Illustrations: Paul Adamson
Photos: courtesy product manufacturer resources
Z-Wave Versus ZigBee
Like the war between Blu-ray and DVD in home entertainment, two wireless protocols are fighting for rights to the home-automation marketplace.
Z-Wave and Zigbee are wireless ecosystems that let all your home electronics talk to each other, and to you, via remote control. They use simple, reliable, low-power radio waves that easily travel through walls, floors, and cabinets. These controls can be added to almost any electronic device in your house, even devices that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of as ‘intelligent,’ such as appliances, window shades, thermostats, and lighting.
Zigbee travels on a higher frequency (2.4 GHz) versus Z-Wave (900 MHz). Zigbee waves travel further, but on a more crowded frequency. Both networks are mesh network protocols created through the connection of wireless access points installed at each network user’s locale. The more modules throughout your house, the more distance your network can travel. Z-Wave allows for up to 232 nodes, while Zigbee allows over 65,000 modules on its network.</p> <p> Zigbee can control more types of devices with its larger bandwidth, which is why high-end home-automation firms, such as Crestron, use it. But that also means there’s more code in the Zigbee protocol and ultimately more difficulty with cross-compatibility.
DSI Entertainment Systems
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