For most of the modern smarthome era, ZigBee and Z-Wave have been the dominant communication protocols. We have already discussed about ZigBee and Z-Wave in our earlier post. But now, Wi-Fi is a strong contender, and more Wi-Fi smart gadgets arrive every day. So, which should you use? The answer may look bit confusing for a starter. Here we will try to assist you in reaching the decision.
All Wi-Fi smarthome gadgets depend on the cloud to work. You need dedicated apps, and the closest you can get to a centralized experience is syncing your devices with Alexa or Google. When you build a smarthome, you have to ask yourself how much you want the cloud involved. Though with evolving technologies this may soon become redundant!!
ZigBee and Z-Wave on the other hand are cloud independent or may depend upon the provider company cloud only for just remote access or mundane jobs like backup etc. The system will keep on working despite no internet. ZigBee and Z-Wave are generally considered single point failure
Wi-Fi devices, on the other hand, depend on multiple clouds. The manufacturer of the gadget provides a cloud and a dedicated app. And if you control your smarthome with Alexa or Google, their cloud is involved, too. But unlike a smarthome hub, Alexa and Google Assistant don’t control Wi-Fi devices directly—the various clouds talk to each other.
Wi-Fi Devices Have a Lower Barrier of Entry and typically less expensive.
We have tabulated the major differences here:-
|1||Low entry Barrier and less expensive||Bit more expensive than Wi-Fi systems|
|2||Easy to install and Do It Yourself by an average person||May need professional handling depending upon the comfort
level of the user.
|3||Based on home router as the hub
working in a sharing mode with other home devices like mobiles, laptops etc
|Have its own Control Hub and an independent network|
|4||Generally Internet/cloud dependent||Internet/Cloud independent|
|5||If Wi-Fi password or router is changed anytime you will need to change password setting for each Wi-Fi devices the way you have to do for your mobile or laptop.||No such issue. Or perhaps utmost the Hub settings may need change|
|6||Susceptible to interference and loss of data due to sharing of other data like videos, media, internet browsing on same network as also Bluetooth, cordless phone using same frequency||No such issue|
|7||Wi-Fi suffers from Bandwidth division: adding of each device to router divides the bandwidth to half which results in slower browsing speed.||Only hub is on the network so No effect on your Wi-Fi bandwidth irrespective of the number of devices.|
So, Wi-Fi or Z-Wave and ZigBee?
Whether you should go with ZigBee and Z-Wave or Wi-Fi depends on what’s more important to you when it comes to your smarthome experience.
If you want everything to work with Google or Alexa and don’t want to add smart hub complications, then Wi-Fi devices are the best option. You can purchase Wi-Fi based smart products Here..
But if you want local, cloudless control—and a smarthome you can fine-tune to the most advanced specifications— ZigBee and Z-Wave win. You can purchase Hub based systems based on Z-Wave or Zigbee Here..
Once you know what you want in your smarthome, the choice becomes obvious.