The origin of ZigBee

The activities around 802.15.4 began at the end of 1998, when a working group around Philips Electronis was formed, with the aim to draft a proposition for an unexpensive and robust Wireless solution with the designation “HomeRF Lite”. In October 1999 a first draft version was provided where the term “Protocol for Universal Radio Links” (PURL) was central. The ZigBee Alliance was formally created however not before the end of the year 2002 as co-operation of industrial enterprises. The suggestions from the PURL, which concern the bit transmission and the link layer, were submitted in the year 2001 to the new formed working group IEEE 802.15.4. The main objectives of the ZigBee Alliance are to define the layers starting above IEEE 802.15.4 to the point of the application. By the use of the IEEE 802.15.4 ZigBee becomes an important driver therein. The name ZigBee is derived from the zigzag dance of the bees, which communicate the way to the next source of food to their conspecific in this way.

ZigBee topology

Uses of ZigBee

ZigBee and the closely connected IEEE-802.15.4-Standard is used to build so called Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs) with a wide number of usage possibilities: industry and automation control (e.g. wireless plant control), business and logistics (goods monitoring), home and building automation (cable-free control of devices and plants), medical technology (wireless patient monitoring), operation of computer periphery and entertainment electronics etc.

ZigBee Layer

Technical Data

Frequency Range, Amount of channel:

868MHz, 1 Kanal à 600kHz / 2.46GHz, 16 Kanäle à 2MHz (Europe)
915MHz/ 2.46GHz (USA)

Transmitting Power and Range:

With 1 mW to 100 Meter

Data transmission rate:

20-250 kBit/s


Automation, Sensory control


Alarm systems, Controlling of domestic appliances

Proprietary Solutions

ANT (area network technology) is a network-technology like ZigBee and has in comparison a smaller current consumption.