Smart Home has entered our homes for good. Creating home networks (PAN – Personal Area Networks – as Zigbee network) has become a necessity because almost everyone today has at their fingertips solutions that improve the comfort and economy of the home: controllers, sensors, smart plugs, and temperature thermostats.
Devices in the home need to work fast and be interconnected. Therefore, manufacturers of new technologies offer customers increasingly better tools for building connections and dependencies between home equipment. However, in order for devices to communicate wirelessly, they need a suitable data transmission path, the so-called communication protocol. Such as ZigBee.
ZigBee is a wireless data transmission protocol used for two-way communication between devices. The two-way communication means that each device can both receive and send a signal. The system was created in 2002 by the ZigBee Alliance, which is still engaged in its development and promotion. The main feature of the new communication standard was to be low power consumption and simple, low-cost construction. And it has been achieved. Many well-known technology brands cooperate with the ZigBee Alliance, e.g. Philips, Siemens, Samsung, Amazon, and Bosch.
Actually, it is difficult to imagine Smart Home without ZigBee technology. It is used to manage devices that facilitate daily use of the house (control of lighting, blinds, heating), but also to increase security (sensors, alarms).
It is not only about the remote control of devices, but also about the creation of user-defined relationships between them. For example: when the motion sensor detects the presence of an inhabitant, the signal will be sent further, as a result of which the lights will turn on, the blinds will close, the temperature will rise. This happens automatically, without human intervention – once programmed, the devices send each other signals to „act”. Modern building automation is based on scenarios (rules, relationships) that are created by the user according to his or her own needs.
ZigBee system has been developed for home area network (PAN) and is very suitable for this purpose. Its main advantages are:
– Low power consumption
– Instant access to the network
– Easy to use
– Easy to expand with new components
– Authenticated data transmission (transmission security)
– Wide transmission range: from 10 to 100 meters
– Affordable price of devices supporting the ZigBee standard
A ZigBee home network can be organized according to three typologies: star, tree, and mesh. The point is that the elements working in it – the coordinator, signal repeaters, final actuators – should fulfill the communication scheme well, and thus fulfill their role in an automated home.
A simple typology used for example in Bluetooth. A single device is the coordinator and all others are subordinate to it (slave) – they communicate directly with the coordinator and only with it.
A typology has a hierarchical arrangement. The coordinator is the „root” and manages the „branches”. Each knot has elements subordinate to it. Final actuators (executors) may be located only at the end of the branch, they do not communicate with others. They only execute „commands”. In this scheme, transmission delays are the most common.
The mesh typology is not hierarchical. Here any device can communicate with another – either directly or through an intermediary device. This feature improves the functionality of the system, so it is considered to be the best type of ZigBee network organization.
SALUS Controls technology is based on the grid typology: after installing a coordinator, you should install voltage-powered devices (they simultaneously become network repeaters), and only at the end of the battery-powered devices. Thanks to this communication between all elements are fast and smooth.
Devices in the ZigBee standard are coordinated by an Internet Gateway. It connects them to a coherent system in the home network.
However, in the online control option, it is also the link between the home network and the outside world. The gateway allows you to control your home from anywhere in conjunction with the Internet app.
Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) is a wireless communication method used worldwide. It is used both in PAN (home area networks) and in all public places. How does it differ from ZigBee protocol? First of all, it consumes more power. Besides, ZigBee creates a mesh of connections between devices, extending the range up to 100m.
One device emits a signal for 10 meters or less. In the case of Wi-Fi, additional repeaters are needed to extend the range of the network through the mesh. In contrast, both standards outclass Bluetooth in terms of range – here the range is only 10m. Power consumption is low, but data transfer requires connectivity with another device that supports this protocol. The devices have to „find” each other, and „see” each other. Bluetooth is mainly used in mobile devices.
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