Z-Wave technology is the new wireless communication protocol for home automation devices. Used in a variety of smart home applications like lighting, security, entertainment and others, it’s one of the upcoming new communication standards in the world of Internet-of-Things (IoT). It’s currently being used by more than 300 plus manufacturers and thousands of devices, making it one of the most popular communication protocol after ZigBee.
Unlike the ZigBee protocol that works at 2.4GHz wireless frequency, Z-Wave operates at in 900 Mhz frequency bands. Due to band constraints in different geographies, Z-Wave is a region specific protocol, which means it has different legally permissible frequencies in different regions.
However, since it operates in the low-frequency region, Z-Wave offers superior performance. The longer wavelength and lower frequency of the Z-Wave allow it to easily penetrate objects and walls, thereby establishing a more reliable and faster communication topology between the connected Z-Wave devices.
The Z-Wave uses a source-routed mesh network which consist of the one primary node – often referred to as the controller or hub in Home Automation, and many other secondary nodes referred to as sensors. In all the Z-Wave networks, the primary controllers are identified by network IDs and the secondary nodes or Z-Wave devices are identified by Node IDs. The primary controller assign Network IDs to all the devices configured within its established network. Thus all the devices within a Z-Wave network have the same Network ID because of which they are interoperable. Devices with different Network IDs cannot communicate with each other.
Because of the mesh network topology that it uses, the primary controller can send messages to the target Z-Wave device located at distant places by routing the signal through the intermediate devices finding out the shortest possible path. This process of signal transfer is commonly referred to as signal hopping. In case, if the devices within the path are busy, it will route signals through other available paths.
The Z-Wave Plus came into existence in 2013 when Sigma Designs and Z-Wave Alliance announced Z-Wave Plus – a new protocol and interoperability certification program. Z-Wave Plus was created by encompassing the early features of Z-Wave comprising 300-400 series SoCs thereby creating new 500 series SoCs.
The Z-Wave Plus is the latest technology certification standard that gives you a higher level of security and interoperability between devices. Z-Wave offers six layers of backhand support and so all the devices operating in Z-Wave Plus and Z-Wave are easily interoperable.
The Z-Wave Plus technology has been upgraded for easy installation and ease-of-use.
The principal members of the Z-Wave Alliance are Nortex Security and Control, LG Uplus, Ingersoll Rand, ADT Corporation, FAKRO and Sigma Designs.
There are various open source options available for Z-Wave vendors to create products of their own. They just need a Z-Wave transceiver and a Z-Wave OEM like an Intermatic USB stick to start.
Across the globes, the current data shows that there are over 300 plus manufacturer of the Z-Wave devices in the market spanned across different applications like Home Entertainment, Smart Security, Smart Lighting solutions, etc. Some of the famous brands that work on Z-Wave are Samsung SmartThings, GE, Yale Security, etc.
The different types of Z-Wave products available in the market include wall switches, alarm systems, lighting solutions, z-wave locks, roller shutter, etc.