If you own a Z-Wave equipped smart home, there’s something cool on the horizon. The company announced last week that the company has opened its Long Range spec to developers for product creation.
Z-Wave is a wireless technology that will not interfere with your Wi-Fi signal and operates on low power. When the technology is utilized inside everyday products such as locks and lights, these products become “smart.” This system operates at 908.42 MHz in the United States and Canada.
Long range connectivity enables new IoT applications beyond the home, without any need for repeaters, ensuring easy install and low cost. With a network size of up to 4000 nodes, Z-Wave LR provides the scalability needed in MDU and hospitality deployments. It also reduces ongoing maintenance costs with up to 10 years of life on a coin cell battery.
What Kind of Distance Can We Expect?
The long range specification supports distances of up to several miles with a maximum output power of 30dBm, while supporting up to 4000 nodes on a single network. This represents a 20x increase over mesh node support while co-existing on the same network as mesh. The spec is backwards compatible and maintains interoperability with all Z-Wave certified devices.
“The Z-Wave Alliance Technical Workgroup has been working to fine-tune the Z-Wave LR specification for deployment,” said Niels Johansen, technical committee chairman. “These significant enhancements position the Alliance to solidify Z-Wave as the de facto standard for IoT solutions where sub-GHz is mission-critical to device performance.”
The first implementation of LR, by Alliance member Silicon Labs, has already achieved a direct line of sight transmission range of 1 mile (1.6 km) utilizing +14dBm output power. With a foreseeable transmission range of several miles, the spec greatly expands the possibilities of system scalability beyond the confines of a single residential property.
Other Applications for Z Wave LR
This technology extends capabilities to larger, more complex installations and markets including hospitality, MDU, smart cities, commercial installations, large residential compounds, and more.
“For almost 20 years, Z-Wave has transformed wireless technology for smart home and security devices,” said Mitch Klein, executive director for the Alliance. “As IoT technology has expanded beyond the walls of the home and to the sidewalk, to commercial buildings, smart cities, and beyond, we decided to support these evolving industry needs.”
Z-Wave LR is now available from Silicon Labs on their 700 platform and the specification is now available to Alliance members for development. The Alliance certification program will include LR by March 2021, anticipating numerous LR enabled devices to launch throughout the year.