Intersog has just successfully shipped a new custom built IoT application to our client - one of U.S. leading providers of energy management solutions based out of Chicago. The project was based on ZigBee technology and our project team found this suite of high-level communication protocols extremely useful for solutions that imply creation of personal area networks with small and low-power digital radios.
Our senior software engineers Igor Rolinskiy told me more about ZigBee, its pros and cons and why it was chosen for building a remote wifi ventilation controller application.
ZigBee is an IEEE 802.15.4-based specification for high-level communication protocols.
Key benefits of using ZigBee over other protocol specifications:
- Low energy consumption
- Small size
- Very low cost (below $5)
- Reliable and protected network
- Self-organizing and self-reset
- Work range exceeds 10 meters
- Transmits data in unlicensed frequency bands
ZigBee Stack Architecture
ZigBee Application Layer is implemented via ZigBee Cluster Library (ZCL) where a cluster is a mix of descriptions for a standard ZigBee device, its attributes and queries / commands.
ZigBee Application Profile Layer defines its use cases and enables interoperability of devices produced by different manufacturers.
- Smart energy
- Home automation
- Personal home and hospital care (PHHC)
ZigBee network includes three types of devices:
- ZigBee coordinator
- End devices
ZigBee coordinator functions:
- Launch and manage networks
- Form a network
- Act as a control hub
- Set parameters while devices are connecting to the network
- Manage security keys
ZigBee router functions:
- Transmit packages
- Enable dynamic routing
- Reset routes at network congestion
- Ensure permanent receiver mode
- Mains supply
- Can serve up to 32 sleeping devices
ZigBee end device:
- Can receive and send packages, but can't transmit or route them
- Can be set to a sleeping mode to save battery life (up to 3 weeks)
- Works with sensors, local controllers and actuation mechanisms
ZigBee networks topology
- Low data transmission speed (around 30 kb/sec)
- Several application level standards (4 specs and over 10 standards), which leads to interoperability issues