There has been time when humans used to build their own stuffs for making their daily existence easier, slowing revolutions in industries modified the arena. Human beings started working on factories, Constructing, assembling & marketing made peoples life less difficult. In present time Technology lead to wireless from wired, waves or rays are being used to transfer data between devices. If you’re shopping for smart home or home automation devices, you probably see the term “Z-wave”. If not then you will knew it from today. So what is Z-wave, and how does it work? Is it just an alternative to Bluetooth? What is difference between Z-waves, zig-bee waves ?
Z-wave is one of the most up-to-date forms of wireless generation that smart devices use to communicate with each other. You can assume it as equal as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi however z-waves have some few unique traits to talk with smart devices. Z-Wave was born from an idea by Danish company Zensys in 1999, it came to the US in 2002.Unlike Wi-Fi, where devices have to connect to a centrals hub (usually a router, or another access point), Z-Wave devices all link up together to form a mesh network.
Getting technical for a second, Z-Wave operates at the 800-900MHz radio frequency variety. The actual frequency that a Z-Wave devices operates at is dependent on the country that it is being used in. For example, the US uses 908.40, 908.42 and 916MHz; whereas the UK and Europe uses 868.40, 868.42, 869.85MHz. So, it’s important to make sure you are buying a Z-Wave device that’s designed for your region. The latest Z-Wave platform was launched at CES 2018 and is called the 700 series. It boasts a range of 100m for point-to-point contact and operates at such low power that some sensors will last 10 years on just a coin cell. So Z-Wave, like Zigbee, is wireless protocols that essentially awareness on connectivity in the smart home.
What is Zigbee?
Zigbee is based on the IEEE’s 802.15.4 personal-area network standard. All you need to know is that Zigbee is a specification that’s been around for more than a decade, and it’s widely considered an alternative to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for some applications including low-powered devices that don’t require a lot of bandwidth – like your smart home sensors.
An average instance is if you have a Zigbee-enabled light bulb and a Zigbee-enabled light switch and you need the light switch to control the light bulb. With Zigbee, the two gadgets – even supposing they’re from distinctive producers – communicate a common language, so there may be no barrier to communication.
Zigbee does not focus on point-to-point communication, such as Bluetooth, where one high-powered device sends data to another high-powered device over a short range, put it operates in a mesh network, which is why it’s great for the smart home.
Here are some of the big users of Zigbee in the smart home:
- Texas Instruments
Just due to the fact a business enterprise uses the protocol, doesn’t mean it’ll immediately play fine, however, Philips Hue uses Zigbee to attach its bulbs, but that doesn’t usually mean you can add in additional bulbs from a one-of-a-kind manufacturer.
How all these thing work?
Z-wave technology creates a wireless mesh network, which is a collection of gadgets that link up and communicate with each different without wires. With Z-wave technology, devices “mesh” together by sending signals over low-energy radio waves on a dedicated frequency. As mention above (Z-wave operates on the 908.42 MHz radio frequency in the U.S. and Canada, but the exact frequency varies by country.) Every Z-wave device has a tiny built-in signal repeater that sends and receives network information.
Similarly Zigbee send its waves to communicate with devices. You can see above picture for more clarification.
Z-wave vs. Bluetooth
If you ask me what’s the difference between Z-wave and Bluetooth then my answer would be there is main difference between them and i.e. Signal strength.
Bluetooth sign is at risk of interference and interruption due to the fact all Bluetooth devices send and receive data on the same 2.4GHz band. They compete with one another for bandwidth. And unless you run a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network in your home, they’re competing with devices on your Wi-Fi network too.
Z-wave vs. Wi-Fi
Z-wave additionally wins against Wi-Fi in terms of community interference. Like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi devices compete with each other, so signal strength and network speeds suffer when there are many gadgets linked.
Z-wave vs. Zigbee
You may also encounter Zigbee during your home automation research, which is another kind of wireless mesh technology. Like Z-wave, each device on a Zigbee network helps to strengthen its signal. Unlike Z-wave, it operates on the 2.4GHz frequency shared with WiFi and Bluetooth. You are less likely to experience signal problems with Zigbee than with WiFi or Bluetooth alone, but only Z-wave has its own dedicated frequency.
Another differentiation is that Zigbee is open-source software, while Z-wave is proprietary software supported and certified by the Z-Wave Alliance. While both technologies are catching on simultaneously, Z-wave technology is backed by industry leaders who are constantly refining it. Z-wave has been on the market for over a decade and has undergone several updates and improvements.
Z-wave’s advantages for home automation
- Ability to mix & match devices from different manufacturers. All Z-wave devices are compatible with one another. There are literally thousands of Z-wave products on the market.
- Less interference & fewer disconnections. When it comes to Z-wave devices, the more the merrier. Each one amplifies the network signal, which lets you easily create robust connectivity. Z-wave networks also operate on a dedicated frequency, which means there’s less interference than what you get on busy Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks.
- More secure technology. While no technology is completely unhackable, security is a major priority for Z-wave developers. It uses the same encryption measures as online banking.
Advantages of Zigbee
Following are the advantages of Zigbee:
- Setting up the network is very simple and easy.
- It does not have central controller and loads are distributed evenly across the network.
- It is easy to monitor and control home appliances from remote.
- It will take the place of existing Infrared technology based devices. This will save cost of battery replacement as Zigbee uses lithium battery which lasts long.
- The network is scalable and it is easy to add/remote Zigbee end device to the network.
- Emily is an experienced writer passionate about covering topics at the intersection of tech, health, safety and humanity: https://www.safety.com/author/eferron/
- James, co-CEO of Wareable Media Group, has been a tech journalist for over ten years: https://www.the-ambient.com/guides/zigbee-devices-complete-guide-277
- Josh Hendrickson is a Staff Writer here at How-To Geek: https://www.howtogeek.com/author/joshhendrickson/
- Maggie Tillman ,Contributing editor: https://www.pocket-lint.com/smart-home/news/129857-what-is-zigbee-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-smart-home
- Home of RF and Wireless Vendors and Resources: Home of RF and Wireless Vendors and