The technical specification for a new short-range wireless technology aimed at applications such as sensor networks and building automation and management called Zigbee has received its final approval.
The Zibee alliance who have ratified the protocol believe that a number of new products will now be made possible that should improve peoples lives. Bob Heile who is chairman of the ZigBee Alliance is expecting consumer products in 2005. With more than 100 member companies it is a testament to the integrity of the member companies that their protocol has been ratified on time, unlike ultra wideband and other wireless protocols that have taken far longer to get agreed and to get off the ground.
This new wireless technology has beendesigned to be highly energy efficient and uses low data rates so that it does not compete with other wireless technologies like Bluetooth and 802.11 wi-fi, and this makes it an inexpensive tool for applications like sensor networks in factories and in the home.
Zigbee nets create a mesh network so that the majority of routing occurs on the basis of routing performance. The latency within the mesh network varies as a result of the topology and the hops of data and acknowledgement happen in the tens of milliseconds range, meaning that reaction times will be extremely quick and unlikely to be noticed by humans.
The network Zigbee coordinator, or one of the routers assigns a 16 bit address to the mesh node according to the rules that are based on the parameters that are contained in the Zigbee stack profile.
When a Zigby node is activated for the first time, the wireless network instructs the media access control (the MAC) to search all of the channels in an available network and once the net is found the MAC can provide that information to the network layer and henceforth let the end application determine whether to join, or alternatively the node can join the net automatically.
All this means that your home can become extremely automated, at very small cost, and with a high level of functionality that we are really only scratching the surface of at the moment with our existing wireless technologies.
Analog Devices, Cirronet, Crossbow Technology, Inc., Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Helicomm, Innovative Wireless Technologies, Integration Associates, Melexis Connectivity Solutions, Millennial Net, Inc., Omnex Control Systems, Inc., Texas Instruments, Inc., Yokogawa Electric Corporation and ZMD.