What is zigbee?
If you're using any kind of smart home technology, chances are it's working on zigbee.zigbee is a wireless communication protocol based on IEEE802.15.4 standard low power LAN protocol.According to international standards, ZigBee technology is a short-range, low-power wireless communication technology that supports a variety of smart home devices, from thermostats to light bulbs.
Zigbee was designed by the Zigbee alliance, which includes amazon, samsung, huawei, qualcomm and Toshiba.More importantly, it is rapidly becoming the wireless protocol standard for smart home devices to communicate with.
How does Zigbee work?
Smart devices need to communicate wirelessly to receive commands from smart home hubs and related applications and pass information back to those hubs and applications.These devices may work with wi-fi, and some do, but that's far from ideal.
There are several reasons for this. First, wi-fi consumes a lot of power, which is bad for low-power devices like batteries or light bulbs.Second, there are too many devices on a home network to be stable enough.Again, in larger families, scope can be a problem.
Zigbee has several advantages: first, it USES less power than wi-fi;Second, it is designed to support hundreds of devices on the network, although a single hub may support far fewer;Most importantly, Zigbee USES a different kind of network, called a mesh network.Each Zigbee device can be connected via another Zigbee device, rather than directly to a hub like wi-fi, which transmits packets back and forth between the two.With Zigbee, these packets can be relayed across multiple devices during transmission.
This network structure means that as long as different devices are kept within range and connected to each other, they can communicate with the hub even if placed far from it.If the grid is in the middle, you can scatter Zigbee devices around the house, even in the garden, and if one device fails or loses power, it's ok, because other Zigbee devices nearby can fill in the missing links.
Why is Zigbee important?
Zigbee is useful because it is designed for interoperability, so one manufacturer's bulbs or thermostats can still communicate and operate with other manufacturers' devices.It also means that one manufacturer's switch or motion sensor should work with another manufacturer's light bulb or security camera.Why say "should"?This is because some Zigbee devices are still not compatible with other Zigbee devices, which is something that needs to be improved.
Another interesting aspect of Zigbee is that you can use a variety of devices from different manufacturers without requiring each device to have a specific hub, which can cause problems if they all run on the same 2.4GHz wireless band.
For example, some Zigbee bulbs and thermostats will connect directly to samsung's SmartThings hub, while many bulbs and hubs built into amazon's Echo Plus or second-generation Echo Show will also connect directly to samsung's SmartThings hub.This makes the Echo Plus or SmartThings a good, affordable way to use smart home technology compared to a standalone hub.
Is Zigbee the only option?
The answer is no, some manufacturers use wi-fi because it works directly with routers and does not require a special hub.A rival wireless protocol, z-wave, does the same thing, but works on different frequencies, and it cannot interfere with wi-fi (though in practice this is not a problem for wireless locales).Samsung's SmartThings hub will support both protocols, and some hope that low-power bluetooth will take over in the future as grid networking is part of its specification, but for now, it's powered by "Zigbee."
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