 60 devices in a 3 floor house. The system is anything but set and forget. After about 3 years of using I have only great things to say about HS3, but not so much for Z-wave. I believe whoever designed it left out some very important things.

    Here are my findings and questions. I hope you can contribute.

    - Is Z-wave dying?
    Since I started to use Z-wave (3years) not many, if any, new devices came out? That seems quite strange to me. I think it's dying, not to mention devices are over twice the price of the Zigbee, Tuya, Aleksa, Google Home...

    - Z-wave network?
    Is so called MASH working at all? When I audition one device in different floor... "The node's neighbor rating is: Poor with 5 neighbors." Poor. How can this be?!?! 5 powered devices in same room radius distance of 5 meter, one of those is Aeon Labs Repeater which does nothing but boosts the signal! When I go to other floor most of the time I can not ADD/include a device. When bring it closer to a transmitter (Wave-me UZB) it includes normally. So where is the mash where you need one? I have about 30 powered devices across the 3 floors. Plugs, relays, thermostats, light switches. That should be one hell of a mesh, right?

    - Rebooting a HS and not to miss events
    If I reboot the HS doe to power loos, windows update... How do I catch missed events and have a correct state for all event triggered devices? Pool every device at boot? A sleeping battery devices that wakes up every 11 hours? Does that really make any sense?
    If I reboot the HS computer and someone open the door during downtime. How the HS will pool the batter device on fresh start? Wait for the battery powered device to wake up (12 hours)? And have up to 12 hours of wrong open door state ? Am I missing something here?

    - Device communication with the host.
    - Event trigger based devices will fail you sooner or later. There are many reasons (transmitter, receiver, software) for message to get missed and ignored. And when this happens and it happens!, host will have the wrong state until the next state change which can be hours. This is a true disaster IMHO. For an example: door/window sensors (i have a few different ones) will fail you if you open and close a few times really fast. In many cases the sensor will not react or send the HOST the wrong state. The battery devices don't even have a secondary delayed state send in case first gets missed. The only sensible solution is if to have a host periodically check the all the sensors <1sec. Today's WIFI bandwidth can take this with ease even for hundreds of sensors.

    - Wireless Devices with external power supply, over battery ones (not event triggered. but with permanent connection to the host)
    I can understand having a battery device to sleep most of the time to consume the battery ans extend the battery life. That's OK up to the first missed massage as the host does not know for the changes state. Then it becomes a big problem. What my logic tells me is to have a sensor that communicates with the host periodically <1sec and is externally powered. It's easy to find the nearest power source anywhere in the house. All you need is tiny AC/DC power supply to provide the power.

    - WiFi
    Wifi seems like a most sensible route to go. It's cheap, can be extended with inexpensive routers, extenders. even SIM card router for distant out of reach areas. No messy Z-wave/Zigbee mesh that no one can really tells if it works of not.

    - Where to look for?
    WIFi Devices with permanent connection with the host and periodical <1sec checking of states and readings. No senseless Pooling etc.

    TUYA: Looks great, but it's cloud based. Triggering is instant, but reading is based on periodical pooling interval on minimum 1 minute so far. That's not good at all for events that prevent power spikes and security alerts.
    TASMOTA: I found out about this only recently. Didn't had time to explore it yet. So far I know it's alternative firmware for TUYA devices for that allows local operation using MQTT protocol. That's goes against TUYA policy and they are upgrading firmware to prevent this. So many newly sold devices no longer works using the hack. Beside that you need a Linus with wireless dongle to flash it with Tuya-Convert software. There are also devices preflashed with Tasmota which give some light afterall. I hope someone with Tasmota experience can jump in and explain.
    KNX: This is a system here each device has some limited brains and the system can operate without a central host. Don't think it applies here.
    MQTT: McsMQTT Plugin. 384 Page manual scares the s*** ouf of me! Can anyone let me know how this works? Does user has to be a developer to use it?

    At this point I'm deciding where to go next. I really appreciate your input!

    Thank you very much.

    Br,
    Dali


    #2
    Is Z-wave dying
    Quite probably but I wouldn't book any time off for a funeral, it will probably still have a place for the next 10ish years until low powered WiFi devices are stable or some alternative has been identified. Economies of scale are simple in that now with the ESP8266 and the like chipsets costing virtually nothing then paying for what is likely to be many times more for a relatively niche protocol like Z-Wave which requires certification etc. makes little sense.

    Rebooting a HS and not to miss events
    I think you need to focus on not restarting HS more than trying to figure out what you have missed in the downtime, aside from windows updates I'd like to think your downtime is kept to a minimum. You are not missing anything in terms of a Z-Wave device which might have an incorrect state, I had this problem myself recently where the battery died with the window open and the house thought I had the window open until I managed to go to the shop and get some batteries. It happens, there is not a lot you can do about it unless as you identify, you move to something that can be polled - issue is power.

    Device communication with the host
    Yes power is easy to find but some people can't (property restrictions), won't (safety worries) or don't want to be running wires (I have a big issue with visible cable) so battery devices will still have a place for a long time yet. Be thankful that X10 days are nearly over!

    Where to look for?
    If you want something simple that you do not need to program (like Tasmota on SONOFF devices etc.) then I have been impressed with the Shelly (https://shelly.cloud/) WiFi devices. They are clearly based on a ESP based chipset and have a good open and clear API which gives you local control so you can avoid cloud control if you don't wish for this. There are HS plugins available that would make your life easier to control the devices but you can do it via a very simple script. Going forward I'll probably look to replace any dead Z-Wave devices with these as replacements.


    Comment


      #3
      WiFi
      Wifi seems like a most sensible route to go. It's cheap, can be extended with inexpensive routers, extenders. even SIM card router for distant out of reach areas. No messy Z-wave/Zigbee mesh that no one can really tells if it works of not.
      I came to the same conclusion before starting my HS implementation about a year ago.

      Now all my setup is WiFi/Tasmota based and works flawlessly.

      ​​​​​​Even if the firmware gets updated. There are already hundreds of devices in the field to choose from:
      ​​​​​​
      https://templates.blakadder.com/


      Beside that you need a Linux with wireless dongle to flash it with Tuya-Convert software.
      Only true for "over the air" flashing and you can install Linux Kali on a USB key for that purpose. Not overly complicated


      MQTT: McsMQTT Plugin. 384 Page manual scares the s*** ouf of me! Can anyone let me know how this works? Does user has to be a developer to use it?
      Its much simpler than you think. No need to read the full manual + great support from Michael McSharry

      If you are willing to learn and spend some time customizing your hardware/setup, I think its a great/flexible setup. If you are looking for plug and play, not so.

      My 2 cents.
      Feel free to reach out if needed.

      Comment


        #4
        With a three floor house, why don't you divide the house between protocols? Put Zigbee on the top (I guess that would be bedrooms) RFXCom in the Middle and end up with Zwave (Which will include the heave duty relays especially for heating) at the ground level. I know for sure you are better off building a Raspbee II with a raspberry PI for Zigbee so it can be strategically positioned in a central location for optimal performance and the same should apply for the ZNET / UZB stick (you use a long USB 2.0 Active Repeater extender cable to relocate Zwave stick away from the HomeSeer server, again for optimal performance)

        Plug the Raspbee II and if you have a ZNET into a PoE switch using ANVISION 2-Pack 5V 2.4A PoE Splitter Adapter, IEEE 802.3af

        Extra : RaspBee Compatibility list : https://phoscon.de/en/raspbee/compatible

        EU Zwave : https://store.zwavecenter.com/index....tegory&path=59


        Eman.
        TinkerLand : Life's Choices,"No One Size Fits All"

        Comment


          #5
          Here continue to utilize UPB for my in wall switches. That said I also utilize Z-Wave, Zigbee and MQTT.

          I like MQTT.

          Just configured a second home with only Gosund wall switches using Tasmota / Espurna wireless and a wireless Ring alarm (with a Ring to MQTT plugin) and Alexa devices.

          The only thing wired in the Ring system is the Ring hub which is POE wired. Tiny wireless contact sensors and PIRs are doing well so far.

          It is all working well.

          Years ago disliked any sort of wireless with batteries for automation.

          That said yesterday and today not putting all my automation trinkets in one basket. (all ZWave, Zigbee, UPB, X10, et al)

          Using Homeseer they all play well together.
          - Pete

          Auto mator
          Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU 16Gb- Mono 6.12.X - HSTouch on Intel tabletop tablets
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          HS4 Pro - V4.1.11.0 - Ubuntu 20.01/VB W7e 64 bit Intel Kaby Lake CPU - 32Gb - Mono
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          HS4 Lite -

          X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation-Tasmota-Espurna. OmniPro 2, Russound zoned audio, Smartthings hub, Hubitat Hub, and Home Assistant

          Comment


            #6
            As a general statement "home automation " is really not much automation in that the larger the installation base and more devices the more potential for issues arises and the more maintenance they require. I don't personally know anyone who has a home automation system that isn't constantly tweaking something or looking for that next device to add in.. Battery life iand polling is always going to be an issue with those devices. You can always increase the polling frequency but it is at the expense of battery life. I set up a monthly status email that tells me what the battery life is on those devices to try to stay ahead of them before the batteries die. A majority of my devices are z wave and are generally pretty reliable but it took a long time to get to that point in terms of getting optimal placement of my znet and optimizing the network.

            Comment


              #7
              If your house is over 3 floors, it's probably worth thinking about splitting you Zwave network. I have done that a while ago and it helped a lot with reliability and reaching further away nodes.

              Comment


                #8
                You are comparing different things and expect the same outcome.
                - Z-wave network?
                WIFI
                By definition wifi is point to point so the radius of your transmitter determines the max range of your system. It is possible to extend that with repeaters but is that one dies then a whole segment of your network is unreachable. For as a mesh network this might not be the case. If a device fails then the signal takes a different route.
                That said, there is a new development on the market and that are mesh network wifi routers.
                I presume that you have optimized your network each time you added a new z-wave device.
                Understanding how radio waves travel in a building is crucial. 2 devices just 5 meters apart but they can't contact each other is quiet possible. (is the same for wifi btw). If one device is one the other side of the wall , one floor up and one room aside then the signal only have to travel 5 meters or so but those 5 meters are through stone and probably rebar too.

                Rebooting a HS and not to miss events
                HS can catch up missed events. But there is not a system in the world that can handle a events send to it when not operational.

                Where to look for?
                WIFi Devices with permanent connection with the host and periodical <1sec checking of states and readings. No senseless Pooling etc
                This is not possible with many devices without using a dedicated bandwidth and frequency for this. Wifi frequencies are for general purpose and without polling there isn't enough room for everything and your other wifi needs such as an internet connection, streaming.

                Z-wave, zigbee and KNX are technologies (and brands) while MQTT is a protocol that can run on those technologies.

                Just another note. Z-wave and zigbee are technologies that are efficient enough to run on a button cell for about a year. Wifi based devices such as Tasmota, ESP and SONOFF are using to much power to be powered long with batteries. One of the technics use to let the batteries last longer is to put the device in sleep mode. That doesn't mean that the device isn't operational. It still can be triggered (by motion, light, polling or any other event). The device wakes up, handle the event and goes back to sleep. Turning all power consuming activities to to lowest level. Think of turning of a display or stop transmitting (which consumes a lot of power).
                - Bram

                Send from my Commodore VIC-20

                Ashai_Rey____________________________________________________________ ________________
                HSPro 3.5.0
                PIugins: ZMC audio | ZMC VR | ZMC IR | ZMC NDS | RFXcom | AZ scripts | Jon00 Scripts | RFXCOM | BLRadar | BLBackup

                Comment


                  #9
                  AshaiRey Z-wave, zigbee and KNX are technologies (
                  I think by definition they can be both protocols and communications technologies : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-Wave


                  In other words the software runs on the hardware (protocols >> technologies) and MQTT can interfaces with them.

                  Eman.
                  TinkerLand : Life's Choices,"No One Size Fits All"

                  Comment


                    #10
                    When I started I spent a good amount of time to decide on a particular protocol. I finally decided on z-wave. It is more expensive because there are certifications but that also means better compatibility, at least in theory. WiFi is certainly a thread to it. However, the issue with WiFi is that it uses a lot of battery, you need a direct connection to your wireless router (or an extender), etc. Z-wave now has the 700 series chips that use less power, support a longer distance and make inclusion easier. HS supposedly will come out with a new controller by the end of the year which is what I am waiting for before redoing everything with my switch to HS4. So far I still think z-wave is the best technology but when something better comes around I certainly will consider switching to that as I add/replace devices.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you all !!!

                      If you want something simple that you do not need to program (like Tasmota on SONOFF devices etc.) then I have been impressed with the Shelly (https://shelly.cloud/) WiFi devices. They are clearly based on a ESP based chipset and have a good open and clear API which gives you local control so you can avoid cloud control if you don't wish for this. There are HS plugins available that would make your life easier to control the devices but you can do it via a very simple script. Going forward I'll probably look to replace any dead Z-Wave devices with these as replacements.
                      Thank you very much!!!! I will certainly explore this. However I do not mind some simple programing or tweaking as long it's not a rocket science

                      Its much simpler than you think. No need to read the full manual + great support from Michael McSharry

                      If you are willing to learn and spend some time customizing your hardware/setup, I think its a great/flexible setup. If you are looking for plug and play, not so.

                      My 2 cents.
                      Feel free to reach out if needed.
                      Thank you so much. I think I will go this way for sure!

                      If your house is over 3 floors, it's probably worth thinking about splitting you Zwave network. I have done that a while ago and it helped a lot with reliability and reaching further away nodes.
                      I thought about that. It's doable, but sometimes adding stuff isn't solution. Less is more I believe. I thought Z-wave MESH would take care of this. There are 30 powered devices. That's not bad for MESH if would actually work of course.


                      I presume that you have optimized your network each time you added a new z-wave device.
                      Sure, I do that every time using Z-Seer+, but that does not apply for battery devices. I would need to go to every one physically and manually wake it up and optimite one after another.

                      HS can catch up missed events. But there is not a system in the world that can handle a events send to it when not operational.
                      Absolutely, I would like to avoid devices with event triggering and replace then with device with full time connection and periodically (<1sec) reporting the state/values. That would eliminate missed events as all values and stetes will be restored the moment host restarts, for example.

                      Thank you

                      Br,
                      Dali

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mulu View Post
                        When I started I spent a good amount of time to decide on a particular protocol. I finally decided on z-wave. It is more expensive because there are certifications but that also means better compatibility, at least in theory. WiFi is certainly a thread to it. However, the issue with WiFi is that it uses a lot of battery, you need a direct connection to your wireless router (or an extender), etc. Z-wave now has the 700 series chips that use less power, support a longer distance and make inclusion easier. HS supposedly will come out with a new controller by the end of the year which is what I am waiting for before redoing everything with my switch to HS4. So far I still think z-wave is the best technology but when something better comes around I certainly will consider switching to that as I add/replace devices.



                        The Controller should be the first in the basket
                        Source: https://www.vesternet.com/pages/what-is-z-wave

                        Controller
                        The main consideration is the Z-Wave controller - if the controller is not Z-Wave Plus enabled than all devices added to that controller's network will default to acting as Z-Wave. This is because Z-Wave Plus is backwards compatible with Z-Wave, so when Z-Wave Plus devices are installed with Z-Wave devices they behave just like a Z-Wave device.

                        Eman.
                        TinkerLand : Life's Choices,"No One Size Fits All"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Regarding z-wave mesh, do realize that only z-wave plus devices that are line powered act as repeaters.

                          When you discuss polling of devices, you speak mostly in terms of wifi bandwidth. Don't underestimate or disregard the load on the HS3 host to process the messages. I made the mistake once to implement fast polling on several devices and was surprised at the increased CPU usage on my server.

                          Lastly, wifi uses a fair about of power to ramp up the radio, establish the session, and then send a message. The result is that a battery powered wifi device will have shorter life than z-wave or zigbee. Also, the time for wifi to ramp and send is longer than z-wave. On door sensors, I'm a fan of instantaneous since it often turns lights on. I'm curious, what would be your solution for door sensors in the wifi world? How many open/close events before batteries need changing? In my house, the most used exterior doors gets used probably 15 times per day. I change batteries (1 AA bat) every 6 months or so. That would be about 5400 messages. Have you ever seen a wifi device that could do that? Maybe the technology has progressed such that this is possible. Please enlighten me.

                          Robert

                          Comment


                            #14
                            When you discuss polling of devices, you speak mostly in terms of wifi bandwidth. Don't underestimate or disregard the load on the HS3 host to process the messages. I made the mistake once to implement fast polling on several devices and was surprised at the increased CPU usage on my server.
                            That might be due to Z-wave cues or something. Pooling also chokes the Z-wave network. It sure affects CPU, but caused by Z-wave, not actual load of events by HS. I have MANY cycle/loop events in HS3 that triggers every second. There are 2 things you need to be careful: 1.Don't include in the log and second. 2.never trigger a Z-wave device directly. Always use virtual device, else every second Z-wave message will go out. Saying that I have about 50 loop events that's happening in HS and no CPU load. So 50 events means 3000 cycles per minute inside HS and no problem. I suspect CPU load you mention was caused by Z-wave.


                            Have you ever seen a wifi device that could do that? Maybe the technology has progressed such that this is possible. Please enlighten me.
                            I'm all with you about battery life problems. It's clear. But because of that I would stay away from battery devices at all. Or maybe wire external power to the device (replacing the battery) and have it report on shortest interval. But not all Z-wave devices can report on interval at all as are not designed this way. That's why among other things I'm looking at other solutions. Can find a source of constant power near every battery device. If tiny cables must not be seen you can slightly cut the wall, hide the cable and paint it over. It's just power. Usually the first it's about few meters from the device. It's not like destroying all the walls.

                            Br,
                            Dali

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Kdiamond View Post
                              TASMOTA: I found out about this only recently. Didn't had time to explore it yet. So far I know it's alternative firmware for TUYA devices for that allows local operation using MQTT protocol. That's goes against TUYA policy and they are upgrading firmware to prevent this. So many newly sold devices no longer works using the hack. Beside that you need a Linus with wireless dongle to flash it with Tuya-Convert software. There are also devices preflashed with Tasmota which give some light afterall. I hope someone with Tasmota experience can jump in and explain.

                              MQTT: McsMQTT Plugin. 384 Page manual scares the s*** ouf of me! Can anyone let me know how this works? Does user has to be a developer to use it?
                              This is what I am currently migrating to. I've had it with Z-Wave. Too many issues, too many times the device doesn't work as expected, it not fully supported by the Z-Wave plugin, simply fails or stops working because I changed something else not related to it. Already migrated half of my 60+ Z-Wave devces to Tasmota and mcsMQTT and in the progress of migrating the other half. Tasmota is by far the most versatile and flexible firmware available for WiFi devices.

                              Yes, steep learning curve. The many options of the mcsMQTT are overwhelming. But at the same time, I have yet to find a problem that Michael McSharry hasn't already implemented or documented a solution for it. The support of Michael is great! And on top of that, the plugin is free!

                              Flashing Tasmota isn't always straight forward. Implementing MQTT can be hard. But for me, the power brings back the Home Automation hobby because this time it does what I want instead of what someone else though would be best for me...
                              stefxx

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