What is Z-Wave?

Everyone’s toting the latest Home Automation products, but what makes them work?

Whether it’s a new electronic door lock or light switch, we often see references to technologies such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, or Insteon. The simplest explanation would be to say that these are technologies designed to allow regular household items to work together. It is important to note that these technologies do not work with each other (Z-Wave will not work with Zigbee, and so on). At Wilsons Security, we work with Z-Wave devices, so that’s what we’ll focus on in this blog post.

Wireless: Z-Wave is a wireless protocol, meaning that it doesn’t require running any wires to connect your devices to each other. It operates in the 908.42 MHz range.

Customizable: There are now over 1000 compatible devices, according to the Z-Wave Alliance, giving you a broad range of options when setting up your home automation system.

Strong, expandable network: One of the main features of the Z-Wave protocol is that it uses a ‘Mesh Network’. This means that one Z-Wave device passes along a signal to the next device until it reaches its intended destination. Essentially, this means that the more devices you have installed, the larger and stronger the network becomes.

Efficient: Another benefit of Z-Wave is that it uses very little power, making it great for door locks and other battery-powered devices.

Centrally controlled: At Wilsons Security, your security panel is typically your home automation control centre. Your alarm system will send out and receive signals from your Z-Wave devices. For example, when you arm or disarm your system, it can cause your lights to turn off or on, or even change the heat setting.

Cohesive communication: All products that include Z-Wave technology are licensed through Sigma Designs in Milpitas, California. This means there is tight control over the implementation of the technology, and ensures better compatibility between devices. Some protocols like Zigbee are ‘open source’, which increases the possibility of communication difficulties between Zigbee devices.

The quick facts:

  • Compatible: Any Z-Wave product works with any other Z-Wave product
  • Affordable: Get started with minimum investment then easily add more devices
  • Reliable: Over ten years in the market with 20 million products in homes worldwide
  • Secure: Systems use the same level of encryption as online banking
  • Trusted: Used by 9/10 security companies, along with biggest brand names