Desperately need help understanding some things and planning this setup

Hello OpenHAB Community.

I’ve been researching HA for the past few weeks and I have a bit of an odd setup I am trying to plan out and could really use some advice from the community on how to approach this.

Originally I was looking into using homeseer because of the z-net ZWave to IP interface that they have available., but I prefer OSS solutions wherever and whenever possible.

I need to place a z-wave antenna in multiple office locations, each office is networked together through a routed OpenVPN setup.

I will install OpenHAB on a virtual machine that does not have USB or hardware-passthrough, using a usb z-wave stick is not an option because it limits me to one singular location and needs to be plugged into the VM host.

I would like a z-wave to IP antenna device installed in each location, communicating back to the openHAB Virtual Machine server via the OpenVPN VPN Connection, so I can then use the one openHAB instance to control sensors in the various geographically separate office locations, and have one interface/mobile UI to control the devices in multiple locations.

I’ve read various things about people using wink or vera hubs instead/in-place of z-wave to usb sticks to do setups like this, I’ve also read about people rooting the wink hubs.

I’ve also seen a mention of using a USB over IP device, but this seems overly complicated and prone to possible reliability issues? Not to mention not tested.

What direction should I be heading in my research and planning here? Can I use a wink, vera or other hub with openHAB the same way that the z-net IP-Zwave device works with homeseer? are there any limitations to using a hub to communicate with the z-wave devices vs. directly communicating with them via a z-wave usb stick? Are device states reported just as reliably either way? does it introduce lag or reliability issues? Does it limit what kind of z-wave devices or sensors I can use, etc?

I could in theory place a Rpi in each location running separate instances of openHAB, but I am trying to avoid this, and it seems that placing just a hub in each office location that connects back to the main VM server via the existing openVPN connection would dramatically simplify things, it would also make it simpler to create rules or actions that use sensors in multiple locations.

What limitations or gotcha’s am I going to run into going this route? What hardware should I be looking into? Should I even be looking to go in this direction? Would separate Raspberry Pi’s in each location reallt be a better option?

Also I’ve read that openHAB can not do z-wave PLUS / z-wave gen5, and that openHAB can not do z-wave security class devices like newer z-wave door locks, is this true? I thought sigma just openly published the z-wave spec, is this going to change soon?

I also read that OpenHAB can’t do as much with zigbee, is this true?

Thank You so much for any assistance or guidance, I am just getting started here and want to fully understand the limitations of each HA platform before I fully dive into and dedicate myself to learning one.

Gary Maurizi.

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I’ll help with my limited knowledge. I don’t believe the MiOS binding is set up to handle multiple Vera’s. That said, I believe you can set one/multiple Veras to be secondary controllers to a primary Vera. You should then be able to attach that Vera to OpenHab through the MiOS Binding.

Right now, OpenHab does not officially support the Secure class. There is an experimental branch of the ZWave binding that people are testing locks on with various results.

As for Zwave Plus, I believe OH can handle that.

Thank You for the reply!

This sounds like an interesting way to accomplish what I’m looking to do.

I’m curious, do all door locks require the secure class? If so, how stable is the experimental branch? Any info on when it will be stable? I read something about the openzwave guys are now adding all of the code published by sigma, I wonder if this includes the security class?

Sorry, I can’t help there. I run my locks from the Vera connected to OH. So, even if Secure class isn’t available soon, that is an option.

Typing from my phone. I apologize in advance for the wonderful autocorrects.

I think you are premature in dismissing the serial to IP approach. IMHO that will be way simpler than what you described. It is far from an untested. Search the forum for ser2net or any of the other tools to do this.

Failing that, you can have multiple slave OH instances in each office that each report to and take commands from a central OH which runs all your rules using MQTT Event Bus integration.

As mentioned, an experimental implementation of the security command class exists for the 1.9 zwave binding. Chris will integrate it into the 2.0 binding when he can.

ZigBee support is on the way but nonexistent at this time.

Sigma released the zwave specification…like a month ago…in no small part due to the urging of Kai and Chris. So yes, effort is underway to verify that the OH binding which was built through reverse engineering, conforms to the spec. But sigma released no code. And most of the zwave, and ZigBee development is done by one guy, Chris. It is going to take some time.

Thank You so much for this reply!

This is much needed information and really sets me in the right direction.

I am going to start searching the forum for more on serial to IP approaches.

What should/would I search for to find more on the described approach with slave OpenHAB instances reporting to and taking commands from the central OpenHAB instance? This isn’t a bad option either, as I don’t necessarily mind having a Raspberry Pi in each location, if I can still simplify this with one web and mobile interface to write rules and view the status of sensors at each location.

Thank You so much,
Gary M.

Search the forum for “event bus” and I think you will find several postings. Also look at the MQTT binding’s wiki page, in particular the event bus section.

One thing I should note before you go too far. Only the zwave 2.0 binding will support more than one controller attached to a single OH instance. If you go down the serial to IP route this will dictate using OH 2 with the 2.0 binding.

It can directly attach as many Vera units as you want. Each needs a line in the openhab.cfg, or mios.cfg (2.x), and all the Item declarations use that as part of their binding string.