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How do Z-Wave or Zigbee devices go out of range, or stop working?

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2018 04:00AM PDT

Q: How do Z-Wave or Zigbee devices go out of range or stop working?


A: Background information on device range:

Z-Wave and Zigbee devices have an indoor range of 82-100 ft. The range of the signal depends on many factors, from the antenna and the implementation of the device, to the materials that the device sits around. If a node is more than 80-90 ft from the gateway, you can put a repeater node (like a plug-in on/off switch) in between to increase the range. For indoor use, we recommend a distance of 40-50 ft.

Tip: Because door locks are a special breed of Z-wave devices which require an exchange of security keys when they communicate with the Vera unit, we recommend that their distance is 20-30 ft. For outdoor devices, the range can go up to 300 ft.

Things to consider regarding range:

  • Each wall or obstacle (i.e.: refrigerator, big screen TV, etc.) between the remote and device will reduce the maximum range by approximately 25-30%
  • Brick, tile, or concrete walls block more of the signal than walls made of wooden studs and plasterboard (drywall)
  • Wall mounted devices installed in metal junction boxes will suffer a significant loss of range (approximately 20%) since the metal box blocks a large part of the Z-Wave signal

Have the devices stopped communicating with your Vera controller?

Your Z-Wave devices may lose communication with Vera for any of the following reasons:

  • The batteries are discharged and are therefore not working
  • The distance between Vera and the device is more than 15 feet. You can add another Z-Wave device between your Vera controller and the device to increase the Z-Wave range 
  • The device is a door lock and needs to add in your Z-Wave network a security compatible (encryption capable) device which can relay the encrypted signal that the door lock needs to communicate with the Vera unit. 
  • There are devices in the way that use the 900 MHz frequency band. These devices include old cellular phones, baby monitoring devices or weather stations. They will interfere with the Z-Wave network and cause your devices to stop communicating with Vera. To fix the problem, move these devices away from the Z-wave network
  • If your Vera is not in a central location, move it so that it can interact with more devices.

How to fix the issue?


The problem is usually fixed by excluding and reincluding the device that is causing issues in your network. To do so, put your Vera in exclude mode to remove them, and include to add them. You can either do this by taking your Vera unit, with the battery provided, to your devices, or bringing your devices closer to Vera.

A few more things to consider regarding Z-Wave, Zigbee or VeraLink:

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