Reliability of Zigbee devices

I have been struggling with the reliability of my Zigbee devices since I bought them. They work correctly in 90-95% of all cases, but regularly commands are ignored. My setup is as follows:

OH 2.5.11 running on a Cubietruck with Zulu JRE 8.25.076
Coordinator: Bitron Video USB Stick (Ember EM35x NCP)
Dimmer switch: Philips RWL 021 (battery-powered)
Dimmer for LED strip: Paulmann 500.45
Plug: OSRAM Plug 01

The problems are not related to one specific device, instead every one sometimes seems to ignore commands, which are sent to it or which it sends. I have set the log levels of the relevant log channels to DEBUG and one recurring output, that looks like it might be the source of the problem is the following:

2020-12-29 08:02:24.226 [DEBUG] [zigbee.dongle.ember.ZigBeeDongleEzsp] - RX EZSP: EzspIncomingRouteErrorHandler [networkId=0, status=EMBER_SOURCE_ROUTE_FAILURE, target=CC2B]

This occurs with varying target ids. I have attached a part of my openhab.log, which contains a section, where the commands are not carried out (at about 08:20:44)
openhab.log (824.9 KB)

Any help would be very much appreciated.


Do you only have the 3 devices? How far apart are they? Zigbee and Zwave are mesh networks, and perform better the more devices you have. It’s possible the signal to the devices is boarder line and there is interference at the time of failure. I had unreliable zigbee and zwave network when I only had a few devices spread too far apart. But now my mesh-web looks like a hyperactive spider on crack.

@dotelpenguin: Yes, I only have 3 Zigbee devices. The rest is mostly Homematic, a few Wifi-controlled plugs (Tasmota) and cable-based network-attached devices like my heating. The devices are located between 2 and 5 m from the USB stick with a ceiling in between. From looking at the rssi values in the log I don’t think, that this is the problem, as I cannot see any correlation between working/not working and the rssi values.

I’m pretty sure the rssi values will only update if there is successful communication. I had similar issues with my zigbee till I added more devices. My son had 2 RGB bulbs only a few meters from my USB stick as well also separated by a ceiling. When I added more zigbee devices to the 1st floor, all communication problems with his bulbs on second floor went away.

@dotelpenguin: Bad reception might be the cause of my issues, but I wouldn’t invest in more Zigbee devices, if this was the case. For now, this is simply a guess and I don’t really think, that reception issues are the cause, as everything works most of the time.
I hope that @chris finds the time to take a look at this sometime.

I had a quick look, but don’t really have anything useful to add. For some reason, the controller is unable to deliver the message to the device. Also, as you point out, the coordinator is reporting a route failure for a different device. The RSSIs in the logs look good, so I agree, this is strange, but without seeing a sniffer log it’s not really possible to say what’s happening as this error is coming from the coordinator.

I do plan to add some information to display routing in the near future, so this might help (but it’s not available now).

@chris: Thanks for taking a look. I don’t have a sniffer available. I looked around, but was somewhat confused about the different firmware versions available, so I won’t buy one for the time being.
One more question:
Is it possible that this is caused by an interference with my nearby WiFi router? In Germany the Zigbee devices use the same frequency as WiFi, so I thought, this might be an issue. Might switching the Zigbee channel possibly help? Do I have to re-add the devices, when I change the channel?

You can use nearly any Ember device - I have software available, and instructions, to make it a sniffer.

It’s possible, but to be honest, I doubt it unless you can correlate wifi activity with this not working. The RSSI levels I’ve seen in you log are generally quite healthy.

Changing channel is not really supported in the binding since it can cause devices to get lost. Currently, it should be possible to change channel, but then yes, you would have to reinitialise your system and reinclude the devices.

My feeling is that is not the problem.

Can you provide a log during the binding startup please - I want to check the coordinator configuration.

I’ll also see if I can get the new routing information commands added shortly.

Hi @chris
I have restarted my OpenHAB instance and generated a log file with the Zigbee debug output of the startup phase. Thanks a lot for your help.
openhab.log (833.3 KB)

Hi @chris

I have upgraded my hardware running OpenHAB at the start of this week. Since then I have not been experiencing any problems with the reliability of my Zigbee devices. It seems that the problems were somehow caused by the somewhat slow hardware I used previously (Cubietruck). So there’s no need to investigate this any further.

Thanks for your help


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