Zigbee Technology: Architecture & Applications | How Does it Work

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What is Zigbee Technology?

Zigbee is a wireless protocol that enables low-cost, low-power wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) and internet of things (IoT) networks. It is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 specification and is designed for control and sensor networks on the wireless personal area network (WPAN) standard. Zigbee is an open standard that operates on 2.4 Ghz, 900 MHz and 868 MHz frequencies.

What is Zigbee Technology

Zigbee devices are often much simpler than devices using other protocols such as Z-Wave, preferring to focus on specific functions. Zigbee is used often in a many of applications like as home automation, traffic management systems, medical device data collection, and consumer and industrial equipment that needs short-range low-rate wireless data transfer.

Zigbee devices on the whole are very affordable, often much cheaper than similar devices from other technologies such as Z-Wave and WiFi. Zigbee is designed for control and sensor networks over the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless standard for wireless personal area networks (WPANs).

By building on top of the physical layer and media access control defined in the IEEE standard 802.15.4 it natively supports mesh networking as well as offering secure communications by default.

‘Zigbee Technology’ Tutorial Headlines:

In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:

  1. What is Zigbee Technology?
  2. Brief History of Zigbee Technology
  3. Zigbee Architecture with Working
  4. Zigbee Device Types and Topologies
  5. Zigbee Network Topologies
  6. How to Transmit Data in ZigBee?
  7. What is the Difference between ZigBee and Bluetooth?
  8. What is the Difference between LoRa and ZigBee?
  9. Applications of Zigbee
  10. Zigbee Technology Upsides
  11. Zigbee Technology Downsides
  12. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • What is ZigBee technology and how it works?
  • What is a real-life example of ZigBee technology?
  • How is ZigBee used in IoT?
  • What is the main use of Zigbee?
  • What is the range of ZigBee?
  • What is the speed of ZigBee?
  • Why ZigBee is better than Wi-Fi?
  • Which company uses Zigbee?
  • What is the structure of ZigBee technology?
  • How many layers does ZigBee architecture have?

Let’s Get Started!!

Brief History of Zigbee Technology

1998: The concept of Zigbee begins to take shape as researchers from MIT explore the idea of low-power, low-data-rate wireless communication for sensor networks.

2003: The Zigbee Alliance is founded by a group of technology companies, including Philips, Honeywell, and Mitsubishi Electric, to develop and promote the Zigbee standard.

2004: The first version of the Zigbee standard, Zigbee 2004, is released. It operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency band and is designed for low-power, short-range wireless communication.

2006: Zigbee Pro is introduced, adding features like increased range, robustness, and security to the standard.

2007: Zigbee Alliance introduces the Zigbee Smart Energy profile, which focuses on creating interoperable solutions for smart energy management and home automation.

2011: Zigbee Light Link is launched, targeting the smart lighting market and enabling wireless control of lighting systems.

2012: Zigbee IP is announced, extending the standard to support IPv6, which allows for direct communication between Zigbee devices and IP-based networks.

2015: Zigbee 3.0 is unveiled, unifying various Zigbee application profiles into a single standard to simplify interoperability and development.

2017: Zigbee Alliance announces the Zigbee PRO 2017 feature set, which includes enhancements for better performance, lower latency, and improved security.

2020: Project CHIP (Connected Home over IP) is announced, aiming to create a universal standard for smart home devices, developed jointly by the Zigbee Alliance, Apple, Google, Amazon, and others.

2021: Zigbee Alliance rebrands as the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) to reflect its expanding focus beyond just Zigbee technology.

2021: Project CHIP gains momentum as Matter, with support from major tech companies, aiming to create a unified standard for smart home devices across ecosystems.

2023: Zigbee and Matter continue to evolve, with more devices and ecosystems adopting the Matter standard for improved interoperability in the smart home market.

Zigbee Architecture with Working

Most of architectures are compared to the OSI model; but Zigbee architecture is designed to provide an easy-to-use and reliable architecture for secure, low-power wireless networks. It consists of several layers that work together to enable communication between devices. Here, we will cover about the Zigbee architecture along with their layers and functions:

Zigbee Architecture

Application Layer: This layer defines the application-specific functionality of Zigbee devices. It includes profiles and clusters that specify the behavior of devices in various applications. Profiles define how devices of a certain type should interact, while clusters define specific functionalities that devices provide.

For example, a light bulb device might belong to the Home Automation profile and have clusters for on/off control and brightness adjustment.

Application Support Sub-Layer (APS): APS is responsible for managing end-to-end communication between devices. It handles tasks like data encapsulation, addressing, and security. APS helps route messages between devices even if they’re not directly connected.

Network Layer: This layer is responsible for forming and maintaining the network topology. It manages device discovery, routing of messages, and network addressing. Zigbee networks can be organized into star, mesh, or cluster-tree topologies, allowing for various levels of scalability and reliability.

Mesh Layer (optional): In a Zigbee mesh network, this layer facilitates multi-hop communication. Devices can relay messages for other devices, extending the network’s range and robustness. Mesh routing algorithms ensure that messages find their way through the network even if a direct path is obstructed.

MAC (Media Access Control) Layer: The MAC layer manages the access to the physical radio medium. It deals with tasks like channel selection, data frame formatting, and collision avoidance. Zigbee uses a low-duty cycle approach to conserve energy, making it suitable for battery-powered devices.

Physical Layer: This is the lowest layer of the Zigbee architecture and deals with the physical transmission of data over the radio medium. It specifies the modulation, data rate, and frequency bands used for communication.

Security Sub-Layer: Zigbee includes several security mechanisms to protect communication between devices. It supports encryption, authentication, and key management to ensure data privacy and prevent unauthorized access.

Zigbee Device Types and Topologies

Zigbee supports various device types and network topologies to cater to different IoT use cases and applications. Here’s an overview of Zigbee device types and network topologies:

Zigbee Coordinator: The coordinator is the central device that initiates and manages the network. It is responsible for network formation, device coordination, and routing.

Coordinator: The coordinator is the central device that initiates and manages the Zigbee network. There’s only one coordinator per network, and it’s responsible for forming the network, assigning addresses, and managing network parameters.

Router: Routers act as intermediaries within the network, allowing devices to communicate with each other. They help extend the network coverage and improve reliability.

End Device: End devices are the devices that interact with the network but do not participate in network routing. They are typically battery-powered and have limited functionality.

Zigbee Network Topologies

Star Topology:

  • In a star topology, all end devices communicate directly with the coordinator.
  • This topology is simple to set up but lacks redundancy. If the coordinator fails, the network becomes inactive.

Mesh Topology:

  • Zigbee’s strength lies in mesh topologies. A mesh network consists of multiple devices interconnected in a self-forming and self-healing structure.
  • Devices can relay messages for each other, creating multiple communication paths and enhancing network coverage.
  • Mesh networks are resilient to device failures or signal blockages, as messages can be rerouted.

Cluster-Tree Topology:

  • Cluster-tree topology combines aspects of star and mesh topologies.
  • Routers are organized hierarchically, forming clusters. End devices communicate with their cluster’s router, which then communicates with higher-level routers or the coordinator.
  • This topology balances energy efficiency and coverage.

Hybrid Topologies:

  • Some networks might use a combination of different topologies to address specific requirements.
  • For instance, a hybrid topology might use a star configuration for a specific application area and a mesh network for broader coverage.

Point-to-Point and Point-to-Multipoint:

  • Zigbee supports both point-to-point (unicast) and point-to-multipoint (multicast) communication.
  • Unicast is used for direct communication between two devices, while multicast is used to transmit messages to a group of devices.

How to Transmit Data in ZigBee?

Transmitting data in Zigbee involves several steps, from data encapsulation and addressing to selecting the appropriate communication mode. Here’s a general overview of how to transmit data in a Zigbee network:

Data Encapsulation and Formatting:

Data to be transmitted is encapsulated into frames. Frames consist of different fields such as the frame control field, sequence number, addressing information, payload, and optional security fields.


  • Zigbee uses different addressing modes: short address (16-bit), extended address (64-bit), and group address.
  • Choose the appropriate addressing mode based on the destination device’s characteristics. Short addresses are often used for direct communication, while extended addresses are used for more complex addressing scenarios.
  • If data is intended for a specific device, use its short or extended address. If it’s meant for a group of devices, use the group address.

Frame Construction:

  • Construct the Zigbee frame according to the selected addressing mode and the type of frame (data frame, acknowledgment frame, etc.).
  • Include relevant information in the frame’s header and payload.

Security (Optional):

  • Depending on the security requirements of your Zigbee network, you might need to apply encryption and authentication to the transmitted data.
  • If security is enabled, ensure that the appropriate security fields are included in the frame and that encryption keys are properly managed.

Channel Selection:

  • Zigbee operates in multiple frequency bands. Choose a suitable channel to avoid interference and congestion.
  • Ensure that both the transmitting and receiving devices are tuned to the same channel.

Transmission Mode:

  • Zigbee supports both unicast (point-to-point) and multicast (point-to-multipoint) transmission modes.
  • Determine whether your data transmission requires unicast to a specific device or multicast to a group of devices.

Transmitting the Frame:

  • Once the frame is constructed and security measures are applied (if needed), transmit the frame over the selected channel using the Zigbee PHY and MAC layers.
  • Devices can transmit frames directly to their intended recipients or use routing mechanisms in a mesh network to reach devices that are not in direct communication range.

Acknowledgment and Reliability:

  • Zigbee supports acknowledgment frames to ensure reliable communication. When a device receives a data frame, it sends an acknowledgment frame back to the sender.
  • The sender can retransmit the data frame if it doesn’t receive an acknowledgment within a certain timeframe.

Error Handling:

Implement error handling mechanisms to detect and handle transmission errors, frame collisions, and other potential issues.

Wait for Response:

After transmitting the data frame, wait for an acknowledgment frame or other response from the recipient device.

What is the Difference between ZigBee and Bluetooth?

Here are some common differences between ZigBee and Bluetooth, including:



ZigBee is a wireless technology standard for personal area networks that uses low-power digital radio waves.Bluetooth is a wireless technology that is going to use for connecting devices in short range.
ZigBee covers more distance as compared with Bluetooth.Bluetooth covers less distance than ZigBee.
ZigBee uses BPSK and QPSK modulation techniques like UWB (Ultra-Wide Band).Bluetooth employs the Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. In frequency hopping, the carrier signal is made to fluctuate in frequency.
ZigBee’s frequency range supported is mostly 2.4 GHz worldwide, which means 2.4 GHz is not supported at all times.Bluetooth’s frequency range supported varies from 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz.
ZigBee is an open global standard for cost-effective low-power, low-bandwidth wireless mesh networking.Bluetooth is a proprietary technology developed under IEEE 802.15.1, which is used for providing wireless communication through radio signals.

What is the Difference between LoRa and ZigBee?



863 to 870 MHz, 902 to 928 MHz, 779 to 787 MHz868MHz, 915 MHz, 2450 MHz
2-5 Km (urban areas), 15 Km (suburban areas)10 to 100 meters
Lower compared to ZigBeeLow
Used as Wide Area NetworkUsed as LR-WPAN i.e. low rate wireless personal area network
Star network topologyMesh network topology

Applications of Zigbee

Zigbee protocols are integrated for embedded applications, where requiring less power consumption and getting with tolerating low data rates. Zigbee technology has a wide range of applications, including:

Home Automation: Zigbee-enabled devices can be used for home automation, such as wireless light switches, home energy monitors, and security monitoring and controlling home applications from remote locations.

Healthcare: Zigbee can be used for in-home patient monitoring, where a patient wears a Zigbee device that periodically collects information like blood pressure and heart rate. This data is then wirelessly transmitted to a local server in the patient’s home, which performs basic analysis and sends vital information to the doctor over the internet.

Material Tracking: Zigbee can be used for material tracking in industrial settings.

Traffic Management Systems: Zigbee can be used in traffic management systems.

Consumer and Industrial Equipment: Zigbee can be used in other consumer and industrial equipment that requires short-range low-rate wireless data transfer.

Other Zigbee Applications Examples

  • Smart Industrial Automation
  • Smart Smoke Alarms
  • Traffic Management Systems
  • Home Energy Monitors
  • In-Home Patient Monitoring
  • Material Tracking in Industrial Settings
  • Security Monitoring and Controlling Home Applications from Remote Locations
  • Meter Reading Systems
  • Light Control Systems
  • HVAC Systems
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Wireless Mouse and Remote Controls

Zigbee devices can increase efficiency and reduce cost in various applications. Zigbee makes it possible to create completely networked homes where all devices are able to communicate and be controlled remotely.

Zigbee Technology Upsides

  • Designed for low power consumption
  • Offers the network security and application supported services that are operating on the top of IEEE.
  • Zigbee makes it possible to create completely networked homes where all devices are able to communicate and be controlled remotely.
  • Zigbee is a low-cost and low-powered mesh network that is widely deployed for controlling and monitoring applications where it covers 10-100 meters within the range.
  • Zigbee is standardized at all layers, ensuring that products from different manufacturers are compatible.
  • Zigbee has a flexible network structure.
  • Zigbee has very long battery life.
  • Zigbee has a mesh network topology with low cost, multi-hop data transmission and is power effective.
  • Zigbee is less complex than Bluetooth and is easy to install.

Zigbee Technology Downsides

Limited Data Rate: Zigbee is designed for low data rate applications, which means it may not be suitable for applications that require high-speed data transfer.

Limited Range: Zigbee has a limited range compared to other wireless protocols like Wi-Fi or cellular networks. It typically covers a range of 10-100 meters, which may not be sufficient for larger areas or outdoor applications.

Interference: Zigbee operates in the crowded 2.4 GHz frequency band, which can lead to interference from other devices using the same frequency, such as Wi-Fi routers, Bluetooth devices, and microwaves.

Complexity: Zigbee can be more complex to set up and configure compared to other wireless protocols. It requires a Zigbee coordinator or hub to manage the network, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the system.

Compatibility: While Zigbee is standardized, there are different versions and profiles of Zigbee, which can lead to compatibility issues between devices from different manufacturers.

Power Consumption: While Zigbee is designed for low power consumption, devices that act as routers or coordinators in the Zigbee network require a constant power source, which may not be ideal for battery-powered devices.

Limited Bandwidth: Zigbee has limited bandwidth, which means it may not be suitable for applications that require high data throughput, such as video streaming or large file transfers.

Scalability: While Zigbee can support a large number of devices on the network, the more devices that are added, the more complex the network becomes, which can impact its scalability.

Security Concerns: While Zigbee provides network security features, such as encryption, there have been some vulnerabilities discovered in the past, which raises concerns about the overall security of Zigbee networks.

Cost: Zigbee devices and hubs can be more expensive compared to other wireless protocols, which may impact the overall cost of implementing a Zigbee-based system.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is ZigBee technology and how it works?

You can prefer this article; here you will get proper answer of your query.

What is a real-life example of ZigBee technology?

One real-life example of Zigbee technology is the use of Zigbee-enabled smoke and heat sensors in homes and buildings.

How is ZigBee used in IoT?

Zigbee is used in IoT solutions because different Zigbee certified devices can be connected, and as more Zigbee devices are linked, communication paths between devices are established. Zigbee uses a low-power mesh network of multiple nodes that allow devices to communicate and exchange information.

What is the main use of Zigbee?

The main use of Zigbee is to provide a low-cost, low-power, and reliable wireless communication protocol for IoT devices.

What is the range of ZigBee?

  • Indoors, Zigbee typically manages multiple devices within a range of 10 to 100 meters.
  • Outdoors, Zigbee can extend its range to about 300 meters.

What is the speed of ZigBee?

Zigbee uses a frequency of 915MHz or 2.4GHz, and has a speed of 40-250 kbps

Why ZigBee is better than Wi-Fi?

Zigbee is better than Wi-Fi for IoT solutions that require low-power, low-data rate communication between devices. Zigbee offers greater reach, energy savings, less interference, better security, and lower cost than Wi-Fi.

Which company uses Zigbee?

There are several companies that use Zigbee technology. Here are some examples:

  • Jasco
  • Siemens
  • Philips
  • Bosch
  • Samsung
  • Sony

What is the structure of ZigBee technology?

The structure of Zigbee technology consists of three main components: Zigbee coordinator, router, and end device. Each one is explained above in this post.

How many layers does ZigBee architecture have?

The Zigbee architecture is divided into four or five layers, depending on the source, including:

  1. Physical Layer
  2. Medium Access Control (MAC) Layer
  3. Network Layer
  4. Application Layer
  5. Security Layer (optional)


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