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