Smartest Home

A comparison between C-BUS and Z-Wave - Part 2

by Sean Nezhad | July 17, 2019
A comparison between C-BUS and Z-Wave - Part 2

Smartest Home is a leading home automation company providing home automation solution and products to customers across Australia.

In part one of this article we had a brief look at the C-Bus network and protocol. In this part we are going to have a closer look at Z-Wave network and protocol characteristics.

In 1999 Zensys a Danish company introduced its lighting control system which was based on Z-Wave protocol. The Z-wave home automation protocol was using an unlicensed 900Mhz frequency band range. Currently Z-Wave is administrated by a group of companies under the Z-Wave alliance name.

Check the  about different Z-Wave frequencies used in different countries and most popular smart home in Australia

In 2005, the Z-Wave Alliance which is comprised of industry leaders throughout the globe that are dedicated to the development and extension of Z-Wave as the key enabling technology for ‘smart’ home and business applications established.

While In 2005, there were only six products on the market that used Z-Wave technology. By 2012, as smart home technology was becoming increasingly popular, there were approximately 600 products using Z-Wave technology available in the US. As of January 2019 The Z-Wave Alliance boasts more than 700 members and there are over 2,600 Z-Wave certified interoperable products. There are a staggering 94 million devices on the market with Z-Wave inside; which covers over 70% of the smart home market.

Z-Wave Market Facts according to Z-Wave alliance are:

Over 2400 interoperable products available, 100 million Z-Wave products worldwide.

Extensively used in residential systems throughout numerous business spectrums, including ADT,, AT&T, DSC, Smanos, GE/Interlogics, Honeywell, Lowes, Verizon, Vivint, Fibaro and other prominent service providers worldwide.

Found in thousands of hotels, cruise ships, and vacation rentals; including 65,000 devices in the flagship Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

Actively supported by over 700 manufacturers and service providers throughout the world.

Designed specifically for control, monitoring and status operations; no interference from Wi-Fi or other 2.4GHz wireless technologies in similar band.

Z-Wave protocol is designed to satisfy the demands of the future smart home, where increasing needs for more sensors and battery-operated devices require both long range and low power with no complicated wiring and physical installation required.

All devices in a Z-Wave network link up together and form a mesh network. A central hub is used which connects to the internet but the devices themselves (sensors, bulbs and so on) dare not using Wi-Fi network at all, they just use Z-Wave connectivity to talk to the hub, and that connectivity doesn't have to be direct; the mesh network allows signals to pass from device to device.

One of the most powerful features of Z-Wave protocol is that it is completely backward compatible. It means as new versons of the Z-Wave protocol are being developrd they are still fully compatible with older devices which are using older versions, this eliminates the requirement for changing the devices as new devices or hubs being developed.

Another big win for Z-Wave is that its devices are completely interoperable. All Z-Wave devices, with no exception, work with other Z-Wave devices.

Some of the biggest Z-Wave Pros apart from what’s mentioned above are:

Suitability: Z-wave is suitable for medium residential homes. It is perfect for being used within a single building.

Interoperable: Z-wave allows users to mix and match devices together. This gives them total freedom to decide which devices to connect. Users can uniquely tailor it based on their needs.

Transmission speed: z-wave supports transmission speed of 9.6 Kbps, 40 Kbps, and 100 Kbps data rates. This ensure devices are able to communicate with each other.

Secure Network: If security for all your smart home devices is your concern, then Z-wave is more reliable and easy to set up. It uses AES-128 encryption to provide a secure network to users.

Ease of set up: It is very easy to set up the wireless network by adding or removing devices without interfering with the router. Being able to easily add other devices into the Z-wave network helps build a home automation system. You don’t need technological know-how to set up the device.

Wireless: You appliances can communicate with each other as long as their within 50-100ft farther apart from each other. The devices can connect to the network without being within the router range.

Extra low Power: Z-Wave sensors typically operate at such a low power which some sensors can last for up to 10 years on a single battery.

Perhaps one of the cones of the Z-Wave is that a total of 232 device nodes could be utilised in a Z-Wave network, Although it is enough for most of the household applications but if more than 232 nodes is needed then Z-Wave is not a choice.

Z-Wave nodes could be located up to 100m from each other. This could cause some limitations for its application.