Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol designed for home automation, specifically for remote control applications in residential and light commercial environments. The technology uses a low-power RF radio embedded or retrofitted into electronic devices and systems, such as lighting, access controls, entertainment systems and household appliances.
The Z-Wave Alliance
Established in 2005, the Z-Wave® Alliance is comprised of industry leaders throughout the globe that are dedicated to the development and extension of Z-Wave as the key enabling technology for ‘smart’ home and business applications.
Representing a broad range of industries, channels and consumer touch points, the Z-Wave Alliance members all share a common goal – to bring advanced, yet practical wireless products and services to market that work together seamlessly, regardless of brand or vendor. This interoperability between products and brand is unique to Z- Wave, which each Alliance member has adopted as its wireless technology of choice. To assure this interoperability, each Z-Wave product must pass a stringent conformance test to assure that it meets the Z-Wave standard for complete compliance with all other devices and controls. The Z-Wave identity mark assures consumers, integrators, dealers and manufacturers that their products will reliably perform with any other Z-Wave device.
A Mesh Network
Z-Wave uses a source-routed mesh network topology and has one primary controller and zero or more secondary controllers that control routing and security. Devices can communicate to one another by using intermediate nodes to actively route around and circumvent household obstacles or radio dead spots that might occur. A message from node A to node C can be successfully delivered even if the two nodes are not within range, providing that a third node B can communicate with nodes A and C. If the preferred route is unavailable, the message originator will attempt other routes until a path is found to the ‘C’ node. Therefore, a Z-Wave network can span much farther than the radio range of a single unit: however, with several of these hops a slight delay may be introduced between the control command and desired result. In order for Z-Wave unites to be able to route unsolicited messages, they cannot be in sleep mode. Therefore, battery-operated devices (like door locks) are not designed as repeater units.
Each Z-Wave network may include up to 232 nodes and consists of two sets of nodes: controllers and slave devices. Nodes may be configured to retransmit the message in order to guarantee connectivity in multipath environment of residential house. Average communication distance between two nodes is 70 feet, and with message ability to hop up to four times between nodes.
Applications in Home Automation
Honeywell Lynx Touch and Tuxedo Touch are Z-Wave controllers. Each device in a particular network has a unique address assigned to it and cannot be activated by a neighbour’s Z-Wave controller. Management of Z-Wave devices (also known as nodes) include two main operations, inclusion/exclusion (adding and deleting devices) and association (controlling wither manually or through the creation of scenes, rules and schedules).
Using the Z-Wave technology as a large selection of compatible devices can integrate with our controllers (lights, stats, locks and shades). Z-Wave provides a set standard for easy development and integration of other Z-Wave products.
Learn more about Home Automation.