Light switch

ZigBee 3.0 Shows its Power

Aug. 26, 2016
This white paper describes ZigBee 3.0, explaining the role it plays in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Without question, a large number of wireless technologies are associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee, among others. In the white paper, "The Power of ZigBee 3.0," Qorvo examines ZigBee 3.0, that technology's latest specification. The white paper delves into some of the features of ZigBee 3.0, as well as some of its advantages.

The paper begins by discussing different wireless technologies, specifically the new low-power Wi-Fi standard IEEE 802.11ah. The Bluetooth standard also gets a mention, with further discussion of Bluetooth Mesh.  

The white paper points to Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Bluetooth as the three accepted core IoT radio technologies and then details them. Wi-Fi is used for familiar content distribution; ZigBee can enable sentroller (sensor/controller) networks like smart homes; and Bluetooth is utilized for connectivity, personal area networks (PANs) around a smartphone, and wearables. Furthermore, a variety of crossover products are available from various suppliers, demonstrating how these three standards truly are at the core of the IoT.

ZigBee 3.0 is then explained. Specifically, ZigBee RF4CE is discussed in greater detail, as its latest version (ZRC 2.0) is fully integrated with the ZigBee application library. Initially developed in the consumer electronics space to replace infrared (IR) remote controls with radio-based versions, ZigBee RF4CE has since advanced significantly. ZRC 2.0 is well-positioned for the expectation of continued overlap between the consumer electronics and smart-home spaces in the future. Backwards compatibility and low latency are two key aspects of ZigBee RF4CE.

ZigBee Green Power, which is also included in ZigBee 3.0, was developed as an ultra-low-power wireless standard to support energy-harvesting devices. One common energy-harvesting application is the light switch, whereby flipping the switch generates the energy to send a communication package through the air and to the lamp. Green Power is also an effective option when using battery-power devices, as it enables years of battery operation.

Qorvo Inc., 2300 NE Brookwood Pkwy., Hillsboro, OR 97124; (844) 890-8163

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