Z-Wave – Can it be reliable? Too many variables? Try something else?

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I have been an OH user for over a year now, so I understand enough to know that it is doing its job correctly. No errors in my logs and when I push a button in the GUI or via Alexa, an event instantly pops up and is pushed to my device. The command instantly controls my Nest, Hue & Lightwave devices but Z-wave can take anything from instant to 60 seconds, to not coming on at all.

I have over 30 z-wave devices from manufactures such as Fibaro, Aeotec, Nodon, TKHome they are all mains powered and evenly spread through my average size home and I have ran a z-wave check to make sure they communicate.

I am currently using a Razberry and the Z-Way Binding and I have had an endless amount of issues with latency. After a year of heart ache I have decided to ask the community for some expert advice.

I have 30 Z-Wave devices, what is the most reliable way to connect them?

  • Razberry – ZWave Binding – HABmin
  • Razberry – z-way binding – z-way
  • Z-Stick – z-wave binding – HABmin
  • Some other z-wave option
  • SmartThings – MQTT binding
  • Try some other technology in future if you need reliability

The main reason I ask is that I want to keep my elderly relatives safe by adding some sensors and alarms in their home, so I need 100% reliability or close to it.

It would also be good to understand which option is being developed the most. I’m guessing it is not my current rout as the original developer of the z-way binding does not seem to be updating so others are in his absence and the Razberry site, documentation and forum is horrendous.

I would really appreciate any thought on this, many thanks in advance! :wink:

I saw in another thread that the release Z-Way binding has a performance issue especially on large installations. Perhaps that could be a reason? How fast are the z-wave devices to respond if you control them directly from zway?

In my setup my primary USB controller is a UZB stick and control around 30 z-wave devices and with the latest security enabled Z-Wave openhab binding I get very good response times, less than a second. I used to have a Aeotec Z-stick but it was the older version that didn’t support secure inclusions. If I were to buy a controller today I would probably get another Z-Stick since the UZB seems to give me less range than the stick.

I also use a Razberry and Z-Way server but it only controls 2 Danalock door lock devices. I have had lots of trouble with failed security negotiations jamming the openhab z-wave binding so I figured it would be best to run a dedicated network for those. It also allows me to keep the razberry right next to the door so it gets a good signal from the Danalock V3 which seems to have a rather poor internal antenna. If you have devices that require security maybe you should consider running several controllers too :slight_smile:

Many thanks for replying

Yes I follow that thread and have added the latest snapshot today but I’m still having difficulty which is why I decided to ask about alternatives. Need to give it a few days to test fully but this morning fine, now sluggish.

Seems to be about the same. When I’m having difficulties through OH I go directly to the z-way GUI and if I can login without a server failure I push a button and the same issue. It is almost as if it overloads or something.

This is certainly the option I’m considering I just want to make sure it is more reliable than what I have currently as it will be a lot of work to re-setup my home.

Yeah, don’t even get me started on security inclusion. I had an endless amount of problems with my light switches hardly working so left them on standard. Will have to bite the bullet when I add a lock though so thanks for the advice.

@ssvenn Oh one quick question, seeing as you have experience with both methods.

When z-way works I find it quite intuitive. How easy is it to add and remove devices, network repair, map the network using the z-stick in comparison to the Razberry/Z-way method?

The z-stick is very easy since it has that internal battery and you can include devices just by walking around with it and clicking the button, then plug it into the openHAB machine after you’re done. I’m not sure if it works like that with secure inclusions as well but in theory it could.

HABmin is better at configuring devices and the Z-Wave binding is very reliable in my opinion, but Z-Way has a nicer activity log and more troubleshooting tools.

I guess for testing purposes before you buy anything you could back up the z-way config on the razberry just to be safe, write another microsd with openHABian on it and let openHAB and the z-wave binding control the razberry directly. I used to do that until I wanted more performance and upgraded my openHAB server to a mini-ITX pc. The openHAB z-wave binding should simply inherit the configuration that is already on the razberry and you can see if it works properly with all your z-wave devices.

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Great idea, I will certainly give that a go.

Well, in general Zwave is a rather reliable technology and does mesh, and you only use mains powered devices. There’s an only smallish probability that this is due to HW radio problems. So you need to find out why your specific installation shows that many that severe problems.
Most people use the Zwave binding and don’t have these problems. To me, it is likely that the z-way binding and layer is actually causing the problem.
Move over to the ZWave binding to see if problems persist. You could also start by deploying the dev version of the binding.
Migrating should be a rather simple task as you already have the OH items and the zwave network itself is not stored in the binding or other software entity but inside the controller (so all the nodes will still be there, no need for in/exclusion).
I’d also force a network heal from within habmin and display the network routes, but I’d assume it’s alright. Most devices will likely be able to directly talk to the controller.
If your problems persist after the move, you can enable binding debugging to start looking for the reason.
Chris (the zwave binding maintainer) has an online tool to dissect these logs and display the communication in graphical form. Helps tremendously to find out if there’s messages not being answered, repeated or delayed.

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Are you certain? I had a similar configuration and assumed that my mesh network should have been really solid. But I kept having commands be missed or it takes a long time for the command to be reacted to. When I looked in Habmin I discovered that despite it appearing that mesh should be good, only one of my mains powered devices could talk to the controller. As a result that one outlet was being overloaded as ALL messages had to go through it. I added a repeater and suddenly my zwave worked perfectly.

Try the Zwave binding. I’ve seen several mentions on this forum that the Z-way binding is laggy and consuming excessive amounts of memory and CPU for unknown reasons. They are all responses to unrelated threads so I’ can’t seem to find them any more. The Zwave binding will work with both of your listed devices.

Depends on the devices. If you have Locks I might try using a hub like ST or Vera if you are scared off by the development branch of the Zwave binding. If not, I’d use the Zwave binding with either controller.

This might be unrealistic for ANY wireless technology.

Linear makes a dual Zwave/Zigbee USB controller which should be considered for anyone looking to buy a new controller. It costs about the same as the Gen 5 Aeotec controller and you get Zigbee support.

IIRC you have to do secure inclusions through the binding (i.e. through PaperUI or Habmin).

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Only as far as what the GUI shows me. I have just purchased 3 repeaters to test this properly.

Definitely going to give this a whirl. I want a play with that binding and HABmin anyway.

Haha yes. At the moment I only get about 50% reliability so anywhere upwards of 85% would be ideal to be honest.

I’ve looked all over the internet and can only find one on the American Amazon but they won’t deliver to the UK. I found another but it was £110 and I’m certainly not paying that. Do you know if they are available in Europe or even if they use the correct frequency. A combined z-wave/zigbee USB would be awesome.

I do not know their availability outside the US. I assumed it was available but perhaps it isn’t.

Zwave is also a different frequency in different continents so you need to buy the UK specific one, unfortunately it doesn’t look like it is available outside the US.

I use separate sticks for Z-wave and zigbee. The Aoetec Z-stick and the ETRX3USB-LRS+8M. I only have 7 Z-wave and 8 zigbee devices so far though.

No need for the Linear device as the OP is running a RaZberry and there should not be anything wrong with it.
BTW: the Z-Way software allows to tune it to different frequencies so you can use it all over the world.

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Don’t expect that to work well if you change regions. While the chip might allow reprogramming, there are also hardware constraints (ie the SAW filter) to limit the band so performance is likely to be poor.

Jumping in here. I did just that a few weeks ago using the standard openhabian sdcard. It basically worked, but not all devices were found and those it did find it didn’t really properly recognize. Since I am completely new to OH it’s likely I did something wrong. IIRC the logs also indicated some issues with Z-Wave security. Perhaps we should use a more recent dev build of the zwave binding module. Chris Jackson seems to be heavily working on this, and security functions were added recently. Just my 2 ct - I’m still at this point and don’t find time to continue, but I definitely want to.

I have roughly 30 Z-wave slaves from Fibaro, Aeon, Qubino, and even some nonames, controlled ba Aeon Z-Wave USB stick Gen.5 - Z-Wave Binding - OH 1.8. / Habmin. All are mains-powered.
And I had tremendeous problems with latency, so that I couldn’t make a rule working, which controls roller-shutter positioning by time - it simply was driving shutters too high or too low. So I investigated the problem and found a reason:
Healing. It’s not working allways, it’s not working correctly. You basically need to run it on every device manually from HABMIN and check that device finished it and sees all neighbours you would expect to it to see. That’s not the case, especially if you add new devices - old are not aware of them. Automatic healing over night is also not reliable - usually in my case it just stops at some device.
But once you do healing correctly - the network just starts working reliably. And you don’t need to do healing every night - just only when you change the network.

PS but offcourse z-way binding would be the cause, or your Razberry. In my case with USB stick it was very easy to diagnose - you plug it in Windows Laptop and run Aeotec utility, which scans over all programmed slaves with different transmit power levels and reports signal strength and round - trip latency for each of them. So you immediately see, which slave has a problem or if you have radio interference. Does Razberry provide that?

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As the truth is always in the middle, see here.
So there’s 3 HW versions to cover different groups of frequencies, but you do can change frequency in SW as long as your changed-to frequency is also in that group.

Yes - this is correct and why I mentioned the band limitation.

I try not to say too much that I’ve not seen in the public domain as I want to avoid releasing information that’s covered under the Sigma NDA :wink: .

Hi,

I am using RazBerry and Z-Wave binding. I have ~30 devices main and battery powered. At first I was using SmartHome app from z-wave.me but I was rather unhappy with possibilities to customize it and response times from the switches.

Then I found OH2 and Z-Way binding - it was interesting as I could have 2nd app on z-wave.me system - but Z-Way was laggy after some time, processor usage was sky high so much that OH2 was becoming unresponsive.

Finally I moved to Z-Wave binding (using 8 Feb build now) and it works very nice. system is responding, devices are responding and I can focus on preparing some personal rules, customization without worrying about stability. I have some questions to the system but there is nothing that blocks me now (except budget for new devices and ideas ;)).

Since creating this topic I have done a lot of experimenting and have been meaning to post my findings for others interested but I struggled to find the time. Anyway here goes…

After buying a Razberry I set it up using it’s own z-way software, I then spotted the OH z-way binding and thought, great, a quick way to integrate my devices. I then struggled for about a year with latency and many other problems and blamed z-wave hop restrictions, thick walls, and many other potential issues that I read online.

I then noticed that other people suffered using the z-way binding and that there was a new version. I updated and it did improve the issue but I decided I wanted to try the z-wave binding anyway.

I wish I tried much earlier, since moving over to the z-wave binding there is absolutely no latency whatsoever and everything has been working like lightning with no issues for over two weeks!

For anyone else wishing to move, be aware that OH cannot backup the node information on your Razberry, the only way is through the z-way software. If you don’t back this information up then if you Razberry fails you will have to re-link all your devices. I still have z-way installed but deactivated it so it does not conflict with OH. When I want to backup, I stop OH, start the z-way service, backup in expert mode, stop z-way and restart OH.

When I swapped bindings all my devices apart from a couple of battery ones were added to the inbox in the Paper UI and were simple to add. I simple added the problem devices again without issue.

So in short if you have trouble as I did then give the z-wave binding a try, it is awesome!

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! :+1:

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