An intro to Zigbee Technology and using it

Before we start, definitely do check out our beginners guide to Zigbee if you haven’t already!

What is Zigbee wireless technology

What is Zigbee?

To break it down, Zigbee is a wireless technology which was developed as a global standard to produce low-cost & low-power wireless IoT (Internet of things) networks.

Both Bluetooth and Wireless are used for your Smart Home, but they’re either power intensive or slow, there’s no real middle ground which is where Zigbee Wireless Technology comes in.

The whole purpose of Zigbee protocol is to provide a low-cost, packet-based radio protocol which works with battery-operated devices. In layman’s terms, work well but last longer.

So, is Zigbee secure?

For the most part, yes, Zigbee 3.0 is secure, like all technologies it has its moments of vulnerable network risks. But whenever this happens, it is usually patched or a whole new Zigbee protocol is released.

Zigbee 3.0 was designed to communicate data through noisey Radio Frequency areas, great for places like construction sites or offices. This version of Zigbee was built on the prior Zigbee standards but was more so adapted to open up multiple markets to use it.

Zigbee Protocol Features:

  • Low Latency
  • Low Duty Cycle (Save battery life)
  • Uses a 128-bit AES encryption for secure data connections
  • Colission avoidance.

How to use zigbee

If you’re looking to put Zigbee to use in your own ecosystem without using mainstream products, you will need to understand which Zigbee features are supported by the device you wish to use it with.

Zigbee offers a certified product database which contains all this information which breaks it down to Profile, Device type and can include Clusters of supported devices.

To confirm, to join and view that database, you will need to be a part of the Zibee Alliance

Once you’re a part of the Zigbee Alliance, you can view various documentation and guides as seen in this post by Doug Alguire, Director of Customer Success.

How far can Zigbee transmit?

You will get various different answers for this, however this is typically 10-100 meters (Line of Sight), or 10-20 meters phyiscal range. This means it really is a close proximity tool for a small ad-hoc based network/mesh.

Zigbee works on either a 2.4GHz or 915MHz scaled which means they may not work through walls as well as you expect.

What is Zigbee security?

ZigBee security is basically as secure as Wi-Fi once set up. It uses various layers to protect itself but the biggest aspect is the 128-bit symmetric key block cipher algorithm. Basically, it makes it difficult to crack.

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