Which Communication Protocol to Choose for Smart Switches: Zigbee or Z-wave?


Smart switches are considered among the most popular home appliances today due to the fact that they can be controlled remotely. There are different types of communication protocols for smart switches that vary in frequency and other features. In case you are planning to have a smart switch installed, here is some information that can help you in deciding what communication protocol to use:

Different Types Of Wireless Connections


One of the benefits of installing smart switches is that they simply require a wireless connection. Wi-Fi is the most popular protocol for wireless connectivity and is widely used for commercial and residential applications. Furthermore, it is highly conducive for transferring large files, movies, and video streaming. Take note however that when many devices are connected to a Wi-Fi network, their bandwidth and connectivity strength may decrease.

Bluetooth is another wireless communication protocol that is used by some smart devices for data transfer and is mainly found in portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Small files such as music and audio files can be transferred using this protocol. However, it is not often capable of connecting a larger number of devices. Take note that in Singapore, most Bluetooth smart switches do not require a smart hub to work.



Most smart switches work through communication protocols like Zigbee which is an open-source protocol that enables multiple smart switches to be connected. Zigbee is essentially a mesh network that allows smart devices to communicate with each other at a maximum range of 60 feet.

Z-wave on the other hand is a proprietary wireless connection protocol that is often used for devices located at large distances from each other. Devices using this protocol can communicate with each other over distances of up to 500 feet essentially forming a mesh network.

Since this is a proprietary protocol, most smart switch products for either of these protocols are rather expensive. Nevertheless, they can be extremely helpful when you want to take control of your light switches when you are away from home.

Pros And Cons Of Wi-Fi Connection

Easy Connection To Mobile Apps

Most apps developed for smartphones are made to allow smart switches and other smart devices to connect with each other over a WiFi network. Due to improvements in technology, these devices are now as affordable as ever. Moreover, it is now much easier to establish a reliable connection.

Nearly all smartphones and tablets have built-in Wi-Fi modules considering that it is the most popular protocol for establishing wireless connections. Whether you are planning to get a smart switch or smart bulb, you can easily control either device through your smartphone over a wireless network.

Limited Wi-Fi Bandwidth

When devices are connected to a wireless network, they take up large amounts of bandwidth. In some cases, especially when movies and other videos are being live-streamed, the amount of bandwidth consumed is so heavy that most of the devices connected suffer connectivity problems.

Pros And Cons Of Zigbee/Z-Wave

Functions On Its Independent Frequency, Does Not Utilize Wi-Fi Bandwidth

One of the most common misconceptions about Zigbee and Z-wave smart switches is that they consume large amounts of bandwidth just like WiFi smart switches. On the contrary, Z-wave devices have a frequency band of only 800-900 Mhz. As such, they do not interfere much with Wi-Fi bandwidth since most Wi-Fi networks function at a speed of 2.4 GHz. The same applies to Zigbee models since they use a protocol with limited bandwidth usage.

Requires Additional Smart Hub To Connect Switches To Mobile App


Since mobile phones only have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the user will have to purchase and install an additional smart hub in case they want to install Zigbee or Z-wave smart switches. Only when you have a smart hub can these home smart switches be remotely controlled and connect with one another.


Choosing the right communication protocol that best works for your smart switch can help in improving your lifestyle and daily routine. In Singapore, there are companies like Smart Switch City that can install and set-up your smart switch for you. To learn more about us, feel free to visit our website.

Smart Switch City Singapore specializes in providing professional and reliable smart switch installation services. With a wide range of smart switch products and brands, customers will get choose the most suitable smart switch according to their needs. Our customer service support team is well-trained to provide practical recommendations and attend to your queries swiftly. To provide holistic service excellence to our customers, we have a team of highly experienced electricians to perform smart switch installation services. You may wish to read through our blogs and smart switch buying guide to learn more about the things you should take note of before installing smart switches. Do not hesitate to WhatsApp us at +65 8241 0032 if you have any queries on smart switches and we will be happy to assist!