Zigbee Technology Advantages and Disadvantages | ZigBee Technology Architecture and Its Applications

Zigbee Technology Advantages and Disadvantages: Zigbee is a specification that is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. It is a wireless technology and a high-level communication protocol. It is utilized to create personal area networks with small digital radios of low power like medical data device collections, home automation, and other bandwidth needs with low power. It is designed for usage by small-scale projects where wireless technology is required. Therefore, Zigbee is an insufficient data and low-power mesh network.

The Zigbee specification specifies a technology that is easier, simple, and less expensive than other wireless personal area networks or PAN such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

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What is Zigbee Technology? Advantages and Disadvantages of Zigbee Technology 2022

Zigbee was formulated in the year of 1998. It was standardized in the year 2003 and was revised in the year 2006. The name of this technology came from the waggle dance of the honey bees. The bees perform this dance after they return to their beehives. Some of the Zigbee technology applications include home energy monitors, traffic management systems, wireless light switches, and other consumer equipment that needs low-rated transfer of data within short ranges. Because Zigbee technology requires low power consumption, the transmission limit of this technology is also low.

Depending upon environmental conditions and power output, it can range up to 10 to 100 meters within the line of sight. The devices used in this technology can transmit data over large distances by passing the data through a mesh network of intermediate devices. Zigbee technology is used by applications that require a low rate of data, and hence the technology needs long battery life and safe networking. For this reason, Zigbee networks are secured by symmetric encryption keys, which are of 128 bits. The Zigbee technology is entirely appropriate for intermittent data transmission from an input device or a sensor since it has a rate of 250 kbit.

The Zigbee technology is typically applied in these areas:

  1. Wireless sensor networks
  2. Home automation
  3. Building automation
  4. Embedded sensing
  5. Smoke warning
  6. Industrial control systems
  7. Intruder warning

This technology is not suited for tactical radio ad hoc networks where the data rate is high, and there is a presence and need for increased mobility.

Zigbee Technology Advantages and Disadvantages 2

Advantages of Zigbee Technology

  1. High node support: The Zigbee technology can support thousands of nodes together. It can support 65000 nodes under a single network. This helps in further expansion of the transmission range. This is possible in a large area or a building with multiple levels of floors or houses with various physical divisions.
  2. Suitable for devices with low power: The Zigbee technology is suitable for devices with low power. Since it does not require much bandwidth, small smart devices which are battery-operated, object tags, sensors, etc., are suitable for this technology. It also acts as an alternative for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies.
  3. Range: Zigbee is a mesh network. Hence, just like mesh networking, Zigbee has a network whose transmission range can be expanded. It provides better stability compared to a single router, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The content is expandable because, in this technology, the individual nodes act as repeaters or wireless routers, and since the technology supports numerous nodes, it’s easier to expand the network.
  4. Flexible: The structure of the Zigbee technology is very flexible. It has an easy process for installation, and it is less expensive as well. The working period of this technology is short, and it also has a long battery life which results in less consumption of power.
  5. Monitoring: The Zigbee technology can be monitored and controlled easily. Since it is mainly used for home appliances, it is easy to maintain it with the help of a remote. There is no existence of a central controller. Across the network, loads of this technology are distributed evenly.

Disadvantages of Zigbee Technology

  1. Channel noise: Zigbee technology is very prone to network interferences. This is because of overcrowding and channel noise of the network. The technology is prone to interferences since it uses a 2.4 GHz band, the same band used by Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, microwaves, and other wireless devices.
  2. The transmission rate is low: The technology used in Zigbee is of low bit rate since it is designed for transmissions of low rate of data. As a result, its transmission rate is comparatively lower than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It is also not suitable for transmitting data at high speed.
  3. Security and compatibility: Zigbee technology has a lot of security threats. Since it is prone to interferences, intentional interferences can cause loss of services provided by the network, theft of data from a node, theft of an entire node. The hacker can also get access to a node and even control it in an unauthorized process. It also has compatibility issues. Since it is constantly competing with other technologies that are wireless communications, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, users’ choices get limited. As a result, it is rendered incompatible with mainstream devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, and laptops.
  4. Expensive: Implementation of a Zigbee technology can be expensive. There are various reasons for it. The size of the network and the range of the network affect the cost of implementation of Zigbee. The price is also affected by the availability of compatible products and devices. For a particular use, the level of complexity of the technology may also affect the cost.
  5. Alternatives: The standard wireless communication Z-Wave provides as an alternative for the Zigbee technology. Z-Wave wireless communication has a more extended range when compared to Zigbee. It also offers better reliability and stability since it uses a frequency band of 908 MHz

Zigbee Technology Advantages and Disadvantages 1

Comparison Table for Advantages and Disadvantages of Zigbee Technology

Advantages Disadvantages
The Zigbee technology has high node support. It can support thousands of nodes under a single network.Since the technology used in Zigbee is of low bit rate, the transmission rate of this technology is also low.
This technology is apt for devices with low power since its bandwidth requirements are low.Zigbee has many security threats like stealing of nodes, loss of services provided by the network, theft of data, etc. It also has compatibility issues.
The Zigbee technology has a flexible structure. It has an easy installation process and also has long battery life.Implementing a Zigbee technology is quite expensive as the size and range of the network affect the cost.
Since this technology is a mesh network, its transmission range can be expanded by connecting nodes to the network, which acts as repeaters.The Zigbee technology can get altered by the Z-Wave wireless communication since the latter provides better stability and range.
Zigbee technology is easy to control and monitor with the help of a remote. There is no existence of a central controller.This technology is very prone to network interferences because it uses the 2.4 GHz band, which is also used by other wireless devices.

Disadvantages of Zigbee Technology

FAQ’s on the Pros and Cons of Zigbee Technology

Question 1.
What is the maximum transmission rate of Zigbee technology?

The maximum data rate of the Zigbee technology varies from 20 kbps or 868 MHz bands to 250 kbps or 2.4 GHz bands.

Question 2.
When the device is idle, what is the function of the radio?

When the device is idle or when the device is inactive, the Zigbee devices enter a low power mode or sleep mode to preserve their energy.

Question 3.
What is Dotdot?

In the year 2017, during the Consumer Electric Show, the Zigbee Alliance introduced Dotdot. It is a common language designed to ensure interoperability at the application layer with other IoT devices. This goal is attained by extending the ZCL, which stands for the Zigbee Cluster Library. It is developed to work on other devices with the help of the Thread wireless network protocol. This protocol also uses radio technology which is quite similar to that of Zigbee technology.

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