There are various high data rate communication standards available in today’s communication environment, but none of them meet the communication needs of sensors and control devices. Even at lesser bandwidths, these high-data-rate communication protocols necessitate low-latency and low-energy usage.

The Zigbee technology used in various proprietary wireless systems is low-cost and low-power consumption, and its great and superb qualities make it ideal for a variety of embedded applications, industrial control, and home automation, among others.

The transmission distances for Zigbee technology typically range from 10 to 100 metres, depending on the power output and ambient factors.

What is Zigbee Technology?

Zigbee communication is a Zigbee alliance product designed specifically for control and sensor networks based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard for wireless personal area networks (WPANs). This protocol covers the physical and MAC layers required to handle a large number of devices at low data rates. 868 MHz, 902-928 MHz, and 2.4 GHz are the frequencies used by these Zigbee WPANs. The 250 kbps data rate is excellent for two-way data transmission between sensors and controllers on a regular and intermediate basis.

Zigbee is a low-cost, low-power mesh network that is commonly used for controlling and monitoring applications and has a range of 10-100 metres. Other proprietary short-range wireless sensor networks, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, are more expensive and complex than this communication technology.

For master to master or master to slave communications, Zigbee enables a variety of network architectures. It may also be used in a variety of settings, which helps to conserve battery power. With the use of routers, Zigbee networks can be expanded, allowing numerous nodes to communicate with one another and form a larger network.

The Evolution of Zigbee Technology

Digital radio networks with self-organizing ad hoc were first implemented in 1990. On December 14, 2004, the Zigbee specification, also known as IEEE 802.15.4-2003, was adopted. The Zigbee Alliance announced the Specification 1.0, often known as the ZigBee 2004 Specification, on June 13, 2005.

Library in a Cluster

The Zigbee 2006 Specification was announced in September of 2006, superseding the 2004 stack. As a result, this specification primarily uses a cluster library to replace the pair structure of key-value and message used in the 2004 stack.

A library is a collection of standardised commands organised into clusters with names like Home Automation, Smart Energy, and ZigBee Light Link. The library was renamed Dotdot by the Zigbee Alliance in 2017 and released as a new protocol. As a result, this Dotdot has served as the default application layer for nearly all Zigbee devices.

Pro Zigbee

Zigbee Pro, also known as Zigbee 2007, was released in 2007. It’s a type of device that connects to a legacy Zigbee network. On a classic Zigbee network, these devices should become non-routing ZEDs or Zigbee end devices (ZEDs) due to the discrepancies in routing possibilities.

On a Zigbee Pro network, legacy Zigbee devices must be converted to Zigbee end devices. It uses the 2.4 GHz ISM frequency as well as a sub-GHz spectrum to operate.

How Does It Work?

With digital radios, Zigbee technology allows diverse devices to communicate with one another. The router, coordinator, and end devices are all used in this network. The primary purpose of these devices is to transmit instructions and messages from the coordinator to single end devices like light bulbs.

The coordinator is the most important device in this network, and it is located at the system’s heart. There is only one coordinator for each network, who is responsible for various responsibilities. They select a suitable channel, scan it for the most appropriate one with the least amount of interference, and assign an exclusive ID and address to each device in the network so that messages and instructions can be carried over the network.

Routers are located between the coordinator and the end devices, and they are responsible for routing messages between the various nodes. The coordinator sends messages to the routers, which they store until their end devices are in a position to receive them. Other end devices, as well as routers, may be able to connect to the network through these.

End devices can control tiny data in this network by talking with the parent node, such as a router or coordinator, depending on the Zigbee network type. End devices do not communicate directly with one another.

First, all traffic can be sent to a parent node, such as a router, which will store the data until the device’s receiving end is in a position to receive it. End devices are used to seek any communications from the parent that are currently pending.

Architecture for Zigbee

The Zigbee system is made up of three sorts of devices: a coordinator, a router, and an end device. Every Zigbee network must have at least one coordinator, who serves as the network’s root and bridge. The coordinator is in charge of receiving and transferring data, as well as managing and storing the information.

Zigbee routers serve as intermediary devices, allowing data to flow back and forth between them and other devices. End devices have limited communication capabilities with parent nodes, which saves battery power, as indicated in the diagram. The number of routers, coordinators, and end devices varies depending on the network type (star, tree, or mesh).

The Zigbee protocol architecture is made up of a stack of levels, with physical and MAC layers defining IEEE 802.15.4 and Zigbee’s own network and application layers completing the protocol.

  • Physical Layer: When transmitting and receiving signals, this layer performs modulation and demodulation processes. The frequency, data rate, and number of channels for this layer are listed below.
  • MAC Layer: This layer is in charge of ensuring data transmission reliability by accessing several networks using carrier sense multiple access collision avoidances (CSMA). This also sends the beacon frames for communication synchronisation.
  • Layer of the Network: All network-related tasks, such as network setup, end device connection and disengagement from the network, routing, device configurations, and so on, are handled by this layer.
  • Application Support Sub-Layer: This layer provides the services required for Zigbee device and application objects to communicate with network levels for data management. This layer is in charge of matching two devices based on their services and requirements.

Key-value pair and generic message services are two forms of data services provided by the Application Framework. The generic message is a structure specified by the developer, whereas the key-value pair is used to retrieve attributes from application objects. In Zigbee devices, ZDO acts as a bridge between application objects and the APS layer. It’s in charge of finding, launching, and connecting additional devices to the network.

IoT Zigbee Technology

We all know that Zigbee is a type of communication technology akin to Bluetooth and WiFi, but there are also a slew of other emerging networking options, such as Thread, which is a choice for home automation applications. Whitespace technologies were introduced in major cities for IoT-based wider area use cases.

The ZigBee protocol is a low-power WLAN (wireless local area network) standard. To turn off a battery, it provides fewer data using less power by regularly connected devices. As a result, the open standard has been linked to M2M (machine-to-machine) communication and the industrial Internet of Things (internet of things).

Zigbee has become a widely used Internet of Things protocol. Bluetooth, WiFi, and Thread are already competitors.

Devices that use Zigbee technology

The IEEE 802.15.4 Zigbee specification primarily comprises two types of devices: Full-Function Devices (FFD) and Reduced-Function Devices (RFD) (RFD). An FFD Device can do any task within the network and performs different tasks as described in the standard.

An RFD Device has limited capabilities, therefore it can only execute certain activities, yet it can communicate with any other device on the network. Within the network, it must both act and pay attention. An RFD device may easily communicate with an FFD device and is utilised in simple applications such as activating and deactivating a switch.

The Zigbee devices in an IEEE 802.15.4 n/w network serve three separate roles: coordinator, PAN coordinator, and device. FFD devices are both coordinators and PAN coordinators in this case, and the device is either an RFD or an FFD device.

A coordinator’s primary responsibility is to relay messages. A PAN controller is an essential controller in a personal area network, and a device is known as if it is not a coordinator.

The ZigBee standard can generate three protocol devices based on ZigBee devices, PAN coordinators, coordinators, and ZigBee standard specifications such as coordinators, routers, and end devices, which are addressed further down.

Coordinator for Zigbee

A PAN Coordinator is used to form the network in an FFD device. Once the network is up and running, it assigns the network’s address to the devices that are connected to it. It also distributes the messages to the various end devices.

Router Zigbee

A Zigbee Router is an FFD device that extends the Zigbee Network’s range. This router is used to expand the network’s capabilities. It can also be used as a Zigbee End Device.

End Device for Zigbee

This is not a Router or a Coordinator that physically interacts with a sensor or performs a control operation. It can be either an RFD or an FFD, depending on the application.

Why is ZigBee superior to WiFi?

The data transfer speed is slower in Zigbee than in WiFi, hence the highest speed is just 250kbps. When compared to the slower WiFi speed, it’s a bargain.

Another excellent feature of Zigbee is the rate of power consumption as well as the battery life. Its protocol lasts for months since once it’s put together, we can forget about it.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Zigbee Technology

The following are some of the benefits of Zigbee.

  • This network has a network structure that is adaptable.
  • The battery life is adequate.
  • The amount of energy used is reduced.
  • It’s quite easy to fix.
  • It can accommodate up to 6500 nodes.
  • Less money is spent.
  • It is both self-healing and more dependable.
  • Setting up a network is both straightforward and easy.
  • Because there is no central controller, loads are equally spread over the network.
  • Using a remote, you can easily monitor and operate your home appliances.
  • The network is scalable, and adding/remoting ZigBee end devices is simple.

The following are some of Zigbee’s drawbacks.

  • It requires system information in order to control the owner’s Zigbee-based devices.
  • It is insecure when compared to WiFi.
  • The high expense of replacing when a problem occurs with Zigbee-based home appliances.
  • The Zigbee’s transmission rate is lower.
  • It excludes a number of end devices.
  • Being utilised for official private information is quite dangerous.
  • Because of its limited reach, it is not employed as an outdoor wireless communication system.
  • This ZigBee communication system, like other wireless networks, is vulnerable to illegal interference.

Zigbee Technology’s Applications

The following are some of the ZigBee technology’s applications.

  • Industrial Automation: A communication link continuously monitors numerous parameters and crucial equipment in the manufacturing and production industries. As a result, Zigbee significantly lowers the cost of communication while also optimising the control process for higher reliability.
  • Home Automation: Zigbee is ideal for operating home appliances remotely, including lighting, appliances, heating and cooling systems, safety equipment operations and control, surveillance, and so on.
  • Smart Metering: In smart metering, Zigbee remote operations include energy consumption response, pricing assistance, and security against power theft, among other things.
  • Remote temperature monitoring, fault locating, reactive power management, and other Zigbee functions are used in this smart grid.
  • Engineers employ ZigBee technology to create projects like a wireless fingerprint attendance system and home automation.


This is a quick overview of the architecture, operational modes, configurations, and uses of Zigbee technology. We hope that we have provided you with enough information on this title to help you understand it better. This concludes the review of Zigbee technology, which is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 network. This technology’s architecture can be exceedingly robust, allowing it to function in a variety of settings.

It offers both flexibility and security in a variety of settings. Because it delivers continuous mesh networking by allowing a network to control over a large area and low-power communications, Zigbee technology has received a lot of traction in the industry. As a result, this is an ideal IoT technology.

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