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Z-Wave™ is a wireless communication protocol developed to increase stability and reliability in your smart home. The protocol has its roots in Denmark from the startup company Zen-Sys, which offered various equipment for measuring and controlling electronics. In 2008, Zen-Sys was bought up by American Sigma Designs, which is now headquartered in California, but there is still a research and development facility in Copenhagen, Denmark. The communication protocol is developed by Sigma together with roughly 600 other companies that together create the Z-Wave Alliance.
Z-Wave™ is a communication protocol and is available in a number of different frequency bands depending on which country the system comes from and in Europe and Norway communicates the system on the frequency 868.42 MHz. The advantage of Z-Wave™ compared to for example 433MHz is the two-way communication, what this means is that a controller sends a command, the device executes the command and then responds that it has been executed so that you can confirm that it really happened.
This is a crucial function for those who want a secure system or intend to use smart homes as a form of personal alarm or monitoring. The two-way communication also enables additional information such as energy consumption, temperature etc.
A Z-Wave™ system is built on a controller which takes care of connections to devices and decides who should do what, how and when. You include the Z-Wave™ devices to the control unit and immediately you have the opportunity to, for example, start or turn off a wall outlet via the phone/toad or your computer wherever you are in the world. Regardless of which control unit you have, you can then build further and let your home take care of itself. For example, you can turn on the lamp in the hall when you open the front door in the evening.
It is of course possible to further develop this function so that if the door is opened late at night or if it is opened when you are not at home, you will receive an SMS, push- message or email notifying you that someone has opened your door. Some controllers also support HTTP Post if you want to store the activity on your own server.
The range of a Z-Wave controller varies but is usually between 10-30 meters depending on the material in the walls and if there are other electronics which may disturb. It is slightly worse compared to 433MHz, but Z-Wave is rescued because The smart mesh function means that all Z-Wave devices create a chain between the goods and listen for commands. As soon as a command arrives that is to a device that is far from the control unit, the command is sent to the nearest device, which then sends on until it reaches its desired device.
< img src="https://www.lohelectronics.se/image/catalog/landningssidor/controller_uttag_mesh.png" />
There are a lot of smart home devices out on the market today, but how do you know what is what? It is quite simple as all equipment within the Z-Wave communication protocol has a certification on the box. The same applies to Z-Wave Plus, so that you can easily distinguish and know if the device is Z-Wave Plus compatible or not.
So what is Z-Wave Plus?
Z-Wave Plus™ is an upgraded certification developed to help users identify products that use the "new generation" also known as the "500 series" of Z-Wave hardware. Z-Wave Plus™ offers a bunch of extra functions and possibilities that improve your use and make the installation of Z-Wave devices easier.
With the introduction of Next-Gen (Z-Wave 500 series) hardware, Z-Wave saw new possibilities, including longer range, longer battery life, Over The Air upgrade (OTA), more RF channels and much more. All this and they are backwards compatible with existing Z-Wave devices.
For consumers, homeowners, integrators and service providers, this upgrade became very beneficial in terms of much easier installation, richer device profiles, improved self-healing and longer battery life.
- 50% Longer battery life
- 67% Longer range
- 250% More bandwidth
- 3 F channels for improved interference protection and higher bandwidth
- New Plug-n-Play network-wide inclusion process
- Improved self-healing and fault tolerance with Explorer Frame function
- Standardized method for Over the Air firmware updates (OTA)
- Improved information for the product certification database
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