How Does Zigbee Work?

Zigbee is a set of standardized solutions for wireless telecommunications designed for sensors and controls, and suitable for use in harsh or isolated conditions. Zigbee operates at one of three license-free bands, 2.4 GHz or 915 MHz in North America and 868 MHz in Europe.

Zigbee functions as a superset of the 802.15.4 specification, and does not require high bandwidth, while at the same time offering low latency and low energy consumption. This makes it an ideal choice for security, controls and sensors which may involve remote battery-powered operations.

The physical layer of Zigbee combines relatively low cost with a high level of integration, solving many issues created historically by the lack of such a set of standards in the past. The media access control, or MAC layer, features a simplified power management system. This system does not require multiple modes, and allows for reduced functionality devices (or RFDs) that don't require a great deal of ROM or RAM. This comes in contrast to the Bluetooth system, which features multiple modes of operation. Using Zigbee, data is transferred in packets over a distance of up to 230 feet or longer if data is relayed across nodes in a network.

As of 2014, Zigbee is promoted by a group called the Zigbee Alliance, five members of which have agreed to become promoters. These include Ember, Honeywell, Ivensys, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Philips and Samsung.