Best universal Zigbee Setup

Hey guys,

I need a tip for the best zigbee solution that works with most of the devices. Yes I know there a lot of topics in this forum about zigbee, but recently I burned money for some osram devices that won’t work properly and I try to be sure that does not happen again.

So I use openhab since a few years, with mqtt, sonoff, shelly, homematic. A few weeks ago I installed a hue bridge and an osram strip light. That all works fine.

But then I thought I can add some of the very cheap osram switches, but the hue bridge doesn’t work with them. I searched the net for alternatives and found the ikea switches, very cheap and nice design. But I could not find information if that work with my hue bridge.

Basically I prefer solutions with standards, not with proprietary stuff. And I thought zigbee is a standard, obviously it is not.

What is the best solution for zigbee that works with most of the zigbee devices. I have read about the usb sticks, but my problem is, my openhab server in not located in the center of my house. Because of that I always try to find network gateways like the hue bridge or the homematic ccu.

Has anyone a tip for me, thank you.

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@wborn can comment but I think there is a new option to have the serial binding recognize a a remote USB stick.

You can place a cheap SBC like a Raspberry Pi in the center of your house and use it to share any USB device to openHAB using ser2net as described in Share Z-wave dongle over IP (USB over IP using ser2net / socat ) guide.

Thaks, Wouter. Was your other work using the RFC zwave-only?

If you run socat on the machine with openHAB you configure it like a normal serial port and it will most likely already work with any binding.

There is also built-in support in openHAB for so called RFC2217 ports.
In that case you only run ser2net and don’t use socat but specify the serial port as rfc2217://hostname:port

In OH 2.5.5 there are some improvements to get such ports working with more bindings. I.e.:

  • most bindings now use the serial transport (which is required for this) (#7573)
  • the UIs no longer limit what serial port can be configured (#7625)

Besides that some bindings such as Z-Wave need a few changes for the built-in RFC2217 support to work. But these are simple changes.

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Thank you for my new plan. I think I have an unused raspi anywhere and so I’ll try that.
Thank you for your fast answer.

Just a little comment on this. My understanding is if it bears the Zigbee logo, it follows the standard. However, there are a number of devices we know to use Zigbee but they do not bear the Zigbee logo (e.g. Xioami, Ikea Tradfri, etc.). These often require customization in the software for the device to fully work. The degree in which the code has been written for any given non-standard will vary from one implementation to another.

So the best universal setup is going to be the one that best supports the devices you have or devices you want. If you choose only pure Zigbee devices (those bearing the Zigbee logo) you should be fine. I believe the openHAB Zigbee binding supports some Xiaomi and Ikea devices and zigbee2mqtt supports a different set and of course different hubs have their own set of supported devices.

Another consideration is that Zigbee is a mesh network. Not all devices need to communicate with the controller, as long as it can route through others that can. If you have dead spots, you may need to add more devices to build out the mesh.

The Ikea and Hue bridges are made to work with their own devices, but their devices will work with any generic Zigbee controller. Your best bet is to get a USB Zigbee controller and use the Zigbee binding, so that you are not locked to one manufacture’s implementation.

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I think my way will be the detour over the raspi, now I look for the proper Stick. I’ve read about sticks that support ZigBee and zWave. Does that really work, even in europe?

Zigbee is the same worldwide. Z-Wave varies depending on region.

The only stick I know about that has both is for the North America & Mexico region.

Ok, than ZigBee must be enough.

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I suggest using a gateway from “Dresden Elektronik”.

You can either use a Rasperry Pi with Raspbee

Or Conbee USB-Stick

or you can use the Phoscon Gateway, if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi

You can use a combination of hue binding and deconz binding to integrate the zigbee devices in openhab then.


Actually the official Zigbee binding is more generic than using those other bindings.

I have a zigbee usb stick and osram GU10 bulbs - it works well - probably easier than zwave

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Z-Wave is pretty easy - the bindings have the same developer. Personally I avoided Zigbee but everyone is different.


now I’ve got my USB-stick. I decided for a Qivicon Stick, it was the cheapest solution. Now my problem is, that the Qivicon is not shown in my PaperUI as a coordinator. Only the CC2531EMK, Ember EM35x, Telegesis ETRX3 Dongle and the the XBee USB Stick are options.
Is the Qivicon no longer supportet?
I’m using the 2.5 version in a Docker container.


Yes - it is an Ember chipset inside.

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Disconecting my ZWave stick to associate items often makes battery items to be reconnected, I don’t have that with my Zigbee stick.
It’s more about the sticks than openhab or it’s bindings.
Zigbee also tends to be cheaper with greater range of devices.

That’s not correct. The battery device won’t even normally know that the coordinator has gone away for a while. It certainly won’t cause them to “reconnect”.

Each have their good and less-good points.

I use conbee 2. It works nice with ikea bulbs and switch, aqara door sensor and switch, philips bulbs and strips. Actually I don’t think you need to put a controller in the center because the zigbee standard is mesh compliant. So if you have a strategic bulbs located, you can expand the range for hundred of meters