Yep. Here we go. Welcome to my soapbox. This is the part where my hours of reading, testing, interviewing and communicating come into play.
This is gonna be a short article. The reality of this situation is that we have one side, the home automation side, telling us that security and home automation control can exist. They say that it is perfectly responsible to sell a device as a security product when it is vulnerable to outside attack.
The other side tells us that not only is it irresponsible to do that, but they refuse to do it.
It’s the Zig-bee vs Z-Wave argument.
Let’s go over the main differences between the two.
A Z-Wave hub is an automation controller. It is the main brain of a wireless system designed to operate with devices you bind (pair) with it. The modules are programmed at the module itself, and they are not aware that they are attached to anything.
The hub gives you a view into the status of the module. You can, for instance, see that a lock is unlocked, or the temperature on your thermostat. You can remotely lock the lock with a quick button press, but you cannot program a code into it remotely.
This creates a very secure network for monitoring your home, with a measure of control built in.
Zig-bee is another matter. Zig-bee is a two-way communicator. Unlike Z-Wave devices, zig-bee creates a programming interface between all of your devices that enables compatibility. Things like programming codes into a lock become possible.
The hub itself is a simple device. It basically aligns all your devices and makes it possible for them to communicate to each other, and to your wifi network so you can operate them.
You still create a pairing between a Zig-bee hub and it’s devices, but the hub is much less robust and the security standards are much lower. Basically the OS used to operate the hub is left open to include whatever devices you introduce, and the security levels are reliant on the devices you use.
Both work. Let’s be clear. In face, despite my personal feelngs about the subject, I’m actually going to recommend both for different applications.
I had a fellow come in today interested in one of our YRD220 locks. The one we have on the shelf is Z-Wave, and this the functionality through our app is limited. He wanted the ability to program from off site as he plans to change the code regularly and doesn’t always want to be at the property to do it.
Our Z-Wave offering isn’t what he needs. To do this, we would need to use the YRD220 with a Zig-bee module, connected to a Zig-bee hub. As long as an internet connection is present, he would have full control of his programming, as well as the lock functionality.
We had another fellow come in wanting to install a security system at a remote property. He wasn’t planning on having an internet connection there, but would have a cellular network to tie into. He wanted an element of control, but was mostly interested in having a clear view into what the status of the building was. There will be on site staff to take care of the rest.
The more secure Z-Wave system is what he wants.
See, both connectivities have something to offer. We, as a security company, will use the Zig-bee type connections less often since Z-Wave lends itself better to home and business security, but it’s functionality is still useful.
Now more than ever it’s important to know what you want the system you install to do. It’s important to know the limitations, strengths, and not just trust your quoting companies. Be sure you’re getting the system that fits your needs, and your comfort levels, because there are very large, very real differences between the types of devices out there.
In short, it’s easy to get a system to do “ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING”. It’s simply not advisable to get one system to do anything and everything. Ask your security provider about it.