Can you connect devices without a hub?

For example. ZigBee A will talk to ZigBee B and C

What I see in the market is they have a hub for the devices—a ZigBee wall switch will have a ZigBee hub.

Similarly can the hub be used to work with other ZigBee devices not under the brand?

What I have in mind

  1. Google home

  2. OnHub

  3. Zigbee wall switch with hub (but i'm thinking not to use the branded hub

  4. Arduino zigbee project

  5. Other zigbee sensors

Still new to this. Every product I see comes with an app or hub. What I'm trying to do is unify all of them without using their proprietary hub devices or app that comes with it.

  • 2
    It might be easier to answer your question if you give specific examples of the devices you're thinking of. Its possible you have thought of a false dilema, which doesn't actually need the solution you're trying to adopt. – Sean Houlihane Mar 12 '17 at 10:58
  • 2
    @SeanHoulihane updated the question – Lester T. Mar 12 '17 at 11:13
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    Related iot.stackexchange.com/questions/1119/… – Sean Houlihane Mar 12 '17 at 16:05

If you have no intention of communicating with a device that doesn't use ZigBee, you probably wouldn't need a hub.

You might be interested in 'Why do I need hubs for some devices when automating my home?'—one of the main reasons the hub is needed at all is so that a ZigBee device can communicate with your Wi-Fi router and connect to the Internet. If you don't actually need to do that, you might not need a hub at all.

A ZigBee network (whether it's a mesh, star or tree) requires a coordinator device. There's a brief overview here, but one device needs to be responsible for forming and administering the network, so a hub is a straightforward option to fill that gap.

You can see in this diagram that the SmartThings hub acts as a coordinator for the home network—that's where the hub is useful.

If you were confident that the device would be able to handle the demands, you could just make ZigBee A the coordinator and run a mesh network between your devices—they'd be able to communicate fine without a hub, so long as you didn't want to connect them to the Internet.

If you were just connecting a switch to a lightbulb, you could do it without a hub. However, at that point, ask yourself: is this really better than just connecting the bulb to a switch with a wire? The whole point of automating your home is so that you can control things remotely from other devices (or a hub to schedule things automatically).

If you want to bridge from WiFi (Google and OnHub) to ZigBee, then you will need a device which handles the bridging function. This doesn't have to be a proprietary bridge, it could be as simple as an Arduino with TCP-IP on one side, and ZigBee on the other (or a Raspberry Pi type device).

Even if you construct this function yourself, it would be still called a hub...

  • 1
    Would the device still work without its own proprietary hub? – Lester T. Mar 12 '17 at 16:09
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    It depends. The protocol is probably open or easy to reverse engineer, without any dedicated encryption over the top of the ZigBee protocol. – Sean Houlihane Mar 12 '17 at 16:14

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