SPOTLIGHT: ZigBee's Time

ZigBee is not a panacea for all embedded wireless applications, but it is a good and useful technology. It consumes little power owing to a low-duty cycle and the rapid ability of 802.15.4 radios to sleep. A ZigBee device which requires 10mW active power and 10uW standby power with a duty cycle of 0.1 percent supplied by a 750mAh AAA battery linearly regulated to 1V would have a battery life of around 37,000 hours -- that is, four years and three months. ZigBee is secure, adopting 128-bit AES security for all wireless communication, and is easy to program, as ZigBee devices are generally programmed in C (sometimes requiring assembly language for particular time- or space-critical components). ZigBee devices use well-established microcontrollers, so there are quite a number of development tools available. We would be wise to educate ourselves to the potential of this emerging technology. Discussion | Analysis