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23-02-2011, 09:49 AM

ZigBee is an IEEE 802.15.4 standard for data communications with business and consumer devices. It isdesigned around low-power consumption allowing batteries to essentially last forever. The ZigBee standardprovides network, security, and application support services operating on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 MediumAccess Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) wireless standard. It employs a suite of technologies toenable scalable, self-organizing, self-healing networks that can manage various data traffic patterns.ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh networking standard. The low cost allows the technologyto be widely deployed in wireless control and monitoring applications, the low power-usage allows longerlife with smaller batteries, and the mesh networking provides high reliability and larger range.ZigBee hasbeen developed to meet the growing demand for capable wireless networking between numerous lowpowerdevices. In industry ZigBee is being used for next generation automated manufacturing, with smalltransmitters in every device on the floor, allowing for communication between devices to a centralcomputer. This new level of communication permits finely-tuned remote monitoring and manipulation
.Keywords: Medium Access Control (MAC), Physical Layer (PHY), Wireless Personal Area Networking(WPAN), Open Systems Interconnection (OSI)
ZigBee is an established set of specifications forwireless personal area networking (WPAN), radio connections between computers andrelated devices. WPAN Low Rate or ZigBeeprovides specifications for devices that have lowdata rates, consume very low power and are thuscharacterized by long battery life. ZigBee makespossible completely networked homes where alldevices are able to communicate and be controlledby a single unit. The ZigBee Alliance, the standardsbody which defines ZigBee, also publishesapplication profiles that allow multiple OEMvendors to create interoperable products. Thecurrent list of application profiles either publishedor in the works are:• Home Automation• ZigBee Smart Energy• Telecommunication Applications• Personal HomeThe relationship between IEEE 802.15.4 andZigBee is similar to that between IEEE 802.11 andthe Wi-Fi Alliance. For non-commercial purposes,the ZigBee specification is available free to thegeneral public. An entry level membership in theZigBee Alliance, called Adopter, costs US$ 3500annually and provides access to the as-yetunpublished specifications and permission to createproducts for market using the specifications.ZigBee is one of the global standards ofcommunication protocol formulated by the relevanttask force under the IEEE 802.15 working group.The fourth in the series, WPAN Low Rate/ZigBeeis the newest and provides specifications fordevices that have low data rates, consume very lowpower and are thus characterized by long batterylife. Other standards like Bluetooth and IrDAaddress high data rate applications such as voice,video and LAN communications.ZigBee devices are actively limited to a throughrateof 250Kbps, compared to Bluetooth's muchlarger pipeline of 1Mbps, operating on the 2.4 GHz ISM band, which is available throughout most ofthe world.In the consumer market ZigBee is beingexplored for everything from linking low-powerhousehold devices such as smoke alarms to acentral housing control unit, to centralized lightcontrols.The specified maximum range of operation forZigBee devices is 250 feet (76m), substantiallyfurther than that used by Bluetooth capable devices,although security concerns raised over "sniping"Bluetooth devices remotely, may prove to hold truefor ZigBee devices as well. Due to its low poweroutput, ZigBee devices can sustain themselves on asmall battery for many months, or even years,making them ideal for install-and-forget purposes,such as most small household systems. Predictionsof ZigBee installation for the future, most based onthe explosive use of ZigBee in automatedhousehold tasks in China, look to a near futurewhen upwards of sixty ZigBee devices may befound in an average American home, allcommunicating with one another freely andregulating common tasks seamlessly.The ZigBee Alliance has been set up as “anassociation of companies working together toenable reliable, cost-effective, low-power,wirelessly networked, monitoring and controlproducts based on an open global standard”. Once amanufacturer enrolls in this Alliance for a fee, hecan have access to the standard and implement it inhis products in the form of ZigBee chipsets thatwould be built into the end devices. Philips,Motorola, Intel, HP are all members of the Alliance. The goal is “to provide the consumer withultimate flexibility, mobility, and ease of use bybuilding wireless intelligence and capabilities intoevery day devices. ZigBee technology will beembedded in a wide range of products andapplications across consumer, commercial,industrial and government markets worldwide. Forthe first time, companies will have a standardsbasedwireless platform optimized for the uniqueneeds of remote monitoring and controlapplications, including simplicity, reliability, lowcostand low-power”.The target networks encompass a wide range ofdevices with low data rates in the Industrial,Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio bands, withbuilding-automation controls like intruder/firealarms, thermostats and remote (wireless) switches,video/audio remote controls likely to be the mostpopular applications. So far sensor and controldevices have been marketed as proprietary items forwant of a standard. With acceptance andimplementation of ZigBee, interoperability will beenabled in multi-purpose, self-organizing meshnetworks
The focus of network applications under the IEEE802.15.4 / ZigBee standard include the features oflow power consumption, needed for only two majormodes (Tx/Rx or Sleep), high density of nodes pernetwork, low costs and simple implementation.These features are enabled by the followingcharacteristics,• 2.4GHz and 868/915 MHz dual PHY modes. Thisrepresents three license-free bands: 2.4-2.4835GHz, 868-870 MHz and 902-928 MHz. Thenumber of channels allotted to each frequency bandis fixed at sixteen (numbered 11-26), one(numbered 0) and ten (numbered 1-10)respectively. The higher frequency band isapplicable worldwide, and the lower band in theareas of North America, Europe, Australia and NewZealand .• Low power consumption, with battery liferanging from months to years. Considering thenumber of devices with remotes in use at present, itis easy to see that more numbers of batteries needto be provisioned every so often, entailing regular(as well as timely), recurring expenditure. In theZigBee standard, longer battery life is achievableby either of two means: continuous networkconnection and slow but sure battery drain, orintermittent connection and even slower batterydrain.• Maximum data rates allowed for each of thesefrequency bands are fixed as 250 kbps @2.4 GHz,40 kbps @ 915 MHz, and 20 kbps @868 MHz.• High throughput and low latency for low dutycycleapplications (<0.1%)• Channel access using Carrier Sense MultipleAccess with Collision Avoidance (CSMA - CA)• Addressing space of up to 64 bit IEEE addressdevices, 65,535 networks

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