Many home automation gadgets today operate using widely used wireless communication protocols like WiFi, ZigBee (HA 1.2), or Z-Wave.
Wi-Fi vs. ZigBee and Z-Wave
You undoubtedly had to learn what Zigbee and Z-Wave meant if you decided to invest in a smart home. They’re communication protocols, and they govern how your gadgets communicate with one another. While some items rely on Z-Wave, others use Zigbee. WiFi was previously thought to be too unreliable to support your smart home appliances, but things are changing, and technology is quickly catching up! Let’s compare Zigbee and Z-Wave to WiFi to determine which technology is more advantageous.
Significance of WiFi to a Smart Home
Nowadays, almost everyone has a WiFi router, but up until recently, it was thought that the connection was too inconsistent to support your smart home devices consistently. The situation is altering, though, as Google and Alexa, which both rely on WiFi to function, take over as the standard smart home hubs. Before, having too many devices would result in a traffic jam, but as routers get more reliable and your home WiFi network becomes more robust, things are changing. Consider how much WiFi is already used by you for streaming, the internet, and other things. Soon, devices like your doorbell, power outlets, light switches, and more might all operate via your WiFi, and manufacturers undoubtedly anticipate this. It’s evolving and becoming the new standard.
Z-Wave vs Zigbee
Low-cost wireless networks like Z-Wave and Zigbee, which resemble WiFi in some aspects, are made to host the equipment required to operate your wireless smart home. Like Bluetooth, however, both are regarded as being more stable, using less data, and having a wider range. Your gadgets may communicate with one another thanks to Z-wireless Wave’s mesh network. It is a proprietary standard that Silicon Labs owns. Zigbee, which functions similarly and has open code, is not owned by anyone.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Z-Wave and Zigbee both have advantages and disadvantages. While not all Zigbee products are compatible with one another, being an open-source technology, Zigbee has one of the largest advantages over competing technologies. Given that the protocol is open-source, Philips Hue was able to alter it, making their hub necessary for its hub to function. Like how Zigbee is only compatible with Zigbee devices, Z-Wave is a closed protocol that only works with other Z-Wave products. However, Z-main Wave’s advantage is that it has a wider range than Zigbee. Products using Zigbee must be located within 60 feet of one another. Z-Wave can reach up to 500 feet!
Z-Wave Experiences Less Congestion
As a result, Z-network Wave has substantially less congestion because it uses a lower radio frequency (908.42 MHz). Zigbee has much higher congestion because its frequency, which is 2.4 GHz, is closer to WiFi.
WiFi devices is usually less expensive
The fact that the products are substantially less expensive and simpler to find gives WiFi another advantage over Z-Wave and Zigbee. Although this isn’t always the case, keep in mind that WiFi smart home solutions have only recently become more affordable compared to Z-Wave and Zigbee products, which have been around for much longer. The costs of WiFi smart home gadgets are starting to come down and are probably going to continue to do so over time.
All hubs are not compatible with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices.
To make sure your smart home items function, it is always a hassle to check that your Z-Wave or ZigBee hub is up to date with the most recent drivers. Even then, they don’t always get along with one another. You won’t have to be concerned about it if you use WiFi smart home equipment. Forget about updating drivers or being concerned about compatibility issues; WiFi products rely on the APIs offered by companies like Google and Alexa to handle all the compatibility work.
Single Points of Failure for Zigbee and Z-Wave
One of the main issues for Z-Wave and Zigbee maybe this. They both rely on a single company’s clouds, therefore if the business fails and the clouds stop functioning, your products will also cease to exist. All the Insignia branded products’ smart home features were lost when Best Buy made the decision to exit the smart home market. There is no risk of this happening when using WiFi.
Reduced Entry Barrier for WiFi Devices
Because they leverage your current wireless network, Z-Wave and Zigbee are significantly more expensive than WiFi. A smart hub can be challenging to learn at first. While not as powerful, WiFi hubs like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are designed to be as user-friendly as possible.
When the electricity fails, what happens to a WiFi Power Smart Home?
Although a WiFi Smart Home may sound fantastic, many people wonder what would happen if there were a power outage. Many people believe your smart products won’t work if the power goes out. This isn’t always the case. Batteries are often provided with WiFi equipment. They should continue to function if the batteries last if the power goes out. A few things are exceptions. Smart speakers and smart displays won’t function. Neither will anything be powered by a smart outlet or smart lighting. Smart locks, garage doors, and thermostats all have backup batteries, though.
This means that you won’t be left out in the cold even if the electricity goes out. Most smart security cameras will even function! As opposed to WiFi, dedicated hubs like Z-Wave and Zigbee don’t rely on the cloud, which is unquestionably an advantage. So everything should continue to function even if there is a power outage.
Which of WiFi, Z-Wave, and Zigbee Should I Pick?
It ultimately comes down to what you want. You can’t go wrong with WiFi for a smart home that is easily accessible and economical, where services like Google and Alexa take care of all the heavy lifting. But the more expensive solutions provided by Z-Wave and Zigbee might be more to your liking if you want a specialized local network that you can customize.