Guide to Zigbee for 2021

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This will be a thorough examination of Zigbee (and some Z-wave) in order to demonstrate the technology’s complete potential and technical requirements.

Amazon just announced that their new 4th-generation Echo would also function as a Zigbee hub, implying that Amazon’s Smart Home devices will be integrated into other Smart Home networks.

The Zigbee Alliance has enlisted the help of Google, Amazon, and Apple. As a result, Smart Homes in the future will be functional with a wide range of other gadgets.

What exactly is it?

Zigbee is a mesh network technology, which indicates that rather than linking to your Wi-Fi network, each Zigbee device connects to a main hub.

Because Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are ineffective at connecting devices on a single network, a Zigbee hub is necessary.

The Zigbee standard is based on IEEE’s 802.15.4 personal-area networking system, which implies it has been around for more than a decade.

Although Zigbee is often used as a replacement for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it should be noted that it consumes far less bandwidth and is better suited to low-powered devices.

Who created it?

The Zigbee protocol was created in 1998, certified in 2003, and updated in 2006. The term comes from honey bees’ waggle dance as they retreat to the hive.

In the 1990s, Zigbee-style self-organizing ad hoc digital radio systems were envisioned. On December 14, 2004, the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 Zigbee standard was approved. On June 13, 2005, the ZigBee Alliance confirmed the release of Specification 1.0, often dubbed as the ZigBee 2004 Specification.

The Zigbee Alliance is a consortium of firms who manage and produce the Zigbee standard, which was founded in 2002.

This group’s name, Zigbee, is a recognized trademark, not just a single scientific specification. The group offers application profiles that enable numerous OEM providers to design products that are compatible. IEEE 802.15.4 and Zigbee have a connection that is comparable to that of IEEE 802.11 and the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The Alliance’s membership has expanded to more than 500 organizations over the years, including Comcast, Ikea, Legrand, Samsung SmartThings, and Amazon. There are three degrees of membership in the Zigbee Alliance: user, participant, and promoter. Participants have right to vote, participate in Zigbee growth, and have priority access to standards and specific requirements for product design. Adopter members have direct exposure to finished Zigbee specifications and guidelines, while participant members have voting rights, participate in Zigbee advancement, and have priority access to requirements and standards for product development.

The Zigbee Alliance has been renamed the Connectivity Standards Alliance as of May 11, 2021. (CSA).

What is Zigbee and how does it work?

Without traveling via a central management hub, such as a Wi-Fi router, Zigbee transfers instructions between smart home devices, such as from a voice assistant to a light source or from a switch to a bulb. The receiver device can likewise send and understand this signal. It didn’t matter whatever company created it. They all communicate in the same language as long as they all accept Zigbee.

Because Zigbee is a mesh network, instructions may be exchanged across devices that are connected to the same Zigbee network. In principle, each gadget functions as a node, receiving and transferring data to all other devices, allowing the smart home network to extend wider and cover a larger region.

When it comes to Wi-Fi, though, the signal weakens with time or might be completely obstructed by thick walls in an older house, which means the order may never reach the smart home gadgets that are the furthest away.

A Zigbee network’s mesh nature also implies that there is no single point of failure. If you have a house full of Zigbee-compatible smart light bulbs, for example, you may want them all to turn on at the same time. If one of the bulbs fails, the mesh guarantees that the command is delivered to every other bulb in the network.

In reality, however, this may not be the case. While many Zigbee-enabled smart home devices serve as repeaters, sending and receiving orders but not forwarding them on, others may transmit and receive commands but not forward them on.

In general, mains-powered devices serve as repeaters, disseminating all signals received from other nodes on the network. The majority of Zigbee devices that are powered by batteries do not accomplish this; instead, they merely transmit and receive orders.

This is where a Zigbee-enabled hub comes in handy, as it guarantees that the orders are transmitted to all of the appropriate devices without depending on the Zigbee mesh to do so. Some Zigbee products include their own hub; however, Zigbee-enabled smart home gadgets can also be linked to a third-party Zigbee-enabled gateway, such as an Amazon Echo smart speaker or a Samsung SmartThings hub, which can be more cost-effective and make sure you don’t have any more devices and appliances than you need.

Is Zigbee a superior wireless technology than Wi-Fi and Z-Wave?

Zigbee runs on the 2.4GHz, 90MHz, and 868MHz frequencies and employs the IEEE’s 802.15.4 personal-area network standard for communication. Its data transmission rate is just 250kB/s, making it much slower than any Wi-Fi network. However, since only little quantities of data are sent, Zigbee’s poor speed is unimportant.

Who supports it?

Although Zigbee is not as widely used as Wi-Fi, it is included in a surprising number of devices; the Zigbee Alliance has more than 400 affiliates from 35 countries. According to the Alliance, there are over 2,500 Zigbee-certified devices on the market, with over 300 million sold to far.

Having Zigbee devices on your network usually necessitates the use of a hub and a pre-planned strategy for connecting them properly.

The Echo Plus and the Echo Show 10 act as a Zigbee Hub, and Amazon has just seized this in by blitz. The Eero Mesh Pro is also a great option since it serves as both a router and a Zigbee hub.

If you’re searching for anything other than Amazon, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, and Abode are all good options. In this situation, I always recommend the SmartThings Hub.

You may not be aware that the following items are Zigbee compatible:

  • Amazon Echo Plus
  • WeMo by Belkin
  • Tradfri is an Ikea product.
  • Hue by Philips (Using Signify)
  • SmartThings by Samsung
  • Yale Smart Locks are a kind of lock that is designed to be
  • Thermostats from Honeywell

By Jason Thompson

Jason has been passionate about technology since he first got his hands on his Dad's Motorola RAZR. When not re-writing his home, you can find him teaching others how to do the same through numerous training courses.

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