Veraplus Experience w/ Zigbee Devices

So I decide to give Veraplus another shot for my home automation platform which today I have been pretty happy with Smartthings with the exception of relying on the Cloud / internet connection. I have programming, electronics background, with ~30 years experience in IT. For the last 3-4 days I set up a test environment for veraplus which in my home office that houses all of my servers, work PC’s, switches, and veraplus…I have 6 Zibee power switches and one Z-wave wall switched attached. What I have been experiencing is a lost of device connection 3-4 times a day. Everything is all locate in my 12x12 office so coverage should not be a problem. I have unpaired all the devices and done a factory reset several times to make sure I had a clean install. So all the devices show up in red and I have to reboot the vera to get them back again. I guess my question is, since Zigbee seems to be the newest protocol to vera does it lack the radio quality, and support from vera? or is this a sample of what happen’s when new firmware is released? I have tried the customer care email route which seems to be a hit and miss, not sure if this is because of off shoring their call center or not. I now thinking about ditching / cutting my looses with vera since time I am spending on trying to keep 6 device up vs. adding cell connection to my smartthings.

Love how the VeraSecure has an external antenna. I’m hoping this helps with things. Bought my first ZigBee device (see a separate post) and we’ll see how things go. But I have high hopes.

I have similar issues. I have Zigbee door sensors, which would not respond. I have to reset them and then they will work for a few hours. After the new update even the Zigbee network would fail to connect! After many hours/days I disconnect all of them… I am planing to use Smartthings. The Veraplus unit seems unreliable as is constantly rebooting and Tech Support, well… I have exchanged 3 lousy emails with them in 21 days.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Hi there, wanted to add a few things.

Since Zigbee stack is not standardized as Z-Wave is(even on the same version HA 1.2), such situation might occur. Even the embedded Zigbee chip manufacturer might make a critical difference and cause compatibility issues. For Zigbee devices we need to closely work with every device manufacturer for full compatibility. That’s why for Zigbee we are only making reference to our compatibility list: http://getvera.com/compatibility/ . And yes, if you have a device from this list, and have issues please have this reported and we will work on them with device manufacturers to ensure compatibility.

However, having a device that is not on the list, and “hacking” it together to make it look, like the desired device, it does not mean it will also work correctly with Vera. It might work, or some of it’s features might work, but will still have issues until properly supported and integrated. Things that cannot be sorted without development. A main issue for the devices that are not properly integrated is the signal repeating function which most likely won’t work and will not be able to create a solid mesh, thus only the close by devices will work, and those beyond that will drop off the network soon after, creating the impression the signal is poor. So it’s enough that you have even 1 device, in between, that is supposed to act as repeater, and it doesn’t, and will break up everything is beyond it.

Zigbee devices compatibility list is growing as we speak and our R&D is working around the clock for this. However as mentioned, this might take some time, especially to maintain a close communication with the manufacturer of these devices, that are helping us on the integration.

Customer Care will surely help as well, with things and situations that stand in their hands to do so. So don’t hesitate to involve them.

Thank you for your understanding.

My opinion on Zigbee:

Pros:

  1. Very easy to manage as adding devices is much easier than Zwave
  2. Fairly low power though I don’t know how it compares to Zwave Plus.
  3. Devices are cheaper because there is no IP lock on the chips.

Cons:

  1. It is on 2.4GHz which is already super saturated with wifi, microwave, wireless phone, bluetooth etc…so it is prone to a lot of interferences.
  2. 2.4GHz is much shorter range than the 800-900MHz at the same power. It means you need higher signal power or that your range (usually battery operated devices) are ultra short range. I have experienced mine to be <5m open air without a repeater in between. My old Zwave had ~10m and zwave plus seem to be even better. Well the bright side is that the range is so poor it probably won’t interfere with other networks. It will only be interfered with.
  3. As John M rightly pointed out, the stack is very customized leading to a lot of incompatible variants. Philips Hue is one, GE had another… almost every company started with their own. Smart Thing is probably the best platform to support this protocol. However a more generic HA stack has been released a couple of years ago and it is disappointing that Vera is not supporting that generic stack. Well, actually Vera does but requires a lot of tweaking/hacking of the UI. Not a single one of my devices is on the supported list and they work fine. However it took quite a bit of work.
  4. Only one controller. No possibility of adding a secondary. If you start to have a big mesh and your controller craps out… you will have fun.

I try to avoid Zigbee as much as I can but in reality I am running 5 separate Zigbee networks in my house (Hue, Vera, Plantlink X 3 because of the super short range) which is a bit ridiculous. Not just because of the Vera. Mostly because of the cons I have listed.

Well first off all of my devices are on the devices list as far as Zigbee devices go and would expect them to to perform as stated by the manufacture since they are on Vera list of supported devices. I am not looking for excuse why Vera will not work, I am looking on consistency, up-time, and reliability. I would think that this would be the underlining fabric of a company that is now moving in to security offerings. With that said, having to reboot my VeraPlus at lease once a day to be able to access my 7 Zigbee and other devices is not a good. I have contacted customer care and at first they told me that the devices were not supported and then they backed tracked. Then they looked at the logs an could not find anything. There answer was to leave the tech support access on/open and they would periodically check an if I did notice devices offline again to email and they would access the device and look. I told them they were crazy if they thought this was the proper way to diagnosis this issue and serious about security, this is how security breach’s happen. Leaving open admin access to your home automation for some rouge tech or hacker, is a ludicrous and darn right negligence on suggesting this to a customer.

So my suggestion is to come up with a way that both parts have easy access to logging and an automated way to provide the logs to customer care. I would also invest in step by step instructions on installing each device and or video, not this out dated stuff from several UI back. Some good IT house keeping and documentation, and user training would go a long way IMO as a sudo new customer / user.

[quote=“John M., post:4, topic:196567”]Hi there, wanted to add a few things.

Since Zigbee stack is not standardized as Z-Wave is(even on the same version HA 1.2), such situation might occur. Even the embedded Zigbee chip manufacturer might make a critical difference and cause compatibility issues. For Zigbee devices we need to closely work with every device manufacturer for full compatibility. That’s why for Zigbee we are only making reference to our compatibility list: http://getvera.com/compatibility/ . And yes, if you have a device from this list, and have issues please have this reported and we will work on them with device manufacturers to ensure compatibility.

However, having a device that is not on the list, and “hacking” it together to make it look, like the desired device, it does not mean it will also work correctly with Vera. It might work, or some of it’s features might work, but will still have issues until properly supported and integrated. Things that cannot be sorted without development. A main issue for the devices that are not properly integrated is the signal repeating function which most likely won’t work and will not be able to create a solid mesh, thus only the close by devices will work, and those beyond that will drop off the network soon after, creating the impression the signal is poor. So it’s enough that you have even 1 device, in between, that is supposed to act as repeater, and it doesn’t, and will break up everything is beyond it.

Zigbee devices compatibility list is growing as we speak and our R&D is working around the clock for this. However as mentioned, this might take some time, especially to maintain a close communication with the manufacturer of these devices, that are helping us on the integration.

Customer Care will surely help as well, with things and situations that stand in their hands to do so. So don’t hesitate to involve them.

Thank you for your understanding.[/quote]

@ccollinscj I totally agree with you, to the fact that things can, and will be improved. And this is mostly done based on customer feedback, like yours.

We do already have a logging system, and logs are uploaded to the server. I don’t see why the agent might have asked you keep the remote channels open for all this time, as this is redundant as tech support channels, once enabled only stay active for 48 hours, then disable automatically. An email from you, with the time stamp when this happened should suffice, and if the agent didn’t ask that, we will investigate and take the appropriate measures.

But if these issues, as much as we would love to be able to handle them on the spot, via the phone, are because of a backend/firmware problem, most of the time we cannot. Especially with situations where things are “working” and all of a sudden they stop working. So best approach is to replicate and let the logs upload to be investigated.

Thank you for understanding.

For my part, I have a Vera Plus with a lot of Z-Wave devices, and I only added 2 types of Zigbee devices in my network; There are therefore 3 Keen ventilation hatches and 6 heated floor thermostats (Sinope Technologies model TH1300ZB).

The Keen ventilation hatches are constantly disconnecting and for thermostats, it happens less frequently, but it does happen occasionally …
I have no problem with z-wave devices, even for those who are not on the compatibility list.
Do you think these 2 Zigbee products will eventually be officially supported?

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