Wifi switches

Just got an email about Leviton switches with wifi. Price point is just about same as Zwave. I would not consider myself an expert at home automation so can someone tell me the pros and cons of wifi over zwave switches.

Z-Wave devices require a controller and they are paired to it. That controller, in this case Vera, sits in physical proximity to the devices and maintains connectivity using a specific frequency radio signal. When it comes time to issue commands (like turning a light on), everything happens “within the house”.

For WiFi devices, there is no Hub or Controller, and you would almost certainly be leveraging a smart phone app or similar skill from Echo (as an example) that communicates with systems in the cloud that then communicate with your WiFi-enabled devices in your home (likely by them polling to the same cloud systems). This basically renders everything completely non-functional in the event of an outage to the Internet. Control of WiFi-enabled devices is generally something I would expect would be slower because of having to send all of my traffic to the cloud and back as well.

WiFi radio frequencies are higher and can better penetrate through walls and such. But, there are plenty of things competing with those signals in the house already including cordless phones, baby monitors, and the like.

The Belkin WeMo switches work on WiFi. I had absolutely NOTHING but trouble with those things. My Z-Wave devices have worked very well and have given me, collectively, fewer problems in 2.5 years than three WeMo devices did in two weeks.

I think you stated that backwards. Higher frequencies like WiFi(2.4GHz & 5.8GHz) don’t penetrate as well as Z-Wave(900MHz) at the same power.

Yes, that is backwards.

I also failed to point out that WiFi’s limit “is what it is”. You could try and increase the range with WiFi Range Extenders, but this sort of facility is “built in” to Z-Wave devices (that aren’t powered only by battery). A single Z-Wave controller, through the meshing of devices and devices acting as repeaters, could conceivably achieve a radius of 400m (almost 1/4 mile) with nothing but Z-Wave devices in the environment. The likelihood of getting that sort of coverage with WiFi is basically zero.

But Wifi typically broadcast at a higher power level than the Z-Wave devices.

Internet Protocol (used by wifi) is more complex … and many cheaper devices do not do a good job at providing a robust solution.