Zigbee FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Zigbee technology and certification

What is the Zigbee specification?

Zigbee is the only complete loT solution — from mesh network to the universal language that allows smart objects to work together. Zigbee increases choice and flexibility for users and developers, and delivers the confidence that products and services will work together through standardization and testing of all layers of the stack.

Zigbee certified products can connect and communicate with each other using the same IoT language; millions of Zigbee products are already deployed in smart homes and buildings. Zigbee is built with backwards & forwards compatibility in mind.

What are the IEEE 802.15.4 technical attributes on which the Zigbee specification is based?

Zigbee takes full advantage of a powerful IEEE 802.15.4 physical radio standard and operation in unlicensed bands worldwide at 2.4GHz (global), 915Mhz (Americas), and 868Mhz (Europe). Raw data throughput rates of 250Kbs can be achieved at 2.4GHz (16 channels), 500kbs at 915 – 921Mhz (27 channels), and 100kbs at 868Mhz (63 channel). Transmission distances range from 10 to 100 meters, depending on power output and environmental characteristics, 1 km or more can be attained with the North American or European and UK Sub-GHz radios.

What markets are served by Zigbee?

Zigbee solutions have a wide range of applications successfully serving residential, commercial, and utility/energy markets.

Residential: Zigbee is the full-stack, secure, reliable and market-proven solution used by a majority of large smart home ecosystem providers, such as Amazon’s Echo Plus, Samsung SmartThings, Signify (Philips Hue), and more. Zigbee products work with every Zigbee certified connected home or business platform, so you can choose products that will keep working for you.

Commercial: With a large focus on power efficiency, true mesh networking, enterprise network size and impressive communication range, Zigbee excels in commercial building installations. Owners, operators, and tenants can benefit from increased energy savings and ensure the lowest lifecycle costs with this green and easy-to-install, robust wireless network.

Utility / Energy: The world’s leading utilities, energy service providers, product manufacturers, and technology companies utilize Zigbee technology. Zigbee standards deliver innovative solutions for smart meters and the home area network (HAN) that allow consumers to know and control their energy use by connecting them to the smart grid. The UK Government has selected Zigbee Smart Energy as the mesh network for connected devices in the home to the utility network due to its robustness, security, and ability to offer 2.4 GHz and Sub-GHz.

What are Zigbee’s main benefits?

  • Zigbee is a globally-adopted, open-standard solution with more than a half-a-billion chipsets deployed worldwide
  • Built-in interoperability provides a large ecosystem of certified products that work seamlessly together
  • Zigbee’s reliability has been tested and proven over more than a decade
  • Zigbee is secure by design, utilizing a variety of security mechanisms including over-the-air AES-128-CCM encryption
  • Mesh networking brings stability and fail-safe operation to IoT networks by adding resiliency to the network, allowing it to recover from failure and self-heal
  • From low-power to ultra low-power, Zigbee solves many different problems and enables various use cases in the IoT market

What are the key features of Zigbee?

  • Proven, self-healing mesh: Self-organizing, self-healing mesh topology is scalable to thousands of nodes and has been proven by nearly a decade of improvements and real-world applications
  • Lightweight and easy: Optimized for low power consumption to extend battery life and simple do-it-yourself use for consumer and commercial spaces
  • 2.4 and Sub-GHz PHY Support: Zigbee PHY supports both 2.4 and Sub-GHz bands for covering the widest variety of setups and uses
  • Secure by Design: AES-128 bit message encryption and authentication, certificates, and elliptic crypto secure personal data and device authentication secures from neighboring networks
  • Unified Data Model: Freedom to choose devices and vendors – rich data model provides a universal language for devices to work together, regardless of brand
  • Green Power: Combines ultra-low power RF silicon with energy harvesting capabilities to deliver eco-friendly solutions for automation systems to go where they are needed without wires, batteries, or costly installations
  • Zigbee Direct: Zigbee Direct is a feature of Zigbee that brings together two market-proven technologies, Zigbee and Bluetooth Low Energy, to simplify the user experience

Why choose Zigbee?

Residential and Commercial Users

Zigbee is a mature, market-proven technology that offers choice and interoperability for both residential and commercial installations. It’s a reliable, secure, energy-efficient, and cost-effective solution that addresses a variety of use cases with a scalable network size. Some of the world’s leading utilities, energy service providers, product manufacturers, and technology companies are supporting the continued development of Zigbee. Zigbee is continuing to evolve as a technology with new features in development and slated for release.

IoT Product Developers

Zigbee is a mature, market-proven technology with millions of devices operating on the market today. Zigbee is the only full-stack interoperability technology supported by a global member ecosystem – from silicon vendors to integration services – delivering development and go-to-market flexibility with the security of supply chain diversity.

Service Providers / Ecosystems

Some of the world’s leading utilities, energy service providers, product manufacturers and technology companies are supporting the continued development of Zigbee. Zigbee is a mature, market-proven technology with millions of devices operating on the market today. It’s an open standard that supports a competitive marketplace of multiple vendors, which lowers cost. The standard technology, certified interoperability, global 2.4GHz (and soon-to-be-released Sub-GHz) spectrum ease adoption and customer service.

Utilities

Some of the world’s leading utilities, energy service providers, product manufacturers and technology companies are supporting the continued development of Zigbee. Zigbee is an open standard that supports a competitive marketplace of multiple vendors, which lowers cost. The standard technology, certified interoperability, global 2.4GHz (and soon-to-be-released Sub-GHz) spectrum ease adoption and customer service.

How does Zigbee compensate for possible interference in the 2.4GHz band?

Zigbee products have access to 16 separate 5MHz channels in the 2.4GHz band, several of which do not overlap with US and European versions of Wi-Fi. Zigbee incorporates an IEEE 802.15.4 defined CSMA-CA protocol that reduces the probability of interfering with other users; additionally, Zigbee uses automatic retransmission of data to ensure network robustness. Because the duty cycle of a Zigbee product is usually extremely low, relatively few packet data units are transmitted, reducing the likelihood of an unsuccessful transmission. Zigbee has also included power measurements to reduce power inputs so devices communicate at the exact level of power required, which reduces interference between nodes and limits radio activity.

How does Zigbee address wireless reliability?

Zigbee was designed for the congested RF environments that routinely exist in mainstream commercial and residential applications. Utilizing Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum in the 802.15.4 radio, with features including collision avoidance, receiver energy detection, link quality indication, clear channel assessment, acknowledgment, security, support for guaranteed time slots, and packet freshness, Zigbee networks offer product manufacturers a highly reliable wireless communication solution. This consistent and responsive local connectivity still works if the internet is down and doesn’t require connection with/communication to the cloud. Zigbee’s reliability has been proven by over a decade of market use and tested at scale.

How many nodes or devices can a Zigbee network support?

Zigbee’s addressing scheme is capable of supporting hundreds of nodes per network and multiple network coordinators can be linked together to support extremely large networks. The logical size of a Zigbee network ultimately depends on which frequency band is selected, how often each device on the network needs to communicate, and how much data loss or retransmissions can be tolerated by the application.

Is Zigbee backwards compatible?

Yes, Zigbee was developed to be backwards and forward compatible. The level of compatibility often depends on how manufacturers develop their products- for example, one important factor is whether their footprint can support the new features. It is in the purview of the product manufacturers to support the new features that are released.

Is Zigbee secure?

Zigbee’s built-in security ensures integrity of residential and commercial applications. It uses AES-128 bit message encryption and authentication, certificates, out-of-band authentication, and elliptic crypto to secure personal data and device authentication from neighboring networks. These and other security features have been included to allow manufacturers to choose the right level and type of security for their application/product requirements.

The next version of Zigbee PRO will include additional enhancements and features around security, specifically Dynamic Link Key with its use of ECC-based technology.

How does Zigbee interact with Matter?

While Zigbee and Matter both use a similar underlying data model, Zigbee and Matter are different technologies. And, with tens of millions of Zigbee devices already driving great experiences in homes and businesses, it is expected that Zigbee and Matter devices will likely co-exist in the same home, residential or commercial building. It is therefore critical to have the ability to bridge between Zigbee and Matter. That is why Matter includes specifications for bridging devices, so that product makers and ecosystems who have Zigbee as part of their current or future portfolio can create seamless experiences for users across these networks. We expect to see this bridging capability built into devices, like hubs / gateways / controllers, that are more and more “native” to smart & connected solution architectures.

How can my company contribute to Zigbee?

Membership offers many ways to contribute to Zigbee development and product efforts. Learn more about member benefits.

How often are Zigbee updates released?

Zigbee updates are released on a periodic basis. The current version of Zigbee PRO was released in 2017. CSA is currently working on the next version of Zigbee PRO, slated to be released in 2022.

Zigbee Certification FAQ

How do I get my product certified?

To learn more about the Alliance certification programs, visit the our Certification page.

How do I find the testing tools for certification?

The Zigbee Unified Test Harness (ZUTH) is available to Alliance members. This test harness combines the functionality of the previous Zigbee Test Tool and Green Power Test Tool to streamline and simplify the certification process. All Adopter, Participant, and Promoter members are entitled to FREE licenses for ZUTH. To take advantage of this benefit and claim your free licenses, please contact the certification team for further guidance.

How much does Zigbee Certification cost?

Certification fees depend on the certification type and your member level. Visit our Certification Process page to learn more.

How is the Zigbee Certified logo used?

The Zigbee Certified logo is used to verify that a product or platform as certified by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. It implies interoperability with products certified to the same program (for end products) and conformance to an Alliance specification.

What test houses support Zigbee certification testing?

Zigbee devices can be tested at any Alliance authorized test service provider that is currently validated to perform Zigbee certification testing. Our authorized test houses have numerous locations worldwide. See Alliance approved Testing Providers.