Please note that any hardware changes done to the Vera unit will VOID your warranty and it's possible to lose communication with your Z-Wave devices.
It's a known fact that the walls are diminishing the Z-Wave signal and metal objects might block it entirely, therefore it is not recommended to place z-wave devices (including Vera) inside metal cabinets or behind metal doors that may produce issues in your home automation network.
We recommend to put Vera in an open space and in a more central position.
Thank you for this information.
What I have seen:
My house was built in December of 2006. It is a 2 story house with basement, 2,860 square feet.
My controller, Vera 3, is in my living room (on its side with top of Vera facing west) under my TV on a wooden shelf. About 16 feet, west of the Vera, I have a Kwickset Zwave lock and a Zwave door/window sensor on my front door. There are times when the Vera loses connectivity, briefly, with the door lock and door sensor.
Additional info: The front door is adjacent to the 'formal dining' area, which is adjacent to the living room. The wall between the formal dining area and the living room/family room had a window/shelf opening in the wall, which has been closed.
Prior to closing this wall, the top of the Vera was facing east and I was seeing intermittent communication issues. After the wall was closed, my success rate when polling or controlling the devices on the front door was about 5%, if that. As a test, which became a temporary solution, I flipped the Vera over (in the exact same spot) so the top was now facing west and angled it slightly so the top of the Vera was more south-west than west. This significantly enhanced my success rate. I now would say polls and controlling is now at about 95% successful. The 5% of the time the lock fails is because the front door is open, the controller loses communication with the lock.
Where I want the controller is underneath its exact location in the basement (basically down 5 more feet), near my network equipment (ASA, Switch, Cable Modem, UPS, etc.). I have no issues placing outside the rack, however, when I attempted to place it on the rack (about 1 foot from the basement ceiling), the lock would work from the basement, from the TV stand, from my sofa. As soon as I approached the wall in the picture (the area with the red box), Vera could no longer communicate. I couldn't have been more than 10 feet from the controller, with simple housing sub floor between me and the Vera.
This is my dilemma. So, if what I read is correct, when I want to add out-door motion or temp sensors, basically I need to buy another Vera for each sensor I install, and place the Vera a few feet away from the sensor - but inside the house to protect from weather elements? Or, buy more switches, which come nowhere near where the exterior motion sensors will need to go? If I decided to zone my hvac system as a next step in my HA project, as it sits today, the controller would be unable to talk to my thermostats or occupancy sensors in the bedrooms on the 2nd floor.
I like the Vera, I really do, however I don’t live in a 10k square foot mansion. It is an average sized home in the US. It baffles my mind how weak the antenna is, or maybe just the RF amplification on Zwave - which I completely understand is regulated via FCC. I just want the range to be extended so the controller can talk to a device 30' away. Heck, my Bluetooth on my smart phone works at greater distances in my house than the Vera from the devices it controls.
(Edited: Forgot to attach image)