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Why upgrade to Vera Edge?

Posted by LiveHouse Automation on

I'm going to answer a simple question for those who already have a Vera: "What's in the Edge for me?".

If you don't have a Vera it's even simpler, it's currently the only model available in Australia.

There's plenty of technical information about Vera's range of controllers and the Z-wave standard available on the internet. For those people who like to trawl through them, this article probably isn't for you. For everyone else, this will cover the key reasons why you'd consider an upgrade.

Compared to the Vera Lite and Vera 3 the Edge has:

  • Slightly faster CPU
  • More internal storage
  • Z-wave Plus (This is worth further discussion)
  • More compact physical size

Z-wave Plus

So, let's look at Z-wave Plus then. The glossy brochures say:

  • Significant increased range - up to 150m (30m for standard Z-wave)
  • 50% improvement in battery life for Z-wave Plus devices
  • 2.5 times the bandwidth - this can make a big difference if you have a lot of Z-wave plus devices in terms of responsiveness.
  • Improved radio noise immunity - another improvement to responsiveness and reliability.
  • Network Wide Inclusion - no more bringing the device to Vera or Vera to the device to get the pairing completed.
  • Improved self healing and fault tolerance.
  • Method for Over the Air firmware updates for Z-wave devices
  • Increased manufacturer certification requirements for compatibility and user experience

That last point is probably one that many people overlook. For anyone who's used some of the less expensive or OEM Z-wave devices that have come out of China, you've probably experienced some difficulties getting them to work. Usually they do but it's just a lot harder than it should be. The new certification requirements mean that we should be putting those days behind us and moving to more of a plug and play experience.

Edge vs Lite - Edge by a knockout in the second round.

Compared to the Lite there's more memory (64MB vs 128MB RAM) which can be a significant benefit if you like to run a lot of plug-ins and advanced features on your Vera, and you get Wi-Fi connectivity allowing you to place Vera where it's optimal for your Z-wave network, rather than just next to your router.  

Edge vs Vera 3 - Edge by a Points Decision

If you have a Vera 3, you lose a USB port (1 vs 2) and 4 Ethernet ports. This isn't usually a problem as Vera is generally connected to a router or switch anyway, and more USB ports can be gained by adding a USB hub if required. Generally the USB port was used for a thumb drive to store logs and temp files, which is less of an issue now the Edge has more internal storage (128MB vs 32MB). The other use of the USB port was for an interface to other automation devices such as MySensors, RFX or some Security systems.

The trade-offs in ports is worth it, especially if you're expanding your system with newer Z-wave Plus devices. If you've got an existing Vera 3 and a network that's entirely earlier Z-wave devices (and you don't need to add more), it's less clear cut.

For me personally, I'm retiring my Vera 3 and installing an Edge. I already have some Z-wave Plus devices and there's a few older Z-wave devices I might consider swapping out too. With over 70 devices on my Z-wave network, anything that makes the communications faster and more responsive gets my vote. If it makes it easier to add devices in future, even better.

And I'm going to add more devices. Even if my partner says we have enough, that Pantry light will turn itself off if you people won't damn it!

But I digress.

If you want to ask questions about your specific requirements, feel free to send us an email or call.

Happy Automating!

 


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