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Z-Wave: The Basics.

What is Z-Wave?

Z-Wave is the leading smart home technology found in millions of products around the world. It is a wireless technology that will not interfere with your Wi-Fi signal and operates on low power. When Z-Wave technology is utilized inside everyday products such as locks and lights, these products become “smart” – giving them the ability to talk to each other and enabling you to control the devices and thus your home, from anywhere.

What Makes Z-Wave different from the other Smart Home Platforms on the market?

  • Z-Wave is EASY to install and does not require any rewiring.
  • Z-Wave is AFFORDABLE. You can get started with a minimal investment and easily add more smart products.
  • Z-Wave is RELIABLE. With over 10 years on the market, Z-Wave has proven to be the top smart home solution on the market.
  • Z-Wave is SECURE. Z-Wave technology uses strong encryption and security features, making it the safe choice for your smart home.
  • Z-Wave is TRUSTED. The biggest brand names on the market use Z-Wave in their smart home products. Examples include:
    • Eaton
    • Fibaro
    • GE
    • Jasco
    • Kwikset
    • Logitech
    • Nexia
    • Piper
    • Schlage
    • RCS
    • Samsung
    • Trane
    • Vera
    • Wink
    • Yale
  • Z-Wave is EXPERIENCED. There are already 50 million Z-Wave products in smart homes worldwide.
  • Z-Wave is THE SMART HOME LEADER. 9 out of 10 leading home security companies use Z-Wave.
  • Z-Wave PROVIDES CHOICES. With over 1700 smart home automation products on the market, Z-Wave products provide many choices to suit your needs – styles, price points, colors, functionality, etc.

What are the benefits to using Z-Wave?

To start, Z-Wave provides peace of mind so you know your home is secure, no matter where you are. A Z-Wave smart home can save you money with energy savings – no more lights being left on or AC running on high when you’re not home. Z-Wave is synonymous with convenience. With the touch of one button you can shut down your house when you leave – lock the doors, turn off lights and close garage door. Z-Wave means security – knowing you’ll receive an alert if there is any trouble at home – water leak, fire alarm, potential break-in, or more.

How does Z-Wave work?

Z-Wave is a wireless radio frequency technology that lets smart devices talk to and connect with one another. Household products, like lights, door locks and thermostats are made “smart” when Z-Wave connectivity is added inside the product’s design, giving them the capability to communicate and perform the desired functions that you want.

Z-Wave operates wirelessly and securely. The devices can be easily accessed and controlled remotely on your smartphone, tablet or computer so you can control your smart home from anywhere in the world! The Z-Wave hub receives a command from you via your smartphone, tablet, or computer and routes the command to the destination device.

For example, you want to close your garage door. You select that option on the app via your smartphone. No matter where you are in the world and as long as you have internet access, the hub will receive that command and send the command from device to device until it reaches the garage door controller. The smart garage door controller will then close. Once it has closed, it will send a notification back through the devices, to the smart hub, providing you with a notification on your smartphone that the garage door was in fact closed. Z-Wave devices have 2-way communication built in. All of this happens wirelessly without any interruption in your home and no interruption from your Wi-Fi network.

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How
Z-Wave works.

Wireless connectivity for all your Smart Home products. No Wi-Fi interference.

How Z-Wave Works.

Z-Wave is based on a mesh network topology. This means each (non-battery) device installed in the network becomes a signal repeater. As a result, the more devices you have in your home, the stronger the network becomes. While Z-Wave signals easily travel through most walls, floors and ceilings, the devices can also intelligently route themselves around obstacles to attain seamless, robust, whole-home coverage.

Z-Wave’s devices can communicate point-to-point for up to 120 feet on their own, but with their ability to hop signals, effective ranges of up to 600 feet are easily achieved, and Z-Wave networks can be linked together for even larger deployments. Each Z-Wave network can support up to 232 Z-Wave devices allowing you the flexibility to add as many devices as you’d like to make sure your Smart Home is working it’s hardest.

In a nutshell.

  • Extremely simple setup
  • Plug & Play
  • Wireless Mesh Network
  • Every non-battery node is a repeater
  • Extremely robust
  • Ultra-low power
  • Ideal for battery powered sensors
  • Sub – 1GHz Frequency
  • Multi speed: 40…100 kbps
  • Low communication latency
  • Interoperable
  • Largest Home Control Community

How do I know which Smart Home devices work together?

The easiest way is to look for products with the Z-Wave logo. Z-Wave products are built to be interoperable and there are currently over 1500 certified Z-Wave products in the market, so Z-Wave gives you more choices of products, brands and solutions for your home.

How do I get started with Z-Wave?

What does being Z-Wave Certified mean?

In order for a product to carry the Z-Wave logo, the product must pass rigorous certification requirements. During the certification process, the Z-Wave team makes sure that the devices are able to communicate properly with Z-Wave networks so when you take it out of the box, you can be confident everything works together. There are mandatory requirements for each smart home device type to ensure the devices and controller work together and Z-Wave has strong security features that protect you.

How many Z-Wave devices can I control?

Z-Wave is a highly scalable technology – it can control anywhere from one device all the way up to 232 devices in just one smart home network. With Z-Wave you can build your smart home one device at a time – adding more smart home products when it suits you.

What is the difference between Z-Wave™ and Z-Wave Plus™?

One of the many benefits of Z-Wave is that regardless of what version, Z-Wave devices are able to communicate with one another. Z-Wave Plus is the latest certification standard offered and gives you a high level of security and compatibility between products. Z-Wave Plus has been optimized for easy set-up and installation. Z-Wave classic is also fully interoperable but may require physically placing the smart hub near the product being added to the network.

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How many Z-Wave devices can I control?

Z-Wave is a highly scalable technology – it can control anywhere from one device all the way up to 232 devices in just one smart home network. With Z-Wave you can build your smart home one device at a time – adding more smart home products when it suits you.

What is Z-Wave's range?

Without any obstacles such as walls and furniture, the range between two Z-Wave products is about 100 meters or 328 feet. When obstacles in your home reduce that range, Z-Wave’s mesh networking allows a Z-Wave signal to “hop” through other Z-Wave products to reach the destination device to be controlled. If there is a wall interfering with this signal, all you need is a simple Z-Wave repeater to work around the wall so the signal can continue on to its final destination. Z-Wave supports up to 4 hops so the total home coverage will grow depending on the amount of Z-Wave products in the network. The maximum range with 4 hops is roughly 600 feet or 200 meters.

Can I add smart home tech to my existing house without having to tear down walls and add new wiring?

Yes, technologies like Z-Wave work wirelessly, so while you may need to tap into the existing wiring in your home to replace your existing lights and thermostat with smart equivalents, you won't need to add any additional wiring.

How is Z-Wave powered?

Z-Wave is a very efficient, low-energy technology. While your smart home hub will need to be plugged in to keep the network up and running, many Z-Wave deices work on battery power alone, often for a year or more before needing new batteries. Other devices can plug into the wall, and there are even Z-Wave controllable AC outlets, which let you make your entire home's electrical system "smart" and energy-efficient by controlling and optionally monitoring energy usage.

How much does it cost to get started with a Z-Wave smart home?

With a range of affordable options, Z-Wave can help you create a smart home on any budget.

The cost really depends on how many products you choose to start with and whether you install them on your own. Many people start small with a few products and then add more as they become more familiar with their smart home and want more functionality. For example, starting with a smart hub and a few smart devices like a smart lock and smart lighting solutions can cost a few hundred dollars. Browse products It’s easy to add Z-Wave devices to your network at your own pace either by extending into other rooms or by adding new solutions-based functionality.

Read More: How Much Should I Spend on my Smart Home

Z-Wave: Products.

What Z-Wave smart home products are available?

Z-Wave has the largest selection of smart products available across widely recognized brands, allowing you to create your ideal smart home. There are smart door locks, smart indoor/outdoor lights, smart thermostats, a multitude of smart sensors, smart outlets, smart window coverings, smart garage door controllers, and more! All of these devices communicate with each other and with your smart hub to make sure your smart home is operating the way you wish. With a smart home, the only limit is your imagination. There are products to shut off your water in case of a water leak, turn on lights to make it look like you’re home, alert you if smoke is detected, or talk with your dog while you’re away. There are limitless ways to use a smart home.

How do I know which products are right for me?

One of the great things about Z-Wave is the number of available products from a diverse set of well-known and trusted brands. So how do you know which ones are right for you? First, you want to think about the problems you’re trying to solve. Would you like to be able to come home to a warm, well-lit home without leaving the lights on and heat turned up all day? You’ll need a thermostat, a hub and some connected lights, to begin. Then look at the different smart devices aesthetics – will they match your home, do you like the design, things like that. Finally, look at the capability and functionality of each product to ensure they can do what you need them. When evaluating the functionality, research the manufacturers website or

Ask our knowledgeable team of smart home experts

When shopping on Z-Wave.com you can actually shop by device type. Below, a few of the more popular devices are defined.

Smart Hubs

A hub is really the brain of your home – controlling and sending commands to the other connected devices in your home. Think of your Wi-Fi router – it sends Wi-Fi signals to your laptop, cable box, Amazon Echo and other devices to keep you online. The hub sends commands via Z-Wave to other devices in a similar way. The hub also is the main device that communicates with your smartphone and your router to allow you to access your home when you’re away. Some hubs have multiple smart home radios in them (Z-Wave, Bluetooth, etc) so that they can perform different functions and support different products.

Shop Smart Hubs

Smart Lighting

Smart lighting can be any lighting product – bulbs, switches, dimmers, plugs – that have Z-Wave inside. This allows you to do things like remotely control your lights, turn them on, turn them off, dim them, or brighten them from your couch while using your smartphone or when outside of the home. You can also create schedules for your smart lights to turn on at certain times, or even to turn on when your smart door lock is unlocked as you arrive home. Smart lights allow you to truly control your smart home’s energy usage. No more worrying about if you left the lights on! You can also easily set the lighting you want for a movie night without leaving your couch. Design your smart lighting system how you want it.

Shop Smart Lighting

Smart Locks

These are locks that have Z-Wave technology built in and can communicate with your hub and be controlled from inside or outside the home. Smart locks allow you to know when someone has arrived home and remotely lock and unlock the door for the dog walker, the babysitter, or even the repair person. Some locks allow you to give specific codes, and when that code is entered into the lock, you receive a notification on your smartphone to let you know that person has arrived. If a relative arrives early while you’re still at work, you can easily unlock the door to let them in. No keys needed, which also means no more worrying about losing keys. Simply replace your current deadbolt or lever lock to a smart lock to make your smart home easily accessible.

Shop Smart Locks

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats have Z-Wave inside and allow you to control the temperature and climate in your home from anywhere. They are not additional hardware, instead they simply replace your existing thermostat. Once installed, a smart thermostat can be set to a schedule that fits your family's needs. For example, they can be turned on to warm or cool your house before you arrive home or be programmed to set the temperature to a specific degree when the garage door opens, etc. A smart thermostat also alleviates the worry of wasting energy by accidentally leaving the AC on all day while at work or on vacation.

Shop Smart Thermostats

Smart Plugs/Outlets

These can take the form of a physical plug you connect to your existing outlet, an entirely new outlet, both with Z-Wave inside. These devices help you control energy usage, lights, and small appliances. You can turn on a coffee maker via a smart plug or outlet, turn on/off lights, etc. These are very versatile devices for all smart homes and great entry points for a new smart home consumer.

Shop Smart Plugs/Outlets

What is the difference between a “hub,” “gateway” and “controller”?

All of the terms above refer to the piece of hardware that becomes the brain of your smart home. This product type can come in many forms. Think of a hub like your Wi-Fi router. Your router provides Wi-Fi within your home. A Z-Wave smart hub/gateway/controller provides the Z-Wave functionality within your smart home and controls the commands you want it execute. A smart hub comes in many forms – it could be as simple as an alarm panel used for your home security, a stand-alone hub device, a thermostat, or more. The most common form is a stand-alone hub which can be found here.

Smart Hubs: Where to Start

Z-Wave: Technical Details.

Will Z-Wave interfere with my Wi-Fi?

No, Z-Wave operates on a different wireless frequency than Wi-Fi. Even though your smart hub will plug into your Wi-Fi router, the hub communicates with other smart devices on a different frequency making interference nonexistent.

Will Z-Wave work in a large house?

Yes, the size of the house does not matter because Z-Wave runs on a type of network called a "mesh network.” One ZZ-Wave product will pass the signal along to another product until the final destination product is reached. Every device in your smart home acts as a signal repeater; actually, the more devices you have, the more powerful and strong your smart home network is. For example, if you are trying to lock your smart lock and you send a signal through your smart home app, the app will send the message to your hub. The hub will then send the message from device to device until it reaches the door lock. The door lock will receive that message that it needs to lock and do so. Once the door lock has successfully locked, it will also then send this message back to the hub via the devices on your network, and then to the app letting you know that your house is now secure.

Can I use Z-Wave products in my apartment?

Absolutely! You can have a Z-Wave network in your apartment. Nearly all Z-Wave smart home products are mobile and do not requiring hard wiring, so they are easy to take with you when you move without any invasive installations.

What does the term “remote access” mean?

Remote access means that you can control your smart home no matter how far away you are. That’s one of the many benefits of a smart home – accessing and controlling your home from anywhere! You can control your home from work, at the store, on your vacation. No matter where you are in the world, your smart home is at your fingertips.

Do I need to get a new router?

A new router is not required in order to have a smart home network. With some routers, you may not even need to purchase a smart hub, as your router may already have that capability. Check the router manufacturer’s website to see if your router is Z-Wave ready.

I heard a Z-Wave smart home works with one app, what does that mean?

Z-Wave is easy to use, and having everything in one app helps you control your smart home. There are so many devices to control today that in some cases, people have one app for their smart thermostat, one for their smart lights, and one for their smart doorbell. With a Z-Wave smart home, you can control all Z-Wave products with from just one app.

Which Smart Home Systems Use Products with Z-Wave Inside?

Some of the most well-known smart home systems use Z-Wave products. This includes: ADT Pulse, AT&T Digital Life, Lowe’s Iris, Vivint, Alarm.com, SmartThings, Nexia and more. With over 375 manufacturers, including some of the biggest names in consumer electronics and the smart home, there are more than 1700 Z-Wave smart products to choose from. To find out how to add more products to your existing system or to start your smart home please ask our team via the online chat and they will be happy to help you.

Is Z-Wave secure?

Yes, a Z-Wave smart home network has a unique ID that it assigns to every device in the network, and that ID is different for every hub so your neighbor’s smart hub cannot control your devices. When an extra level of security is needed, such as for door locks and other high security devices, Z-Wave has another level of security which uses AES128 encryption at the same level that major banks use to protect your financial information. Z-Wave AES encryption is supported by most Z-Wave hubs today and is required on all hubs with the Z-Wave Plus mark on them.

Developers and Manufacturers.

How can I become a Z-Wave distributor?

Z-Wave products are sold by hundreds of manufacturers around the world, and each manufacturer sets up their product distribution. The Z-Wave Alliance is a consortium of Z-Wave manufacturers and the best way to become involved is to join the Z-Wave Alliance and start making connections with manufacturers today.

How can I develop Z-Wave products?

Sigma Designs provides Development Kits to companies and individuals interested in building Z-Wave smart home products. To become a Z-Wave developer please visit http://z-wave.sigmadesigns.com

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