This is the first article of a short serie about the zig bee:

from the wikipedia (

ZigBee is a specification for a suite of high level communication protocols using small, low-power digital radios based on the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 standard for Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks (LR-WPANs), such as wireless light switches with lamps, electrical meters with in-home-displays, consumer electronics equipment via short-range radio needing low rates of data transfer. The technology defined by the ZigBee specification is intended to be simpler and less expensive than other WPANs, such as Bluetooth. ZigBee is targeted at radio-frequency (RF) applications that require a low data rate, long battery life, and secure networking.


Technical overview

ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh networking standard. First, the low cost allows the technology to be widely deployed in wireless control and monitoring applications. Second, the low power-usage allows longer life with smaller batteries. Third, the mesh networking provides high reliability and more extensive range.

It is not capable of powerline networking though other elements of the OpenHAN standards suite promoted by openAMI [1] and UtilityAMI [2] deal with communications co-extant with AC power outlets. In other words, ZigBee is intended not to support powerline networking but to interface with it at least for smart metering and smart appliance purposes. Utilities, e.g. Penn Energy, have declared the intent to require them to interoperate [3] again via the openHAN standards.

Trademark and Alliance

The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, and low-power wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard.[1]

The ZigBee Alliance is a group of companies that maintain and publish the ZigBee standard. The term ZigBee is a registered trademark of this group, not a single technical standard.

As per its main role, it standardizes the body that defines ZigBee, and also publishes application profiles that allow multiple OEM vendors to create interoperable products. The current list of application profiles either published, or in the works are:

Released specifications:

  • ZigBee Home Automation
  • ZigBee Smart Energy 1.0
  • ZigBee Telecommunication Services
  • ZigBee Health Care
  • ZigBee Remote Control

Specifications under development

  • ZigBee Smart Energy 2.0
  • ZigBee Building Automation
  • ZigBee Retail Services

The relationship between IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee[2] is similar to that between IEEE 802.11 and the Wi-Fi Alliance. The ZigBee 1.0 specification was ratified on 14 December 2004 and is available to members of the ZigBee Alliance. Most recently, the ZigBee 2007 specification was posted on 30 October 2007. The first ZigBee Application Profile, Home Automation, was announced 2 November 2007. As amended by NIST, the Smart Energy Profile 2.0 specification will remove the dependency on IEEE 802.15.4. Device manufacturers will be able to implement any MAC/PHY, such as IEEE 802.15.4(x) and IEEE P1901, under an IP layer based on 6LoWPAN.

ZigBee operates in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands; 868 MHz in Europe, 915 MHz in the USA and Australia, and 2.4 GHz in most jurisdictions worldwide. The technology is intended to be simpler and less expensive than other WPANs such as Bluetooth. ZigBee chip vendors typically sell integrated radios and microcontrollers with between 60 KB and 256 KB flash memory.


In the others articles of this serie we will show the following arguments:

  • Development board
  • Source Code
  • SoC by vendors
  • other

Stay tuned, we will be back soon.