The Z-Wave Alliance recently announced that the Z-Wave Long Range (Z-Wave LR) specification is available for product development by alliance members. Also announced is the first implementation of Z-Wave LR by Silicon Labs through a firmware upgrade on the Z-Wave 700 platform.
One of the biggest benefits of Z-Wave LR connectivity is that it enables new IoT applications beyond the home without the need for repeaters. This is thanks to several factors, including distances of up to several miles with a maximum output power of 30 dBM and support up to 4,000 nodes on a single network, enabling larger and more complex deployments in more applications such as hospitality, multi-dwelling units, and smart cities.
In addition, it offers a 20× increase over Z-Wave mesh node, according to the alliance, while co-existing on the same network as Z-Wave mesh. It also reduces maintenance costs with up to 10 years of life on a coin cell battery. Another benefit is that it is backwards compatible with all Z-Wave certified devices.
The Z-Wave Alliance believes these enhancements will “solidify Z-Wave as the de facto standard for IoT solutions where sub-GHz is mission critical to device performance.”
The Z-Wave Alliance certification program will include Z-Wave LR by March 2021. The alliance expects numerous Z-Wave LR-enabled devices to launch throughout 2021.
The first implementation by Silicon Labs, using the Z-Wave 700 series, has demonstrated a direct line of sight transmission range of one mile (1.6 km) at 14-dBm output power. However, the spec has a foreseeable transmission range of several miles, said the Z-Wave Alliance, which will significantly expand the system scalability beyond a single residential property.
Silicon Labs now offers Z-Wave LR support for its existing Z-Wave 700 Series SoCs and modules, which will open up new opportunities beyond the smart home, said the company. The 700 series supports dynamic output control to optimize power settings as well as up to ten years operation on a coin cell battery. The company expects to launch new Z-Wave 700 products in 2021 that will further extend the range with an increased 20-dBm output.
A several-mile range can be achieved with an external power amplifier to meet the maximum Z-Wave LR specification limit of 30 dBM, said Silicon Labs.
Z-Wave LR development kits are available for purchase. Software support for Z-Wave LR on Z-Wave 700 devices is available via the company’s free IoT developer platform, Simplicity Studio 5. The company expects certification for Z-Wave LR devices by the end of Q1 2020.
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