An open worldwide standard for wireless technology, ZigBee is made to employ low-power digital radio transmissions for home networks. Because other popular wireless standards like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth only provide a “star” topology, which is not very ideal for a Smart Home, this popular communication protocol is extensively employed in the Smart Home system.
High failure resistance, long-term operation of end devices from a single battery, support for many connections, and cooperative operation of devices from various manufacturers are some of the aspects of the standard.
The protocol’s primary qualities
- Multiple network topologies are supported (“point-to-point”, multipoint, cellular networks — Mesh).
- Because of the short duty cycle, battery life is increased.
- It responds with little delay.
- A maximum speed of 250 kbit/s is used for information transmission within a range of 5 to 75 meters (up to 200 meters in open spaces).
- 27 channels of operation in three radio bands are supported: 2.4 GHz (16 channels), 915 MHz (10 channels), and 868 MHz (1 channel).
- Direct sequence spread spectrum is made available (DSSS).
- Permits 65,000 network nodes to exist.
- Has a secure data connection with 128-bit encryption.
- Eliminates confirmations, retries, and collisions.
A mesh network is formed by all Zigbee devices. The following categories apply to these devices:
- The coordinator (gateway) is the principal element responsible for network formation. One of the gates in a smart home serves in this capacity.
- A router is a machine with continuous power. Switches and sockets play this part.
- Sensors and gadgets called “end devices” run on batteries.
A Xiaomi smart house can serve as an illustration of a Zigbee network, with the Gateway 2 acting as the coordinator. In the Mi Home app, all other gadgets connect to it. The job of a “Router” is played by sockets and switches, which take the signal from the primary device and broadcast it to the end sensors across the network. This enables networks to grow to the size of a house or even a sizable factory. Additionally, the functioning of the entire network will not be impacted if one of the router devices fails.
The zigzag dance performed by bees, which serves as a metaphor for how the ZigBee standard’s data packets must navigate mesh networks, is the origins of the term ZigBee. Bees use this dance to show their neighbours where to find the next food source.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth against ZigBee
Popular open source software for managing smart homes is called Home Assistant. It costs nothing to download and run this application. Over 80,000 Internet of Things (IoT) enthusiasts currently use this program to manage their smart home appliances.
More than 1,000 services and pieces of hardware are already supported by Home Assistant, including Sonos, Nest, Philips Hue, WeMo, Ikea, Arlo, Ecobee, Dyson, Xiaomi, and August. You may control everything that can be controlled from one location with the help of the program, which functions as a hub for gadgets. You can program logical sequences of particular jobs at the same time. Furthermore, you can designate a routine, for instance, for when your router senses that you have arrived home. The Philips Hue lights in your hallway will then switch on after the app has adjusted the room’s temperature.
How to begin using Home Assistant
Open source smart home automation software called Home Assistant prioritizes privacy and local control. The project was started more than seven years ago, uses Python, and is licensed under the Apache 2.0 licence. A personal computer or a Raspberry Pi microcomputer can both run this program. Of course, it is useful to use it on a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a small, single-board computer that is roughly the size of a credit card and includes a lot of ports for connecting different peripherals.
User interface for Home Assistant
The graphical user interface of Home Assistant is flexible. Both a personal computer and a phone can use the software. You can configure and show several smart home gadgets in the application window, including light switches, temperature controllers, temperature sensors, motion detectors, video cameras, security alarms, etc. The ability to remotely control these gadgets from a phone or personal computer is convenient at the same time.
The interface is made up of cards of different types, which can be used for calling functions, representing object data, and other tasks. Cards can be organized into pages (views), similar to how bookmarks work in a browser. Through the identical graphical interface, settings are neatly organized. There is a built-in text editor for yaml code, which can also be used to access this interface.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, two of the most popular commercial smart home systems, demand that your data be stored on their servers (cloud). The utilization of these services is a paid service as well. Why must I speak Google every time I turn on a light or select a video to watch, you might wonder. A corporation that advertises is Google. Without putting any information in the cloud, Home Assistant enables you to manage every gadget you own. Your chosen secure location is where your data is kept safe. Your privacy and confidentiality will be protected as a result.