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What is Z-Wave?

Z-Wave is a protocol for communication within devices that are used for automation. It uses RF (radio frequency) for control and signaling. A company in Denmark called Zenysys, Inc. released Z-Wave in 2004. The idea of creating this, was to build more simple and less expensive devices than Zigbee. Zensys/Zwave was then bought in 2009, by Sigma Designs. Z-Wave operates at 908.42 MHz (which is the same frequency as most wireless house phones). in the United States. Networks usually have problems when containing over 30-40 nodes, but Z-Wave can contain up to 230 nodes.

A central, network controller, device is required when setting up and managing a Z-Wave network. The Z-Wave network is identified by a Network ID; each device is identified by a Node ID within the network. You have to be careful when buying products, because some products are not compatible with other products. The Network ID is the common identification for all the nodes that belong on one Z-Wave network. Nodes within different Network ID’s cannot communicate with each other; each device gets assigned by the primary controllers when applied to the network.

Although Z-wave has one primary controllers, secondary controllers can exist as well, but are optional. A message between one node and another, can be successfully delivered even if the two nodes aren’t in range of each other, providing that another node is able to communicate with both of those nodes. The message will jump between nodes, until it reaches its destination, or until the message is broke. This is called a source-routed mesh network. Meaning that the Z-Wave network is able to span a lot further than the radio range of just one unit.  They can use intermediate nodes to route through a household.

Since Z-wave assumes all devices within the network remain in their original position, other devices such as mobile phones, tablets, remotes, and other various things of that sort are excluded.

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