Smart home automation wouldn't be complete without mentioning Z Wave and Zigbee's key smart home networking options. Both work similarly, but Z Wave vs. Zigbee is a decisive debate. The question on everyone's lips is which of the two protocols is better than the other.
There are several key players when choosing smart home technology. Two of these players are Z Wave and Zigbee. So which one is better? To answer that question, let's look at each technology's offer.
Z Wave systems are used in large-scale industrial applications, including thermostats, switches, smart plugs, and door openers. The Z Wave system is powered by the Z Wave Hub, a compact device that connects to your home network and allows you to control Z Wave devices throughout your home. You can use the hub to turn on the lights, set the temperature, and lock or unlock the doors.
Z Wave uses proprietary frequency bands from 868 MHz to 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz to 2.485 GHz, which are not typically available in other wireless systems.
Z Wave-compatible devices can use a hub to send and receive messages over long distances between rooms in the house or through concrete walls. Z Wave devices also offer interoperability using a single interface and can be programmed with the same software.
Zigbee is a mesh network that allows you to create large networks with multiple devices. If you have many devices and one of them fails, Zigbee always provides another way to receive the signal.
Zigbee devices can work together to achieve a significant range without needing central hubs or routers, as they can piggyback on one another. As a result, Zigbee devices are ideal for larger smart homes that may be spread out and not close to a router or hub.
The more devices you install in your home, the better your Zigbee network will work because there are more points sending signals through your devices.
Z-Wave and ZigBee: Similarities
Z-wave and Zigbee technologies correspond to mesh topologies. For example, if one device stops working, another device in the path acts as a repeater and sends data to the destination. It helps to extend the network coverage without additional equipment. You get a more reliable system with less risk of dead spots or nodes being disconnected from each other.
Wireless communication protocol
Z Wave and ZigBee are wireless home automation protocols that allow devices to communicate with each other. Both can use smart devices to control lights, locks, sensors, and other IoT devices from anywhere.
Z Wave and Zigbee consume low power, operate on specific frequencies, and form networks like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. For example, Zigbee's frequency range is 902-928 MHz in the US, and Z-wave uses 908 MHz.
Z Wave and ZigBee are global standards recognized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Z-Wave and ZigBee: the difference
Because Z-Wave is a private, proprietary wireless protocol, it is only available as part of the Z-Wave Alliance. Because Zigbee is an open standard protocol and no single organization controls it, anyone can create Zigbee products. However, quality and compatibility can vary greatly from brand to brand. Zigbee devices can communicate directly, but Z Wave devices must communicate through a hub.
Z Wave vs Zigbee: Z Wave wins.
Z Wave is a system with strict rules about how messages are routed from node to node before being returned to the controller node. As a result, Z-Wave is more reliable and, in some cases, easier to install.
Z-Wave is a better choice for large households because the mesh network topology allows devices to communicate with more nodes than Zigbee.
Z Wave and Zigbee: Zigbee wins
Zigbee can support up to 65,000 devices in a single network, while Z-Wave supports 232 nodes.
Zigbee's maximum range is 30 feet indoors and 100 feet outdoors, while Z-Wave is 30 feet indoors and 30 feet outdoors.
Z Wave vs. Zigbee: Verdict
The power of smart home starts with the networks that facilitate communication between home components. That's why it's important to choose a smart hub that's compatible with your wireless router. Smart Home technology offers several ways to make your home smarter. However, when building a smart home, you must decide which communication protocol to use. Two competing protocols, Z Wave and Zigbee are at the heart of the smart home debate.
Basically, if you want a plug-and-play system, go for Z-wave. But if you want something you can tweak and edit, go for Zigbee. The judgment is yours.