Beyond X-10 The Future of Home Automation
It's two-way, and operates on a 908 Mhz frequency in a mesh network in which every device assists the system, each acting as it's own repeater. Commands go first to the target device from the remote or controller, and if it doesn't get there it will start networking through other [Z-Wave] devices in the house to turn it on. It's available in a single-chip design, which can cut down on cost and power consumption. As for interference, Zensys claims it hasn't been an issue in their tests.
One of the big advantages Z-Wave has over X-10 products, according to Michael Einstein, marketing spokesperson for Z-Wave (and Intermatic's vice president, corporate innovation) is its security. "With X-10 you only have 256 unique IDs, so a neighbor could be turning on your lights or opening your garage," he says. "There are a lot of mis-reads. Z-wave has four billion unique IDs."
Another problem he pointed to was home electrical systems. In a home in the US., many homes have a 220 service, which means they have two 110 volt circuits [in a home]. "If you put an X-10 product on one branch," says Einstein, "and another on the other, they won't work together. You had to have a bridge installed by an electrician."