Various Brands of Zigbee Hubs and Devices
As we know smart Zigbee products must pair with a Zigbee hub/gateway/bridge to work, and different brands of Zigbee products have their own hubs, so when you need to buy other brands of Zigbee products, you have to buy their hubs at the same time and download the corresponding APPs to confirm it works well. This is quite an inconvenience for users. It is better to have a universal gateway that fits almost all brands of Zigbee devices and can also control them in one platform via LAN instead of various APPs that via clouds.
What is SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus? What is it used for?
SONOFF Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle Plus (Hereinafter referred to as Dongle) is such a thing, you can see it as a universal gateway for almost all brands of Zigbee devices. Unlike ordinary hubs, it is not networked through Wi-Fi, but through USB to the serial port to access the software or plug-in in the computer, such as Home Assistant for management via LAN.
Therefore, the product is friendly to users who like DIY and use open-source platforms. There is a certain technical threshold.
Dongle pre-flashes with the open-source coordinator firmware from Koenkk: https://github.com/Koenkk/Z-Stack-firmware/tree/master/coordinator/Z-Stack_3.x.0
Also, you can flash the router firmware yourself and use it as a Zigbee router to expand the network range: https://github.com/Koenkk/Z-Stack-firmware/tree/master/router/Z-Stack_3.x.0
Use it through Home Assistant ZHA or Zigbee2MQTT
We can know from Google that Home Assistant is open-source home automation that puts local control and privacy first. Powered by a worldwide community of tinkerers and DIY enthusiasts. ZHA (Zigbee Home Automation) integrates on Hass (Home Assistant). Dongle can plug and play on it via ZHA. It’s an easier way to start using if you have already installed Hass. https://www.home-assistant.io/
Zigbee2MQTT is more complex in configuration but supports more devices now compared to ZHA. You can see the list of devices that currently support Zigbee2MQTT:
What’s Special About the New Dongle?
Friends familiar with SONOFF may know that some time ago we released a product called Zigbee 3.0 USB Dongle, based on EFR32MG21+CH340, which was popular. But unfortunately, after the first batch of production, it was suspended due to chip shortage. Thanks to everyone’s feedback and suggestions, we have optimized and then developed the new one.
● Based on Ti Cc2652P+CP2102N
● Zigbee 3.0 protocol
● External rotatable antenna for better signal
● Aluminum housing effectively reduces signal interference from peripherals
● Switch for hardware flow control
● Flash router firmware to use it as a signal extender
More tutorials on how to use/flash Dongle can be found here: http://sonoff.tech/product-review/sonoff-zigbee-3-0-usb-dongle-plus-tutorials/