Remember last year we were talking about the new 700 Series Z-Wave devices? We were talking about how manufacturers could extend the range up to 33% and improve battery life by 5x. Silicon Labs, developers of the Z-Wave wireless protocol now says that they have opened up their multi-source wireless standard or Z-Wave Long Range to Silicon and Stack Vendors for development based on a report from VentureBeat. However, Z-Wave Alliance is is now boosting their range to 400 metres and supports up to 2000 devices on a single network with Z-Wave Long Range.

Last year, Amazon said they would develop their own Amazon Sidewalk protocol, and then joined the Zigbee Alliance to develop the Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP) with some of the big names in Smart Home development. Google had developed Thread, but had also joined the CHIP initiative for an open Zigbee protocol.

Silicon Labs and Z-Wave Alliance say the new Z-Wave Specification will include all the components of the specification including:

  • ITU.G9959 PHY/MAC radio specification
  • application layer
  • network layer
  • host-device communication protocol.

This means that Z-Wave hopes to open 100 million devices currently deployed to be able to communicate to each other.

Features of Z-Wave and Z-Wave Long Range

The Z-Wave Alliances stated some of the main features of Z-Wave Long Range:

  • interoperability; opportunity for devices from different manufacturers to work with each other
  • S2 Security Framework; the ability of Z-Wave devices to prevent hacking.
  • easy installation with SmartStart; the inclusion process of Z-Wave devices into the smart home ecosystem.
  • low-power functionality with 10-year battery life. It’s interesting to note that most of the home security systems in the market have long-lasting battery life, compared to most electrical devices. I never realized that this was a hallmark of most security motion sensors being Z-Wave devices.

The Z-Wave Alliance hopes that the new working group will help improve smart home device adoption. In other words, expand their market share vs. other network protocols such as Zigbee, Thread, etc.

Creating a new multi-source specification for Z-Wave LR will only increase the competition for the smart home. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the smart home consumer in the second half of 2020, and how it compares to the open-source protocol from the Zigbee Alliance. Let’s open up the airwaves!

Image Source: Z-Wave