The Popp-Hub Home Automation Gateway with the Raspberry Pi

Sometimes it is necessary to monitor the home remotely, such as when you are away on a vacation. For this, you need to hook up all the sensors in the home to the Internet for remote monitoring and control. To avoid the complexity of wiring, people prefer wireless devices for monitoring the sensors. As wireless devices could also be in the form of nodes, with each node monitoring multiple sensors, you need a gateway acting as a bridge for connecting many wireless nodes to the Internet.

Launched by Z-Wave Europe and Popp & Co., Popp Hub is one such home automation gateway. What distinguishes it from others available on the market is it is based on the famous Single Board Computer, the Raspberry Pi or RBPi running Linux. The Z-Wave Plus home automation Popp Hub supports Z-Wave and IP smart devices.

The reference design of the Popp Hub gateway includes a software stack certified by the ZigBee Home Automation. It also includes tens of APIs for simplifying the ZigBee integration and the development of applications within a Linux system. The APIs incorporate TCP/IP for the ZigBee bridge as this enables easier integration of low power connectivity solutions and faster development of applications. The included USB dongle is CC2531-based and it runs the ZigBee HA1.2 certified Protocol Stack, MAC and PHY – this has been extensively tested for interoperability.

Z-Wave Europe GmbH is Europe’s largest distributor for all devices based on the Z-Wave wireless technology. They sell and distribute the Popp Hub smart IP home gateway on behalf of the UK-based Popp & Co. The Single Board Computer RBPi2 in the Popp Hub runs the Z-Way Middleware. According to Z-Wave Europe, Z-Way Middleware happens to be the first Z-Wave controller certified to the new standard, the Z-Wave Plus.

Z-Wave Europe claims you can connect Z-Wave wireless enabled devices sourced from more than 300 device manufacturers to the 89x71x25mm Popp Hub. These devices could be remote controlled devices, for windows and blinds, alarms, lighting, security or HVAC. Additionally, Popp Hub is capable of working with several non Z-Wave devices as well, such as IP based devices, plugins and IP cameras.

Users can use a mobile Android or iOS application, a remote control or a single wall switch to control up to 230 Z-Wave devices connected to the Popp Hub. This includes features such as selectively activating the heating system or closing windows automatically depending on changes in the weather conditions. If a sensor device has set off any alarms, you will receive a notification from the application.

The RBPi2 is a 900MHz, quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC that runs on 1GB of RAM and Linux-based firmware. All major ports of the RBPi are exposed to the user. Besides, it has an audio jack, an Ethernet port and four USB ports. You can use Wi-Fi or other wireless devices on the USB ports. The internal SD slot handles the 8GB SD card that holds the Operating System.

Within the Popp Hub, a Sigma Designs SM5202 chip augments the basic RBPi2 functionality. This is a static controller certified by Z-Wave Plus and it provides 48 command classes and adds enhanced security.