Build & Manage

How to build and manage a Z-Wave network

A Z-Wave Network always consists of at least one primary controller and up to 231 further devices. The primary controller manages the network but also controls other devices. Z-Wave devices can also control each other. The role of a primary controller can be fulfilled from every device marked with the icon [C] in the device manual. Other devices can be Sensors [S], portable Controllers (like remote controls) [R], Actuators [A] or even further controllers not serving as primary controller.

Where to position the devices?

Z-Wave provides a robust wireless connection and use every mains powered device as wireless router. In case a direct wireless connection fails these routers will help to forward a wireless message to its destination. This ensures much freedom for installation – however certain guidelines should be noted:

  • Don’t position Z-Wave closer then 30 cm (1 ft) from large metal constructions.
  • More mains powered devices in the home lead to a more reliable Z-Wave network since there are more alternative routes to the target.
  • Don’t wind or cut external antennas.

Mains powered actors or sensors are always wirelessly active (hence they can act as routers) Battery operated devices remain in a sleep state most of the time and need to be woken up to communicate with. The device manuals icon [W] informs about the wakeup process. Additionally they will wakeup regularly – e.g. every 15 minutes – to accept wireless commands from the primary controller. Actors with batteries like sirens or door locks remain active all the time but consume considerably more energy.

Inclusion – Connect the devices together

Devices need to be introduced to each other to communicate. This is called inclusion and driven by the primary controller.

  1. Turn the primary controller into the so-called inclusion mode. The icon [CI] in the controller manual shows how to activate the inclusion mode.
  2. The new and already powered device needs to confirm the inclusion. For devices with support for auto inclusion (see manual for info on auto inclusion) this happens by connecting it with the mains power or inserting the battery. Otherwise the manual section marked with [I] informs about the inclusion confirmation. Usually this is done by pressing a button one or three times.
  3. Attention: A device already included in a different network must be excluded resp. reset because being included again.
  4. Repeat the process for every device.

Interview – get knowledge about the devices

After successful inclusion the primary controller will automatically interview the new device detecting its functions. If battery operated devices accidently go into deep sleep mode they have to be waken up again manually. The controller will indicate a successful

Association – How devices control devices

Z-Wave devices control other Z-Wave devices. The relationship between the controlling device and the controlled device is called association and is managed by the primary controller. The controlling device maintains list of devices to control. These lists are referred to certain event (button press, PIR trigger, …) in this device. If such an event happens all devices in this group will receive a wireless control command.

The [A] in the manual of the controlling device informs about the groups and the event they are related to. The manual of the primary controller tells at icon [CA] about how to insert and remove devices from these lists.


Z-Wave devices are supposed to be ready for use right after inclusion. However certain configuration
parameters allows to further adapt the devices behavior to the users expectation. The section “Configuration Parameters” in the device manual informs about the type of the configuration parameter and possible values. The configuration is managed by the primary controller. Attention: Battery operated devices need to be woken up to store and activate changed configurations.

Configurations and Associations can be changed later on too. Don’t forget to wake up battery operated devices to activate any change in association groups or configuration.

Trouble Shouting

  • In case of malfunctions or delays try to perform a reorganization of the network. Information about this process can be found in the primary controllers manual.
  • Remove unused or defect devices from the network. If the device is still available, exclude them from the network following the exclusion process described in the devices manual [I]. If the device was broken or lost, force them out of the network. The primary controllers manual give guidance how to do this.

Automation and Scenes

Controller may offer various application like scene switching or timer based actions. Please refer to the controllers manual on details about these advanced functions.