The Z-Wave Alliance is launching a new specification today, one that will expand the idea of a smart home, quite literally. The Z-Wave Long Range will allow smart devices to link to wireless connections across four times the distance than they can today. In addition, devices will be able to work for up to 10 years on a single coin cell battery — and all existing products will be backward compatible with the new specification.
The increased distance between devices and their network support is sizable — think smart door locks that could work on a back shed, pool house or a property gate at the end of long driveways and more. One smart home network will actually be able to support more than 2,000 nodes, 10 times what Z-Wave can currently provide. And while the average home likely doesn't need this level of connection, multi-unit dwellings, offices, hotels and other sites could benefit from this upgrade.
The new Z-Wave Long Range will also mean consumers won't need repeaters to expand the coverage in their space, and updates will continue to be over the air. The new specifications will be able to go through walls, and move around obstacles. The ability to work for 10 years on a single coin cell battery also means companies will be able to design smaller products as well.
Three major Z-Wave Alliance companies are currently in alpha testing with the new specification, said Mitchell Klein, The Z-Wave Alliance's executive director to GearBrain, and will be the first companies to release new products that dovetail with the new technology. A beta release will happen in the fourth quarter of 2020, so companies can begin developing products around the new long range specification, and Klein said he expects a general release by mid to late first quarter of 2021.