Zigbee gateway with support for multiple vendors?


  • Mod

    I know this question is a bit off topic for MySensors, but we have a lot of home automation enthusiasts here.

    Are there any zigbee gateways that support multiple vendors? From what Ihave understood, Ikea's gateway only supports Ikea devices and Xiaomi's gateway only supports Xaiomi devices.

    Is it possible to let Zigbee devices from different vendors co-exist in the same mesh network?



  • Basically, most ZigBee gateways should be able to interact with Nodes from other vendors, too. The protocoll is very much standardized...

    I'd recommend to have a look at zigbee2mqtt and deconz (using a ConBee II, that's also compatible to zigbee2mqtt). I myself use deconz in FHEM and originally started into the ZigBee world with z2m@CC2531 (CC2531 is outdated imo, I personally disliked the update mechanisms for z2m).



  • Yeah, companies want you to buy their own gateway to lock you into "their" ecosystem. Some ecosystems, like Philip's hue for example, at least allow you to add a limited set of third-party devices to their system. But generally, as long as the ZigBee devices follow the protocol, which most do, they should be able to co-exist in a single network - it's just that most commercial vendors don't seem to want that.

    Luckily, as rejoe2 mentioned, there are open source ZigBee stacks like Zigbee2MQTT or the Home Assistant-centric ZHA, which allow you to manage all your devices from a unified UI / HA controller.

    I personally use Zigbee2MQTT together with a Sonoff Zigbee Plus Dongle (powerful CC2652P) and have devices from various vendors connected. Philips hue and Innr LED bulbs, Osram plugs, some Chinese radiator valves, Xiaomi thermometers,..

    There are websites that list which Zigbee devices are compatible with open ZigBee software stacks, with information about how to set them up, etc:
    https://zigbee.blakadder.com/index.html
    https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/supported-devices/



  • Some additional remarks: From "outside", afaik deconz behaves to a large extent similar like a hue bridge (e.g. also allowing Adroid apps lie HUE Essentials to connect), so besides FHEM also other Controller software might be able to integrate it.

    Some vendors of the ZigBee stuff I've integrated (or at least tested): Xiaomi (sensors are ok, but keep away from relay stuff), Müller Licht, Ledvance, tradfri, various "chinese no name" (e.g. sold by Lidl and/or Ali express (almost all working!)), Sonoff (We-"something", not satisfied in all cases).



  • I have a Nortek GoControl USBZB-1 zwave/zigbee hub. I've been very happy with it. I've mostly used cheap devices with it, and only maybe 2 more mainstream things, like a Philips light. Other than lights, I think I only have a bunch of these plugs around: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L3K5KPB

    Anything branded Zigbee is supposed to be certified to work with any Zigbee network, but I have no idea what the big names do on top of the protocol. I've also never used a name-brand bridge device, so I've never really looked into what it might need. Home Assistant knows that it's a Philips light connected to it, but that's because it asks the devices for their info, and things like brand and serial id get returned to it. Probably other stuff - it's been a while since I looked. Anyway, even though it knows all that about the light, it's just using the basic Zigbee driver for it through the USBZB-1 gateway, and it has full control and it all works fine. I'm pretty sure it's not sending out custom Philips commands to the light, but just standard stuff.

    Hope that helped a little! 🙂



  • I confirm care has to be taken: some brands want to lock you, the worst being Tuya, their devices are programmed in a way for them to work only with their gateway.

    I’m very happy with the « silvercrest » gateway ; it works well and there is an « easy » hack to gain control of it there: https://paulbanks.org/projects/lidl-zigbee/#overview

    (and here for french speaking people: https://faire-ca-soi-meme.fr/domotique/2021/03/22/hack-detournement-de-la-passerelle-lidl-silvercrest/)



  • Most of Zigbee hub vendors do not want thridparty devices in there ecosystem and one is limited to what vendor allows (not to mention communication with a gateway is usually limited to vendor's app/cloud). In some cases it's possible to hack the thing to gain control (but it's fragile and hole could be closed on the next firmware update) and some home automation platforms integrate with such gateways using their cloud interface (but that is fragile construct /bad connection, cloud API change, .../). As for end devices, it depends on how far
    the vendor deviated from the standard, one has to check if the device works with ones gateway or ask/write integration for it.
    I use deconz raspi module with deconz frontend, a friend of mine uses deconz USB stick with Home Assistant ZHA. There are plenty of other opensource gateway implementations. And in many cases community members there help with integrating new devices (even ones that deviate from the standard), however no one will give you a guarantie that the thing would work as in many cases custom protocol extensions just reverse engineered .
    I have a small zigbee zoo (~70 devices) from various vendors (xiaomi,ikea,philips,osram,tuya,phoscon,sonoff,no name,some DIY devices), which mostly works, sometimes there are routing glitches between philips/ikea bulbs and xiaomi sensors (but bulbs are really old +years, maybe it's better with newer ones). Recently whenever I'm in market for some zigbee device, I'm trying to get a Zigbee 3.0 one (hoping more strict standard compliance rules would make it easier to integrate with).



  • I use Home Assistant that has built-in integration with Zigbee (ZHA). You only need a USB Zigbee dongle, of which there are plenty. https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha/


  • Hero Member

    Interesting!

    @mfalkvidd Maybe this one would work for you? It claims to be a "universal" zigbee gateway for Home Assistant: https://www.amazon.com/SONOFF-Gateway-Universal-Assistant-Wireless/dp/B09KXTCMSC/ref=sr_1_3?crid=10FWPD3DZ4BNK&keywords="home+assistant"+usb&qid=1652268360&sprefix=home+assistant+usb%2Caps%2C93&sr=8-3

    The new Alexa's supposedly have zigbee built into them. If you have one of those, then maybe you already have a gateway? I haven't tried it. Just thinking out loud.



  • @NeverDie yes, I use this one. But amazon's price is very high, I bought one from aliexpress for 11$. Essentially it's just a USB Zigbee adapter with an external antenna. It identifies as "Texas Instruments CC1352/CC2652".
    UPDATE: Wow, it's really became pricier https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003606767695.html


  • Hero Member

    @niallain said in Zigbee gateway with suuport for multiple vendors?:

    Most of Zigbee hub vendors do not want thridparty devices in there ecosystem and one is limited to what vendor allows (not to mention communication with a gateway is usually limited to vendor's app/cloud). In some cases it's possible to hack the thing to gain control (but it's fragile and hole could be closed on the next firmware update) and some home automation platforms integrate with such gateways using their cloud interface (but that is fragile construct /bad connection, cloud API change, .../). As for end devices, it depends on how far
    the vendor deviated from the standard, one has to check if the device works with ones gateway or ask/write integration for it.
    I use deconz raspi module with deconz frontend, a friend of mine uses deconz USB stick with Home Assistant ZHA. There are plenty of other opensource gateway implementations. And in many cases community members there help with integrating new devices (even ones that deviate from the standard), however no one will give you a guarantie that the thing would work as in many cases custom protocol extensions just reverse engineered .
    I have a small zigbee zoo (~70 devices) from various vendors (xiaomi,ikea,philips,osram,tuya,phoscon,sonoff,no name,some DIY devices), which mostly works, sometimes there are routing glitches between philips/ikea bulbs and xiaomi sensors (but bulbs are really old +years, maybe it's better with newer ones). Recently whenever I'm in market for some zigbee device, I'm trying to get a Zigbee 3.0 one (hoping more strict standard compliance rules would make it easier to integrate with).

    In your experience, which at 70 devices sounds pretty vast, which brands work the best (soundly reliable) with the universal gateways and home assistant? I had pessimistically assumed the different brands would all be encrypting their data or doing other tricks to lock you in to their ecosystem, but if that's not the case, then maybe for a lot of things this is currently the easiest/cheapest path to "good enough" wireless sensors.




  • Hero Member

    @monte said in Zigbee gateway with suuport for multiple vendors?:

    @NeverDie you can look here for reference https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/supported-devices/

    On the one hand, it says, "Currently 2195 devices are supported from 301 different vendors." Wow! That's great. And it lists the particular model numbers, which is great too. But when I go looking for a particular model number to buy, and.... I'm finding they aren't advertised by model number (nor is there a specific model number like that in the description). Instead, on, say, aliexpress, it wil say "Tuya temperature humidity sensor" or "Xiaomi Temperature humidity sensor", but not the model number.

    So, in general, if it looks the same and says "Zigbee 3.0", is it the same as what's in the zigbee2mqtt list of supported devices, or is it one of those prickly things where it looks the same but there's some slight difference in model number (which, it seems, one can't necessarily find out until after delivery) and that often means it probably isn't supported/compatible?



  • @NeverDie said in Zigbee gateway with suuport for multiple vendors?:

    On the one hand, it says, "Currently 2195 devices are supported [....] or is it one of those prickly things where it looks the same but [...]

    According to my personal experience (although using deconz) almost all the "ZigBee 3.0" stuff bought from local Discounters and/or chinese marketplaces had been working just from the start or been integrated timely (no experience with blind controllers though!). I and some other FHEM users did some (German) writeup on that here.
    So basically, imo in most 3.0 cases with "simple devices" like sensors and bulbs the question is not whether a specific device can be integrated, it's other issues that matter:

    • the quality itself. I had some very disappointing buys, e.g. an rgbw bulb from Lidl with painfull white light color, noname Xiaomi-motionsensor clone (battery empty after some hours?), same with Sonoff motion sensors, that additionally didn't work at all...
    • you have to take care to buy the right hardware variant: There's tons of relay devices, but how to wire them? Some take 230V as switch input, others 230V als momentary button, others have to be wired in very exotic ways... No configuration options at all (at least I couldn't find that), very sparce documentation in advance. Somehow frustrating...

  • Hero Member

    @rejoe2 Thanks for your post. You raise a good point about conformance not equating to performance. For instance, no matter what the radio standard, if the sensor has a lousy antenna, the range will be impaired. Or, in your example, extremely bad energy management leading to a dead battery within hours.

    Is sending the raw received Zigbee 3.0 packet to MQTT sufficient? Or does it have to be parsed and then the parsed data forwarded to MQTT? If the former, then maybe I could throw together a simple Zigbee C2530, CC2531, or CC2540 (not sure which) zigbee to serial transceiver like (https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003103244824.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.7ab93c6cbS7cMw&algo_pvid=4645ab4e-ac1e-4803-919d-f93dd10803fa&algo_exp_id=4645ab4e-ac1e-4803-919d-f93dd10803fa-7&pdp_ext_f={"sku_id"%3A"12000024754357316"}&pdp_npi=2%40dis!USD!!3.72!!!2.11!!%400b0a555e16524414970292922ea46f!12000024754357316!sea) together with a Wemos D1 Mini to simply read the packet and forward it to MQTT . Would that be sufficient? i.e. the same/similar idea as this:
    https://www.openhardware.io/view/394/Minimalist-LoRa-Ra-01-Shield-for-WeMos-D1-Mini
    or this:
    https://www.openhardware.io/view/392/Minimalist-RFM69HW-Shield-for-Wemos-D1-Mini

    but using a serial Zigbee 3.0 transceiver module instead. If it's as simple as that, then I could bang out a Wemos adapter probably pretty fast in KiCAD and post it to openhardware.io. If that would work, I think I'd prefer it over a USB adapter, since a USB in turn would have to be plugged into a raspberry pi or something (unless you could plug it directly into your Home Assistant server and still get good range), which seems like a lot of overhead for doing something so simple. Also, this way you could put your zigbee 3.0 transceiver (maybe more than one) close enough to your Zigbe 3.0 sensors that you wouldn't drop packets. On the other hand, if Zigbee 3.0 implies 2.4Ghz band, then maybe sitting it right next to an esp8266 isn't going to work so well.... Hmmmm..... thinking about it now, I suppose an ethernet gateway would be better for that reason wouldn't it? In which case, yeah, I finally see the appeal of a Zigbee-to-usb dongle plugged into a pi or something like that.

    Anyhow, when it comes to cheap Aliexpress wireless sensors, branding does seem to carry some weight. As near as I can tell, Sonoff seems like one brand that's willing to be fairly open with its stuff (or at least was in the past. Not sure if it's still true or not).



  • @NeverDie

    Is sending the raw received Zigbee 3.0 packet to MQTT sufficient?

    Although I've done quite a lot of funny "practictioners testing" with different ZigBee stuff, I'm not very deep into all the details. So here's something like a personal summary wrt. to the technical aspects - more from a pure consumer view though:

    • using a "simple MQTT interface" might be possible, but most likely processing the data isn't fun at all;
    • with Tasmota (https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Zigbee/) there's already a ZigBee2mqtt implementation running on ESP8266/ESP32 base. I personally didn't like that solution, especially as there had not been any "over time consistency" in the messages. Once you "rejoin" the ZigBee mesh with a device, this one gets a new identifier - no possibility to track which one it has been in the past; (additionally the json structure of the messages is basically a mess, too, imo)
    • especially CC253x is very limited when used as coordinator, there's better silicon available for that purpose. For diy solutions it's a well-known chip, see here and mysensors-ZigBee-diy-discussion.
    • wrt. to "coordinator software" using one of the long-term established solutions imo is the easier way than developing one your own. Choose between deconz, zigbee2mqtt or (perhaps, no experience with that) openhab and you're done. The later two afaik can use the "raw serial stream" of quite a lot of common devices - this is e.g. why I originally bought the "Lidl Starter Set": The bridge has not only a powerfull coordinator chip on board, but also a LAN interface and might be used together with them after beeing hacked (no link at hand, sorry).

    Obviously, doing a really structured job on coordinating (and visualizing) the mesh network requires some more computing power, so this will exceed at least what's possible with an ESP8266, but as one has typically running a more powerful box for the automation itself, running e.g. deconz or zigbee2mqtt on top of that doesn't really make a difference.

    Apart from that:

    • What's also very obscure is the question, if "bindings" are possible between specific devices (direct communication between two devices without controller software interaction). And - even if that's possible - if it's really used when building "groups" within the controller software...
    • As soon as there's enough "router" devices, the network itself seems to be rather stable. In the beginning, I sometimes had trouble especially with "tradfri" bulbs that had to be unpowered from time to time (could also have improved by newer firmware or changing the location they were used, didn't investigate much in that) (same with one specific Xiaomi temp/hum-sensor).

  • Hero Member

    @rejoe2 Yipes! Thanks for your detailed reply. it does sound a lot more complicated than I had supposed. My naive approach to making a gateway probably wouldn't work then.



  • @NeverDie said in Zigbee gateway with support for multiple vendors?:

    @rejoe2 Yipes! Thanks for your detailed reply. it does sound a lot more complicated than I had supposed. My naive approach to making a gateway probably wouldn't work then.

    You're welcome!
    Originally I started quite similar and had the idea to write a plugin for FHEM that uses the output of a CC253x directly (similar to what openhab seems to do), but finally gave up before even really beginning...
    At that time, the ConBee II was the only powerfull USB adopter available, so I decided to switch to deconz from zigbee2mqtt (CC2531, ConBee wasn't supported at that point in time). I still don't like the strict split between "sensors" and "lights" resulting in 2 or more "devices" in the long-time existing "bridge"-implementation in FHEM for one and the same hardware (e.g. a plug with power measuring will be 3 devices in the end), but that's not really that important to change horses again (zigbee2mqtt will use the full hardware address, if you refrain from using "friendly names" (a real euphemism, btw.))



  • @NeverDie I think this is what you are looking for:
    https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Zigbee/#hardware
    https://github.com/esphome/feature-requests/issues/1111
    Also look at "Network" category: https://www.zigbee2mqtt.io/guide/adapters/
    If you want to make something yourself, you need to make UART to LAN adapter basically. Home Assistant can use network socket as serial address https://www.home-assistant.io/integrations/zha/#zigate-or-sonoff-zbbridge-devices. So basically you think in the right direction, just skip MQTT part:)



  • @NeverDie avoid tuya devices: they are intendly made to work only with the tuya app.
    people try to work this around , for instance in ZHA quirks, but this is a nightmare of reverse engineering


  • Mod

    Thanks everyone.

    I now have a working Zigbee network. Used zigbee2mqtt, sonoff zigbee 3.0 usb dongle, a bunch of sonoff temp/hum sensors. I was able to join three existing Ikea trådfri devices to the same network, where two of them act as routers to make the network more reliable.

    I'm impressed with the reliability of the network, and the battery life of the sensors (powered by coin cell batteries and sometimes updating as often as every 10 seconds). This looks reliable enough to be used in projects.


  • Mod

    I spoke too soon. One of the SNZB-02 (the one in the attic) stopped reporting. Before it dropped off, it reported a lqi of 105 and 100% battery. The Ikea tradfri router is about 6m from the attic device.

    I put a second device in the same location and pressed the join button. It registed in the network but has never reported any values.

    I also put a device in the car. I understand this is not a normal use case, but I thought the device would rejoin the network every time the car is back home. But that doesn't seem to work.

    So so far, the robustness of the network doesn't seem to be as good as I hoped. Maybe Zigbee is not the right solution for projects.



  • @mfalkvidd said in Zigbee gateway with support for multiple vendors?:

    I spoke too soon. One of the SNZB-02 (the one in the attic) stopped reporting. Before it dropped off, it reported a lqi of 105 and 100% battery. [...]
    So so far, the robustness of the network doesn't seem to be as good as I hoped. Maybe Zigbee is not the right solution for projects.

    As already mentionned:
    @rejoe2 said in Zigbee gateway with support for multiple vendors?:

    So basically, imo in most 3.0 cases with "simple devices" like sensors and bulbs the question is not whether a specific device can be integrated, it's other issues that matter:

    • the quality itself. I had some very disappointing buys, e.g. an rgbw bulb from Lidl with painfull white light color, noname Xiaomi-motionsensor clone (battery empty after some hours?), same with Sonoff motion sensors, that additionally didn't work at all...

    Especially the SonOff stuff seems to be disappointing. For the rest, it mostly depends on the stability of the network itself (amount of "always powered" router type devices).

    But finally, I still prefer using (wired) MySensors for some of the things that's still in the pipeline to come somewhen in time 😁...



  • @mfalkvidd Please keep us informed on how this goes for you.

    A few months ago I also implemented a zigbee network for similar reasons. The nodes are very inexpensive, small, and coin cell powered. I am using these for common applications like temp or motion. That way I can use MySensors nodes for the more custom or complicated applications. So far I have had no problems, actually am surprised at how reliable and fast it is. I have tried to limit the number of different vendors as I understand that can present a problem. I opted to use ZHA (Home Assistant) instead of MQTT, so far works great. Using Sonoff USB 3.0, all other Sonoff zigbee nodes, Sengled bulbs, and Aqara cube, vibration & water detectors. If I run into any problems will also post here.

    [Using Home Assistant, Intel NUC, Zwave, MySensors 2.4 & 915, Zigbee, ESP]



  • What is also most interesting with zigbee is a very important number of devices, and low price of them compared to zwave for instance.


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