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The global shipment of IEEE 802.15.4 chipsets will triple to reach 1 billion over the next five years, according to research firm ON World.

Despite growing competition from Bluetooth LE and LPWAN, the mesh network which supports Zigbee, Thread and WI-SUN is enabling IoT markets to reliability and securely grow.

Zigbee will make up the largest portion but protocols using IPv6 such as Thread and Wi-SUN will increase faster. Multi-protocol chipsets that include 802.15.4 and other technologies such as Bluetooth LE and/or WiFi will make up 1 in 4 by this time.

Mareca Hatler, ON World’s director of research, said: “With nearly a billion devices using wireless mesh protocols such as Zigbee, Thread or Wi-SUN, 802.15.4 has become a core IoT technology.

“Multi-protocol chips that combine 802.15.4 with other IoT technologies such as BLE and WiFi provide robust wireless mesh networking with seamless mobile/IT integration, at minimal additional cost.”

The majority of IEEE 802.15.4 chipsets are being deployed in:

  • Smart Homes & Buildings: Smart homes and buildings make up two-thirds of the 802.15.4 market.
  • Utility Networks and Smart Cities: Zigbee Smart Energy is the most commonly deployed technology for Home Area Networks (HAN) with 100 million devices installed connecting smart meters with in-home/building devices. With end-to-end IP addressability, long network range, robust security and scalability, Wi-SUN is another growing 802.15.4 mesh network protocol built on 802.15.4g/e and IPv6/6LoWPAN and CoAP. Wi-SUN is used in over 50 million devices for utility networks and smart city infrastructures.
  • Industrial Automation, Agriculture and Logistics.