ZWAVE or WIFI? That is the question.
With so many automation devices on the market today one can be confused what to get or which direction to go. Here at Cyrus, we are not just about selling you something to make money. We are here to educate and establish a long life relationship with you as well. Whether you come to us to design a system for you or you just want to go to Best Buy to do it yourself, a little education goes a long way.Z-Wave came from a company called Zensys in 2001. The proprietary technology was acquired by its current owner, Sigma Designs. Z-Wave is a mesh system that connects devices using low-energy radio waves. A mesh network is decentralized. With the internet, your connection goes down if your modem fails, your ISP suffers an outage, or something happens to the submarine cables that can manage most of a country's traffic. In a mesh network, devices communicate directly to one another without a middleman. If the two gadgets (e.g. phones) are out of range of each other, they may utilize a third phone between the two of them without the third phone properly receiving or having access to what's being communicated. The more devices, the stronger the network. If there are a hundred phones in one building, there are many more possible routes for a message to travel than if there were only five. As long as there are enough devices within range of each other, the system stays online. This is the idea behind systems like Z-Wave. Automatic lights, garage door openers, security systems, and other smart gadgets have long made use of Z-Wave. While it may not be a household name, there are 600 companies taking part as members of the Z-Wave Alliance, with over 2000 certified products. Many of them can be controlled remotely or via a hub.
Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology introduced in 1998. It creates a local area network without the need for cables. When you hear the phrase wireless internet, most often it's in reference to a Wi-Fi network created by a router. The actual internet connection, however, doesn't come from Wi-Fi or the router, but from a modem. A modem either relies on a physical connection, such as a fiber optic cable or telephone line, or a wireless connection to a cellular tower. When you connect your device to a Wi-Fi network, you're connecting it to a router, which connects to a modem, which connects to the vast network of cables, servers, and buildings we think of as internet. Laptops, phones, tablets, smart TVs, video consoles, and other gadgets connected to the same Wi-Fi network can "see" one another. This allows people using separate computers in the same room to exchange files or play a multiplayer game.
What we, as security professionals like about ZWAVE is that we don't like to overwhelm out WIFI network with a lot of devices. Between the computers, laptops, tablets, WIFI watches, guest devices that come to our homes, TV, Entertainment, Sound systems, and so many other things you can suddenly have hundreds of devices on your network before you know it. All those devices require more power to run and with WIFI being so bad for your health as doctors and professionals say you don't want to expose yourselves to more radiation if you don't have to. What if you could limit your WIFI exposure and take a bunch of devices and group them together then open one line of communication to outside world through WIFI? That is where the ZWAVE comes in. ZWAVE groups all your automation and connects through a hub to internet. Not to mention hackers can easily hack your WIFI but with ZWAVE you just added a second firewall that hackers can not get through easily. One thing you'd have to remember is that the only trick to ZWAVE is to make the mesh work effectively and flawlessly you'd have to put a ZWAVE device every 30 feet regardless of direction as long as there is a device within 30 feet of each other. So, next time you're at Best Buy or Amazon looking at their big sale on their WIFI automation devices you know more to make a better decision.