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Introduction to Z-Wave
Z-Wave is one of two wireless communication protocols used by the SmartThings hub, and is generally the most common home automation network used in the USA.
Z-Wave is the name of the protocol/network, in comparison to WiFi or Bluetooth. With Z-wave, all devices communicate using the Z-Wave network, and don’t bog down or degrade your home’s WiFi performance.
Z-Wave vs. Z-Wave Plus
You may also see Z-Wave Plus mentioned on newer products – this uses the same network/channels as Z-wave, and is backwards compatible with Z-Wave, but offers improved connectivity and reliability. Think of Z-Wave Plus as version 2.0 of Z-Wave 1.0.
The raw definition of Z-Wave is: a wireless communications protocol used primarily for home automation.
Z-Wave Mesh Networking
Z-Wave is a mesh network that uses low-energy radio waves to communicate from device to device, enabling wireless control of residential appliances and other devices, like smart light bulbs, smart door locks, and more.
Like other protocols and systems aimed at the home and office automation market, a Z-Wave automation system can be controlled from a wireless keyfob, a wall-mounted keypad or through smartphones, tablets or computers, with a Z-Wave gateway or central control device serving as both the hub controller and portal to the outside.
Global Z-Wave Alliance
The Z-Wave Alliance was established in 2005 as a consortium of companies that make connected appliances controlled through apps on smartphones, tablets or computers using Z-Wave wireless mesh networking technology. The alliance is a formal association focussed on both the expansion of Z-Wave and the continued interoperability of any device that utilizes Z-Wave.
It provides interoperability between home control systems of different manufacturers that are a part of its alliance (“The Z-Wave Alliance”). There are a growing number of interoperable Z-Wave products; over 1,700 in 2017, and over 2,400 by 2018.
Recommended Devices for SmartThings
The SmartThings hub is an example of a Z-Wave gateway that communicates with all of the smart devices in your home using Z-Wave protocol, and consolidates their control to 1 app/product.