What is Z-Wave?

What is  Z-Wave technology? What are its features?

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- everything RF

May 5, 2019

The Z-Wave wireless protocol is a low power, RF based communications technology that operates in the sub-1 GHz band (800-900 MHz). It has been designed specifically for control, monitoring and status reading applications in smart homes. This technology provides two-way communication between devices, allowing them to exchange commands and data with each other.

The Z-Wave protocol supports mesh networking which means that signals can hop from one Z-Wave device to another to reach a central hub which transmits the information further. Each Z-Wave device does not need to be connected to the internet, only the central hub needs to be connected to the internet. The Z-wave signals are smart enough to route themselves around obstacles to attain seamless, robust, whole-home coverage.

The Z-wave signals have a range of about 100 meters or 328 feet in open air and can easily travel through most walls, floors and ceilings, but building materials can reduce the range. A Z-Wave network can support up to 232 nodes on a single mesh network and it is recommended to put a device at every 30 feet, or closer to attain maximum efficiency. Z-Wave supports data rates of up to 100 kbps, with AES128 symmetric encryption, IPV6, and multi-channel operation.

The Z-Wave protocol was developed by Zensys, a Danish company based in Copenhagen, in 1999. The technology was then acquired by Sigma Designs in December 2008. In 2018, Silicon Labs bought the Z-Wave technology for $240 million. The technology is now owned by Silicon Labs.

Z-Wave Technology Features:

  • Extremely simple setup
  • Plug & Play
  • Supports Wireless Mesh Network Topology
  • Every non-battery node is a repeater
  • Ultra-low power
  • Low communication latency
  • Interoperable