ZigBee good, but not perfect fit for industrial applications

ZigBee is flexible enough to satisfy a wide range of applications, but manufacturers should look beyond it. This for more radio frequency agility, edge devices with high network reliability, and other advanced services that benefit industrial devices and systems, according to a new strategy report from ARC Advisory Group (www.

10/01/2005


ZigBee is flexible enough to satisfy a wide range of applications, but manufacturers should look beyond it. This for more radio frequency agility, edge devices with high network reliability, and other advanced services that benefit industrial devices and systems, according to a new strategy report from ARC Advisory Group ( www.arcweb.com ).

Suitability of ZigBee for industrial applications is the focus of "ZigBee in a nutshell: How suitable for industrial applications?" The document explains what ZigBee is and why new technologies like ZigBee will be needed in future wireless-sensor networks. It also examines each major component of ZigBee, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses in industrial applications and making recommendations for industrial manufacturers and product developers.

The report notes that manufacturing end-users see a huge potential value in wireless devices, but will only make large deployments of products when they are based on standards. Reliance on standards ensures better radio frequency coexistence, multiple sources of supply, and predictable performance as deployments scale up, the report claims, pointing out that the ZigBee Alliance has positioned itself as being the key technology standard not only for wireless coexistence, but for device level interoperability.

According to ARC, developers of products and solutions for industry are now choosing from among several wireless technologies, but only IEEE 802.15.4 has the very low-power consumption required by long-lived battery-powered industrial products. Most applications will use at least some battery-powered devices, raising the question "to ZigBee or not to ZigBee?"





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