Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New ZigBee Standard Offer Enhanced Wireless Capability

The ZigBee Alliance announced the completion and immediate member availability of its enhanced version of the ZigBee standard. Public availability of the standard is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007. The original ZigBee standard was ratified by members in December 2004.

ZigBee is a wireless technology that targets easily deployable, low-cost, low-power, monitoring and control products for homes, commercial buildings and industrial plant monitoring.

The enhanced ZigBee continues use of mesh networking to communicate over the globally available 2.4 GHz frequency and 868/915 MHz technology is available in select countries.

ZigBee uses digital spread spectrum technology and offers a large number of channels for noise immunity.

The ZigBee protocol is designed to accommodate more than 65,000 devices on a single network.

Key capabilities of the enhanced ZigBee specification include:

  • Group Devices --- OEMs may create groups of devices, while allowing individual devices to belong to multiple groups. With the push of one button, all lights in a home could be turned off, or turn off all of the lights on a single floor or a single room. ZigBee enables endless design possibilities.

  • Easy Maintenance --- ZigBee technology prevents a single point-of-failure on the network and allows for easy replacement or repair of devices through a simple process of storing a device's information onto a nearby device.

  • Targeted Broadcasts --- Broadcasts of commands can be specified for specific types of devices: routers, "awake" or "sleeping" devices. This feature reduces RAM requirements, lowering the total cost of the components for ZigBee products.

  • Over-the-Air Setup --- Opens the door for an array of new setup tools to facilitate adding devices to a network. The setup tools can be used to bind specific devices, such as a light fixture and a corresponding switch, together, and professional installers may use the tools to modify a network on a larger scale.

The ZigBee Alliance said that a typical low-power ZigBee device should run on universally available batteries for years, eliminating the need for wiring to a power source and providing unparalleled convenience and flexibility. All ZigBee Alliance certified devices undergo two rigorous certification processes administered by independent laboratories to ensure devices perform to the standard.


See also