ZigBee Communications

What is Zigbee?

Zigbee is the only global, standards-based wireless solution that can conveniently and affordably control the widest range of devices to improve comfort, security and convenience for consumers.

It is the technology of choice for world-leading service providers, installers and retailers who bring the benefits of the Internet of Things into the Smart Home.

Zigbee is the language for a wide variety of smart home devices so companies can deliver an integrated ecosystem of home monitoring, energy management, heating and cooling, security and convenience devices.

see http://www.zigbee.org/

What is ZigBee?

•Low-power, low data rate wireless protocol
•Max throughput 250 Kbps
•Small, lightweight stack (120 KB)
•Built-in star or mesh topology support
•Long battery life (5-year goal)
•Range commonly 10-100 meters

Do a web search on ZIGBEE

How does ZigBee differ from BlueTooth

While Bluetooth® focuses on connectivity between large packet user devices, such as laptops, phones, and major peripherals, ZigBee is designed to provide highly efficient connectivity between small packet devices. As a result of its simplified operations, which are one to two full orders of magnitude less complex than a comparable Bluetooth® device, pricing for these devices is extremely competitive, with full nodes available for a fraction of the cost of a Bluetooth® node. They are also actively limited to a through-rate of 250 Kbps, compared to the much larger pipeline of 1 Mbps for Bluetooth®, and operates on the 2.4 GHz ISM band, which is available throughout most of the world.

 

What are the Problems with ZigBee?

1 – Additional RF radiation from all the transmitters

All new devices that are wireless ZigBee connected have a radio receiver and a transmitter.  Depending upon the configuration there will be an increase in the RF Radiation in the home from all of these devices.  For people with severe EHS this may be considered a health assault.

One configuration has a Smart Meter with an associated ZigBee transmitter that sends current kWh usage to a digital read out somewhere in the house.  This means that there will be an increase in RFR at the Smart Meter AND at the digital read out.

 

2 – A hacker may obtain private information about the occupants

A hacker may just listen to the various ZigBee transmissions from a house and can determine activity inside.  I am not sure what benefit the hacker will obtain but there is a possibility.

3 – A hacker may manipulate the devices against the owners wish

This is the big issue.  If a hacker can listen in to the various ZigBee communications the hacker will be able to send commands to the various devices to make them misbehave.  Example – turn all ZigBee lights off,  turn furnace off,  turn a/c off or on,  turn the refrigerator off, and on and on.  Some of this activity would be a nuisance but some may be quite damaging.  (eg. heat off in the winter)