I see so many folks around here who have big zwave networks and lots of devices doing great things. Cool!
When I started the HA journey… well, let’s say when I came back to it. Twenty years ago I had some X10 things I used with some success. We all know the limitations of X10, and I’ll just say I had it working as well and effectively as it could. I was satisfied with it.
When I came back to HA, X-10 is still around, but most people only deal with it if they have to, and I understand why! So many people and reviews talked about the amazingness of zwave. My research said, “zwave or zigbee?” and I chose zwave.
And it was awful!
The controller loses items regularly. They still work, but it claims they’re dead. Toggling something leads to delays. Delays past visible and into irritating. Sending a message from the zwave remote (which was a nightmare to pair with anything) adds the same delay so you get it twice!
And the stuff is sort of expensive.
In desperation, I tried insteon. Insteon worked flawlessly, quickly, and easily. Why would anyone ever leave this glorious thing? Plus, I found the Insteon scenes and device binding to be so much easier to do and work with that a lot of my Insteon configuration doesn’t depend on OH - nor, really, should it have to. Neither end of a three-way switch, for example, has to talk to OH - they’re peer to peer and control each other. (I understand you can do this with zwave, but I was never able to make it actually work.)
So, when I finally come here to ask some questions and learn some good things, what do I see?
Insteon is an all-but-forgotten controller. People use the old one, or move to an external service which maps to and from MQTT. (This makes me sad, because Inseton is pretty slick.)
Zwave is king and people love it and do amazing things with it.
When I go to the Insteon forum, what do I see? Nobody uses software - they all have hardware to manage their Insteon networks. Some of it sounds like really nice hardware (the ISY machines) but… its a lot more expensive than a Pi and OH, and won’t be as flexible.
It makes me wonder what I did wrong with zwave, if anything. Did I screw something up? Was the Aeon Labs Z-Stick a bad choice? Is my electrical system somehow bad for zwave? What things happened that led me to such wildly different experiences?