• You've been granted Beta access to this site, allowing you to explore some of the new features while they're still under construction. More information can be found in the Beta forum.

Should I Reconsider Z-Wave?

macromark

Active Member
jon102034050 said:
It's not uncommon for there to be a 3 second delay on a motion sensor light walking into a room  
The single most common issue related to this has to do with the sensitivity of the motion sensor itself. NOT with Z-Wave! If you check the HS3 log (I'm assuming you're using HomeSeer?), you'll see that things happen instantaneously when the commands are received. But.. nothing will happen until the motion sensor transmits that first Z-Wave command. The easiest test for this is to simply create a direct association between the motion sensor and the wall switch you want to control. Then walk into the room. I'd be willing to bet you'll still be having the same delays. We've seen this dozens of times.
 
Unless...
 
...You're using a cloud-managed hub. Then, delays will have more to do with network latency and queued processing on the web server.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
jon102034050 said:
A lot of this answer depends on what your budget is really.  In my case, I went with a Homeseer switches for my entire house, ended up with ~75 of them installed.  It's been OK, but it feels like I'm constantly trying to track down a device with an issue that will crap on my entire network.  It's not uncommon for there to be a 3 second delay on a motion sensor light walking into a room - for me, it's probably 50/50 on if that light will turn on instantly or if it will respond in 3-5 seconds, which is aggravating.  This is why I'm switching to RadioRA2.  It was a technology I considered originally when I built, but couldnt stomach the cost of it.  Now, I've learned my lesson: buy nice or buy twice. 
Bottom line is if you have a small network, I think zwave is terrific.  I'd say once I got above 60 devices, things started to go south.  
Does ZWave have packet collision detection or higher level protocol success detection? Computers these days are 100 times faster than the old 33MHz machines years back and they didn't introduce delays. It is usually the protocols that delay things with larger systems and mesh networks waiting for everybody to report in multiple times.. This is providing your MSes are properly placed to detect cross motion.
 

vc1234

Active Member
macromark said:
Also, in February of 2016, the patent on instant status reporting expired. A month later, we release our 100 series Z-Wave lighting products with instant status and multi-tap features.
That’s a rather misleading statement. Yes, the patent expired, and no, the 100 series dimmer does not implement instant status notification your marketing literature claims notwithstanding.

What the 100 series implement is the Central Scene command class that notifies the controller about the fact that the button was pushed or multiply tapped. It does not provide a Basic report stating that the dimmer level is say 85%, or even that the light is on, but just a notice that a button was operated in a certain way.

Both radiora2 dimmers and ancient pre-patent squabble cooper and some leviton switches do provide true basic report with the dimmer level or a switch on off status.
 

vc1234

Active Member
LarrylLix said:
Does ZWave have packet collision detection or higher level protocol success detection? Computers these days are 100 times faster than the old 33MHz machines years back and they didn't introduce delays. It is usually the protocols that delay things with larger systems and mesh networks waiting for everybody to report in multiple times.. This is providing your MSes are properly placed to detect cross motion.
Zwave Phy layer is pretty solid with collision detection and retransmissions. Each packet has to be accompanied by an acknowledgment. Upper network layers are rather badly designed, e.g routing. For example, only the controller can choose an alternative route, not the destination device.

I witnessed a thermostat retrying the same faulty route three times and just giving up after the three attempts. The controller on the other hand, after not getting an ack, tries a different route which is also used by the device in its subsequent communication activity.

Zwave plus biggest advantage is RF power boost, abou 3x configurable. I did not see any improvement in the routing algorithm in comparison to the previous series. The encryption introduced for non secure devices increases latency substantially because a secure handshake requires as I recall about 6 packet exchange as compared to just two — the command packet and an ack.
 

macromark

Active Member
vc1234 said:
That’s a rather misleading statement. Yes, the patent expired, and no, the 100 series dimmer does not implement instant status notification your marketing literature claims notwithstanding.

What the 100 series implement is the Central Scene command class that notifies the controller about the fact that the button was pushed or multiply tapped. It does not provide a Basic report stating that the dimmer level is say 85%, or even that the light is on, but just a notice that a button was operated in a certain way.
Not true. Early 100 series products accomplished instant status through the use of the central scene class. However, a lot of competing systems did not support central scene (and many still don't!) so an early firmware change also added "Switch Multi-level" reports (for the dimmer) and "Switch Binary" reports for the switch. So the issue you're referring to was addressed near the end of 2016. If you dive to the bottom of our downloads page, you can see the firmware history for these products: https://homeseer.com/current-downloads/ Anyone with an early version of the switch or dimmer can update the firmware.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Any plans to make a keypad similar to what Insteon has? You could use a multi-color LED behind each button. It would make it a lot easier for me to migrate if there was a similar product to replace the existing Insteon keypad devices.
 

macromark

Active Member
upstatemike said:
Any plans to make a keypad similar to what Insteon has? You could use a multi-color LED behind each button. It would make it a lot easier for me to migrate if there was a similar product to replace the existing Insteon keypad devices.
Not at the moment. You could just keep those, as is, and use them to control Z-wave lighting scenes (with HomeSeer).
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
vc1234 said:
Zwave Phy layer is pretty solid with collision detection and retransmissions. Each packet has to be accompanied by an acknowledgment. Upper network layers are rather badly designed, e.g routing. For example, only the controller can choose an alternative route, not the destination device.

I witnessed a thermostat retrying the same faulty route three times and just giving up after the three attempts. The controller on the other hand, after not getting an ack, tries a different route which is also used by the device in its subsequent communication activity.

Zwave plus biggest advantage is RF power boost, abou 3x configurable. I did not see any improvement in the routing algorithm in comparison to the previous series. The encryption introduced for non secure devices increases latency substantially because a secure handshake requires as I recall about 6 packet exchange as compared to just two — the command packet and an ack.
So you are stating that Zwave devices have a record of the route used to get to them and can ACK back the same route in reverse? I would hope this is some automatically learned routing.
My original point ws about the time delay. This happens in Insteon protocol where any transmission can be repeated in three hops. This means that each packet may be followed by three more repeats from random devices (simultaneously), so the the original bits x bitTime doesn't work so well as everything is actually three times that long in time.
Now add retries when a packet fails to get an ACK. Now you have nine times the packet length to get a simple message out twice and an ACK back. Controller s have to be smart enough to wait until all the ruckus it done before they can take their turn.
 
One bad device can really hang your otherwise fast protocol with these mesh repeating systems.
 

jon102034050

Active Member
macromark said:
The single most common issue related to this has to do with the sensitivity of the motion sensor itself. NOT with Z-Wave! If you check the HS3 log (I'm assuming you're using HomeSeer?), you'll see that things happen instantaneously when the commands are received. But.. nothing will happen until the motion sensor transmits that first Z-Wave command. The easiest test for this is to simply create a direct association between the motion sensor and the wall switch you want to control. Then walk into the room. I'd be willing to bet you'll still be having the same delays. We've seen this dozens of times.
 
Unless...
 
...You're using a cloud-managed hub. Then, delays will have more to do with network latency and queued processing on the web server.
 
I am using HS3, yes.  I'm not 100% sure where the random delays are at, but I use the UltraM1 plugin for a bunch of motions as well as aeotec multisensor 6's for motion events.  From what I can tell, all sensors report instantly when motion happens and the lights just take a bit.  Again, this isn't always, just sometimes.  Basically, enough to be not reliable and what to implement for guests to come over.  Haven't tried direct association, but it's probably a moot point at the moment because I've already started ripping it all out for RadioRa2 anyhow.  Just need to limp along a bit until I get something else in place.
 
LarrylLix said:
Does ZWave have packet collision detection or higher level protocol success detection? Computers these days are 100 times faster than the old 33MHz machines years back and they didn't introduce delays. It is usually the protocols that delay things with larger systems and mesh networks waiting for everybody to report in multiple times.. This is providing your MSes are properly placed to detect cross motion.
 
The motions are indeed detecting motion as I can tell the light it lighting up on them and the status is updating instantly in HS3.  I cannot speak towards your question on zwave packet collision detection, but I may be able to reach out to some coworkers for better insight on it.  I'll reply back if I hear anything of use
 

vc1234

Active Member
jon102034050 said:
 
I've already started ripping it all out for RadioRa2 anyhow. 
 
Radiora2 is good for lighting — I am using it myself, but it operates in clear text and does not support secure devices such as locks, therefore.
 

jon102034050

Active Member
vc1234 said:
Radiora2 is good for lighting — I am using it myself, but it operates in clear text and does not support secure devices such as locks, therefore.
 
Oh don't get me wrong, I highly doubt I'll be able to replace all of my zwave devices.  They're just so cheap compared to other devices, it's hard to do so.  But, I think I'll get my network to a manageable size of a few deadbolts and multisensors and such so that network heals don't take hours and a bad device doesn't take me forever to find.  Plus, being a tinkerer at heart, I'll always have my sights set on new technology anyhow, whether my wife likes it or not, lol.
 

pete_c

Guru
Here over the years and always tinkering with automation never have put all my automation eggs in to one basket.  That is me.
 
So here started with X10 in the late 1970s then in the 2000's added Insteon, UPB, ZWave and Zigbee to my automation basket.
 
I am today a la carting what I like for whatever and Homeseer / OmniPro 2 panel talks X10, UPB, ZWave and Zigbee.
 
I tinker with the cloud automation hubs but have no dependencies on them even with two ISP connections to the home.
 
Relating to the cellular telephone I started to play with remote connectivity using GPRS way back.  Later on with faster telephones et al working so well I shut them off such that today I am not tethered to my phone nor do I have any dependencies on my cellular phones (I typically shut them off at home and a la carte my multiple sim cards to multiple OS phones). 
 
My inwall switches today are UPB and it works 100% of the time such that it is of no concern here to update at this time.
 
Relating to automation here it is a hobby and I am a tinkerer. 
 
I have had text to speech here since the 1980's with a customized alarm panel that spoke and used X10 for my lighting.
 
WAF is related to being aware of automation but that's about it here and really nothing is every done and never has been done to increase the WAF.  That is me.
 
Relating to the OP:
 
Should I Reconsider Z-Wave?
 
Your largest investment will be in the light switches and really it's your money to invest. 
 
The only changes that I see with lighting is the redo of lighting to LED and that the newest switches (whatever they are) work well with LED lighting.  I do see that many folks assume that LED lighting works exactly the same as incandescent lighting.  It does not. 
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Thanks for the heads up on LED but I went 100% LED a few years ago because the energy cost savings over CFL was good enough to be worth it even at early adopter prices for the bulbs. My main concerns are:
 
Reliability- Both X-10 and Insteon (and also HUE I am just discovering) are prone to letting lights turn on by themselves due to noise or ghosts or whatever. They also tend to get out of sync with the state table in the controller which leads to logic issues.
 
Scalability - Both X-10 and Insteon (despite what they claim about more repeating devices improving the signal) tend to struggle when there is a lot of traffic... and in the case of Insteon, a lot of links in the PLM.
 
Accurate Local Activation Reporting - I depend a lot on real time alerts when something happens like somebody turning on a light in an area they should not be in or a light turning off at the entrance to an area while other lights in the area have been left on. I use actions or alerts based on local control more than I use remote control of my switches. In many areas I have installed wall warts and relays to provide a status into my Stargate/Elk inputs but this is not possible for all lighting situations.
 
Retrofit Compatibility - Tiny metal boxes installed in the early 1900s present some challenges as do plaster and lathe walls, lots of  stone and brick, etc. Something that assumes roomy plastic boxes or conventional wiring is not going to work. I need the load switches to be able to act in virtual multi-way situations without conventional travelers or an assumption that there is a single "master" switch that all the loads connect to. (The lack of scene trigger from load switches is probably the biggest deal breaker for Caseta). When I first looked at UPB the physical depth of the switches was an issue but I think this may have improved with newer models?
 
Good remotes - I need bedside remotes to be easy to operate by touch without fumbling to find the right button. A prominent "all-on/off" is important for bedside.
 

pete_c

Guru
When I first looked at UPB the physical depth of the switches was an issue but I think this may have improved with newer models?
 
No it's the same.  Before UPB I was using Insteon switches.  I cut them down to size to fit two in a 4X4 metal box.
 
For a time considered using plastic mud plates over metal electrical switch boxes (depth was always OK for me).
 
I started to write about a newbie automator living in a over 100 year old large home in Washington DC. 
 
He is off today with nothing to do as the entire city of DC is shut down due to the snow.  ;)
 
He will not ever pay for an over $50 light switch such that the automated light conversation ended there.
 
IE: this is very similar to my wife always asking why I needed to automate a $5 analog switch. 
 
 
What I am seeing with your OP is that you are currently automating lighting with Insteon (and ISY99?), Elk, Homeseer and you want to update from Insteon to something else but not really totally sure.
 
I understand switching from one technology for your light switch to another is a major move and can be expensive.
 
Guessing you have narrowed your choices to Z-Wave but still not sure. 
 
Like X10 personally thinking that ZWave will still be around in 10 years.
 
Here relating to light switches started with X10 then switched over to Insteon, then started with UPB but only for the second floor of the two story home.  On a lark (well electrical debacle) removed the rest of the Insteon and replaced it with UPB.
 
You can do a section of your home with Z-Wave and see how you like it and not spend a fortune testing it.  Put a ZNet or ZWave controller near by while you test...
 
Top