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Q: What's the difference between Z-Wave and Wi-Fi, and what's Zigbee?

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2016 02:11PM PST
A: These are different communication protocols. Our two mainstay communication systems, which are available on all Vera Controllers, are Z-Wave and IP (Internet Protocol, as used in Wi-Fi and LAN connections.) Most security sensors such as motion detectors and door/window sensors use Z-Wave, because it requires very little power, running on a small battery for a year or more, it has excellent security built-in, and it's very robust (technically, Z-Wave is a "mesh network" with built-in redundancy that ensures signals get through.) Most cameras use Wi-Fi/LAN IP connections because they provide the bandwidth (number of bits per second) needed to send video signals. Depending on your Vera Controller model and/or optional accessories (often called "bridges"), you can also control Devices using Zigbee (another low-power mesh network technology) and Devices that use other home control communication protocols.

Q: Can I move my Vera system?
A: Yes. You don't have to worry about disconnecting your Vera Controller from power for a long period of time. All your settings will be maintained. When you're ready to install the system in your new home or office, you'll find that all your Devices are still "paired" and recognized by the Controller. You may need to re-name some Devices if you move them to different rooms and different locations than where they were previously. (When moving the system, it's also a good idea to let the Z-Wave network re-establish communication links between Devices, this "repair" option is in the Settings menu under "Z-Wave Settings".)
Q: Why isn't there a control panel, as on other security systems?
A: To save money, without sacrificing convenience. If you want a wall-mounted security panel, such as found on traditional alarm systems, you can add one. Vera is fully compatible with many accessory control panels from a variety of manufacturers (look for those using the Z-Wave protocol.) With Vera's mobile apps, however, you have several advantages over a traditional panel, including the ability to control things from outside the home -- and best of all, they're free!
Q: I don't like having to use my phone or computer or tablet just to change Modes or dim a light remotely -- is there any easier way to control things?
A: Yes, get a key fob. An accessory Z-Wave key fob looks similar to a car key fob, and can be used while you're home to control any aspect of your Vera system that you want -- to unlock and lock doors, dim or switch lights, adjust the thermostat, even change Modes.
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