ZigBee unveils comprehensive new features

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The ZigBee Alliance has approved comprehensive new features for the ZigBee specification, significantly expanding the capabilities of ZigBee and giving more choices to manufacturers as they design ZigBee products.

The original set of features published in 2006 is now known as the ZigBee Feature Set. The expanded set of features, known as ZigBee PRO, maximises all the capabilities of ZigBee and facilitates ease-of-use and advanced support for larger networks. These newly released feature sets are designed to interoperate with each other, ensuring long-term use and stability. Highlights of the expanded ZigBee PRO Feature Set include:

  • Network scalability – improved support for larger networks offering more management, flexibility, performance choices
  • Fragmentation – new ability to divide longer messages and enable interaction with other protocols and systems
  • Frequency agility – networks dynamically change channels should interference occur
  • Automated device address management – optimised for large networks with added network management and configuration tools
  • Group addressing – offers additional traffic optimisation needed for large networks
  • Wireless commissioning – enhanced with secure wireless commissioning capabilities
  • Centralised data collection – tuned specifically to optimise information flow in large networks.

Access to the updated ZigBee specification is available immediately for all members. Free public availability of the new features is scheduled for early 2008.

With the addition of these additional features to the ZigBee specification, the Alliance is shifting its attention to development efforts facilitating the deployment of the technology for energy management and efficiency, specifically in areas like public application profiles for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Public application profiles enable end-to-end, multi-vendor interoperable solutions in markets such as AMI, home automation, commercial building automation and telecommunications.

ZigBee uses self organising and self healing mesh networking to enable robust communications over the globally available 2.4 GHz frequency, with 868/915 MHz technology available in select countries. ZigBee networks offer superb interference immunity and capabilities to host thousands of devices. With ultra low power requirements, ZigBee devices run on regular batteries for years, eliminating the need for wiring to a power source and offering unparalleled maintenance convenience and installation flexibility.

The ZigBee Alliance membership comprises technology providers and manufacturers worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at www.zigbee.org