How To Set Up a Z-Wave Network

This guide is a reference on how to pair z-wave devices to your Z-wave compatible alarm panel.

If you would like to increase your current Z-Wave mesh network range and quality, see this post here.

One of the biggest rewards of owning an alarm system and utilizing is the ability to create your own smart-home network of Z-wave devices.

There is, however, a slight learning curve to the installation and troubleshooting when it comes to Z-Wave. Required steps unique to Z-wave (as opposed to RF 319.5MHz or 345MHz sensors) are easy to skip, causing frustration down the line. Not only are they easily forgotten, but the issues caused by not following them can be hidden for a time by a partially functioning device.

We have been there before and so we present a guide to their installation and troubleshooting so your own set up can be smooth and painless.

A little patience in the beginning can save a lot of headaches down the road.

We will start by covering how to pair Z-Wave devices to your panel. There are four major steps to this process:

  1. Ensure Proper Distance for Enrollment
  2. Remove the Device from Parent Network
  3. Enroll Device into Network
  4. Re-Install and Network Rediscovery

Note that the actual programming steps to remove/add devices and run a network rediscovery will differ from panel to panel. Exact programming steps for compatible panels can be found below:

1. Ensure Proper Distance for Enrollment

Unless you are adding an NWI only device (network wide inclusion), the panel and Z-Wave device should be within at least six feet of one another when adding a device. There are a couple ways to achieve this:

  • Bring the Z-Wave device near the panel (if the Z-wave device runs on batteries or can be plugged into an extension cord and brought to the panel.)

    • Ideal for Z-Wave plug in Light modules or Locks (if not already installed)
  • Bring the panel to the Z-Wave device, if the panel can run on battery power.

    • Great for in-wall Z-Wave switches, installed locks, or thermostats.

2. Remove the Device from Parent Network

When pairing a device to a new network, you should first remove it from any existing network it may have been enrolled in. This sounds rather counter-intuitive, but Z-Wave devices, unlike alarm sensors, are linked to a parent device and save that link, even when physically removed.

Inclusion of a Z-Wave device pairs it to that system and it can no longer be added to a new network until it is first removed.

Many of these devices are tested in a network during the manufacturing process, so even when the device is brand new, it should be removed from the network first .Using the remove device function of your panel will clear the previous network link from your Z-Wave device.

3. Enroll Device into Network

When adding the device, be certain to remain in proximity of the panel while the discovery process occurs. As soon as your panel shows that it has found a device, if you run off to eagerly install it, or if you power it down, you can run into issues. There is still a communication process that must occur for the two to properly link. The necessary time for this to occur is different based on the type of device:

  • Very quick for lighting modules/switches,
  • A couple minutes for thermostats .
  • For Door Locks, about 5 minutes. Very crucial to leave the two near one another for the lock to complete secure Enrollment (Often overlooked with Locks)

Patience is key. Once your panel displays the proper type of device you just paired, you are ready to move on.

4. Re-Install and Network Rediscovery

After enrolling all devices into the parent network, its time to install the devices into their final locations and re-mount the panel if it was moved.

When you are done with installation you must run a Z-Wave Network Rediscovery This Network Rediscovery will map and repair the routes of all those devices you just moved around the house. This a crucial last step to ensure the best communication method for your Z-Wave mesh network.

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