In the last edition of EWT, I introduced you to Z-Wave, a mesh networked remote monitoring and control technology. Because Z-Wave and ZigBee technologies sound similar, I promised that we would examine and compare both technologies in a future issue –that’s this issue.

Z-Wave (Source: Zensys)

Purpose: remote monitoring and control for light industrial and home applications

Applications: mostly home applications, lighting, security, access, entertainment control, PC, window coverings, smoke detectors

Standard: proprietary

Data rate: 40 kbps (PHY rate, ~10 kbps, overhead removed)

Frequency: 900 MHz area

Proven interoperability: yes (within alliance)

Number of interoperable products on the market: 100+

Developer: Zensys

Industry Association: Z-Wave Alliance

Key members: Intel, Logitech, Cisco, Intermatic

Range: 30 meters point-to-point, unlimited with mesh networking

ZigBee (Source: Freescale and ZigBee Alliance)

Purpose: remote monitoring and control for light industrial and home applications – ultra-low-power for wireless personal area networks

Applications: home automation, building automation, industrial automation, lighting, security, access, entertainment control, PC, window coverings, smoke detectors, industrial process control

Standard: based on IEEE 802.15.4

Data rate: 250 kbps (10 kbps to 115 kbps, overhead removed)

Frequency: 900 MHz regional bands and globally in 868 MHz and 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz

Proven interoperability: yes (within IEEE 802.15.4 standard)

Number of interoperable products on the market: many worldwide, actual number unknown

Developer: Freescale, TI

Industry Association: ZigBee Alliance

Key members: Ember, Freescale, Honeywell, Philips, Samsung, TI – 70+ members

Range: 10 meters to 75 meters point-to-point, typically 30 meters indoors, unlimited with mesh networking

Well, now you know. It appears that Z-Wave is a proprietary, though widespread, technology intended mostly for home automation. ZigBee is an IEEE 802.15.4 standard-based technology intended for heavy-duty control operations beyond the home. It is also widespread with more frequency options and slightly higher bit rates. The two technologies are not compatible with one another.

Stay connected!

Further ZigBee Reading:
·So, Who Needs ZigBee?
·Understanding ZigBee transmission
·Implementing ZigBee wireless mesh networking
full list of ZigBee resources