What Is Zigbee? All Details You Need To Know To Build Your Smart Home What Is Zigbee? All Details You Need To Know To Build Your Smart Home

What Is Zigbee? All Details You Need To Know To Build Your Smart Home

Zigbee is a commonly used medium to transfer commands and information from controllers to smart devices, such as lighting and smart home hubs. It is an open-source alliance controlled by multiple companies.

The idea of controlling home appliances and fixtures is not novel anymore. People are now accustomed to switching the lights of their homes on their way there or turning on the air conditioning before getting to their homes or offices.

The goal is to have control and efficiency over electric-powered appliances. But how does the information go from a smartphone to that fixture?

The most common and widely used protocol for that is called Zigbee. Without boring you to death right in the introduction, let’s dive deep into the heart and soul of this wireless medium. 

Zigbee Protocol

The Zigbee wireless technology essentially serves as a freely accessible, universal standard to meet the particular requirements of low-power, low-cost wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) networks and IoT devices (IoT). It uses the IEEE 802.15.4 physical radio specification to function and can use unlicensed frequencies, including 2.4 GHz, 900 MHz, and 868 MHz.

The Zigbee stack's supporting 802.15.4 specification received official acceptance and recognition from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2003. (IEEE). The low-cost, battery-operated devices are the target audience for this specification, which is a packet-based radio protocol. This protocol enables devices to connect to a range of network topologies and delivers devices with long-lasting batteries.

what is zigbee

The Zigbee protocol is strong enough to work in challenging RF, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth settings, typical in many industrial applications. The Zigbee protocol has a unique channel agility mechanism that fully utilizes the tried-and-true interference avoidance strategies of IEEE 802.15.4. Technical specifications for the Zigbee protocol include:

  • On a single frequency of 2.4 GHz, the Zigbee protocol runs everywhere.
  • Zigbee has a wireless range of 400 meters outside and 70 meters indoors.
  • Supporting various networks, such as point-to-point and point-to-multipoint mesh networks, provides networking versatility to accommodate residences of various sizes.
  • Low latency and low duty cycle result in less power being used, allowing sensors a battery life of up to 7 years.
  • Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) helps provide more effective data rates for faster answers.
  • Enables networks with thousands of devices.
  • Your information is protected during over-the-air transmissions because of Zigbee's use of AES 128 encryption (the same type of encryption used by the government, business, and military on the Internet).
  • Zigbee makes it simple to combine motion detection, convenience, and security systems and monitor and control lighting systems.
  • Zigbee's mesh-network operability lowers the likelihood of node failure, and its ad hoc routing provides more stability.

>> Zigbee vs Z-Wave: What’s the difference?

Zigbee Alliance

The term "Zigbee" is a trademark of the Zigbee Alliance, a consortium of businesses responsible for maintaining and disseminating the Zigbee standard. Numerous OEM vendors can produce a variety of compatible devices based on the various application profiles made available by the Zigbee standard. Several of the published application profiles include:

  • Smart Energies
  • Zigbee Home Automation
  • Healthcare
  • Telecommunication Services
  • RF4CE - Remote Control
  • RF4CE - Input Device
  • Building Automation
  • Gateway

Zigbee is entirely free to use for non-commercial uses for the general public.

zigbee alliance

Zigbee Applications

The Zigbee protocol supports a wide range of applications, including industrial automation, home automation, smart metering, smart grids, etc., thanks to its three key USPs of being affordable, low-power consuming, and having a faster wireless connection. Additionally, its low power consumption ensures the smooth operation of various sensor devices while providing long battery life. Here are a few applications for Zigbee that are common.

  • Zigbee offers a quicker, less expensive method of communication that connects to practically all factory equipment and centralizes it, making it simple to monitor each process and enhance the control process. Numerous medical and scientific devices utilize the Zigbee protocol, including sports and fitness trackers, personal chronic monitoring devices, and even remote patient monitoring devices.
  • Zigbee is used in smart metering to support pricing, provide better energy responsiveness, and prevent power theft. Zigbee is also employed in intelligent grids for reactive power management, locating faults, remote temperature monitoring, etc.
  • Zigbee is one of most home automation equipment most often used protocols. Zigbee is present everywhere, providing solutions for lighting systems, sensor-responsive solutions, security solutions, and surveillance.

Hardware

The following three categories apply to Zigbee devices:

The most crucial component is the Zigbee Co-ordinator (ZC), which serves as the network's hub and as a bridge to other networks. Since this device initiated the network, each network will contain a single Zigbee coordinator. This gadget serves as a Trust Center and a repository for security keys and houses all of the network's data.

Zigbee Router (ZR) devices are used to route data from other devices and assist it in getting to its destination and doing application-related tasks.

The Zigbee End-Device (ZED) has just enough functionality to communicate with the router or the coordinator. Be aware that it cannot rely on information from other devices. As a result, the node falls asleep for a protracted period, significantly extending battery life. A ZED device uses the least amount of energy compared to a ZC or ZR device.

Zigbee Products

It is quite relieving for new adopters to know that Zigbee is utilized by almost all major brands, including Samsung, Phillips, Belkin, Amazon, Google, etc. They use the protocol to connect devices with smart home hubs, such as lighting, security sensors, and many more. Evvr's world-class In-wall Relay Switch also uses the same medium to provide control to users for intelligent lighting systems.       

Smart Home Hubs

By providing a single app, hubs enable you to control smart devices throughout your house, negating the need for several smartphone apps. Four different kinds of intelligent hubs use the Zigbee protocol:

  • Dedicated hubs automate and manage gadgets from as many manufacturers as possible, but they lack additional capabilities.
  • Multipurpose hubs serve multiple purposes, including acting as intelligent speakers and automating and controlling gadgets.
  • The primary function of security systems, also known as base stations, is to arm and disarm burglar alarms.
  • Bridges allow products from a single brand (or a specific category of products, such as intelligent lights) to connect to the internet and mobile devices.

>> Find an ideal ZigBee hub to link your smart home devices

Lighting

One of the main reasons to purchase a hub is that most intelligent lights on the market use Zigbee. Because you screw smart bulbs straight into a lamp or light fixture, they are simple to install. They're also one of the least expensive methods to create a smart home, with basic devices costing approximately $10 per bulb (sometimes less expensive in multi-packs) and color-changing lights costing up to $40.

These are straightforward devices; therefore, when you connect them to a hub, you may anticipate the following features:

  • Control Remotely
  • Dimming
  • Scheduling
  • Automation

Security Sensors

Security sensor manufacturers like Z-Wave technology and intelligent lighting makers prefer Zigbee for smart bulbs. Similar innovative home platforms like Z-Wave compete with Zigbee regularly. Zigbee glass break sensors, sirens, flood sensors, thermostats, and smoke detectors are more challenging to locate because of the lack of options, especially for well-known manufacturers.

Using Z-Wave in this situation would be much simpler because most dedicated smart hubs handle Z-Wave and Zigbee. If you have an Amazon Echo Plus, which does not support Z-Wave, another option is to purchase Wi-Fi-based sensors.

Smart Homes & Zigbee

The Zigbee protocol is popular for home automation systems and offers comprehensive, all-encompassing solutions for lighting, security, comfort, and energy management.

Many well-known international brands in home automation use Zigbee for their products. Zigbee makes managing devices from multiple vendors simple because it is cross-compatible and interoperable. No matter the manufacturer, if a device complies with Zigbee Home Automation (HA 2.1), you may be sure it will function with your automation system.

Zigbee's mesh-routing network, which allows for device-to-device communication and non-fixed-route data packet travel, provides greater flexibility and quicker device connection.

what is zigbee

Zigbee for Home Automation has several characteristics: Simplified setup and maintenance, ideal for new construction and remodeling.

Zigbee monitors power consumption and lets you turn devices on and off from remote locations. It provides you access to devices anywhere in the world with just your smartphone.

You can create lighting protocols based on daily schedules, events, and activities. Your security sensors can operate for up to 7 years thanks to the low power consumption of the Zigbee protocol. Built-in security with interference avoidance techniques ensures better/enhanced security and worry-free operations.

Concluding Remarks

Zigbee is still a relevant wireless protocol, even a dominant one, for smart home hubs and other intelligent systems. This article was dedicated to the details and behind-the-scenes work of the protocol.

Evvr is a leading company in producing intelligent devices for smart homes, from the turn of the century lavish affairs to modern industrial structures. One of the wireless mediums used by our products is Zigbee for the secure and quick transmission of commands. Evvr In-Wall Relay Switch relies on the protocol for intelligent lighting solutions - providing complete control without sacrificing efficiency.  Evvr can offer you a comprehensive smart home solution whether you are an integrator, professional installer, distributor, or DIYer.  Get in touch with us and book a sample product today! 

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