Popular wireless standards for IoT devices
The Internet of Things (IoT) has impacted virtually every industry, and is not expected to stop expanding any time soon.
As a result, we live in a world with a vast number of devices capable of collecting, processing and sending data to other devices, servers or applications. In order to make IoT possible, devices need a common language they can use to communicate with each other. In this article, we will explore the leading wireless standards that are providing smart devices with the ability to seamlessly connect and communicate as well as explain how they work.
Bluetooth was designed to be a short-range wireless communication technology to connect electronic devices such as headsets or computer mouses. This protocol features an RF transceiver that acts as the physical layer. It operates at a frequency of 2.4 GHz, the same frequency used by microwaves. Bluetooth devices are managed by utilizing a “star topology”, a type of RF topology. When a group of devices are organized in this manner, it forms a piconet that includes a master and as many as seven active slaves. In this formation, the group of devices share a radio channel and are synchronized by the master to a common frequency-hopping pattern. For example, if the master is a mobile phone, then other devices such as portable speakers or wireless headphones are the slaves in the piconet.
ZigBee, a low power alternative to Bluetooth, is based on the IEEE 802.15.4 personal-area network standard and features a digital radio. The protocol was designed to be a close proximity network, meaning that devices should be between 10-100 meters apart. When ZigBee uses mesh networking, it can share a network connection across a larger area as well as maintain increased stability. A mesh network has the ability to continue operating even if communication between two nodes fails by linking to a third node. A new specification created by the ZigBee Alliance and the Thread Group, Dotdot 1.0, will improve the interoperability of ZigBee based devices by equipping the protocol with an application layer embedded with an interoperability language that automatically communicates with systems that are based on Internet Protocol (IP) v6. To learn more about ZigBee and the devices it supports, please visit our website.
Z-Wave is similar to ZigBee in that it is a low power protocol that uses a mesh network, but differs in that it is proprietary. This means that all devices based on this standard must be certified by the Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave is structured as a source-routed mesh network meaning that all the devices connect to one central hub, usually a router or a gateway. The network itself is made up of three layers that work together to ensure that the devices can communicate with each other simultaneously. The radio layer defines the way the signal is exchanged between the network and the radio hardware, while the network layer determines how to control the data exchanged between nodes and devices. Additionally, the application layer assigns messages to specific applications in order to accomplish tasks like turning on a light. Here you can find a wide variety of Z-Wave devices that our customers can use to control almost every aspect of their homes.
The SURE platform supports any wireless protocol, meaning that our customers can utilize the leading wireless IoT standard whether it be Bluetooth, ZigBee or Z-wave.