Z-Wave Public Specification

Introducing the Z-Wave Public Specification

Z-Wave is the world’s most widely-deployed smart home technology, found inside tens of millions of smart products. Now, Z-Wave is also the most open protocol, as Sigma Designs has made the Z-Wave interoperability layer public.

Four years ago, the Z-Wave radio was donated to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which marked the first milestone toward building a public smart home standard. Four years later, the Z-Wave Public Specification makes Z-Wave interoperability open to any party that wants to work with smart home applications, including IoT devices, cloud services and software plug-ins. Access to  Z-Wave interoperability was previously available only to members of the Z-Wave Alliance, or holders of a Z-Wave Development Kit from Sigma Designs.

The Z-Wave Public Specification marks yet another milestone in the evolution and democratization of the IoT.

Quick Links

Z-Wave Developer Page >

Z-Wave Specification Files >

Z-Wave ITU Standard >

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A Universal Language For Smart Devices and Applications

Other existing wireless technologies allow smart devices to communicate, but only at the most elemental networking level. Crucially, they lack a common language of descriptors and commands that work across multiple product types, brands, applications and versions. In most cases, these competing technologies are, in fact, proprietary systems that only work together within a narrow range of vendor products and functions.

Z-Wave is unique in its ability to determine specifically what smart devices are able to say to each other, first by recognizing their mutual capabilities,  and then by using a richly detailed and market-tested lexicon for classes, commands, and status reports. These advanced IoT “linguistics” go beyond mere communication into genuinely interoperable command and data exchange. All Z-Wave hardware and software works together, regardless of type, brand, or version, thanks to Z-Wave’s application-level interoperability.

This interoperability is now open to developers everywhere. Those pursuing new cloud initiatives will now be able to develop plug-ins for connections through OIC, AWS, and others that can work directly with Z-Wave products and gateways. This ties the smart home into new cloud initiatives, and extends the reach of the entire smart home market.

Thanks to the Z-Wave Public Specification, anyone can now download and use the Z-Wave Command Class Specification and the Z-Wave Device and Role Type Specifications. New entrants to the IoT can now see the details behind Z-Wave, and test for themselves before deciding which standards/protocols are best for their products or services.


More Than Just Interoperability

In addition to access to Z-Wave’s market-leading interoperability, the Z-Wave Public Specification includes access to several of Z-Wave’s latest advancements:

The Z-Wave Security Specification is now open

Z-Wave’s S2 security is best-of-breed, using the most advanced encryption protocol and key exchange on the market, while maintaining low latency so that all devices, even battery operated, can include security.
Z-Wave is so confident in its encryption design that it is being offered to the public domain, in order to invite scrutiny and challenges to its capabilities.

The Z-Wave over IP (Z/IP) Specification is now open

Z/IP describes the standard for transporting Z-Wave messages over IP networks. This includes a reference implementation called Z/IP Gateway, and the complete API specification for how to build an application on-top. Z/IP Gateways route all Z-Wave and IP traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel, which eliminates vulnerability to and from the cloud.

Z-Ware Middleware API for Z-Wave is Now Open

Z-Ware, a comprehensive Z-Wave middleware layer developed by Sigma Designs, is now freely available as binary for Raspberry Pi, with a Web API to build a customer-facing user interface. It abstracts Z-Wave Command Classes into easy to use APIs and provides home automation capabilities in the form of Scenes.

Now Open To Developers Everywhere

The method through which Z-Wave devices physically send data wirelessly to each other is already in the public domain, since it is based on an ITU specification called G.9959. This specifies the PHY and MAC layer Z-Wave is based on, which includes the frequencies used in different parts of the world, the modulation and encoding schemes used, the method of accessing and sharing the RF medium and bandwidth with other devices, and more.

The Z-Wave Public Specification gives the general public access to the specification, so academia, analysts, hobbyists, other IoT interoperability groups, and aspiring developers of smart devices and applications can read, use and comment on how Z-Wave works, without having to join the Z-Wave Alliance or buy a Development Kit.

Z-Wave Public Specification Files


 Z-Wave Security Specification

Description of how devices authenticate using the new S2 command class and ensures that the integrity of the Z-Wave network is maintained.

SDS11274-15 – Security 2 Command Class version 0_9

Z/IP API

Z-Wave over IP provides a standardized, interoperable way of transporting Z-Wave messages over IP networks. The documents below describe Z/IP in detail and explain what you can do to take advantage of it and start controlling Z-Wave devices from your IP-enabled device or application. Download the Raspberry Pi image and get started on Z/IP right away! The image comes with a pre-configured zipgateway, all you need to do is boot the Raspberry Pi!

Download a Raspberry PI SD image to try it out yourself

This image for the Raspberry Pi contains a pre-configured Z/IP installation that’s ready for you to explore. Getting started is easy! Download the image and load it into your Raspberry Pi by following the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s instructions here:https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/ Once your Raspberry Pi is up and running all you need to do is point your web browser to Z-Ware’s local portal to start controlling your Z-Wave devices! By default, it will be accessible to any computers in the same local network as your Raspberry Pi when visiting http://<your-raspberry-pi-ipaddress> If you need help finding your Raspberry Pi’s IP address you can follow the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s instructions here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ip-address.md

Raspberry PI Z/IP Image (disclaimer)

Visit the Complete Developer Resources for the Z/IP API

Z-Ware API

Z-Ware is a complete and powerful IoT middleware for Z-Wave that builds on Z/IP. It abstracts away Z-Wave, IP, and networking concepts and exposes easy-to-use structures that allow developers to dive right into creating great Z-Wave over IP applications – without having to become Z-Wave or networking experts. The documents below explain how Z-Ware is architected and how it accelerates the development of Z/IP applications. Download the Raspberry Pi image and get started on Z-Ware right away! The image comes with a pre-configured Z-Ware installation, all you need to do is boot the Raspberry Pi

Download a Raspberry PI SD image to try it out yourself

This image for the Raspberry Pi contains a pre-configured Z-Ware installation that’s ready for you to explore. Getting started is easy! Download the image and load it into your Raspberry Pi by following the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s instructions here:https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/installation/installing-images/ Once your Raspberry Pi is up and running all you need to do is point your web browser to Z-Ware’s local portal to start controlling your Z-Wave devices! By default, it will be accessible to any computers in the same local network as your Raspberry Pi when visiting http://<your-raspberry-pi-ipaddress> If you need help finding your Raspberry Pi’s IP address you can follow the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s instructions here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/ip-address.md

Raspberry PI Z-Ware Image (disclaimer)

Visit the Complete Developer Resources for the Z-Ware API