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In today's wireless world, there are a zillion different standards and protocols. One of the key challenges is finding a standard that can apply to a product that is to be used in different markets -- in most cases, the product designed for the North American market must be completely redesigned on a different frequency before it can be marketed in Europe, and again for the Asian Pacific market. ZigBee is a open global standard for reliable, cost-effective, low power wireless applications based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and looks to be the best way available now to help fix this situation. The first ZigBee protocols were issued in 2004, followed by a complete revision in 2006 and a new, back-compatible version in November 2007.

Zigbee is intended as a mesh networking protocol. There are some problems with this! Also, as expected, there are some other controversies on whether or not crowding in the 2.4 GHz band will make Zigbee unusable due to interference. The Zigbee Alliance, which sells access to its protocols for a very costly sum, says not....

The name ZigBee comes from the domestic honeybee, which uses a zig-zag type of dance to communicate important information to other hive members. This communications dance (the "ZigBee Principle") is what engineers are trying to emulate with this protocol -- a bunch of separate, simple organisms that join to together to tackle complex tasks. Besides, it's a catchy name, at least the equal to its rival Bluetooth!

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Zigbee in the News

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Online Zigbee Resources

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Zigbee Reference Books

Click on a Title Below for a Direct Link to Purchase

ZigBee Wireless Networks and Transceivers, by Shahin Farahani. Paperback: 356 pages (August 25, 2008).

Zigbee Wireless Networking, by Drew Gislason (Member of the Zigbee Alliance). Paperback: 288 pages (August 29, 2008)

Hands-On ZigBee: Implementing 802.15.4 with Microcontrollers (Embedded Technology), by Fred Eady. Paperback: 352 pages (March 16, 2007).

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and WiMax, by H. Labiod, H. Afifi, and C. De Santis. Hardcover: 316 pages; 1st edition (June 25, 2007).

A Controller Area Network Gateway to ZigBee- A Proposition of an Architecture to Extend CAN, by Paul A. Kuban. Paperback: 176 pages (November 13, 2007).

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