What is Z-Wave Plus


What is Z-Wave Plus

Z-Wave Plus™ is a new certification program designed to help consumers identify products that take advantage of the recently introduced "Next Gen" Z-Wave hardware platform, also know as 500 Series, 5th Generation, Z-Wave for Gen5 or just plain Gen5. Z-Wave Plus certified solutions feature a selected set of extended features and capabilities that enhance the end user experience and make Z-Wave systems even faster and easier to install and set up.

Z-Wave Plus improves on the original specifications of Z-Wave by making use of the latest advancements in this exciting technology. With the introduction of the Next-Gen, Z-Wave has extended its capabilities, including increased range, extended battery life, Over The Air upgrading (OTA), additional RF channels and more - all of which are fully backwards compatible with existing Z-Wave products. These enhancements offer tremendous benefits in terms of shorter and easier installations, richer device profiles, improved self-healing and longer battery life.

Using Z-Wave Plus in your home enables you to easily create a modern Smart Home, giving you control of your lights, appliances, heating, security and multimedia at the touch of a button. Two-way communication, status updates and mesh networking combine together to ensure reliability and resiliency in your Home Automation system - no more wondering whether the light in your garage really turned off when you closed the door!

Z-Wave is the leading wireless home automation technology offering significant benefits compared to older technologies

  • Two-way wireless communication - all messages acknowledged, if one gets lost it is automatically repeated
  • Status updates - you know the status of every device on the system (lights, heating, appliances...)
  • Mesh networking - automatically covers dead-spots, great for large installations
  • Easy control - use a remote control, central controller, smartphone apps or via the Internet

Z-Wave Plus extended features include:

  • Significant increased range - up to 150m (clear air)
  • 50% improvement in battery life
  • 250% more bandwidth
  • Three F channels for improved noise immunity and higher bandwidth
  • New Plug-n-Play Network-wide Inclusion feature
  • Improved self-healing and fault tolerance with Explorer Frame feature
  • Standardised method for Over the Air firmware updates (OTA)
  • Improved product information capture for product certification database


Z-Wave Plus in Practice

The new features of the Z-Wave Plus devices are a great extension to Z-Wave and will help you make the most robust, solid wireless home automation system possible. But, you need to be a little careful of expectations - especially as the first devices are introduced using the new features and command classes available in the Z-Wave 500 series chips.

If you have a complete Z-Wave Plus system, where every device is of the new Gen5 variety, then you wouldn't have any issues. They would work together seamlessly (better than any Z-Wave system so far), and you would get all the benefits that the new features offer such as extended battery life, much longer range and increased bandwidth. However, this is probably not the way you'll initially use them - you'll use them with existing Z-Wave devices, sensors and controllers based on the 300-series and 400-series Z-Wave chips. This is where you need to be a little careful.

Battery Life

The battery life for Z-Wave Plus devices is significantly improved over previous generations. It doesn't relay on any other devices in the system, therefore, you will see the extended battery life offered by Z-Wave Plus devices - up to 50% longer than existing devices.


The range of devices relies heavily on other devices in the network. If you are using a mix of Z-Wave Plus and existing devices you will not see the increase in range offered by Z-Wave Plus.


The main consideration is the Z-Wave controller - if the controller is not Z-Wave Plus enabled than all devices added to that controller's network will default to acting as Z-Wave. This is because Z-Wave Plus is back-wards compatible with Z-Wave devices, when it is installed with Z-Wave devices it behaves just like a Z-Wave device as those existing devices have no way to communicate with it using Z-Wave Plus commands.

If you do have a Z-Wave Plus controller, then you will start to see the benefits of Z-Wave Plus, but make sure that the other devices in the 'route' to the Z-Wave Plus device are also compatible. Otherwise, it will again default to operating as a plain Z-Wave device.


Z-Wave S2

S2 is the newest security framework for Z-Wave devices. It enables manufacturers to offer best-in-class security without any compromises in terms of power consumption or latency.

Sigma worked hand-in-hand with cybersecurity experts to develop the actual specification for the S2 framework that gives Z-Wave devices new levels of security. While Z-Wave already leads in security with AES-128 encryption level, which is available to all devices, S2 improves this by adding an additional layer of AES 128-bit encryption and use a single command structure that replaces a previous three-step process, which reduces latency and improves battery life for devices using S2.

For further details on all that changes with S2 make sure to read this.

Connecting Z-Wave devices

Connecting Z-Wave devices is extremely easy and user friendly, most times requiring only a single click to add a Z-Wave device into your home network.


Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Module Inclusion

Access the Web UI and click "Add Device"

Click the Z-Wave button on the module if needed

The module will appear on the Dashboard

Motion Sensor

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Motion Sensor Inclusion

Open the App and click "Add Device"

Click the Z-Wave button on the sensor

The sensor will show in the App

Thermostatic Valve

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

TRV Inclusion

Follow the video and click on your device

Click the Z-Wave button on the TRV

You can assign the TRV to one or more Dashboards

Smart Socket

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Smart Socket Inclusion

Access the Web UI and click "Add"

Click the Z-Wave button on the socket if needed

The socket will show on the Devices section of the UI

Note: Some steps removed


Related Reading

We've gathered below links to various resources that can help you with Z-Wave devices, help you use Z-Wave with other technologies and understand the inner workings of the Z-Wave protocol.

Z-Wave Help Guides, Tutorials and Tips & Tricks LightwaveRF or Z-wave? Using Z-Wave with Philips Hue Using Z-Wave and LightwaveRF Together
Using Z-Wave and Nest The Guide to a User Friendly and Stable Z-Wave Network Understanding Z-Wave Networks, Nodes and Devices How do Z-Wave Controllers and Devices Work?
Z-Wave Technology: Groups, Scenes and Associations

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