The backup problem
Z-Wave is a quite robust wireless communication protocol but it relies on a central device to manage the network, the so called primary controller. Z-Wave allows to freely hand over this role in a network to other controller devices (like remote controls) but there must always be exactly be one primary controller in the network only.
In contemporary network setups this primary controller is frequency the central controller box also referred to as Gateway.
This gateway serves multiple functions.
- It is the primary controller for the Z-Wave network
- It connects the Z-Wave network tot he IP network to allow Access by IP enabled devices such as PCs/Web browser or mobile devices.
- It stores a lot of context information like names of devices, centrally controlled logic (like scenes, IF->THEN relations etc.)
The gateway usually has a backup and restore function that saves ( or stores in a cloud) all user settings. One exception to this rules are the network information as such. The list of devices and their relationships in the network are stored inside the Z-Wave transceiver chip and can therefore not easily access and restored using normal restore functions provided by Smart home gateways.
In case this Z-wave transceiver hardware – either the gateway hardware or a USB stick used as Z-Wave transceiver – gets lost or damaged it must be replaced. This new hardware however does not know the old network reconfiguration and the user has to rebuilt the whole network, Depending on its size this can be a very frustrating experience.
The Z-Wave.Me solution
All Z-Wave controllers from Z-Wave.Me and its OEM partners offer a Z-Wave network backup and restore function to overcome this problem.
The firmware inside the USB Stick of Gateway hardware offers an extension that allows cloning an existing controller into a fresh and new device. The Z-Wave Expert Interface shows this extension as one of the functions of the hardware (Go to Network – Controller Info lower part, ZMERestore (0xF3))
The very same user interface allows using this function. In Network – Control there is a simple dialog for Backup and Restore.
The button “Create Backup” will generate a *.zbk file for download. (Note: the very same data is also stores regularly in the file system of the controller in XML format).
The restore buttons opens a dialog where a user picks a backup file. A special checkbox enables the restoration of the network topology information inside the Z-Wave transceiver.
Attention: You must never (!) run two identical clones of the controller (original and backup) at the same time in the same network. This will fore sure result in malfunctions of the network or even greater damage.