Frequently Asked Questions

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    Who is the ZigBee Alliance?

    The ZigBee Alliance is an open, non-profit association of members that has created a thriving global ecosystem developing standards that ultimately deliver greater freedom and flexibility for a smarter, more sustainable world.  Our members are businesses, universities and government agencies and they work together creating wireless solutions for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications. Membership is open to all.

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    What are some examples of ZigBee applications?

    ZigBee is well suited for a wide range of control uses in just about any market.  The Alliance has focused its standards development efforts around the commercial, residential, energy, consumer and industrial sectors.  It has developed global standards for energy management and efficiency, home and building automation, health care and fitness, telecom and consumer electronics. Here are just a few examples of what our standards control:

    • Demand Response
    • Advanced Metering Infrastructure
    • Automatic Meter Reading
    • Lighting controls
    • HVAC control
    • Heating control
    • Wireless smoke and CO detectors
    • Home security
    • Blind, drapery and shade controls
    • Medical sensing and monitoring
    • Remote control of home entertainment systems
    • Indoor location sensing
    • Advertising on mobile devices
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    What are the advantages of joining the ZigBee Alliance?

    Our members are redefining existing markets and even creating new markets for wireless control networks. Alliance members get access to our standards before the general public.  With that access, they enjoy accelerated development cycles allowing them to quickly enhance their products and increase their industry competitiveness. By actively participating in the Alliance, members have access to, and are able to influence, emerging ZigBee standards. Plus, Alliance members enjoy networking with other market leading companies committed to providing ZigBee products and services.

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    Why do we need ZigBee?

    ZigBee is the only standards-based wireless technology designed to address the unique needs of low-cost, low-power wireless sensor and control networks in just about any market. ZigBee also connects the widest variety of devices into easy-to-use networks, giving you unprecedented control of the devices you use everyday at home, work or even play.

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    Is now the time to develop products?

    The Alliance is shifting resources from specification development to application standard development. The major work on the ZigBee specification is considered complete, with only minor maintenance issues to be dealt with for the foreseeable future. No additional updates to the ZigBee Specification are anticipated or scheduled. ZigBee market momentum continues to build and with the features found in this update, building ZigBee products has never been easier, and now manufacturers have even greater flexibility in choosing the right ZigBee solution for their product. Companies building wireless products today using ZigBee are lowering their risk of product development because standards based platforms support easy upgrades and preserve technology investment.

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    What ZigBee products are available now?

    There are hundreds of ZigBee products available now — from components to consumer ready products. We have a complete list of ZigBee Certified products and platforms available online.

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    How does ZigBee compare to Bluetooth?

    ZigBee was developed to serve very different applications than Bluetooth and leads to tremendous optimizations in power consumption. Some of the key differentiators are:

    • ZigBee:
      • Application level standardization
      • Very low duty cycle allowing for very long battery life
      • Static and dynamic star and mesh networks, supporting more than 65,000 nodes, with low latency available
      • Ability to remain quiescent for long periods without communications
      • Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum allows devices to sleep without the requirement for close synchronization
    • Bluetooth:
      • Moderate duty cycle, secondary battery lasts same as master,
      • Very high QoS and very low, guaranteed latency
      • Quasi-static star network limited to seven clients with ability to participate in more than one network
      • Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum is extremely difficult to create extended networks without large synchronization cost.
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    While battery life is ultimately a function of battery type, capacity and amount of use required for a specific purpose, ZigBee was designed from the ground up to deliver the most energy efficient use of batteries. Users can expect multi-year battery life when using common alkaline batteries in a typical ZigBee product. For very low duty cycle applications of < 1%, such as automatic meter reading, battery life could actually exceed ten years and only be constrained by the shelf life of the battery used in the product.

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    Is there any truth to claims that WiFi and ZigBee cannot co-exist in the same space?

    ZigBee and Wi-Fi work side-by-side, even in the same product, in buildings and homes around the world. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for small companies with proprietary technology to attack standards through the use of questionable and unverifiable data. Some companies only offer single channel, proprietary solutions and are limited to use only in certain countries. ZigBee is a robust, global technology that works as promised and operates in the most challenging of environments. Consider the following:

    • ZigBee is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard created and maintained by hundreds of engineers
    • ZigBee has 16 channels in the global 2.4 GHz frequency band giving it plenty of room to operate successfully.
    • ZigBee members regularly show their products around the world at largest and most wirelessly congested tradeshows: CES, Electronica, Hannover Messe, to name a few. These shows often have dozens of Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices and other RF traffic that sometimes challenges those technologies to perform, yet ZigBee devices work as promised.
    • Our members have thoroughly and independently investigated ZigBee before investing large amounts of time, effort and money to develop new ZigBee products and services.
    • ZigBee performance is verified by independent labs that test, verify and certify ZigBee platforms and products.
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    • LonWorks® is based on the use of existing power line wiring or additional twisted pair wiring to carry data signals and support network communications.   LonWorks Wireless Products have been developed to provide a flexible way of adding LonWorks technology to an existing, legacy control system where local conditions make an RF solution ideal to support bridged network communications.
    • ZigBee is an interoperable standards based RF wireless technology, passing control and monitoring data for residential, commercial, energy and consumer applications.
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    • The Wireless USB (WUSB) Promoter Group is defining the WUSB specification covering the 7.5GHz of “free spectrum” in the U.S. with a targeted data throughput of 480 Mbps.  Ultra-wideband (UWB) is presently only legal in selected countries, restricting global use. This specification maintains the same usage and architecture as wired USB devices with a high-speed host-to-device connection and connects to a maximum of 127 devices.  WUSB is based on a hub and spoke topology.
    • ZigBee is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard and has data throughput rates of 250kbps, 40kbps, and 20kbps. ZigBee can be used globally and without a license.
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    What is the advantage of the ZigBee solution over proprietary solutions?

    ZigBee’s main advantages include product interoperability, vendor independence, thriving and competitive ecosystem and accessibility to broader markets. Customers can expect increased product innovation as a result of the industry standardization of the physical radio and logical networking layers. Instead of  invest resources to create a new proprietary solution from scratch every time, product manufacturers can implement ZigBee and focus their energies on finding and serving customers.

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    How easy is it to develop ZigBee Certified products?

    Companies are able to easily and cost-effectively include ZigBee into their products thanks to a strong supply of small, low power, wireless RF modules. The availability of ZigBee hardware and software solutions dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of integrating ZigBee into the typical product design. A variety of companies provide software toolkits, including standard templates, to enable product manufacturers to efficiently create solutions at low cost and with reduced time to market.

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    Why choose ZigBee?

    Manufacturers choose ZigBee when they require a wireless control network solution supported by a competitive ecosystem that makes it simple to develop and deploy. ZigBee’s low cost, low data rate architectures delivers long battery life capability, robust security, high data reliability, and product interoperability. 

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    How do I join the ZigBee Alliance?

    It’s easy, simply visit our Join page and select from one of our membership types.