What is Z Wave Wireless?

Z-Wave wireless is a communication protocol that is primarily used with smart home automation devices. Z-Wave technology works by having Z-Wave devices communicate wirelessly with a Z-Wave controller. The controller can be operated locally or remotely to control the Z-Wave devices.

Z waveThe basic concept of a wireless Z-Wave network is that various Z-Wave device communicate with a Z-Wave controller. The user operates this controller tho control the Z-Wave devices. Any Z-Wave device can only be enrolled with one primary Z-Wave controller at any given time. If a user wants to set up a Z-Wave device with a different Z-Wave controller, then it must be cleared from the network before it can be enrolled. The typical Z-Wave controller can support a maximum of 232 Z-Wave devices.

A big part of Z-Wave communication is the mesh network. When a Z-Wave controller sends a command to a Z-Wave device, the signal does not have to travel directly to that particular device. Instead, it can be sent through other Z-Wave devices on its way to its ultimate destination. Each time the signal passes through a new Z-Wave device, it is referred to as a "hop". These hops are useful because they allow Z-Wave devices to achieve a further range and better reliability. A Z-Wave signal can make four hops on its way to the final Z-Wave device. By adding more Z-Wave devices, a user will strengthen the mesh network and help other devices communicate with the panel more reliably. The range of a Z-Wave between hops is about 30 feet. But this range is improved when the devices are used in open air and there are few obstacles present.

Once the network has been established, there are two main ways to operate Z-Wave devices. The first is through local Z-Wave control from the Z-Wave controller. The other is through an interactive service platform that the Z-Wave controller is connected with. Two examples of interactive platforms are the Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com services that are used with alarm systems. These services both offer mobile apps that a user can use to control their Z-Wave devices from virtually anywhere in the world. Z-Wave devices can also be set up with smart scenes so that they can activate based on a predetermined schedule or with certain system events.

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