ZigBee is a wireless communication standard based on a standard network architecture using an OSI model through an IEEE 802.15.4-2006 IP layer. In plain English, ZigBee signals operate like network signals and most closely resemble Bluetooth and WiFI.
ZigBee Communicates Via Radio
ZigBee devices are designed to communicate via radio frequencies. ZigBee has adopted 2.4 GHz for it’s worldwide standard frequency. Because of potential bandwidth interference, ZigBee uses 915 MHz in the United States and 866 MHz in Europe.
ZigBee devices are of 3 types, Coordinators, Routers, and End Devices. Coordinators control the network formation and security. Routers pass on the signal and extend the network range. End Devices perform specific tasks such as turning on a light or taking a reading.
Low Power Consumption
ZigBee devices are designed for low power consumption. Devices put themselves to sleep when not in use, thereby conserving power. This makes these devices ideal for battery-operated applications because they can last for several years before needing new batteries.
ZigBee in Home Automation
ZigBee devices have been slow in gaining acceptance in the home automation market. This is largely because, since ZigBee devices are open-source, devices from one manufacturer sometimes have difficulty communicating with devices from a different manufacturer. This can cause a home network to have poor and sporadic performance.
ZigBee in Commercial Applications
Despite the problems in home automation, ZigBee devices excel in commercial applications. ZigBee’s design lends itself to sensing and monitoring applications and its use in large scale wireless monitoring is growing fast.
One of the reasons ZigBee applications are succeeding in large scale commercial applications is because most installations use products from only one manufacturer, or if more than one; the products are thoroughly tested for compatibility before installation. Some popular ZigBee applications include use by Utilities, Hospitals, Resort Hotels, Manufacturing, and Energy Conservation.