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

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 device is more than 80-90 ft from the gateway or controller, you can put a repeater device (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 controller, 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

My devices have stopped communicating with the controller

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

  • The batteries are discharged and are therefore not working
  • The distance between your controller 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. You need to add a security compatible (encryption capable) Z-Wave device to your network which can relay the encrypted signal that the door lock needs to communicate with the controller.
  • 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 the controller. To fix the problem, move these devices away from the Z-wave network
  • If your controller is not in a central location, move it so that it can interact with more devices.

How do I fix the issue?

The problem is usually fixed by excluding then re-including the device that is causing issues in your network. To do this, put your Ezlo or Vera controller in exclude mode (to remove them), then into include mode to add them back. You can either do this by taking your controller, with the battery provided, to your devices, or bringing your devices closer to the controller.