Research: ZigBee looks good for wireless mesh

By Control Engineering Staff November 6, 2006

Because of the clarity of the ZigBee standard, the organizational strength of the ZigBee Alliance, and the involvement of several of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, ZigBee will emerge as the dominant wireless mesh networking technology, according to recent research and analysis by In-Stat , a unit of Reed Business Information.

Wireless mesh networks are a mosaic of proprietary and non-proprietary implementations, In-Stat says. The IEEE 802.15.4 Working Group was designed to create unified standards for short-range, self-configuring mesh networks. ZigBee is a networking layer that is built on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. The ZigBee Alliance is an organization that has been the keeper of the ZigBee standard and is an open community of 200 companies that promote the technology and test the equipment.

‘ZigBee is designed to create interoperability among silicon vendors and facilitate common software and profile platforms for end-users in specific applications,’ says Chris Kissel, In-Stat analyst. ‘The addition of ZigBee to 802.15.4 gives an OEM or other end-user the assurance of multiple sources of silicon.’

Recent research by In-Stat found:

  • In 2006, In-Stat estimates between 4.5 million and 10.5 million ZigBee RF components will be sold;

  • Commercial building control is, and will continue to be, the largest 802.15.4/ZigBee application; and

  • In 2005, North America represented 53% of all 802.15.4/ZigBee nodes in use.

In-Stat and Control Engineering are both part of Reed Business Information.

Also read Control Engineering ‘s article, ‘Measure More…Without Wires.’

Edited by Mark T. Hoske , Control Engineering editor in chief