ITEAD releases a $7 Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle

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In the world of home automation, ITEAD has made quite a name for itself with its SONOFF line of devices. Now, the company has taken a new leap forward by launching an affordable Zigbee 3.0 dongle, priced at just $6.99. Pre-flashed with the Silicon Labs Zigbee stack, this dongle is ready to serve as a Zigbee coordinator on Home Assistant with the ZHA integration and openHAB right out of the box.

Compact size, powerful performance

The ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle is designed with convenience in mind. Resembling the average USB memory stick in size, it won't obstruct any neighbouring USB ports on your system. At its core lies the Silicon Labs EFR32MG21 system-on-a-chip (SoC), a powerful component that can manage a much larger network compared to the CC2531.

A few drawbacks to consider

While ITEAD's Zigbee 3.0 dongle offers undeniable value for money, there are a couple of aspects potential buyers should be aware of.

Limited range with no external antenna

Unfortunately, this adapter doesn't feature an external antenna, relying solely on its PCB antenna. Comparatively, the CC2652RB development stick from slaesh has impressed users with its exceptional range. As a result, it's somewhat disappointing that ITEAD didn't provide an option to attach an external antenna for improved coverage.

Enthusiast's product with no case included

It's clear that the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle is geared towards enthusiasts, specifically designed for Home Assistant and other open home automation systems. This is evident by the face that the dongle comes without a protective case, which could be a drawback for some users.

Despite these minor limitations, the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 dongle still stands as a cost-effective and efficient choice for home automation aficionados.

Compatibility with Zigbee2MQTT: work in progress

Currently, the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle is incompatible with the stable release of Zigbee2MQTT. However, there's a silver lining for those eager to use the dongle with Zigbee2MQTT: support for EFR32 chips, including those utilizing EmberZNet v8, is under development.

For the adventurous, there is an option to use the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle with Zigbee2MQTT by switching to the dev branch. Keep in mind, though, that this branch might not offer the stability you'd expect from a finalized release. As such, it's best to exercise caution and stay informed about any updates regarding compatibility between the ITEAD Zigbee 3.0 USB dongle and Zigbee2MQTT.

The Zigbee 3.0 dongle from ITEAD. Essentially, it is a bare PCB with no case and a USB connector.
A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

Comments

  1. Read that a lot of people who bought one is having problems connecting to it under Linux.

    Anyone that have issues with not being able to pair any Zigbee devices should really report it to ITead as well:

    https://support.itead.cc/support/home

    I know ITead does not have their own Home Assistant, OpenHAB or Zigbee2MQTT developers but it will not get their attention otherwise. Suggest referring ITead engineers to the existing issue and ask them to help troubleshoot it.

    https://github.com/home-assistant/core/issues/48592

    At the very least ITead’s should be able to work with Home Assistant developers by testing different firmware and faster to provide additional debug logs as they try to fix via firmware.

    Reply

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