Using wireless technology to install automated building controls provides many advantages including cost-effective installation and updates, improved building efficiency, performance, and occupant comfort.

Wireless Standards Applied in HVAC:


Z-Wave is a proprietary wireless technology for small commercial building applications, including tenant spaces, that operates in the 908.42-MHz channel.
It uses a wireless radio frequency, operates on low power, and is typically used for such devices as lights, thermostats, and locks. Devices are certified and scalable from one device up to 232 devices. Z-Wave's transmission rate is 100 kilobits per second.
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Z-Wave’s limited size (232 devices) may reduce its use to small facility applications, but its slower data speed is not an issue for most building management functions.

Learn more about this technology here.

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ZigBee is a wireless language with similar applications to Z-Wave. However, it is more versatile as it can be configured for any short-range wireless task, thanks to a more robust protocol. It has data rates of 250 kilobits per second across its mesh network, which is plenty fast to handle many building system functions.

ZigBee also uses the mesh network’s power to connect each ZigBee product to all others. Mesh network is self-healing: If one device fails, the others will continue uninterrupted communications. Thus, if one sensor along with the path malfunctions, the network simply reroutes the information another way, explains Grimard.

ZigBee Building Automation is a robust, BACnet-approved wireless mesh network standard for commercial buildings. As a result, it can provide wireless connectivity between building automation system equipment controllers, lighting controllers, sensors, and other devices within commercial buildings.
  • For building automation and control
ZigBee operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, according to IEEE 802.15.4. The same bandwidth is used for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but with 16 channels typically permitted in 2.4 GHz, ZigBee normally can operate in an open frequency with minimum interference. For further protection, many ZigBee devices have co-existence features to control interference.


The most widely used wireless technology, of course, is Wi-Fi, under IEEE 802.11. Wi-Fi is often used in information technology systems. It operates in ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical) frequency bands and is capable of data rates up to 300 megabytes per second for the 802.11n standard. The newer 802.11ac standard offers data rates up to 1 gigabit per second. As such, Wi-Fi can be used to support even large building automation systems including thermostats.


Bluetooth Smart devices operate in the same bands as ZigBee and Wi-Fi.

For other custom HVAC control solutions, feel free to contact our HVAC Control Engineering team for assistance or learn more on our HVAC Controls website.