Feeds

ZigBee bursts onto wireless PAN

Mesh tech links monitoring and control

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Products based on ZigBee - the low power, mesh radio technology - will come on tap this year and make a big impact in industrial controls, according to demos at the IEEE Radio and Wireless Symposium this week.

ZigBee is a short-range radio technology aimed at apps with low data rates and low power consumption such as industrial controls, home automation and other monitoring and control operations. The technology can be used to build self-organising mesh networks.

Elements in such as network draw only small amounts of power, so devices can run for months without needing their batteries replaced. Most ZigBee systems require a controller, making the technology a tad more expensive than other similar technologies, such as Bluetooth, for now.

Specifications for ZigBee based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard were ratified in December last year, but the technology in already in trial in Scandinavia as part of an automatic home reading project. A demo by semiconductor firm Freescale at the IEEE Radio and Wireless Symposium mocked up a simple home automation network controlling a light switch. The system was unaffected by the many local Wi-Fi networks operating in the vicinity.

Technical representatives from Freescale explained that the technology might also be used to monitor and regulate temperature in wine productions, for example, as well as in its prime market of industrial controls. Home networking using the ZigBee is really only for technophiles just now, but more functional systems incorporating smoke alarm and intruder alert systems may came on tap over the time and make use of the technology more compelling.

Although ZigBee specifies approaches to interoperability, there isn't much call for this as yet in the technology's prime market of industrial controls where equipment is commonly proprietary - ZigBee is unsuited to the control of fast-moving machinery because of its inability to handle fast responses. ZigBee supports 128-bit AES encryption, a factor that might become important if the technology takes off in applications such as meter reading. You can find out more about ZigBee at the ZigBee Alliance homepage here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.