ZigBee RF4CE

- an overview of the ZigBee RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) standard or specification used for many audio visual remote control applications.

The ZigBee RF4CE specification or standard defines a low cost communications standard that is able to provide reliable levels of connectivity for consumer electronics. Building on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, RF4CE provides the higher application layers needed.

ZigBee RF4CE provides public application profiles that can be used to create interoperable application profiles that can be used by a variety of manufacturers or vendors.

ZigBee RF4CE characteristics

The use of the ZigBee RF4CE standard brings a number of advantages of high levels of functionality and flexibility that mean it can provide improvements for the user over individual control systems that might otherwise be used.

  • RF4CE provides channel agility using three channels
  • Incorporates a power management mechanism for all device classes
  • RF4CE includes a discovery mechanism for nodes
  • RF4CE supports multiple star topology and includes inter-PAN communication
  • Various transmission options are supported by RF4CE including unicast, broadcast, acknowledged, unacknowledged, secured and un-secured
  • There is a security key generation mechanism
  • The RF4CE standard allows for manufacturer specific profiles to be added

ZigBee RF4CE network topology

A ZigBee RF4CE network - PAN - is able to provide a considerable level of flexibility. There are two types of device that may be found within an RF4CE network:

  • Target device or node:   An RF4CE target device has full PAN coordinator capabilities and can start a network.
  • Controller device or node:   A ZigBee RF4CE controller device or node can join networks started by target devices by pairing with the target.

Multiple ZigBee RF4CE PANs form a complete ZigBee RF4CE network and devices in the overall network can communicate between ZigBee RF4CE PANs.

By Ian Poole

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