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What is a Z-Wave Hub and How Does it Power a Smart Home?

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What is a Z-Wave Hub and How Does it Power a Smart Home?
November 15, 2019
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What is a Z-Wave Hub and How Does it Power a Smart Home?

Frontpoint’s Z-Wave Hub is

making homes safer and more convenient than ever before

You’re in bed, drifting off to sleep, and you start to wonder if you locked the back door. Or you’re relaxing in the bath after a long, stressful day at work and someone unexpectedly rings the doorbell. Maybe you’re anxiously watching the clock at work, wondering if your kids arrived home safely because they aren’t answering the phone. Experiences like this can be frustrating and even alarming—unless you have a smart home security system connected by a Z-Wave hub.

A Z-Wave hub forms the basis of any truly smart home. And when you choose to install a Frontpoint Security Hub, you seamlessly connect your home security system with your other smart devices, making your home vastly safer and more convenient.

Frontpoint’s Hub is the brains behind a smart home, and when it’s paired with the Frontpoint Keypad and Frontpoint Mobile App, it functions as the home’s command center. The hub gives users the ability to remotely control their homes from anywhere, consolidating a wealth of functions from up to 160 sensors into a single spot.

No more roaming the house to check that all doors are locked, racing back home because you forgot to turn on the alarm, or calling your kids to see if they are there after school. Locking and unlocking doors, arming and disarming the security system, turning on and off lights, adjusting the thermostat, receiving instant alerts about activity in your house, and even answering the door are just a few of the many activities that your Frontpoint Security Hub enables you to perform from anywhere.

Frontpoint’s Hub also protects your home by serving as the central communication connection to 24/7 professional monitoring specialists. Alerts from sensors installed throughout the house are filtered through the hub, which then triggers the alarm, alerts the monitoring center, and/or notifies the homeowner or renter, depending upon the nature of the information it receives.  

Let’s examine how the Frontpoint Hub works and the many benefits that it offers.

What is Z-Wave and why does

it make my hub smarter?

A Z-Wave hub is the brains of a smart home network, enabling you to control a wide array of devices through an app or control panel. It allows people to manage their smart devices from anywhere in the world, receiving commands and routing them to the intended smart device. It also transmits alerts from smart-home devices to users through email, text, or push notifications.

In addition, the hub’s communication network allows people to create multi-step actions that devices will perform automatically. For instance, when your hub and smart lock sense that you are home, it can trigger the lights to turn on and the thermostat to adjust to a comfortable temperature.

Here’s how it works: Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol through which devices to “speak” to each other via radio frequency waves. Long gone are the days of having to drill holes and hardwire your house to achieve home security or automation. Installation and set-up are easy. Frontpoint’s wireless Z-Wave devices, for instance, arrive preprogrammed with out-of-the-box functionality, meaning installation can be as simple as sitting a component like a motion sensor on a shelf.

Z-Wave technology creates a wireless mesh network, which is essentially a collection of connected devices. Every Z-Wave device has a tiny built-in signal repeater that sends and receives network information. The devices “mesh” together by sending signals over low-energy radio waves on a dedicated frequency, ensuring less interference than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networks.

Each device amplifies the network signal, making it easy to establish robust connectivity. Z-Wave also uses less power than Wi-Fi and can transmit over longer ranges than Bluetooth.

Z-Wave ups the security ante as well: it defends against hacking with AES-128 encryption that is so strong that some estimates assert that it would take billions of years to crack. Frontpoint’s devices further ensure the privacy of transmissions by operating over a secure former military frequency.

7 ways Z-Wave hubs take

home security to the next level

Now that you understand how Z-Wave hubs work, learn why they represent the best option in home security:

1. Frontpoint’s Z-Wave Hub is incredibly hard to disable

It operates on 100 percent cellular communication with a built-in Wi-Fi backup. It’s designed to automatically switch between cellular and Wi-Fi service; if one service ever goes down, the other is instantly available.

Unlike hardwired systems, there are no wires for burglars to cut to create a deliberate system outage. Frontpoint’s Hub is also “smashproof:” it alerts the professional monitoring center and system users even if it’s quickly destroyed by an intruder.

2. A 24-hour battery backup lets the hub power through

any situation

It can be frustrating when the power goes out. And in an emergency, this can also leave your home and family vulnerable to intruders. With 4G LTE cellular connection and a 24-hour, rechargeable backup battery, the Frontpoint Hub works through any temporary power outage—ensuring that your home remains protected. The device also alerts the monitoring center and homeowner/renter if the battery backup is low or the device is disconnected to prevent any gaps in coverage.

3. Frontpoint’s Z-Wave Hub sounds a powerful alarm 

Every second counts when there’s an emergency in a home. Everyone must hear the home security system alarm, so they have time to get to safety. Home fires can spread so quickly that the American Red Cross warns that people may only have two minutes to escape. And tragic outcomes can occur when residents stumble into a burglary in progress.

The Frontpoint Hub sounds a siren alarm when a smoke and heat or carbon monoxide sensor is triggered—or one of the intrusion sensors is tripped—which will get the attention of even the soundest sleeper. The blaring alarm also acts as a crime deterrent: Most convicted burglars interviewed by Portland, OR’s KGW8 news station said they would abort a break-in the instant an alarm sounds. And again, even if a criminal attempts to smash Frontpoint’s Hub to silence the alarm, its signal has still been sent to the monitoring center.

Frontpoint’s Hub also goes a step further, sending instant email, text, or push notifications to users’ mobile devices that alert them to potential threats. If their home security system has cameras, they can quickly view real-time video feeds and either confirm the emergency to the monitoring service or remotely cancel the alarm. The monitoring service will send emergency services if the homeowner can’t be reached after two calls, or immediately send help if carbon monoxide sensors detect the deadly gas. All of Frontpoint’s home security cameras will automatically start recording if an alarm is triggered.

The Frontpoint Hub also helps people keep a pulse on what’s happening around their homes even if the alarm isn’t armed. For instance, it can sound beeps or chimes and send instant alerts if doors or windows are opened, or children enter restricted areas like liquor cabinets.

Picture of Contractors WorkingPicture of Contractors Working
Frontpoint’s Z-Wave Hub connects to smart door locks that can be remotely unlocked and locked, making it easy to let trusted contractors inside if you aren’t home.

4. A Z-Wave hub lets you control your home remotely 

Convenience is the primary goal of smart living and the Frontpoint Hub delivers it in spades. It enables people to access smart devices in their homes from anywhere via an app available for any smartphone or mobile device. The hub can control everything from your lights to the garage door to the temperature with a tap of a button.

You can arm or disarm your security system without ever leaving your office desk. You can see and speak to people in the house through cameras with two-way audio capabilities and even remotely answer the door. You can remotely unlock and lock the door to let contractors or other visitors in and out of the house without having to give out entry codes.

The hub also creates awareness of who is coming and going from the house when you aren’t home. Up to 50 unique entry codes can be created for family members and trusted guests, each of which sends an instant alert when it is entered.

The hub’s ability to connect Z-Wave devices also allows users to incorporate their home security systems into voice-controlled “scenes” for Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri, or Google Home. Turning off the lights, raising the temperature, and setting the alarm to “stay” can be as simple as saying, “Alexa, good night.”

Screenshots of the Frontpoint Hub SetupScreenshots of the Frontpoint Hub Setup
The Frontpoint Hub prompts you to set up a master code for arming and disarming the system and a verbal passcode for confirming an emergency—plus up to 50 unique user codes for individuals who may need to arm and disarm the system.

5. LED lights broadcast the current status of the

system

LED lights on Frontpoint’s Hub make it easy to determine your security system’s current status after commands are entered on the keypad or the app, mitigating the risk of accidentally setting off the alarm.

  • If the light glows red, the system is armed in “away” mode—meaning all sensors are activated.
  • Orange indicates that it’s armed in “stay” mode—generally meaning only perimeter protections like door/window sensors are activated so people can move freely within the house.
  • Green means the system is disarmed.
  • Flashing blue signals a problem with the system, such as a low battery or a tampered-with sensor. Pressing and holding the button located between the ethernet port and the power adapter for one second will prompt the hub to report the trouble. Users can call Frontpoint’s customer care for more assistance.

6. Frontpoint’s Z-Wave Hub enables multiple arming/disarming

stations

The Frontpoint Hub makes it easy for users to tailor their home security experience to meet their needs. For instance, it supports sensor bypass, allowing users to arm only a portion of the system. For example, you can set a nighttime customization where the intrusion sensors on the perimeter of the house are armed, but the motion sensors are not—allowing you to get up and grab that drink of water in the middle of the night without setting off an alarm. A different setting that arms all sensors can be used when no one is home at all.

Picture of the Frontpoint Hub and KeypadPicture of the Frontpoint Hub and Keypad
Frontpoint’s Hub is “smashproof,” meaning it alerts the professional monitoring center even if it’s destroyed by an intruder.

The Z-Wave hub: the brains

of a smart home

A Z-Wave hub functions as the command center for a smart home. It gives people the ability to control their home security systems and a range of other smart devices through a single interface—and to endlessly customize different commands and automatic actions. Combining best-in-class security and convenience, the Frontpoint Hub delivers on the promise of modern smart living.


Frontpoint keeps families safer and more connected in their everyday lives. We've been revolutionizing the home security industry for over a decade. And we're just getting started. To shop DIY home security systems, check out our Security Packages. If you have questions or would like to discuss a quote, contact us at 1-877-602-5276.

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