The word ‘ZigBee’ is setting a trend in wireless world. We know during certain hazards in industry it is very difficult to monitor the parameter through wires and analog devices such as transducers/sensors. So as to overcome this problem we have moved to wireless device for monitoring the parameters, for preparation in worst cases.
Few years back the use of wireless device were less, but now a days due the rapid development in technology we use maximum of our data transfer through wireless like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WI-Max, etc which work on IEEE 802.11 standard. Creating wireless networks is done using a variety of RF protocols. Various protocols are proprietary to individual vendors and others are industry standards. This exposition explores the general idea of what exactly is ZigBee protocol standard for data transmission on which it was built.
ZigBee is a specification for a suite of high level communication protocols using tiny, lowower digital radios based on an IEEE 802 standard for personal area networks. ZigBee has a defined rate of 250 Kbit/s best suited for periodic or irregular data or a single signal transmission from a sensor or input device, these devices are considered as nodes or coordinators. It works on 3 types of Networking schemes mesh, star, tree. Out of which Mesh networking provides high reliability, more extensive range, self-organizing and self healing characteristics. The scheme work on Coordinator, Router and end device concept as shown in the figure below.
ZigBee chip vendors typically sell integrated radios and microcontrollers with between 60 KB and 256 KB flash memory. ZigBee technology is a low power consumption wireless networking protocol pointed towards data communications dealing businesses, automation and remote monitoring applications. The standard was put forth by IEEE committee given with 802.15 .4 for low data rate operations. Then later the ZigBee Alliance and the IEEE decided to collaborated forces and ZigBee is the commercial name for this technology. The technology deals with many applications like terrain monitoring, energy grid, positional tracking, home applications, etc. On practical basis, the traffic management system is being implemented with the utilization of ZigBee technology in some countries.
All types of networks need to consider security, wireless networks even more so. Many applications that ZigBee may be used for, often depends on the security of the ZigBee Specification. A security breach in a sensor network that regulates the parameters in production or medical applications can have catastrophic effects. Therefore, a key feature of the ZigBee specification is the built-in support for secure data transmissions within the network. The ZigBee protocol works on encryption process which consist of three types of keys namely network key, link key master key.
Though ZigBee is efficient, in some of the aspects there are flaws and drawbacks like low data rate (maximum 256Kbps), high initial cost, moderate range as compared to other wireless systems. This has bounded the technology for specific application set.