If you're starting out on your Home Assistant journey, then you need to decide which protocols you want to include in your network. A sizable percentage of the smart home device market is built on the Zigbee protocol so it's a no-brainer to accommodate it.
In this article, we are going to give you a closer look at the integration between Zigbee and Home Assistant.
What Is Home Assistant?
Home Assistant is an open-source software designed to facilitate home automation. It helps you enjoy a centralized control of your smart home devices, from your HVAC system to your coffee maker. This technology is useful for people with multiple smart devices in their homes.
Additionally, the network gives you access to data analytics such as your home’s energy and gas consumption statistics. You don’t need to have multiple apps to control every smart device when you have this software – as it allows for centralized control.
What Does Home Assistant Do?
Primarily, Home Assistant is designed to offer a centralized platform for controlling all your compatible smart devices. However, what makes it unique is that it is not dependent on third-party services. Furthermore, unlike smart systems, it has a wide range of competitive features. This is because they are not limited to working with a single brand.
When it comes to the remote control of your devices, Home Assistant doesn’t only facilitate the turning on and off of the devices. Other functions include setting up schedules for each device and connecting two or more devices to work with one another.
What Is Zigbee?
Zigbee is a protocol network designed to establish a centralized network for smart home automation. The protocol is typically designed for a small scale project usually within a range of 10 to 100 meters. However, you can establish a mesh network with repeaters to increase the range. Due to its design, the protocol is not dependent on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections. In turn, it allows for low-cost operations and uses a low data rate while consuming very little battery power.
Benefits of Using Zigbee with Home Assistant
The most prized Zigbee Home Assistant asset is perhaps its completely localized design. When integrating Zigbee with Home Assistant, you don’t really need to establish an internet connection. This means that if you lose connection, everything can be controlled locally. It makes the network quite reliable.
Unlike Wi-Fi networks, Zigbee networks are not dependent on an internet connection. Additionally, they do not support many users or cover a wide range. Therefore, the Zigbee network is secure. With the lack of an internet connection, the network is less prone to hackers. Its local connection means that someone will have to physically be within the range of your home to try and access the network.
Less Wi-Fi Traffic
This network type is great for people who want to avoid traffic on Wi-Fi networks. Since Zigbee uses its own local network, it doesn’t depend on an internet connection, resulting in a significant boost in its speed and reliability. While this may limit its range, you still enjoy less traffic than that on a Wi-Fi network.
Setting Up Zigbee on Home Assistant
This section will show you how to set up Zigbee on Home Assistant.
Before you begin the setup process, have everything you need ready. This includes a Home Assistant system, Zigbee hub, and Zigbee devices.
Next, connect the devices. The following steps will show you how.
- First, plug the Zigbee hub into the Raspberry Pi stick.
- On your PC or laptop, access the system by going to Home Assistant > Supervisor.
- On the Supervisor section, click on System > Hardware.
- Next, confirm the name of your Zigbee device and click on the section where you can edit files.
- Add the Zigbee code name from above and save the changes.
Make sure the connection is complete.
Before you begin to use the network, make sure that it has been established. To do so, select the Configuration tab and choose Server. Run the configuration to confirm all is working just fine. This process will also reboot the Home Assistant.
Here’s a breakdown of how to pair Zigbee devices.
- Prepare the device
If your device is currently being used, switch it off and unplug it for a few minutes. Then, plug it in and switch it on. This makes the pairing process easier.
2. Begin the pairing
- On the Home Assistant, access the Configurations tab.
- Once you are on that tab, you should be able to see an option to integrate your Zigbee device
- Click on Add Devices > Pairing. Follow the instructions on the device you wish to add.
- Once the pairing is complete, you should now be able to use Home Assistant.
Note: You should make sure your device is not currently connected to any device for it to pair with Home Assistant. If your device is connected to a hub, before you begin the pairing process, remove that hub.
Home Assistant Yellow
If you don't fancy pulling together your Home Assistant hardware yourself, then Home Assistant Yellow (Previously Amber) may be what you need. It's currently at Crowdfunding stage, but is essentially a hardware and software stack designed for a quick deployment of Home Assistant.
You can check the status of the project here
What Is Home Assistant Yellow?
Home Assistant Yellow refers to an all-in-one box-like device with USB slots, built with Raspberry PI hardware and pre-installed software. It functions similarly as a smart hub. It features different components that contribute to its overall functionality.
Home Assistant Yellow Integrations
Yellow works with a wide range of devices and services, allowing you to add as much as you want to the network. Some of the popular brands and services to integrate with Home Assistant include the following.
- Amazon Alexa
- Honeywell Home
Benefits of Using Home Assistant Yellow
- It offers open-source software that you can update at any time.
- It is a fast, reliable, and secure network.
- It can accommodate a larger group of devices.
- A Zigbee Home Assistant connection extends product compatibility further. With just Zigbee alone, the network will cover certain brands. However, using Zigbee through Home Assistant extends this compatibility, allowing you to integrate products from brands that may not be compatible with Zigbee alone.
- It integrates with over 1000 devices and services in one place without the need to create a bridge for each device.
- You can opt for grouped control of devices, for example, switching outdoor lights on and off collectively.
- It provides detailed tracking of each device integrated into the network.
- It provides powerful insights into your home’s energy use, gas use, and solar production.
- It offers pre-designed automation for different tasks around your home – for example, you can set up a schedule for brewing coffee daily when the sun comes out or turning on the heat when the indoor temperature hits a pre-recorded level.
Common Questions Relating to The Home Assistant Zigbee
The choice of whether Zigbee or Z-Wave is better entirely depends on your preferences. Zigbee tends to offer a faster working rate whilst, Z-Wave uses less power and doesn’t interfere with a Wi-Fi connection.
The Zigbee network is much safer than a Wi-Fi network. This is because Zigbee has a more localized network design and supports fewer users compared to Wi-Fi connections.
It seems that using Zigbee connections through Home Assistant comes with several main advantages. In addition to its generous speed, Zigbee is quite reliable and secure for its users.
It also supports a huge number of devices, allowing you to create the smart ecosystem you want for your home.