Z-Wave Protocol and its requirement
In era of smart devices everybody want to control appliances from his smart-phones or others hand held devices. Today’s new generation demands an ultimate smart house, in which they could control things in his fingers. For the same functionality and purpose Z-wave protocol is available. As a tech guy you want to know its working principle so that you can understand device reliability, where Z-wave protocol is used. Here in this blog I will concentrate a small part of its control mechanism. Z-wave protocol is not only the protocol which is used in these smart devices. There are many other protocols which are used same as z-wave protocol, which I will discuss later. In home automation segment there are a lot of devices available in the market but main issue is the compatibility. Smart gadgets are not multilingual means if you have one device, that can communicate with Z-Wave but other one can communicate with Zig-bee so they can’t work as a team. But for complete automation your requirement is a common platform on which all devices could perform his role. To solve this problem Z-wave alliance is working hard. Now Z-wave is available on more than 1000 different type of smart devices.
What is Z-Wave Protocol?
Z-wave Protocol is nothing but a wireless communication method between two electronic devices. Z-wave protocol works on radio frequency (908.42MHz). It is new in Automation but in last few years it is growing very quickly and now it is supporting more than 1000 different smart electronic devices. For development and support of Z-wave protocol there is an alliance called Z-wave Alliance. Actually Z-Wave protocol was developed by “Zen-Sys” company.
A Z-Wave system can be used to control devices remotely even they are around you or they are far away from you. Yes!! By the Z-wave Protocol you can control your smart devices using internet. But here you have to use a Z-wave gateway. Z-wave gateway or central control device perform both roles, it works as a central control hub and it also serve Internet control request from outside.
Technical characteristics of Z-Wave Protocol
Z-wave Protocol is designed for a specific purpose. That’s why it is totally different with other well-known protocols like TCP/IP or WLAN. TCP/IP & WLAN are designed for huge data transfer but Z-Wave Protocol is designed only for 100Kbits/s. And this 100Kbits/s is sufficient to operate smart devices or read the input of smart sensors. Its low latency and small data transmission makes more reliable for control architecture.
Network and routing of Z-Wave Devices
Z-Wave devices support Mess Network. Attractive key feature of Z-wave is that, each and every device can perform as a repeater device until signal reaches its destination. Means Z-Wave device extend signal to another device until an acknowledge signal float on network.
By this feature it is possible to command or control such a device which is not in source device range. That’s the reason we don’t required to use high power batteries in Z-Wave device because in any radio communication if we want to increase range we need more powerful supply source. This feature makes a Z-Wave device to an energy efficient device.
Z-Wave network is more or less similar to a Wi-Fi network. Before starting any control first we have to register that device on network (like “pairing” in Wi-Fi network), in Z-Wave terminology it is called “adding”. Adding a Z-Wave device on network is possible when that device is in direct range of central control device after “adding” it can be control on extended network. Every Z-Wave network has its own unique ID and each device on network is called its node. Generally Z-Network ID is called “Home-ID”. Node with different “Home-ID can`t communicate with each other. Also on a network “Node-ID” should be unique (Node ID length 8 bits).
Security of Z-Wave Protocol
As security point of view Z-Wave has all things which are required to keep a safe Network & capable to prevent an unauthorized access but it is not invincible. Basically Z-Wave is a proprietary design. According to a research paper, after analysis of Z-Wave encryption a radio packet device and its software called Z-Force developed, and by the help of this Z-Force software Unauthorized user can get access of all Z-Wave devices. But later on this flaw was detected by manufactures and they have removed this bug by updating device firmware. After that till now no security breach detected on Z-Wave protocol.
Hardware of Z-Wave devices
For a Z-wave device a Z-Wave transmitter and receiver circuit is required. Z-Wave Transceiver is the main component of Z-Wave devices, Main suppliers of this transceiver are US based company “Sigma Design” & “Mitsumi Corporation”. This transceiver chip works with a microprocessor or microcontroller. Z-wave component ZW0201 uses an Intel MCS 51 microcontroller with a 16 MHz clock crystal. It requires 2.2 VDC to 3.6 VDC and draws a current approximately 23mA.
Z-Wave developers are trying to provide compatible, robust and safe Z-Wave devices. On the basis of functionality Z-Wave is good option to control devices from remote place, as an electronic hardware developer you will never be disappoint with Z-Wave. Even with the help of Z-Wave transceiver you can develop your own devices and extend its feature as per your need. For further reading you can go through the book “Z-Wave Basics: Remote Control in Smart Homes”.
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