Today, we have so many technologies competing to be the new standard for wireless networking of IoT devices. A low-budget protocol, user-friendly, power-saving, and provides better ease of operability/ accessibility is all that is desired. Z-wave is a wireless networking protocol developed for home automation with high energy efficiency and interference-free transmission.
In 1999, the Z-wave protocol was developed by a Danish company based in Copenhagen named Zensys. They first introduced it as a light control automation system which was later unfolded into Z-wave. They officially released their first chipset 100 series in 2003. After that, they released the 200 series chipset in 2005, which gained attraction due to its high performance and low price.
In 2005 z-wave alliance was constituted by five industry-leading companies to make it available to general customers. In 2006 intel joined the z-wave coalition to strengthen the position of z-wave. The 500 series chipset came to the market as Z Wave plus in 2013, providing increased battery life, more extended range, and four times the memory compared to previous iterations.
In 2018 Silicon labs bought the z-wave from sigma designs. Silicon Labs introduced the z-wave plus 700 series in 2019 that offered better battery life, 150% longer range, along with an easier and faster product development process than the 500 series. And amazingly, it is entirely backward compatible with all the other z-wave iterations.
Z-wave uses a source-routed mesh network. In this network, devices transverse signals wirelessly to the neighboring node. Every node can connect with its vicinal nodes, which will eventually create the network. Each signal shared with an adjacent device is called a Hop, and Z-wave can accommodate up to four hops in its network. This means the command from the sender can travel up to up-to-the fourth node in a Z-wave mesh network.
Moreover, a device needs to be paired up with the controller in the network. Then the device will be recognized permanently through it because each node is given a specified node ID in this network. Z-wave network can accommodate up to 232 nodes, including the controller with a data rate of up to 100 kbps.
In an intelligent home system, each Z-wave device act as a node in the mesh network. However, a limit message can be sent to a maximum of four nodes at a time. The Z-wave has up to 100m of radius strength. Z-wave operates between the 800 – 900 megahertz radio frequency range meaning none of the Z-wave products will have any interference issues. The most significant benefit of z-wave is it operates on a very low-frequency band which means it consumes significantly less power. Just with a single phone battery, a z-wave supported device can run up to 10 yrs.
Z-wave is getting highly acclaimed day by day. More than 2600+ types of products use Z-wave technology available in the market, all of which are interoperable. In addition, you can link different brands together through apps or hubs for effortless control.
Though there are various IoT networking protocols like WiFi, Zigbee, BLE, LoRa, Thread, Bluetooth, and Z-wave, none serves as a unified system. That is because of the different purposes each serves. However, in particular, Z-wave can be the best alternative for home automation and security sensors out there.
Cheers, Regami Solutions