What is Z-Wave

Z-Wave is the wireless protocol or language that all the Fibaro products use to communicate with each other.  It uses a very low power radio frequency signal to send messages up to an average of 30 metres away.

The Z-Wave network is a mesh network.  This means that the signal received by one listening device or node is relayed to neighbouring nodes up to four nodes away from the original sender.  This extends the range of the network and provides stability.

Any device which speaks Z-Wave can be controlled by your Home Center 2.  There are over 900 products produced by almost 300 manufacturers in the Z-Wave Alliance.

Types of Z-Wave nodes
Sleeping nodes

One of the strengths of Z-Wave devices is that many of them are completely wireless and battery powered.  To save power, most of these battery powered devices ‘sleep’ or turn them selves off until they are required to send a message.  For example, a door/window sensor will sleep until the door opens or closes and only then will it turn on and transmit its new state.  This type of device is called a sleeping node.

Since they are normally turned off, sleeping nodes do not relay messages as part of the mesh network.  They will not extend the signal strength of the network and will need to be woken in order for your Home Center 2 to configure them if any changes are made to them (more on configuring devices later).

Listening nodes

Devices that have a constant power supply, such as dimmers, relays, wall plugs, and most “wired in” devices do not sleep.  They are constantly listening to the Z-Wave network and if they receive a message they immediately transmit the message again to relay it on to other devices.

Listening nodes do not have to be woken up and will react to configuration changes made on your Home Center 2 immediately.

In summary

The two main differences between listening nodes and sleeping nodes are:

  • Listening nodes extend the range and stability of the Z-Wave network.
  • Sleeping nodes need to be woken up when changing the configuration from your Home Center 2.