In the present world of communications, there are many highly rated data communication rules that are available in the market; if we think about it, none of these matches the sensors’ and control devices’. So for this purpose high standard communication is needed, which has a high rated data and has low-latency, low energy, and bandwidth. The open proprietary wireless systems are” Zigbee technology”.

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what is zigbee technology

¬† ¬†It plays a vital role as it is low-cost and low-power consumption. It’s excellent and superb characteristics make the communication to be suitable and easy for embedded systems, its applications, home automation, and much more.

 This article is for explaining the key concept related to the idea of Zigbee Technology in different aspects, the design of the Zigbee Standard, and the importance of Zigbee Technology. The main aim of this article is to provide you with the best and advance overview of Zigbee Technology, its application, and topology.

More info from official site its price and data rate can be verified from here

What does Zigbee Technology mean?

Zigbee is a wireless technology standard that defines a set of communication protocols for short-range communication.

Zigbee technology is a broad global standard for wireless technology, which is created to use low-power digital radio signals for personal area networks, which means for personal use, many questions are arising about it, which are discussed below. It should be noted that ZigBee works on the IEEE 802.15.4 spec and is used to create networks that need to transfer a low data rate and to secure networking.

Why another short-range communication?

There are many questions arising that if Bluetooth and wifi are available, then why another technology Zigbee is used?

Zigbee technology is specially built for control and sensor networks.

wifi vs bluetooth
Wifi vs Bluetooth

Wifi and Bluetooth are not suitable for wireless communication. Zigbee technology is one of the standard network used for the internet of things (IoT).

Internet of things


IoT is defined as the simple network in which data is exchanged. In simple words, as the name applies, certain important data that is needed to switch from one computer to another is exchanged so that it can be upload to the internet. The same data can also be collected through other techniques as well but this technology is specially invented for it, known as ZigBee technology.


Zigbee Vs Wifi Vs bluetooth

Data rate is maybe 20kbps ,40kbps and 250 kbpsData rate is 300 MbpsData rate is 0-3Mbps
range is 190mrange is 100mRange is almost 10m
There is medium risk of data collusionThere is no risk of data collusionHigh risk of data collusion
risk of data to be stolen is very lesshackers can easily target and have risk of data to be stolenData can be hack easily
Typical Application is it can be used in industries monitoring sensors,home control and automationWireless connectivity and broadband connectivityWireless connectivity for low range usually phones,and handsfree


ZigBee Technology transfers simple data, just like data that is received from sensors. Zigbee technology cab maintains a low data rate of about 250 kbps. The operating frequencies are 868 MHz, 902 to 928 MHz, and 2.4 GHz. ZigBee technology is mainly applied for applications that need low power, low cost, low rated data, and which have much longer battery. As seen nowadays in every field of communication IoT plays a vital role in the prototype as well in large industrial projects.

Characteristics of Zigbee Technology;

Zigbee has general features which are discussed below;

1:    Low power consumption:

Devices can operate for several years with single power supply

In a Zigbee technology application, the device which uses battery is similar to the device on standby mode, which great advantage is to save battery, which is known as sleep mode.

2:   Low Data Rate:

Zigbee technology devices data rate varies from 20kbs–250kbs, which is low, but however it is sufficient for short-range communications.

if we compare this rate with wifi and Bluetooth

Wifi Bluetooth
11 Mbps 1 Mbps

The wifi data rate is 50 times greater than Zigbee devices, which can easily stream audio-video and pictures.

In Bluetooth, the data rate can go up to 1Mbps, so no video streaming can be possible; however, devices can easily transmit audio and pictures.

But with Zigbee, we can only transmit packets of data.

3:    Short Range Communication:

The range of Zigbee devices can easily go up to 75 to 100meters indoors; however, in outdoor, it can go up to 300 meters and even more.

4:     Network join time:

It takes around 30 sec to transfer data through it and it’s the comparison with wifi and Bluetooth, is given below.

Wifi Bluetooth
Up to 3 seconds Up to 10 seconds

However, its connectivity is much faster than these devices, which can lead this technology to be superior then wifi and Bluetooth.

5:  Supports Small and Large Networks:

It supports more and large networks. Zigbee devices vary from several devices to thousands of devices to be exact;

Zigbee can support up to 65000 devices in a single system, in theory however 240 devices are practised.

The comparison of this technology with Wifi and Bluetooth.

Wifi Bluetooth
Up to 32 devices Up to 7 devices

So, in such case, Zigbee devices are much better.

6:    Low Cost of Products and Cheap Implementation:

The reason for the low cost of products is due to its simplicity in the technology and it’s an open-source protocol, due to which, it is much cheaper because manufacturers don’t pay the license fee.

7:    Security:

Zigbee uses the AES Algorithm, Cryptographic Algorithm for data encryption and data authentication which is for a standard system, as banks use it for online operation.

So it is the most Robust and secure cryptographic encryption.

Types of Zigbee devices;

There are three different Zigbee devices, as they described below;

  • Coordinators
  • Routers
  • End devices

Types of Zigbee devicesCoordinators:

The ZigBee coordinator is the most capable device. It is one of those devices which starts the network.

There is only one coordinator device in each network.

The Coordinator performs many tasks some of them are :

  • Before it starts, the Network automatically scans and selects the channel, which is usually a good channel, which means it chooses those channels which have fewer interferences.
  • It also sets the unique ID for the Network.
  • It allocates a unique address to each device.
  • It initiates and transfers messages inside the Network.


  • They act as intermediate nodes between the coordinator and end devices.
  • They are responsible for Route traffic between different nodes.
  • Receive and store messages intended for children.
  • It can allow other routers and end devices to join the Network.




End Devices:

  • It contains just enough information to talk to the parent node.
  • They can also sleep, which is a better option to save battery of devices.
  • All traffic to an end device first routed to its parent.
    End devices
    End Devices


Types of Zigbee Technology;

Zigbee consists of different topologies, but it should be noted that only a few topologies are used that are correctly configured. The most used configurations are mesh, star topology, and tree topologies. The topology may consist of one or more coordinators.

There are three types of network topologies that Zigbee supports.

  • Star topology
  • Mesh topology
  • Tree topology

Star Topology:

  • This is the simplest and less expensive implementation.
  • There are no routers in this Architecture.
  • End devices cannot communicate with another end device directly.
  • One of the drawbacks of this topology is if the Coordinating fails, the whole network fails.
  • It should be noted that the range is very limited to the scope of the Coordinator itself.
  • The Health monitoring system is used due to star topology.
    Star topology
    Star Topology

Mesh Topology:

  • Every node is connected with neighbouring nodes (except for the end devices).
  • A message hops from one device to another in order to reach its destination.
  • If a node fails, data can be re-routed and choose another best path.
  • Self-healing process.
  • Mesh topology is used in Home Automation.
Mesh Topology
Mesh Topology

Tree Topology:

This topology is not so different from other mesh topology, but routers are not interconnected, as shown in the figure.

  • It is known as a cluster tree network because it can expand the network range.
    Tree topology
    Tree Topology


How is the channel Accessed?

The Coordinator requires only one channel to the Network.

All devices will have to share this single channel to communicate.

There are two methods for channel access:

  • Contention-based method.
  • Contention-free method.

Contention-Free Method:

  • In the contention-free process, the Coordinator dedicates a specific time slot to each device. This is called guaranteed time slots (GTS).

Let’s know, how this GTS allocation is done. Take an example of mesh topology one signal is sent to five devices and including coordinator device,¬† to correctly

Zigbee Mesh topology
Example of Mesh topology

assign to the GTS the Coordinator needs to ensure that all the devices in the Network are synchronized and to achieve this the Coordinator transmits a message called Beacon. Once the device receives the Beacon it will adjust automatically with Coordinator clock as it is accomplished because of Beacon contains information which device can transmit data.

zigbee Beacon

According to the figure, each device has wait for its turn to assign and transfer data as shown in the figure.

Sending beacon
Sending Beacon
Waiting for its turn
Zigbee Technology
Waiting for its turn

Device two and four doesn’t share data in the second beacon period, this is pre-programmed by Coordinator for the developer because end devices are known as the head of time and when to transfer.

Zigbee technology
Sleep Mode

It will go to sleep, and will only wake up to either share data or to listen to the Beacon.

Contention Based Method:

  • Devices do not need to be synchronized.
  • Carrier sense multiple access to collision-avoidance mechanisms.
  • ¬†Any time data is transmitted.
  1. It first goes to receiver mode.
  2. Detect if there is any signal in the channel.
  3. Devices will only transmit data if the channel is clear.

If the channel is not transparent device gets back and then tries again until and unless the channel got cleared.

The architecture of Zigbee Technology

Physical Layer:
This layer is known to be one of the lowest protocol layers life possible are used to control and activate the radio transceiver. It also performs and selects the frequency and monitors the channel. This layer does radio device connectivity.
It uses packets for communication data. Each Packet consists of a Synchronization Header (SHR), which is responsible for receiving synchronization, Physical Header (PHR), which includes data about the frame length, and (PHY) payload, which is given by upper layers as a frame and carries data or command.
 MAC Layer:
It is between the two-layer the physical and Network layer. It is efficient for the generation of Beacons, and the synchronization of devices in the Beacon allowed Network.
A MAC frame can be a Beacon Frame which is managed by Coordinator to send Beacons, Data Frame, Acknowledge Frame, or a Command Frame. It consists of a MAC Header which includes a message about security and addressing Variable-length size MAC Payload which includes data or command, and a MAC Footer which carries a 16 bit Frame check sequence for data confirmation.

Network Layer:

This layer combines the Application layer with the MAC layer. It maintains network configuration and routing. It builds a new network and chooses the network topology. The NWK frame consists of the  Header and Payload. The Header contains data about network level addressing and control. The NWK Payload contains the Application sublayer frame.

Application Support Sub Layer:

It implements a set of services through two entities application Support Data Entity and Application Support Management Entity, to the application and network layers. These entities are accessed through their respective Service Access Points (SAP)

Application Layer:

This layer is known as the highest and most used layer in Zigbee technology which is used for hosting the application that holds user applications and Zigbee device objects. It should be noted that a single device contains 240 application which controls and manage the protocol layer. the most important part of this layer is each application object consist of one application profile or program, generated by the user or the ZigBee alliance. This application is responsible for data transmission. The type of device and function of each device is defined in the application profile. The ZigBee Device Objects act as an interface between application objects, device profiles, and the Application sub-layer.

Applications of Zigbee Technology :

Zigbee Technology plays a perfect role almost everywhere around the corner; its networking has a wide variety of applications like Home Automation, Healthcare, and Personal tracking technologies.
So here are  few Applications of Zigbee Technology discussed, which decrease energy and cost.

  • Nowadays, Zigbee technology is used in Home Automation, which reduces billing.
  • Zigbee Technology plays a vital role in Security Systems like CCTV cameras.
  • As Meter Reading is now quite easy due to this Technology.
  • Now Lights can be easily Control due to Zigbee technology like the example of Street lights.
  • Zigbee technologies are used in HVAC Systems.
  • If any Automation is seen in Electronics, it is due to Zigbee.
  • It is used in Gaming Consoles.
  • Wireless Connectivity of the mouse is also due to Zigbee Technologies.
  • Wireless Connectivity of Remote control system is also because of this technology.
  • Nowadays, different Automation Techniques are used in Industry, which is scheduled by Zigbee.
  • Zigbee is used in Asset Management.
  • The tracking system plays a vital role in daily life, which is due to Zigbee Personal Tracking.
  • Nowadays, stock exchanges are able to track Livestock.
  • Zigbee technologies also regulate the healthcare system.
  • Zigbee technologies control hotel Room Automation.
  • Zigbee plays an essential role in Fire Extinguishers.