Zigbee vs thread

Everyone is talking about these like they are a big deal and I am yet to find a real life example. I see many zigbee smart plugs that work with alexa, great!! Now where is an example of how we can take a zigbee module and use them from a micro?!

Anyone can tell me why silicon companies are all over zigbee and thread? And how did you use these technologies professionally it for fun?!

I’m not an authority on either but from what I know about ZigBee, but from what I understand its about being lazy. It seems they want the ZigBee nodes to have a routable address but still be cheap, hence Thread. Oddly enough Espresif released ESP Now seemingly as a competitor to ZigBee, and by extension Thread.

see: https://www.silabs.com/solutions/smart-home

Zigbee is the most popular wireless standard after cellular and WIFI. After 1 billion zigbee devices deployed, any silicon company wants to be in the game.

Thread is hope for many companies and standards, because everthing goes wireless and IP-based. Thread looks like more complited, working solution compared to other and ready to use. Take a look for
https://www.ipblis.org/ or https://www.connectedhomeip.com/ and names behind that organizations.

Is it a billion of internal use?! Where are the zigbee sensors that I can buy today and connect to my circuit?

Where are the zigbee sensors that I can buy today and connect to my circuit?

Here is a “few”.

:rofl: - thats one or two

What am I missing here? Since zigbee is everywhere and there are so many sensors, why aren’t there hundreds of videos of people controlling these device from their micros?

I don’t know. I was looking for way to connect one remote ZigBee button to my project, but I was not able to find a simple solution. That was a few months ago. I would love to hear if anyone has any positive experience in this field.

Exactly!! A billion device but not an example?!

The examples I have seen and played with were using Zigbee dev boards from Digi. Usually sending serial data between Zigbee radios.
Particle (particle.io) ditched their Thread Mesh products after only a few years, if even that long. I think there is so much to consider when rolling out a commercial wireless application that it is impossible to condense it into a one-size-fits-all module that includes embedded compute, wireless hardware, communications stack, and back end services.

@Gus_Issa - Are you guys thinking of adding some type of Zigbee or Thread support to TinyCLR 2?

We already did… oh wait we didn’t tell you :sunglasses:

You asked and i answered why silicon companies talked about zigbee. I don’t know exact numbers, this numbers is statement from zigbee alliance. But they predict by 2023, 1 billion Zigbee chips will ship annually worldwide and sales will to 4.5 billion by 2023. But we are talked about Zigbee in general, not DIY use.

For hobbyist using of zigbee, exists great project zigbee2mqtt. This solution simplify zigbee development in general and supports wide range of zigbee devices.

Also for hobbyist development existing many nrf52840, CC2538, CC2530 and etc silicon based with zigbee support ( but not only zigbee) modules.

P.S. Personally i believe that for NETMF is too late to catch up zigbee game and Thread has more potential. I remember early releases of NETMF where MS experimented with 6Lowpan. But probably at that moment it was too early and not right time.

Forgot to mention about XBee. :slight_smile:

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We already did… oh wait we didn’t tell you :sunglasses:

When will it be available for testing? Which coordinators will you support? Will CC2530 be supported?

sound like Java Runtime installer …

billion devices … seems same slogan is used on zigbee

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Getting all meta here…

The lack of engagement may be a sign that this is not a technical problem. Assembling these Lego pieces into a project that ‘does something’ is not interesting or challenging. This is not a ‘how’ problem - it’s a ‘why’ problem. What’s it for? Is the end useful? Reliable and safe? As home automation, can you live with it? Can your family?

That said, GHI supporting these protocols mean that they are giving oxygen to whoever goes and figures out the social design problem. The fact that there aren’t more project examples mean that the oxygen has not given rise to interesting/non-trivial projects that have value as an end rather than as an exercise.

…and to be clear, even very well funded commercial outfits can’t get this right. Tried to live with a Control4 or SnapAV setup lately? Fragile, fragmented, inscrutable - the tech and infrastructure details show through everywhere instead of just serving user experience needs.

The next billion here is in solving the experience problem.

I have a future industrial application that I would like to use a non-wifi wireless solution for. It is primarily for device-to-device connectivity. I have the hardware socket on-board for a Digi XBee radio so I can use either Zigbee, 802.15.4, or DigiMesh. I have not worked out any details but I have done a little bit of testing. My initial impression is that I would go with DigiMesh, it seems a bit simpler to implement than Zigbee. (This is a closed network, I am also not interested in interoperability with other Zigbee networks.)

We currently use WiFi radios connected to the devices via ethernet. It is a pain to troubleshoot if the user has no access to a computer connected to the network, or they do not have the expertise to troubleshoot. Having an embedded radio under my application’s full control allows easier setup and troubleshooting through the device’s UI. Embedded WiFi using the ATCINC1500, or similar, might be an option but the range and meshing capabilities of XBee is very useful. I don’t need the network speeds WiFi would allow.

@Gus_Issa - When shall we get some more information on what the brilliant minds at GHI have created for embedded wireless?

It does not look to me that there is a lack of engagement in ZigBee when we talk about big companies. For example, Philips Hue and Ikea Tradfri product lines are constantly expanding and seem to work quite well. I have a few Hue products myself and I love them.

I am not into home automation, but it looks like ZigBee is popular with those users (see Zigbee2MQTT, ZHA, ioBroker). I would like to know, why do you think ZigBee projects are not “interesting”?

To answer your questions:
What’s it for?
You can use it to control a single device (lamp, fan, heater, door lock and so on), you can use it to monitor temperature or detect motion while being away. You can also control multiple devices and make them interact and build full home automation project, if you wish.

It will help if your electrical hardwiring is already completed and you need to upgrade/retrofit your system. For example, you need one extra light source or you want your wall switch to be moved to another place.

It will allow you to have portable devices (switches, sensors, plugs etc.) that you can easily control and program.

You do not have to be an advanced user to do all that.

Is the end useful?
It looks so. Why would so many devices be introduced if there was no interest. I have mentioned a few scenarios how to use it above.

Reliable and safe?
I guess one could say it is adequately good for what it is intended for. It does not have a military grade security, neither does KNX, but it is the most popular automation protocol for wired systems. It is even used in such large objects like Dubai’s international airport.

As home automation, can you live with it? Can your family?
Why not?

I am not sure I understand what you are saying about GHI giving oxygen to ZigBee. ZigBee is already popular and widely used. There are no signs that it is dying (or not receiving oxygen :slight_smile: ). I guess you have some inside information. I would surely be happy if GHI could make interaction with ZigBee devices easier. Let’s wait and see what GHI has to offer.

Btw, @Gus_Issa, here is a few more sensors to choose from.


I don’t actually disagree with anything @iamin says. I wasn’t talking about Zigbee being purposeful, useful, or safe. I was speaking to they ‘why don’t we see more zigbee examples in the hobbyist world’. I thought that was the question that Gus was asking.

As for “can you live with it”, well, I have strong opinions there across all home automation. All good infrastructure is invisible and I don’t know a single example of a standalone automation (much less a multi-domain automation - e.g., media+lighting) that works without some of the infrastructure showing through.

I do have an extensive zigbee setup - Lutron throughout the house, but have yet to find a multi-domain solution that isn’t a bunch of work to administrate and/or which fails in inscrutable ways.

As for ‘oxygen’, again, I meant for helping the hobbyist and prototyping community, not Zigbee itself.