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NXP JN5168 ZigBee Module

Smart Home ZigBee 3.0, ZigBee HA protocol

Smart home automation industrial chain includes protocol providers, IC chip manufacturers, solution providers and product manufacturers. Here we start from the home automation protocols to discuss. The main smart home protocols including WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave.  

#1. WiFi Z-Wave ZigBee

WiFi protocol mainly because the high-power,  high complexity, few node and other disadvantages make WiFi can’t be applied to large scale smart home applications, however WiFi high-speed data transmission allows it to be suitable for smart IP cameras. Z-Wave protocol features low cost, low power, high reliability, suitable for short distance networking, it has been widely used in European countries, Z-Wave gateway can control or be compatible with Z-Wave devices from different manufacturers.

The ZigBee protocol relies on low power, mesh networking, large node capacity, highly secure etc attributes, leading to become the most widely used protocol in today’s smart home industry. However, ZigBee products have interoperability problem, although manufacturers adopt the ZigBee protocol, the products may use different ZigBee Profiles.

By the way, if you want to know the comparison among ZigBee, Z-Wave, DECT-ULE technologies, you can check this article: http://www.unifore.net/home-alarm-system/smart-home-technologies-zigbee-vs-z-wave-dect-ule.html

#2. Different ZigBee Protocols

The establishment of ZigBee protocol derives from the demand of industrial networking. In order to meet different applications, ZigBee Alliance has released ZigBee Home Automation (ZigBee HA), ZigBee Light Link (ZigBee LL), ZigBee Building Automation (ZigBee BA), ZigBee Retail Services (ZigBee RS), ZigBee Health Care (ZigBee HC), ZigBee Telecommunication services (ZigBee TS) and other application-layer profiles to meet the smart home, smart lighting, smart buildings, smart retail, smart health, smart communications services and other fields. The problem is different profiles can’t be compatible each other. 

For example, a smart plug adopts ZigBee HA can’t control the Philips Hue Smart Light which adopts ZigBee LL, consequently causing a great inconvenience to end-users. Interoperability problem becomes the headache to ZigBee Alliance, intending to solve this, ZigBee Alliance released the ZigBee certified program such as the recent ZigBee HA 1.2, after smart home automation products are ZigBee HA 1.2 certified, ZigBee products are compatible each other regardless of manufacturer.

#3. What's ZigBee 3.0?

Finally, ZigBee 3.0 came to solve the interoperatability of ZigBee smart home. In early May of this year, ZigBee Alliance China organized the press conference at the Shanghai Asia Consumer Electronics Show (CES Asia), and officially launched ZigBee 3.0 to Asian market. IC manufacturers such as TI, NXP, GreenPeak, Atmel solution providers and Philips, Midea etc household manufacturers have participated in the press conference. 

ZigBee 3.0 Press Conference in China
ZigBee 3.0 Press Conference in China

The purpose of releasing ZigBee 3.0 is to unify the ZigBee Home Automation (ZigBee HA), ZigBee Light Link (ZigBee LL), ZigBee Building Automation (ZigBee BA), ZigBee Retail Services (ZigBee RS), ZigBee Health Care (ZigBee HC), ZigBee Telecommunication services (ZigBee TS) and other application layer protocols, to solve the problem of interoperability between different application layer protocols, such as if using ZigBee 3.0 protocol, the smart switch can control Philips Hue lights, users only need to buy a ZigBee 3.0 certified gateway to control different types of ZigBee 3.0 smart devices regardless of manufacturer. 

#4. ZigBee Smart Energy

ZigBee 3.0 unified different application layer protocols on device discovery, joining, and networking, making the ZigBee networking becomes easy and simple. Furthermore, ZigBee 3.0 further enhanced ZigBee network security. Unfortunately, the ZigBee 3.0 doesn’t include the ZigBee Smart Energy application layer protocol.  Smart devices utilized the ZigBee Smart Energy protocol can remotely read the electricity meter data, allowing users to know the daily, weekly, yearly energy consumption data. ZigBee Alliance also launched ZigBee 3.0 certification program to regulate all manufacturers us standard ZigBee 3.0 agreement to ensure interoperability of ZigBee 3.0 smart devices.

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