While browsing smart lighting technology for the home, you will come across a handful of popular dedicated smart home wireless protocols. One of which is ZigBee, a mesh wireless network built on top of a 2.4 GHz IEEE standard (802.15.4).
Engineered with simplicity and practicality in mind, ZigBee has become the choice for millions of homes integrating smart lighting technology, but what is it about ZigBee that makes it such a popular choice for smart lighting?
What are the primary benefits and selling points the ZigBee Smart Home Wireless protocol brings to the table?
Understanding ZigBee Light Link
Built on ZigBee and designed specifically with consumer lighting control products in mind, ZigBee Light Link is a standardised application protocol. It enables the user to make adjustments to their home’s lighting on the basis of task, ambience, season, personal preference or energy consumption.
Importantly, no central coordinator or network device (such as a Wi-Fi router) is needed to control or power the system.
The ZigBee mesh wireless network operates on the basis of numerous independent interconnected devices which communicate with one another in response to commands. With ZigBee Light Link, the system has been designed to be integrated with ZigBee Home Automation, enabling the user to install and control a wide variety of smart devices around the home.
Zigbee Home Lighting
The ZigBee wireless mesh network protocol has been designed primarily with smart home automation in mind. It is one of the most affordable systems of its kind on the market and encompasses a wide variety of devices that can be installed with relative ease.
For example, EVVR’s Zigbee remote switch converts any standard light switch into a smart light switch which you can then use with a wide variety of Zigbee devices around the home. An incredibly simple approach to the installation of a smart network at home, there are no minimum load requirements, no neutral wire needed and no size limitations to worry about.
Once set up and running, a Zigbee smart home lighting system can be controlled from any connected device with the accompanying mobile app. Exceptionally user friendly, there is no easier way of taking total control over every aspect of a home’s lighting at the touch of a button.
Best of all, competition in the ZigBee space has become particularly ferocious over recent years; the result of which is a full range of affordable systems that continue to plummet in price dramatically, making the idea of home lighting automation an affordable prospect for most households.
ZigBee Building Automation
The capacity for a ZigBee system to automate a variety of functions has likewise made it a popular choice. With ZigBee, it is simple and surprisingly affordable to transform a static building into a more dynamic automated home (or business).
For the most part, building automation has a tendency to focus on switching things on and off in accordance with who is using them at the time. ZigBee opens the door to the installation of occupancy and movement sensors, enabling lighting controls to be automated depending on whose present.
This could mean lights that automatically switch on or off in populated or vacant spaces, or dimming the lights in less populated areas to reduce energy consumption.
Another benefit of ZigBee as a building automation tool is the fact that it is wireless, and therefore much easier and more cost-effective to install than a wired system.
As for its limitations, ZigBee may not be the best choice for particularly large buildings with complex layouts. Nor is it considered the ideal protocol for outdoor lighting, unless it is very close to the building or attached to it directly.
This is due to the fact that ZigBee does not have the best range capabilities of the mesh network protocols currently in use. It is extremely capable in an indoor space like a typical home, but may encounter issues in much larger spaces.
The radio frequency used by ZigBee can be compromised by interference from bad weather, pedestrian traffic, moving vehicles and so on; none of which are an issue for standard household ZigBee networks, but could prove problematic elsewhere.
ZigBee vs Z-Wave – What is Z-Wave?
Z-Wave is the mesh network technology that has powered a wide variety of smart home systems for more than 20 years. It is a system that uses low-energy radio waves to enable devices to communicate with one another, without the need for a central Wi-Fi network.
For the most part, Z-Wave is identical to ZigBee in principle. However, it has a much broader communication range of around 100 metres. It also has a faster data transfer time than ZigBee and is better at negotiating tight corners and challenging architectural features.
Where ZigBee devices are not up to the job, Z-Wave could be a preferable option. But for the vast majority of homes looking into smart technology integration, ZigBee is significantly cheaper than their Z-Wave counterparts.
There are performance differences between the two protocols, but none would be evident in the average home environment.
ZigBee is fast becoming the choice for homeowners looking to step up to a smart or lighting system. In terms of simplicity, affordability and functionality, ZigBee covers everything the average household needs at an unbeatable price.
Installation and activation of a ZigBee system can also be surprisingly simple. Particularly for homes with no neutral wire present, it is important to ensure the controllers and devices you choose are compatible with your home.
EVVR’s ZigBee remote switch has been designed to make it as quick and easy as possible to set up and enjoy smart lighting technology at home, the innovative In-Wall Relay Switch (IRS) converts any standard light switch into a smart light switch, which can then be used with various other ZigBee devices.
One of the simplest ways of making the switch to smart lighting, there are no minimum load requirements, no neutral wire and no size limitations to worry about; all of which have the potential to cause issues with comparable devices, and must therefore be considered before buying.
So while it is true to say that ZigBee has its limitations, it is by far the simplest, most versatile and most cost-effective solution for smart home lighting.