ZigBee Gets an Upgrade, Offers Pro Version

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ZigBee, so far, is the main standard by which smart grids are designed and smart meter companies design home automation products. Now, ZigBee has let loose new versions of their specifications, which includes a PRO version. But that doesn't necessarily mean easy street for new devices and networking.ZigBee is a leader in home automation standards for the smart grid. The smart grid and ZigBee is a way in which the utility companies can communicate with a home’s appliances in order to track energy use and real time utility pricing for the home.

While there is no end-all-be-all standard in the smart grid industry yet, many start-up smart meter companies recognize ZigBee as the standard to follow for their home automation devices and are sure to make them ZigBee enabled.

That means the new standards just released by ZigBee and their new PRO feature is great news for advancing the smart grid. But not without issue.

The main difference between ZigBee and ZigBee pro is how they use addressing. ZigBee uses tree addressing, so it assigns IP addresses hierarchically. ZigBee Pro, however, uses stochastic addressing, so it randomly assigns IP addresses to devices. They both have their pros, but this also means that there are some limitations when trying to use both ZigBee and ZigBee PRO devices in one network.

If the established network currently functions solely under ZigBee, it is important to note that ZigBee PRO devices will only be able to be added to the network as end devices. In other words, within a ZigBee powered network, ZigBee PRO devices can only communicate through a routing device, but cannot take upon routing functions. Conversely, within ZigBee PRO networks, ZigBee devices also can only be added as end devices.

While not entirely perfect, the ZigBee standards and options mean that smart grids can be more versatile than ever before. Which is great news for the renovation of our power grid.

Via Smart Meters
More on Smart Grids:
Boulder, Colorado: First to Have a Smart Grid?
Smart Power Meters and Real-Time Pricing Leads to Saved Energy and Money
More on ZigBee Devices:
GreenPeak Cutting Batteries From Wireless Sensor Networks
Remote Control Your Home's Energy Use with Ploggs

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