How to choose the best antenna for Vera

Hi everyone.

I have a VeraLite, I moved to a four story house, and I have device in every floor, so the internal antenna was not enought so I decided to make the mod for an external antenna and it really improved the network, but I am still having some trouble. I have VeraLite in the third floor, a shclage lock on the first floor. They communicate fine and almost with all devices but the fourth floor is not getting the signal always, I get a lot of errors communicating for those devices. The weird things is that although I have 50 device, only the schlage an other three are battery operated, the rest are Leviton Switches and Dimmers that are supposed to extend the range, but I don’t know why they don’t reach the last story since I have three dimmers in the way up that are working fine and the other three dimmers that are up there are not getting signal.

I bought two antennas:

Which one should I install? I have tried both but I have different issues with each one. I know that the strongest antenna is for more distance but makes the signal narrow and the weakest is less distance but more radial…

Any clues?


The first antenna claims to be 3dBi. The second one claims to be 7dBi. (The internal Vera antenna is 3dBi.)

A 7dBi antenna should be more than twice as powerful as a 3dBi antenna. So, theoretically the second antenna is will give you a stronger signal.

I don’t believe the claims of any of these cheap antennas.

Thank you Z-Waver, so do you think I should get another antenna? Do you have one that you should recommend?

Have you not seen the other antenna threads? There is a lot of information in the other threads with suggestions of antennas people have purchased and their results.

  • Garrett

You can certainly try using the antenna that claims to be 7dBi. I have none to recommend and it’s cheap enough.

My suspicion is that you will not experience much improvement between the (presumably) cheap external antenna you are currently using and any other cheap antenna.

If you have three switches on the upper(fourth) floor that are working, that means that Vera’s signal is getting up there. Are the other three switches(on the fourth floor), that are not working, too far away or shielded from the the mesh of the working three? I would try adding an intermediate node or two between the three that work and the three that don’t.

If the new antenna is longer than the current one and is tuned for the frequency then you will likely see improvements.

Otherwise as @Z-Waver indicated … you are not likely to notice much improvement.

Had to post even though the content is a bit embarrassing.

I purchased an antenna and cable to extend my Zwave network a bit using links found somewhere on the forums. The cable arrived first, a few weeks later the antenna.

I disassembled my Vera 3, drilled the hole, mounted the cable, and antenna… I had some difficulty getting the dang antenna screwed on to the cable connector but got it ON. Reassembled, and … my Zwave network went to crap.

I assumed a loose connector (perhaps it twisted loose when I screwed on the antenna, after all screwing on that antenna was a bitch).

No luck. After messing with rebuilding the Zwave network, I was down to “only” eight devices complaining… I decided to have a VERY close look at the cable and antenna. My first clue was the antenna male pin was slightly bent. Yup, the cable was MALE on the antenna end and the antenna requires a FEMALE connector!

Moral of the story; be CAREFUL when ordering the parts. The cable should be FEMALE on both ends!

What kind of boxes are the 3 non-cooperating devices in? Plastic or metal?
What material is the wall made from? concrete? Wood? Drywall?
What direction are they facing? North, East, West, South?
And what direction are the working devices facing? Also, are they in the same material boxes and wall?
Are there any wireless devices near those 3 uncooperative devices that run 900MHz? Cordless phone, baby monitor etc?

The reason I ask is that metal boxes may shield some of the signal, allowing it only to come out the front? If that front si facing the wrong way, that may cause signal issues. As would wireless devices on the 900MHz band as that’s very close to the ZWave band.

As far as the top antenna link goes. I fear the longer cable the picture shows probably negates some of the 3dBi amplification the antenna offers. Try keeping the cable as short as possible and with as few connections as possible. this one may be a better solution that that one: as teh reviews seem to indicate it is 900MHz.

Worth a try, thanks (I put a pair on order)! I may have been unclear, the connectivity problems (with all of my battery powered 4-in-1s) was due to the male to male mis-connection of the antenna and the cable connector :-(.

With a bad antenna connection, a heal of the Zwave network created about 28 devices failing to report. They would come back one by one until only 6 4-in-1s remained unresponsive (I have a small place). I went back to the stock antenna and everything now reports as before. My heal report was always four stars on all devices (the controller is high up and in easy distance from all devices). The goal of this external antenna was to get all my Zwave devices talking directly to the controller and (hopefully) improve response times.

SIDE NOTE: It has been reported that the interior antenna is a 3db gain and therefore an external with 3db gain would be a “push”. I don’t have much to go by, but I have a hard time believing you get 3db from that little piece of foil (the stock antenna).

For what it is worth, my move from VeraLite to a Vera3 was the single most important step to stability (no more daily reboots). I grew into a fairly large system (see my signature) and just didn’t pay attention to the VeraLite limits (published clearly) :-).

After a successful antenna installation, I suspect the problems left will be those attributable to Zwave and the Zwave device design. Not something I can change, but certainly something I can work around :-).

Same here. 1100sq. ft house. But Vera is located at one end. With the antenna mod, now the devices on the other side of the house report to her directly. I plan to run cat5 through the attic and once that has been completed, Vera 3 will be moved to a more central location for even better coverage.

And yeah, my Vera 3 has been rock solid. I’m not sure if it’s the additional memory it has over the VeraLite that is contributing to that but there are not that many other significant differences.

I have a Vera3 with four Z-Wave CT30 thermostat’s. The thermostat’s were “Included” to the Z-Wave network on battery power due to the bug in the RTZW-01 module firmware v7.40

Performance is non existent. The Z-Wave network only works for a short period after adding the devices, and then goes deaf.

I tried an external antenna on the Vera3, but each antenna was worse (What is less then zero ??).

So I built a 13" Full wave antenna for the Vera3, and added a 1/4 wave, 3.25" home made antenna to the farthest thermostat.

Thermostats can hear again, but the furthest, is not replying loud enough for the Vera3.
Also one of the un-modded thermostat is not loud enough for the Vera3.

I have new RTZW-01 modules on order with FW 9.0, so that I can “Include” these thermostat’s as POWERED devices.


It’s odd that the antenna degraded your signal. I did the antenna mod at my house because I have battery power locks on the perimeter of my home and the results where very good. I used to have a couple of locks that would not stay connected on the periphery and the heal report (deprecated) showed many devices with 1 or 2 stars. When looking at the routes on these devices, many of them were communicating through 2 devices. After the mod every device except for the locks boosted to 5 stars and most communicate direct or with only one hop.

It is very important that the antenna is a 900Mhz range antenna. I bought several antennas as they were only a few bucks a piece and tried each one. I settled on a 5dbi since it isn’t as long as the 7dbi antennas and the difference between the 2 was indistinguishable. I even got some improvement with a 3dbi but never a signal degradation.

Bear in mind I froze at 1.7.619 so I do not have the z-wave upgrade. Did you look at how these thermostats are trying to communicate? Look at the AutoRoute variable on the thermostat.

I am sure the antenna’s I tried were not tuned to 908mhz. That is why I built an antenna at 13" length for full wave tuned for 908mhz

I am at 1.7.960 and don’t see “autoroute”, and also I do not know how to get the signal report that shows the signal each device has as stars ??

I see two things happening now. The thermostat’s fall asleep and Vera3 is not able to wake them. I have a period of time after I manually adjust the thermostat, in which time Vera3 can sent commands successfully. Hopefully the new Z-Wave modules and operation with the “C” wire connected will correct these sleepy thermostat’s.

Still the thermostat’s don’t have enough signal strength for Vera3 to hear the responses from them. Vera3 is sending commands well…

The z-wave firmware change to 1.7.960 routes differently than previous versions as Sigma has changed their firmware. This is what prompted me to hold at 1.7.619 since I cannot seem to find information regarding the route optimization. I’ll bet the new firmware does not populate the AutoRoute field anymore and for sure the Heal Report (the report with the stars) has been deprecated.

However, this issue sounds like an issue where the hops (communicating devices) between the thermostat and Vera does not have a device that supports beaming. Sometimes you can fix this issue by installing a device that does beam between Vera and the thermostat that supports beaming as most mains connected devices do.

Do devices in the new firmware have a capabilities variable?
Since I do not know how to determine what the route is between the devices anymore, maybe this is just more dynamic than the old routing mechanism. Perhaps, someone who knows more about routing in the new firmware can chime in on how the routes are determined. Given this is a mesh, the routes need to be deterministic at some point in the communication.

OK, I excluded each thermostat, connected the “C” wire and re-included the thermostat. This changed the firmware from 7.40 to 7.41

Now everything is working great, I probably can undo the antenna mods. Each request is followed by a “Success” response from the thermostat instantly.

I guess the Z-wave modules are no longer sleeping on the job…

I am puzzled why there is so much discussion on antenna mods for Vera. Z-Wave is a fully meshed network as I understand it. As long as there is an available route to all devices, it shouldn’t matter if the Vera can directly communicate with the farthest node. Am I missing something?

You are. :slight_smile:

  • Some devices can only provide an instant status when they are directly connected to the controller.
  • Response time feels faster when a device is directly connected to the controller rather than having to relay through multiple devices.

Both my Vera 3’s run with 5dB external antenna’s and coverage on both has improved with those. As my Ui7 Vera 3 mostly has battery operated devices (sensors et al) attached and only a few mains powered ones that can be used as relays, the stronger signal has resulted in a more reliable setup. One that is far cheaper ($6) than installing several more $20 to $40) mains powered zwave devices to basically only act as relays. This as my Ui5 Vera3 runs almost all of the lights, tstat and locks.