[HOW TO] Plan and setup your Zigbee network

This post is concerning The order of adding Zigbee devices to your Homey Pro/Bridge (AKA “Coordinator” or “hub”). Know that there is a best approach to in which order you connect your devices. You have at least three major category of devices. Which to connect when, that’s what I will dive into in this article.

What are the issues?
So, cutting right to the chase: The most common issues you will run into with your zigbee devices, is either unreachable devices or you’ve added the maximum of devices that can be connected directly to the Homey device - The coordinator. When you reach this limit, you may not be able to add more devices or already added devices may stop working properly.

3 types of devices:
All your devices (sensors, switches, plugs, lights, locks, Homey Pro, …) can be divided into three:
The coordinator: Homey Pro/Bridge. Usually you will have just one of these.
Router devices: Any zigbee device that runs on main power. These devices will act as nodes in you mesh network. This network is where commands between the coordinator and a device travel back and forth. When adding a router device, say a smart wall plug, you extend your mesh network.
End devices: Any battery operated devices is an end device. The mesh do not extend further from this device.


Adding devices:
Best practice is to add router devices to your Homey first. As I mentioned before, the number of devices that can be added to the Homey directly is limited. If you connect your router devices first, you will build a mesh network ready for your next step: Adding the end devices. These can connect to your router devices but also directly to the coordinator. Simplified:

  1. Set up your Homey first
  2. From their final destination, connect all router devices (powered devices).
  3. From their final destination, connect all end devices (battery operated devices).

With “final destination” I mean, when adding to Homey, be at that spot where you want the device to be. That could be in the living room, the bath, the garage and so on. This is important for router devices to make sure they can connect to the mesh. And this is important for end devices so they connect to the right router device.

Connection limits:
If you follow the above approach you will probably not reach this limitation. However, it’s easy to reach this limitation if you do this incorrectly and add your end devices first. Been there! So what are the exact number of devices to look out for? There is no exact science to this, I think. People report different numbers, but some guidance can be given:

The limits:
How many devices can connect directly to the Homey:
For Homey Pro 2019 and earlier: 15 devices
For Homey Pro 2023: 32 or 64 devices (firmware dependent, need to find details)*
For Homey Bridge: (I expect the numbers to be similar to the PROs, but do not know)

How many devices can connect to a router device:
The short answer is in the neighborhood of 10 devices*. In theory however, the number is much, much higher. See “How many devices can connect to a router device?” in the Q&A section for more details. Real life answer is probably around 10 +/- some depending on the type of devices you use and the load they introduce.

At this point, take a look at the “Homey Developer Tools” under Zigbee: Pay attention to the “Type” column. The Homey will be listed as “Coordinator”. All router devices should show up as “Router”. All end devices should show up as “EndDevice”. The “Route” column to the far right shows the route the communication to/from router/end devices take.

This is how it looks on a Homey Pro 2019. The “Route” column is not visible for my Homey Pro 2023. Anyone know where I can find the routing information for Homey Pro 2023?

Refresh your listing after some minutes as routing can change. According to “Make the most of your zigbee network”: -“Give the network some time to build up. This can take up a couple of hours…”

If some of your powered devices are not listed as “Router”, my guess is that the implementation of the Zigbee standard on the device is not according to how Homey needs it to be. It could also just be a faulty device. Remove the device and try reconnecting it.

Although you’ve done a great job drawing and placing the devices in logical locations according to best practice, the devices may not connect the way you would like them to. There is no way to force a device to connect to a specific device other than by the placement of the devices.

Zigbee Q&A: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

How far is the reach of a router device?
Real life numbers say: 5 meters indoors, 10 to 15 meters outdoors*
But sources like (Zigbee Range Explained) say something totally different:
-"The range of a Zigbee device from the hub depends on various factors. In indoor environments, most Zigbee devices can communicate over a distance of 70 to 100 meters. However, the architectural design of a building can impact the network’s performance.

In open-air, you can expect link distances up to 300 meters. Zigbee nodes use low-power radio signals to communicate wirelessly, limiting their range to 10 to 30 meters indoors."

How many devices can connect to a router device?
Real life numbers say: 10 devices*

However, the theory says:
-"Each Zigbee device has a 16-bit short address, which means you can connect up to 2^16 = 65536 different devices. However, each device can bind up to 2^8 = 256 different services (since a few “ports” are also reserved, the maximum is actually 240 here).

So technically, you can have roughly 15 million (2^16 * 240) “logical” devices on a network. In practice, Zigbee networks that reach the 1000s of node ranges tend to hit technical limitations."
Source: Maximum number of Zigbee devices

The Zigbee chip in the Homey device can handle 20 devices. Athom has on top of that limited this to 15.
Source: Caseda -“The older Homey Pro and Bridge’s Zigbee chip has a limited memory, in theory it can handle up to 20 devices connected directly, but this is limited in software to 15 by Athom.”

That was theory. The real life numbers suggest:
Hub + router devices + router devices * end devices per router
For Homey Pro 2019: 1 + 15 + 15x10 = 166 devices
For Homey Pro 2023: 1 + 64 + 64x10 = 705 devices
The answer is somewhere between 166 or 705 and 65000 devices.
…if you factor in all real life limitations :grinning: :+1:

Remember, my example here only shows router devices directly connected to the hub, and end devices connected to router devices. In real life, end devices will connect directly to the hub (if that’s the best option) and router devices will connect to other router devices (daisy chaining).

What to do when you did like me and added too many end devices before router devices?
It might be sufficient to just move the device (and maybe boot the Homey afterwards). Worst case scenario is to memorize all flows associated with the device, delete the device from Homey, move it, add it to Homey again and then reimplement the flows.

How to handle dropouts?
Read about shared WIFI channels here: “Make the most of your zigbee network

Bing AI: What are the advantages of using zigbee devices?

  • ZigBee is suitable for low-powered devices that do not require a lot of bandwidth such as battery-operated small smart devices, sensors, and object tags.
  • Devices from different manufacturers are compatible with one another, and there is also backward-compatibility with legacy ZigBee products.
  • Unlike Bluetooth, ZigBee operates as a mesh network, making it suitable for setting up smart homes and buildings.
  • Mesh networking has an expandable transmission range and better stability unlike Bluetooth or a single-router Wi-Fi setup.
  • ZigBee supports up to 65000 nodes on a single network to expand the transmission range across a large floor area.
  • Setting up the network is very simple and easy.
  • It does not have a central controller and loads are distributed evenly across the network.
  • It is easy to monitor and control home appliances from remote.
  • ZigBee has a very long battery life.

I will appreciate any corrections to this how-to or if there’s some other relevant info I should bake into it!

*: See 16.11.2023 revision

15.11.2023: Original post
16.11.2023: Worked in changes based on feedback from Robertklep
18.12.2023: Added paragraph on daisy chaining router devices


Thanks for the nice article!

There are some remarks to be made, though:

  • The “15 device limit” doesn’t apply to the Homey Pro 2023, only the older Homey Pro’s. The new hardware has a higher limit, either 32 or 64 depending on which firmware Athom is using. I know you explain this towards the end of the article, but that’s not until you already elaborated on how to build a network and that 15 devices is the limit. Also, you say that there’s a limit to how many devices “you connect to Homey”. Realise that most people will read this at the absolute total limit of Homey’s entire Zigbee network, but what you mean is that there’s a limit to the number of directly connected devices.
  • Router devices certainly cannot handle 240 devices. Most are memory-constrained and will accept, at most, 10 child devices to be connected.
  • A range of 10 to 30 meters indoors is too optimistic for router devices, from real world experience I would say about 10 to 15 meters outdoors and about 5 meters indoors.

Fantastic feedback, Robertklep. I was hoping someone with your experience would chime in :-). Thanks, I worked your input into the how-to!

1 Like

Owner of HP23 here. I recently did a full zigbee reset and added all devices from scratch (some devices were not working well since they were migrated from HP19 into an early HP23 beta version).
I added all the routers first and then the (battery driven) end devices. To begin with all the routers were listed first on the tools dev page in the order I added them, but now after a few days/weeks the order is jumbled. A router device that was one of the first devices added now shows as number 29 on the list. My Homey Bridge (used to extend coverage in my garage) is at the bottom of the list.

Does this mean anything?
Is the order on your dev tools page still the same as you added them?
Everything seems to work well though.

Personally I do not know. I’m not an authority on anything Homey :- ) but I can not imagine this has any impact.

Great initiative here!

I have about 30 zigbee devices and have been having issues with adding more. So I counted my routers and wupti, I have 15 routers.*

But for a functioning mesh, I really don’t need all these routers. Would be great if I could force some of my routers to be an ‘End device’ instead. But I guess that is not possible. Or what?

*but I didnt check how many of those are actually ‘directly bound’

No not possible @ Homey AFAIK.
Which model is your post about pls?

Assume you mean Homey model: Early 2019 Pro (without the pro :rofl:)

But after reading this tutorial, I tried again with my problem lights, making sure that I positioned the ligths far away from homey. And I got them both installed.

1 Like

That won’t solve anything (I think you assume that routers always require a direct connection to Homey, but that’s not the case).

1 Like

No, I actually did know that routers dont have to be connected directly to homey. Just forgot to take that into consideration when I was counting the routers.

But the fact is that I have been having problems installing certain new zigbee lights for a long time. And I suddenly was able to install when I ensured that I was not too close to homey when doing it.
So that is why I thought it could be a good idea on a homey which is ‘router-saturated’ to be able to pick a device and classify it as an ‘End device’, thus reducing the nr of ‘direct to homey’ routers. But as you say: not possible.

But I guess that my issue could be complicated by the fact that I have many [?] in my zigbee map:

Your problem isn’t too many routers, it’s too many devices being connected to Homey directly. It doesn’t matter if those devices are routers or end devices.

There’s nothing stopping such an end device from also connecting directly to Homey, so even if such a conversion were possible, it wouldn’t solve your problem.

1 Like

I plan to set up a 200 bulb 25 switch setup from multiple Hue hubs to Homey Pro. Does anyone have any advice other than those above? Will this work and will I be able to expand further down the road?


This thread is about Zigbee network planning for Homey. If you intend to use the Hue hubs, you’re not using Homey’s Zigbee at all.


@robertklep I plan on using Hue without bridge on Homey, as well as move away from Hue for future devices. Will this not result in a large Zigbee network?

Ah, yes, in that case it will.

I wonder if Homey will be able to handle 200 Zigbee devices (in theory it should, but practically speaking I think you might run into issues as some point, Homey’s Zigbee isn’t known for its great stability).

Someone needs to test it :wink:
Better someone that already knows it could be a issue…

Start with,
take it easy and move slow,
and look how far you can go.

Thanks, I’ll test it out. I need to find a solution for my Lutron Aurora switches before I can commit though.

I’ll report back.

A late thanks for the extended infotorial! :wink:

Imho the total number of devices below, are not real life numbers:

To me, these are real life numbers:
For Homey Pro 2019:
someone reported a very high number of 61 devices, but for most folks the zigbee net (performance & reliability) seems to go south when using more than 45 devices.

For Homey Pro 2023:
Emile (Athom) wrote 200 devices should be possible.
I did not see any posts of users actually using that number of zigbee devices.
On top of my head, one user reported using around 145 devices.


Zigbee, 2.4GHz wifi (called wifi from here) and Bluetooth use the same 2.4GHz band.
It’s very well possible your wifi and your neighbors’ wifi signals interfere with your zigbee signal.
Wifi has approx. 10 times more transmit power.
But, both systems use channels, for you to pick a channel on both wifi as well as zigbee.
Be aware of the fact the channels aren’t numbered the same.

Note: Homey has a ‘autotune’ function. When you set your wifi channel to preferably 1, 6 or 11, a zigbee reset will search for a quiet channel automatically.

Very useful info:

Lets assume I have a regular light switches (not smart) and smart light Zigbee device. Does a device still act as a router if I turn off the light using light switch?

A Zigbee device has no idea that you will be removing power from it on a regular basis, so yes, it will still act as a router, but such a setup is a no-no, you should not remove power from smart devices. With Zigbee devices it’s a surefire way of creating an unstable network.

1 Like