If you’re looking at buying any bit of smart home tech, be it a new plug, Wi-Fi camera or fridge, then you may well have come across the term Zigbee.
But what is it and why is it important when buying smart home tech? In this guide we’ll explain everything you need to know about Zigbee.
What is Zigbee?
ZigBee is an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard for wireless home networking. It’s a low-power, secure, and IoT (Internet of Things) friendly technology that allows you to create connected devices in your home.
More specifically, ZigBee is a short-range wireless protocol primarily used for the wireless interconnection of sensor, actuator, and control devices within the home environment. It is also used for wireless networking between smart appliances, tools, and other devices. It is one of the most popular standards for home automation and wireless networking devices.
ZigBee was designed as a lower-cost alternative to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s also advertised as being much more secure than Wi-Fi, so you can feel more comfortable letting connected wireless devices be used by other devices in your home.
The reason so many companies use Zigbee to help their smart devices communicate is that it comes with a number of perks. The biggest include:
- Low Power Consumption: ZigBee allows devices to use very little power. This makes it suitable for use with battery-powered devices like security cameras.
- Low Latency: ZigBee has a low latency, which means that it can easily transport high-speed data (like pictures and videos).
- Strong Security: ZigBee uses strong encryption and authentication algorithms that keep your data safe from cyber threats.
- Interoperable: The Zigbee alliance has a large number of ZigBee device manufacturers, which means that you can be sure that your device works with other ZigBee devices.
- Easy Installation: ZigBee devices are easy to install, because they operate using widely available Wi-Fi or Z-Wave gateways and home automation systems.
Despite these perks there are a number of issues with Zigbee that have led some companies to experiment with other protocols. These include:
- Limited Range: ZigBee devices have a limited range, meaning that they can only connect to other ZigBee devices.
- Limited Interoperable Devices: ZigBee devices have limited interoperability, which means that they can only communicate with other ZigBee devices. This may be a con for some users, especially if they would like to connect their ZigBee device to a device like a Wi-Fi hub or computer. This is a key reason many smart home devices have started utilising the newer Matter protocol.
Which smart Home Hub should you use With Zigbee?
If you’re interested in using Zigbee for smart home automation, then you should use a Zigbee-enabled smart hub. These hubs support the Zigbee standard and can help you find and control devices in your home.
These hubs can help you get the most out of your Zigbee network. They can help you discover new devices by serving as a bridge between your Zigbee network and the wider web. They can also help you set up new devices by providing a point of control and configuration. Finally, they can help you monitor your Zigbee network and troubleshoot issues.