During my exercises with smart home approach and wireless devices I was playing recently mainly with Z-Wave. While Z-Wave seems nice way to connect different devices and actors to wireless network it has some weak points for me.
- Price – Z-Wave enables devices are not very expensive however if you want to deal with something fully customised for your needs it turns out chip is more expensive. Z-Uno is nice solution but for more experiments it can be costly.
- Inclusion/Exclusion – ok, this is smart and secure. But often when I was fighting with my toys I was facing problems, especially with battery working devices
- No direct mobile interface – simple – you must always run a server even for a single switch at home, even if you don’t want to use it from outside. Ok, ok – this use case is stupid for smart home as it does not even touch subject of being smart. But sometimes we can see need to quick adaptation of device without playing with a server – but mobile must be trusted and device itself should report back to smart home server with update.
The best features of Z-Wave however is low energy usage and mesh. Build-in mesh solution makes Z-Wave very good solution for having many devices spread around your home. I have dozen devices working in Z-Wave and there are pros and cons… But cost and problems with range/visibility sometimes disturbs me. But indeed there are still new devices coming to the market :).
[/caption]Another option which I have looked at was Wifi. I made a few small experiments and did some readings. during my tests I used ESP8266. Cheap solution with great possibilities. But it is missing mesh feasibility. it is great due to the price but building micro routers on each chip and mesh functionality yourself is cumbersome and depth of mesh is very limited. If on the other side we would like to connect all devices to single router I think router would come to its limits quickly with that many connections
But still this is very nice chip :). Maybe if I found out how to build bigger and efficient mesh I would gladly come back to it.
Well… for long time I was ignoring BT as I had impression it is eating batteries quickly… But this was over 15 years ago :). I was scanning specifications around and found out we have BT LTE available with piconet, scatternet, Bluetooth 5.0 with mesh around the corner. Then for a while I was sad that ESP8266 has no Bluetooth… and then I found ESP32 with everything and even more – input/outputs, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE, CAN and more and more. It looks really interesting…
So in this situation I will keep my existing toys with Z-Wave running and try to investigate ESP32 more. And because the best way to learn something is to try to explain something someone else I will try to describe my progress with some examples and reference to interesting materials.