Noise in z-wave network

Hi: I thought I’d tell my saga of a noise problem in the z-wave network in hopes it helps someone else. It took several months to identify the actual device causing the issue. I now feel confident that I have solved the problem. I’m not sure of the dates that I called Ring or other supports but the process to conclusion I am confident in.

I woke up in December 2021 to find all of my Schlage door locks (4-BE469ZP, 1-FE599) and my two Ring keypads (gen 1) were offline. I tried everything I could to get them back online but had to call Ring support. The key pads would not go back online even with their help. They shipped me new keypads and told me to call Schlage. Schlage support said that some of the locks the z-wave chip has gone bad. They are going to ship me but they are on back order until 11/2022. (I was using the Ring Z-wave hub as my only hub. Besides my alarm devices, I have several light control, Jasco Enbrighten switches and other devices on the hub)

The next day the key pads were online and the a few of the locks. Then the key pads when out. I called Ring and we went through exhaustive steps again got one of the key pads online. They sent me to tier 2 support. After some analysis and redo’s, the technician looked for noise and discovered it on the z-wave network. We wound up turning breakers off to find the area generating the noise. After several tries of flipping breakers, the noise was gone, the keypads came on and some of the locks. We could not determine the exact device that was cause the noise but had some idea of the area in my house (2 stories, 3300 sq ft). He cautioned me that noise problems are very tough and usually come back until you finally discover the device generating the noise.

In the discussion of the noise, the technician and I discuss the use of a tool called “Z-Wave Toolkit by Z-Wave Products”. He said he had no personal experience with one but he worked with a few customers who owned one and they were helpful. Just in case, I ordered one.

So several times over the next few months, the problem returned. When I finally got the Z-Wave Toolkit, I was able to isolate the trouble to 3 rooms in my house. I got it down to two breaker switch areas. I have a lot of Jasco switches and was thinking one of them was the culprit. The Z-Wave Toolkit Spectrum analyzer definitely showed noise. The antenna is non-directional so it could not isolate to a given device.

I called Ring support several times and got excellent response and help each time. It was suggested by one of the tier two support persons that I might consider moving the non-alarm devices to another hub for better response. The Ring hub can handle up to 255 devices (I’m at about half of that) but he has seen networks respond better when there are two hubs. At a previous home, I had just that:one Ring network and one other hub, SmartThings.

Finally with the help of the toolkit, I started to turn off devices if I could and see if the noise left. I moved the toolkit around to try and isolate the device. It turned out a relatively new Echo 4th gen (bought November 2021) with Zigbee hub was causing the problem. I did not use the Zigbee hub at all. I called Amazon support. They were unaware of any issue with the Echo and noise and said you could not turn off the hub. I plugged in back in the the noise came back. No more Echo device:-)

After two weeks of no noise and all devices online, I moved the non-alarm devices to an Aeotec SmartThings hub. Everything works extremely well and responsive.

Thank you Ring Support. Your determined attitude, knowledge and willingness to continue the fight helped immensely.

Hi @Jjames610. Thank you for this very insightful information. I’m sure this post will help others.

What Z-Wave toolkit did you get, and from where? I’m looking to investigate issues myself with my Schlage FE599. My BE469ZP, and all my ring sensors works fine. I’m surprised the noise was the zigbee device because zigbee operates more on the 2.4GHz band and z-wave at 908.4MHz. Zigbee has some sub-1GHz bands (like 915MHz) but not used as frequently. Zigbee 3.0 is almost exclusively 2.4GHz now.