ZigBee standards

While developing the XBee driver for Gadgeteer I stopped for a second and took a closer look at what ZigBee standard really is and where can we find it. ZigBee Alliance has created 11 standards so far:

[ol]Building Automation (Efficient commercial spaces)
Remote Control (Advanced remote controls)
Smart Energy (Home energy savings)
Health Care (Health and fitness monitoring)
Home Automation (Smart homes)
Input Device (Easy-to-use touchpads, mice, keyboards, wands)
Light Link (LED lighting control)
Retail Services (Smarter shopping)
Telecom Services (Value-added services)
3D Sync (Ultimate 3D viewing experience)
Network Devices (Assist and expand ZigBee networks)[/ol]

Digi manuals say that you are able to use explicit ZigBee frames to communicate with all certified ZigBee products. Those explicit frames use among others, something called profile id. As i understand this, each standard defines a different profile so that we know what to expect and how to communicate with each device. What I’m wondering is, are we going to use XBee only for creating our own sensors and manage communication between our .NET MF boards or are we able to e.g. control 3rd party light switches or read energy meters?

Isn’t the answer obvious? Of course we’re going to try and communicate with third party Zigbee certified devices. Hopefully, the manufacturers will make their protocols open. I’m not sure how well established Zigbee is as a standard. More research is necessary.

Your post reminded me that our city has started installing “Smart Grid” meters, and I should have one by this fall. If it uses Zigbee, you can bet I’ll be trying to talk to it. Well, not with the neighbors watching anyways :slight_smile:

Maybe we have an ZigBee expert in this community? Getting any info from specification can be hard as it’s 600 pages long :confused:


Maybe we could ask someone from Digi for an exampe of Zigbee product we can interact with? Did anyone of you come across any ZigBee end user products?

In the UK there is a govenment project to roll out smart gas and electricity meters (just like in Ransomhall’s city). I believe they use an xbee internally to communicate with the consumer display. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/31/british_gas_meters/

It looks like there are some privacy issues there too though http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/09/smart_meter_privacy_oops/

These are the only consumer type devices that i know of so far. Now ill have to go hunting :slight_smile:

Here are some other ZigBee device manufacturers:

and there are lots more

Here is another company that makes/sells ZigBee compliant products:


@ Eric: The links you provided point to manufacturers of mainly Z-Wave products.

@ jasdev: Your link is exactly something i was looking for. It seems that if the product has been certified by Zigbee alliance then we should be able to communicate with it using XBee modules. Many companies sell products that are using ZigBee with some closed custom protocol.


My current concern is that there are not too many certified devices out there comparing to Z-Wave

Does that mean ZigBee is not that popular?

These guys seem to be making business on Zigbee based products

I am willing to learn how to interact with certified ZigBee products and add this support to the open XBee driver we are making. I now believe it’s possible. The problem is I would need any of the certified devices to test and show the integration (I’m thinking a light switch or button to keep it simple). Maybe you could write to any of those companies to support us by a little donation ? :slight_smile: (of course if there is any business in it for them).

Found this regarding Z-Wave:

[quote]ZigBee competes with Z-Wave in the home automation space. As a technology focused
on the home control segment exclusively, Z-Wave has been faster than ZigBee in bringing
its protocol stack to the market. While Z-Wave is a single-source technology, ZigBee
enjoys multi-sourcing and relies on an IEEE standard. In addition, ZigBee provides higher
data rates and operates in both 2.4 GHz and sub-GHz unlicensed bands.[/quote]

@ Gralin

There is a ton of documentation to read, and I’ve only just begun, but it seems that if we start with a compliant ZigBee RF device, then it shouldn’t be too hard to make a home automation or other ZigBee compatible device or controller.

I wonder how willing these guys would be to help us develop an open source version of their expensive products?? I’m guessing that they won’t be :frowning:

Or you can provide a list for some Zigbee products like Smart meter or light you want to test.
Maybe someone who can’t help for developing driver but can support the hardware.
or someone have some zigbee related products then they can donate one.
I will searching a zigbee product I am interesting.
If you are interesting to test I will buy one then send to you to test.
And I will have 6 Xbee pro 802.15.4 with 6 panda II maybe next month.
I can test your Xbee driver if you release.
I have extra 2 Xbee 802.15.4 S1,if you want I can send to you.

When you create a device, implement open protocol and certify it for compatibility you must be aware that this will encourage others to use your producst as OEM. I think those companies could benefit from it (for sure there is nothing to lose).

@ Tzu Hsuan: It’s great to hear there will be another person evaluating our work. We will release first beta any time now. I will be responsible for XBee ZB support and Ransomhall will test 802.15.4 modules. I have enough modules, so you can ask Ransomhall if he needs any. If you find a Zigbee device you would like to be able to communicate with just mail it :slight_smile:

From Zigbee Alliance website:

It seems that everyone can access those documents without the need of becoming a member.


Yikes!! There’s a wealth of information there, but it’d take a lifetime to read it all!

Gralin, these seem to be a history of all document revisions, with no “final” version indicated.
Do you know of another site where the current released versions are available?

BTW, I’ve been looking at the XBee Driver on Codeplex that you and the other team members have created. Fantastic work! Congratulations. There are a lot of clever ideas in that code, and I like the way you organized it.

Thanks for your hard work.

@ jasdev: Thanks for finding the time to look at the code :slight_smile: In order to get the final specifications you need to submit a request with some basic personal info and the download link will be send to you. I have already done that and pushed all those docs to repo so you grap them from there.

Gralin - I completely forgot that I had done exactly that a few days ago. :-[
I registered and downloaded several of the specs. Thanks again.