ZigBee is a wireless communication technology designed based on IEEE 802.15.4 specification. One of the most economical, low-power-consuming data transfer technologies operates with a simple networking protocol. Let’s see what the ZigBee standard is, the specifications, and its applications.
ZigBee has been developed to power Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs) like home automation and Internet of Things applications. ZigBee Alliance is the monitoring organization for developing, standardizing, and certifying ZigBee standards.
Mesh networking topology in ZigBee
ZigBee has been developed for use under mesh networking topology. In a mesh network, every device or node can interact with every other device within the network.
In practice, each device acts as a router, increasing the entire network’s reliability. Each device may have different roles, like configuring the communication path, connecting to other active devices to initiate routing, and talking to end devices.
Device-to-device communication is the technique used in modern wireless transmission technology like the Internet of Things and 5G. In D2D communication, devices can interact with each other without a central transceiver node.
ZigBee is capable of device-to-device communication in a smart home application that uses mesh network topology. Devices can find another active device within their vicinity to initiate communication without interruptions, and the efficiency of the system improves using D2D communication.
Specification of ZigBee
Standard: IEEE 802.15.4
Frequency: 2.4 GHz (home automation), 784 MHz, 868 MHz, and 915 MHz (country-specific)
Range: 10 to 100 meters (line of sight)
Data Rate: 20 kbps to 250 kbps
Network type: Mesh networking and device-to-device communication
Advantages of ZigBee
- Low-cost solutions
- Low power consumption
- Highly efficient due to long battery life
- Simple installation and implementation
- Scalable networks support a larger number of devices
- Remote monitoring and control of devices
- Highly reliable network
- Wireless coexistence with other technologies
Disadvantages of ZigBee
- Short range communication
- Low data rate transmission
- Security vulnerability due to personal information collected in devices
Applications of ZigBee
- Smart home applications
- Security monitoring and controlling home applications from remote locations
- ZigBee-enabled remote controls, which don’t require line of sight for controlling, offer greater convenience.
- Automatic doors and windows enabled with motion sensors
- Smoke, water, and gas leak sensors, which alerts
- Smart lighting solutions with smartphone-controlling applications
- Connected lighting with energy-saving options
- Smart switches that don’t require a battery power source (receive power from energy harvesting)
- Healthcare devices and applications
- Smart energy management applications like solar energy systems, hybrid vehicle charging, programmable communicating thermostats, etc…
- Neighborhood Area Networks (NAN) for utility operations which connect devices outside the home
- Smart retail applications like location tracking, sensors, electronics shopping tags
- Food safety monitoring
- Enhanced wireless devices to improve the shopping experience
Hundreds of companies have joined ZigBee alliance, and it is still progressing globally. ZigBee is an emerging technology together with advanced technologies like the Internet of Things and 5G. With higher demand for smart home applications, healthcare, smart cities, and smart lighting, ZigBee will be an inevitable technology to power the future smart world.