ZigBee PRO

- overview of the ZigBee PRO and the differences between ZigBee PRO and ZigBee.

ZigBee PRO is a version of ZigBee that carries greater capabilities in some areas. It was decided to implement ZigBee PRO as an enhanced version of ZigBee to keep the basic version of ZigBee as simple and low cost as possible.

By adopting ZigBee PRO as an enhanced version, it is possible to provide for the additional capabilities of some applications, while retaining a simpler, low cost stack and retaining the lower power consumption for those applications that do not require the additional capabilities.

ZigBee PRO basics

The ZigBee PRO standard provides a number of facilities that are not available in the standard ZigBee releases. ZigBee PRO provides additional capabilities that give additional functionality that may be required in more complex networks needed additional capability.

ZigBee PRO
Description of Functionality
Network hops The number of network hops allowable within ZigBee PRO is increased to 30 from the 10 allowed under ZigBee.
Max number of devices The maximum number of devices in a network for ZigBee PRO is 65 560 against 31 101 for ZigBee.
Multicast A multicast facility is incorporated to allow one node to send messages to a predetermined set of other nodes within the ZigBee PRO network
Source routing This techniques used in ZigBee PRO is used by the network coordinator to request nodes routing messages to find and temporarily remember a route for a message. This technique enables larger networks to be supported more easily because the size of routing tables can be reduced.
Asymmetric data routing This technique allows for a message acknowledgement to be sent via a different route toth e main message. This techniques used in ZigBee PRO when there may be asymmetric link budgets, or to help balance the load when data in a particular area may be high.
Network security As the levels of security required for ZigBee PRO applications are likely to be high, ZigBee PRO is able to support the use of link keys.

ZigBee PRO compatibility

One of the problems with using ZigBee PRO is that it is not compatible with standard ZigBee 2007 networks.

This arises from the fact that ZigBee PRO uses different routing techniques. ZigBee PRO routers cannot act as routers on a standard ZigBee network, althought hey can operate as endpoints in view of the fact that in this position they do not provide any routing capability.

Similarly ZigBee 2007 routers can only act as endpoints on a ZigBee PRO network.

As applications for both ZigBee 2007 and ZigBee PRO addressing similar markets, it is necessary to ensure that the correct variant of ZigBee is chosen from the outset.

ZigBee PRO summary

Under many circumstances the cost of applying ZigBee PRO to a network rather than the standard ZigBee 2007 is relatively small. In view of the additional advantages of ZigBee PRO many designers advocate the use of ZigBee PRO for most new networks. In this way should additional security, or other features of ZigBee PRO be needed then they will be available.

By Ian Poole

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