Why Zwave vs. Wifi control of devices?

When I first got into Zwave control, my brother who used to do home control of various devices indicated that Zwave control was better for battery operated devices (relative to Wifi control) due to being less draining; he used Vera as a bridge to such devices though the whole thing was controlled by a wifi controller of some sort. Since I have battery powered locks, motion detectors and flood sensors, this made sense for me. My lights are controlled by modules that are plugged into electrical outlets to which lamps are attached and they extend the network. So I am fairly satisfied with my set up, though I don’t like the instability of Vera. And I do have two different devices (a door bell camera (not Ring) and a thermostat) which I control remotely via Wifi and have not attempted to integrate into Vera control.

So my question is whether the battery issue is a good reason for using zwave control and are there other compelling reasons? A friend who will be summering in Rhode Island and then living in Missouri in the winter (he’s from Chicago, so he thinks Missouri is warm in the winter) has asked me to help him set up a system for monitoring his houses when he is away. I know that this will be like the blind leading the blind compared to most on this forum.

the other one is mesh. Zwave is very good at its mesh, while with WiFi you have to be more careful. I have friends using WiFi devices that got to spend more in WiFi gears (because if you 100+ devices connected to a home grade wifi router, you’ll soon be in trouble) than in devices. I personally try to avoid WiFi devices whenever possible.

I completely agree that after you get a high number of WiFi devices going, it can trouble your whole network. Using a Zwave or Zigbee controller takes off load from your router, which already has enough to deal with.

This thread could be a good read:

As other have said. wifi for home control generally is a bad idea for many reasons. Reliability, Power consumption, interference with your higher bandwidth network which is also related to the device number limitation… wifi was just not designed for this application and though you can make it work it doesn’t work as well as zwave or zigbee.

Dont forget that zwave is not only a mesh but also a mess. Lots of bad implementations of devices in vera, and of suppliers that make their own standards, not really fully compatible with others.

Yeah, all true, but remember… if Beta vs VHS taught us anything, it was that consumer cost and tightly-held proprietary technologies and licensing don’t lead to the better technology dominating the market.

This battle isn’t fought in design meetings, standards meetings, or using any EDA package. It’s fought in hallowed halls of Best Buy, WalMart, CostCo, Amazon, and similar retailers all over the world. Every time Andy Average comes home with a $15 bubble pack pair of switches and has them controlled from his phone five minutes after breaching the theft-resistant packaging, Z-Wave dies a little.

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From my experience and as I peel the onion of the vera… it is only true of the vera. The zwave implementation has been very bad for years mostly in design. It seems like the devs wanted to maximize the communication with the devices and constantly poll, heal, check on devices which is the exact opposite of what zwave needs. In order to lower power consumption, improve reliability and speed, communication needs to be minimized. All other platforms I tested perform better than the vera in terms of zwave.

You are very right on that one but I am fairly confident that the dead end will eventually be obvious to every one. I too (with a few friends here) was one of these consumers going for the cheap thing in the store and as we installed them and worked with them, discovered that they were just not viable so we all ended up switching over. At the 4th or 5th different app you start asking yourself some questions. The one or two times the switch or lock stoppeds working because internet connection, cloud server outage or because of the microwave running, you start cursing. When that device starts limiting your backup or streaming bandwidth or you start finding out it is calling home sending data or updating itself breaking things without you knowing then you toss it out.

And here i thought it was whichever platform porn adopted first won out… :wink:

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Wifi is a media, not an automation platform. It’s like saying “this device is controlled by wires”.

How do you give it instructions?

Can it be controlled locally? If so, how? Does it use MQTT? JSON? Some form of REST? Is there encryption? Is there security? If so, what kind?

If not local, how does it connect to the cloud?

How do you connect to their cloud? Do you have to use an app? Does their cloud have an API? If so, Rest/JSON…etc…etc.

Can it call home automatically? What does it report? Will it get firmware updates? Can you stop the updates?

Then there is the whole “wifi devices are potential security holes” problem. How do you ensure it doesn’t have malicious firmware? Sure, you could put it on VLAN but…wireless.

It can jump onto any unencrypted network.

It can advertise an unencrypted network to attack devices wandering by.

It can spend all its tiny cpu cycles breaking into encrypted wifi. Because no one changes their wifi keys.

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