Zigbee was designed as a low power, low cost, standards based wireless sensor and control network. It is built on the IEEE 802.15.4 Standard and designed for use in local area and personal area networks. Even though it is low powered it will still transmit data over long distances. This is done by organising the network into a mesh where one device passes data on to another device and on to a third device etc, etc in an ad-hoc manner with no centralised node. This enables the network to be extended over longer distances. Transmission distances range from 10 to 100 meters per node although greater distances have been achieved with proprietary zigbee devices.

A Digi Zigbee Modult

A Zigbee Module. Courtesy Digi International




Zigbee operates on the 2.4. Ghz carrier frequency and is suitable for use in low power, low data rate and high secure applications where long battery life is required. Its transmission rate is 250kbps and it operates best when transmitting intermittent data over short distances with low data rates or transmitting data from a sensor or input device. Common uses are in home automation, i.e switch control, temperature readings etc. Other uses are consumer displays, electrical meter readings and road traffic systems. Zigbee technology was designed to be simpler, less expensive and more robust than Bluetooth or Wi-fi.


ZigBee uses 128 bit symmetric encryption. Zigbee was first introduced in 1998, standardised in 2003 and revised in 2006. The name Zigbee came from the ‘waggle dance’ of honey bees on their return to the beehive.

Zigbee Network

A typical Zigbee Netwrok. Courtesy of Digi International


Zigbee Alliance

The ZigBee Alliance was formed by a group of companies who promote, maintain and publish the ZigBee standard. The term Zigbee was registered by the group as a trade mark. The Alliance releases application profiles that allow OEM vendors to create inter-operable products. The relationship between IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee is similar to that between IEEE 802.11 and the Wi-fi alliance.

We supply Zigbee hardware manufactured by Digi International. Hardware comes based on the 802.15.4 standard and proprietary Zigbee. Please contact us for more details.