The enhanced ZigBee standard: more control, more choice



The completion and immediate member availability of the enhanced version of the ZigBee standard has been announced by the ZigBee™ Alliance.

The standard is the only global wireless communication standard enabling the development of easily deployable low cost, low power, monitoring and control products for homes, commercial buildings and industrial plant monitoring. Public availability of the standard is scheduled for the first quarter of 2007. “The enhanced version of ZigBee arrives at a time when there has never been greater need in the world to have more control over our homes and businesses – especially when it comes to reducing energy consumption,” says Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance.

Products based on the enhanced ZigBee standard offer original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) a variety of control, convenience and energy management tools.

The standard is optimised for use with consumer products and services and offers improvements and new features, including:

  • Group devices: OEMs may create groups of devices, while allowing individual devices to belong to multiple groups. With the push of one button, all the lights in a home could be turned off, or all of those on a single floor or in a single room. ZigBee enables endless design possibilties.
  • 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. Professional installers may use the tools to modify a network on a larger scale.

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. With digital spread spectrum technology, and the most number of channels, ZigBee networks offer superb noise immunity. The ZigBee protocol is designed to accommodate more than 65,000 devices on a single network, creating a tremendous opportunity for designers to automate tasks and gain wireless control over manual activities, tasks and devices like never before.

This simplicity of design and operation ensures consumers of all backgrounds can install products and maintain their network in minutes Organisations seeking immediate access to the new ZigBee standard, or assistance with developing products based on ZigBee, may obtain more information on the website.