What is Z-Wave Plus and how does it work?
Z-Wave Plus is a new certification scheme meant to assist consumers identify goods that use the “Next Gen” Z-Wave hardware platform, often known as the 500 Series, 5th Generation, Z-Wave for Gen5 or just Gen5. Z-Wave Plus certified solutions include a collection of additional features and capabilities that improve the end user experience and make Z-Wave systems even faster and easier to set up.
By incorporating the most recent improvements in this innovative technology, Z-Wave Plus improves on the original specs of Z-Wave. With the Next-Gen, Z-Wave has expanded its capabilities, including greater range, battery life, Over The Air (OTA) upgrades, new RF channels, and more – all of which are fully backwards compatible with existing Z-Wave products. Shorter and easier installations, richer device profiles, improved self-healing, and longer battery life are all advantages of these enhancements.
Z-Wave is the most popular wireless home automation technology, with substantial advantages over prior systems. All messages are recognized in two-way wireless communication, and if one is lost, it is instantly repeated. You’re always up to date on the status of every device on the system (lights, heating, appliances…)
Mesh networking – eliminates dead-spots and is ideal for large deployments. Use a remote control, a central controller, smartphone apps, or the Internet to control your system.
Extended features of Z-Wave Plus include:
- Range has been significantly extended, reaching up to 150 meters (clear air)
- Battery life is improved by 50%, while bandwidth is increased by 250 percent.
- Three F channels for increased bandwidth and noise protection
- Network-wide Inclusion is a new plug-and-play functionality.
- Explorer Frame feature improves self-healing and fault tolerance.
- Over-the-air firmware changes should be done in a standardized manner (OTA)
- Product information gathering has been improved for the product certification database.
New Features Of Z-Wave Plus
The new features of the Z-Wave Plus devices are a terrific addition to Z-Wave and will assist you in creating the most reliable and secure wireless home automation system conceivable. However, you should temper your expectations, particularly since the initial devices will use the new capabilities and command classes available in the Z-Wave 500 series chips.
You won’t have any problems if you have a complete Z-Wave Plus system with every device being of the new Gen5 variety. They’d function together flawlessly (better than any other Z-Wave system to date), and you’d enjoy all of the new features’ advantages, such as greater battery life, range, and bandwidth. However, you’ll probably utilize them with current Z-Wave devices, sensors, and controllers based on the 300-series and 400-series Z-Wave chips at first. This is where you must exercise caution.
Z-Wave Plus Improvements
Life of the Batteries
In comparison to earlier generations, the battery life of Z-Wave Plus devices has greatly improved. Because it doesn’t rely on other devices in the system, you’ll notice that Z-Wave Plus devices have a longer battery life than previous devices – up to 50% longer.
The variety of devices is strongly reliant on other network devices. If you use a combination of Z-Wave Plus and existing devices, you will not benefit from the increased range that Z-Wave Plus provides.
The Z-Wave controller is the most important aspect; if it is not Z-Wave Plus enabled, all devices added to that controller’s network will default to acting as Z-Wave. This is because Z-Wave Plus is backwards compatible with Z-Wave devices; when installed with Z-Wave devices, it operates exactly like a Z-Wave device because existing Z-Wave devices lack the ability to communicate with it using Z-Wave Plus commands.
If you have a Z-Wave Plus controller, you will begin to notice the advantages of Z-Wave Plus; however, be sure that the other devices in the ‘route’ to the Z-Wave Plus device are also compatible. Otherwise, it will revert to working as a standard Z-Wave device.
What Is Z-Wave S2?
The newest security framework for Z-Wave devices is Z-Wave S2. It allows manufacturers to provide best-in-class security while minimizing power consumption and latency.
Sigma collaborated with cyber-security specialists to create the real standard for the S2 framework, which provides additional degrees of security to Z-Wave devices. While Z-Wave already has the highest level of security with AES-128 encryption, which is available to all devices, S2 improves on this by adding an additional layer of AES 128-bit encryption and replacing a previous three-step process with a single command structure, which reduces latency and improves battery life for S2 devices.