Zigbee and Z-Wave – your new smart home friends



Zigbee and Z-Wave are two clever ways smart sensors and other smart devices can talk, wirelessly, to one another and to your broadband router.

Pop quiz: who or what are Zigbee and Z-Wave? 
A.) New 'robots in disguise' set to star in whatever's left of Michael Bay's Transformers franchise.
B.) A new show for pre-schoolers on CBeebies about the adventures of a pair of RNLI lifeboats.
C.) The cutting-edge technologies powering the Internet of Things and which make Samsung SmartThings the best way to create your own smart home.

© Tetra Images / Alamy Stock Photo

While we may end up pitching the first two at some point, the answer is (of course) 'C'. And here's what makes them your new best friends for your smart home...

          

Put simply, Zigbee and Z-Wave are two different ways smart sensors and other smart devices can talk, wirelessly, to one another and to your broadband router. They both work using something very clever called a Mesh Network. What this means is that, if a smart device can't talk directly to its hub (the bit of a smart home set up that plugs into your broadband router) or another sensor it will talk to other nearby devices in the network in a game of 'pass it on' until the message can reach its destination.

 

Why is this important? Well, because information can be passed and amplified between devices around your home, each individual device can transmit over a potentially great distance but use only a tiny amount of power to do it. So it's reliable and efficient. So much so that a Zigbee or Z-Wave-enabled device can operate merrily for up to a couple of years off a watch battery, meaning they can be small, totally wireless and placed pretty much anywhere around your home and left to work without loads of maintenance.

   

Pretty cool. But here's the best bit. Most manufacturers of smart home devices choose to incorporate either Zigbee or Z-Wave technology into their products. But not Samsung. Its SmartThings range of sensors and devices are fluent in both Zigbee and Z-Wave, meaning they can talk to the widest range of third-party products imaginable.

 

In short, by choosing SmartThings you're future-proofing your smart home network. And that's great for your peace of mind.

 

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