ZigBee: The smart home radio protocol
When it comes to smart home systems, lighting systems and sensor networks, ZigBee is considered one of the most common wireless standards. The technology, which was developed by several companies starting in 2002, not only enables flexible application, but is also unbeatably efficient. The focus is on relatively small ranges of up to 100 metres or 300 metres at line-of-sight. This makes ZigBee ideally suited for IoT systems in the home.
How does ZigBee work?
The functional principle on which ZigBee is based is very simple. The various components are connected to each other via radio and communicate with each other. The prerequisite is that the different modules are compatible. The radio signal is transmitted at 868 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz, whereby a maximum rate of 250 kBit/s can be achieved. The heart of the network is the ZigBee gateway, because this functions as the control centre in the ZigBee network. The module, also known as a ZigBee hub or bridge, is also able to store individual automation preferences.
Sockets, switches, thermostats: This is how flexible you are with ZigBee
If you want to integrate the appliances in your household into your Smart Home system, ZigBee sockets are the perfect solution. The practical wireless adapter plugs do not require a power cable and transform your electrical appliances into a Smart Home module in no time at all. This allows you to conveniently operate your TV, hi-fi system, etc. via app or voice control. Of course, you can also retrofit your home lighting and roller shutters. Thanks to a ZigBee switch, any component can be integrated into your Smart Home. This means that light switches and roller shutters can not only be controlled remotely. You can also create individual routines - quickly and easily via app. For use in your own four walls, for example, the Zigbee 3.0 Switch Actuator Mini is ideal. There is also a corresponding product for your radiators: the ZigBee thermostat. With this smart module, you can set your home to the right temperature while you are on the go or control the heating from your couch. Furthermore, fixed sequences and routines can be configured: For example, you can leave the heating in certain areas of your home unheated at night to save energy and costs.
Smart Home control via ZigBee: These are the advantages
The use of the ZigBee radio standard has several advantages. As mentioned above, the modules consume very little energy. This is not only easy on your wallet, but also on the environment. At the same time, the range of the home networking radio protocol is relatively high. And that's not all: the ZigBee components can also be configured easily and without much time. With the ZigBee Hub, not even an active internet connection is required to use the Smart Home modules. Top: If you want to turn your home into a Smart Home and have not yet taken any precautions in this regard, you can retrofit your appliances in no time at all.
ZigBee: also a top choice in combination with other manufacturers
ZigBee is considered extremely versatile when it comes to application possibilities. In addition to ZigBee switches, sockets and thermostats, the range also includes, for example, temperature and humidity sensors as well as motion and vibration detectors. Here, the ZigBee Alliance, which is responsible for the development of the radio standard, cooperates with various other companies. Since the ZigBee 3.0 standard, the compatibility of electronic devices is particularly high. This also applies to control via voice assistant. Here you can fall back on Google Home, Apple Homekit and Amazon Alexa, among others. Technology giant Samsung also has its own candidate for smart home devices with the "SmartThings" app. One module that enjoys great popularity, especially among passionate IoT tinkerers, is the Shelly brand microcontroller. With the right ZigBee component - such as a motion detector - the board can be easily controlled. And that is just one example of many. Thanks to the ZigBee network modules, there are no limits to your creativity! Do you favour the ioBroker as your IoT platform? In this case, too, you can easily integrate ZigBee products into your system. All you need is a ZigBee adapter with integrated antenna, as a replacement for the ZigBee hub. You have to install and configure the stick beforehand, but this process is quick and easy. The innovative Philips Hue lighting systems are also compatible with ZigBee. This allows you to customize your home lighting in an instant and also control it remotely. Create automated routines and adapt the lighting in your four walls to your personal everyday habits. The Hue Bridge serves as the control center. With this, up to 50 smart lights can be integrated. Thanks to the smart lights, ZigBee signals can not only be received, but also automatically forwarded. This ensures a more stable connection and a significantly higher range. Of course, control via voice assistant is also possible in this case. Another big player in the "smart home" sector is Homematic. Similar to ZigBee, the company offers a wide variety of solutions that make everyday life easier. Best of all, you can link Homematic modules with ZigBee components. This option can save you money, because many ZigBee modules, such as the popular intermediate switches, are comparatively inexpensive. If you already have some experience in the field of IoT and want to create your own smart home, you can use the open source and ZigBee-compatible free software Home Assistant. This is written in Python and serves as the central control component in your home automation system. Whether you want to control your home devices remotely, by voice command, by mobile app or by automated routines: Home Assistant gives you a wide range of options. It doesn't matter if it's a lighting system, a shutter, an air conditioner, or multimedia products like TVs or HiFi systems. Free companion apps for Android and iOS are also available.
How is the ZigBee protocol structured?
ZigBee is a so-called protocol stack, which consists of several layers. This makes the wireless standard particularly flexible to use. It is based on the wireless data specification IEEE 802.15.4, which consists of the physical layer (PHY), which contains all the necessary basics for sending and receiving data, and the media access layers (MAC). This is followed by the network layer (NWK) and the application layer (APL). The latter can be easily modified by the manufacturer so that it can achieve ZigBee compatibility without any problems.