If you want to talk to your lights wirelessly, how do you know what technology to use?
Wi-Fi is ubiquitous. With an existing infrastructure, it is easy to develop and add a device to a Wi-Fi network. The downside is that the stack is heavy and requires large amount of memory and processing power. There is also a limitation on how many lights can be on the same network. Bluetooth with low energy functionality is another technology that is well known. It is great for accessing and controlling a few devices when you are next to them with your mobile phone. But the number of devices is also limited.
For a lighting system with tens up to hundreds of lights connected to a single network, these lights need to respond instantaneously, and without fail. The ZigBee networking technology is designed to form robust, self-healing, and scalable local mesh networks, giving the user that “instantaneous” response no matter where the light is on the network. ZigBee also has a dedicated cluster library that defines the exact behavior of lights and other home automation devices. So a ZigBee light switch knows exactly how to talk to a ZigBee light regardless who makes the light. The ZigBee cluster library also introduces standardized way to control the RGB color, color temperature and dimming of lights. Now your lights can easily bring different colors, moods, or brightness to any room.
ZigBee is a local area network (LAN). This means the devices can talk to each other on the same network quickly and efficiently. There is a routing table on a gateway that calculates the lowest cost to reach each node on the network that includes the signal strength and number of hops to reach the node. This way, the user can be sure to reach each node in the most efficient and robust way. To reach the LAN from outside, one can use the gateway to pass the data. It can serve as a bridge between the internet over Wi-Fi, and the LAN. So now, you can control your light from anywhere in the world.
Get started with our collection of ZigBee Connected Home Reference Designs.