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Wireless Networking Hardware

ZigBee Alliance Triples in Size 94

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-it-will-explode dept.
maxstreampr writes "The ZigBee Alliance just put out a press release talking about how they tripled in size in the past year. I know, I can see the posts already. "What up to 3 members now." There are actually 124 members and they have some huge players in Phillips, Freescale, Samsung, and MaxStream. Not too shabby." See this story from December for more on ZigBee; in short, it's a low-data-rate wireless standard "to enable wirelessly networked monitoring and control products."
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ZigBee Alliance Triples in Size

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  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by fembots (753724) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @07:00PM (#11474960) Homepage
    Up to 3 members now?
  • by cato kaze (770158) <omlet@magi-n.cCOWom minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @07:03PM (#11474997)
    Not meaning to troll, but exactly why is ANOTHER consortium of companies that are 'working towards' something news? It seems there are several hundred of these groups, and I dont see anything in the article that seperates this one or makes its goals unique. "working together to enable wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard" is not exactly the most descriptive goal in the world.
    • If it were any more understandable they wouldn't be able to sell it to investors. You see technically illiterate corporate types have certain strange traits that you have to cater to if you want their money. One of them is that the more incomprehensible the decription of a technical product, the more likely they think it really is something of value that is likely to succeed.
    • by chris09876 (643289) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @07:06PM (#11475039)
      They've actually got some good whitepapers in MS Word format on their website. Look at the information section: http://www.zigbee.org/en/resources/
    • ZigBee is very cool technology, but the question any slashdotter has to ask is "where do they stand on open source?"

      Unfortunately, the answer is "someplace between Sun and SCO".

      They want several thousand dollars to license their protocol stack and they seem to be going down the same road to Hell as Lonworks.
      • Curious what your experience with LonWorks is?
        • none what so ever because the blithering morons tried a shady game of declaring an "open" standard and charging an arm and a leg to use their "open" standard. so its used by a couple high-falutinosity automation suites but hasnt opened up any new markets.

          which reads almost exaclty like what this zigbee "open" standard is trying to do, what its going to crack up to if these jackals keep it up.

          i cant believe its 2005 and we dont have a decent low data rate protocol yet. yet another perfect textbook case o
          • The standard is open, but it costs to play, that's for certain (LonWorks), which is, IMHO, wrong.

            It *has* opened up the HVAC markets quite a bit, although it's really only the big boys that can afford to use it, but it's no longer a case of where only say, Honeywell, can provide the parts for a building HVAC system, because you can use siemens, trane, or a number of other thermostats and sensors in the system. But a low-volume startup simply cannot afford the development kits to get started.

            LonMark hasn'
      • by lakiolen (785856) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:50PM (#11475887)
        If you want open source low-data-rate wireless mesh networking check out the http://www.tinyos.net/ and http://webs.cs.berkeley.edu/ websites. I can't say much that wouldn't be biased because I'm, how you say, an involved party, but it is completely open source (GPL) and anybody can contribute they're own code and if it is good it might even be used :).
        • you guys need to stop advertising in chime-in-mode on slashdot and write some web pages on what the hell tinyos actually is. you guys have great word of mouth advertising, but it takes more than tat. i spent thirty minutes looking for content, for pictures of running boards, tech specs, for anything at all which would actually indicate what you've done on your web page. i'm not sure whether it was i who failed, or you who did.
          • http://www.moteiv.com/ has a picture of the latest and (we like to say) greatest mote that is out there on their front page.
            http://www.xbow.com/Products/productsdetails.aspx ? sid=3 also talks about wireless mesh networking hardware and software
            http://www.tinyos.net/related.html linked from PROJECTS USING TINYOS (caps not mine) under Community on the right hand side of the site lists a bunch of real projects using tinyos and mote hardware.
            http://www.tinyos.net/faq.html linked from FAQ under Help o
        • "low-data-rate wireless mesh networking"

          Obvious question, but how does this differ from Bluetooth?

          • Bluetooth is for high data rates (think file transfers) and at a very high power cost compared to 802.15.4 (low duty cycle, transfer a packet here and there). And with mesh networking you connect hundreds of nodes together, not something you would want to do with your cell phone and a lot of other people's headsets.
    • Bluetooth stuff is hard enough to find at a decent price. There's wireless USB, 1392, WiMAX "coming soon", as well as some cellular based standards too.
    • Zigbee is a wireless communications standard targeted at applications with low data rates and low power consumption. Zigbee utilizing a communications technique called Mesh networking in which each device forwards messages to devices within a given proximity. Zigbee overcomes the two biggest barriers to wireless adoption: reliability (people can move when wireless reception is poor; machines typically cannot) and lack of wireless expertise (customers do not want to become wireless experts). Zigbee is a
  • Real World? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @07:04PM (#11475010) Homepage
    So, is this out in the real world?

    I mean, sure there are products (they probably showed them at the recent CES). But has anyone actually USED anything that has ZigBee in it? Is there some product that's "easy to find" (not horrifically obscure) that's available? Has anyone used ZigBee it's self or developed for it so they could give us impressions of it?

    I mean it's interesting and all, but so was DataPlay (and we all know how many things with DataPlay we have in our houses).

    • I mean, sure there are products (they probably showed them at the recent CES).

      Evidently not. [zigbee.org]

    • ZigBee is new. Also for what I read it is more for the embeded space.
      Remeber when there where no USB devices? Bluetooth is just now catching on. Give it some time.
    • Re:Real World? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't see this as the target of ZigBee. The real place for this is in industrial wireless networking. Cheap, low-power sensors that need to last much longer than they could possibly last on 802.11b or Bluetooth.

      Basically, consumers aren't going to see much from this. This is going to be deployed in industrial plant monitoring, HVAC monitoring and similar situations where wiring is a cost issue.
    • Zigbee products won't be available for another few months. The Alliance (http://www.zigbee.org/ [zigbee.org] just released the 1.0 spec and the software guys like Figure8Wireless (http://www.f8w.com/ [f8w.com]) won't be finished with the 1.0 stack until the end of this quarter, at the soonest.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @10:13PM (#11476524)
      While Bluetooth's niche is in PDAs and phones etc, Zigbee's is in low power / low data rate applications. This really makes Zigbee most appropriate for control comms between embedded devices, building automation etc.

      Zigbee should be way cheaper to implement than BT (say a buck vs five bucks), but that does not mean you'll see PDAs get Zigbee by default. Likely though your TV will get Zigbee and apart from being able to control its power intelligently it will allow you to control Zigbee devices via your TV/remote.

    • I've seen a demo of products that where supposed to use ZigBee in 2002 (but I haven't been able to verify it, technically).
    • I'm currently working with a CC2420 from Chipcon [chipcon.com], but not actually with Zigbee, only with IEEE 802.15.4. In order to access to the spec, you must pay $9,500 for a year (as Participant), or $40,000 /year (as Promoter). I'm developing my own stack. Okay, it will not be compatible with other ZigBee products, but it will work (I hope).
  • Wonder where they got the name from, Big Z ... Zig Bee .. still doen't make much sense though.
  • I'm not sayin' that the name is all that matters, but ZigBee's? That sounds more like a fast food restaurant then an entity that should be making standards.
  • This is nothing but a smoke show until we start seeing some serious silicon being manufactured. Once they start pumping out single chip solutions for under $5.00USD in quantity, THEN it is something to be taken seriously. Until then, its nothing more than a potential pump 'n dump stock scam.

  • Guess they launched all ZigBee...

    (/lame)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Generally if something triples in size you would expect the new number of people to be a multiple of 3.
  • Call us back when... (Score:4, Informative)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @07:31PM (#11475258)
    ...your product page [zigbee.org] has actual products, and doesn't say "Coming Soon".
  • ZigBee, n, pronounced: Bluetooth.
  • Check out the use of quotation marks in the summary -- yet another great example of the high standards the "editors" hold themselves to here.
  • by Dark Coder (66759) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:18PM (#11475682)
    I, for one, welcome the ZigBee overlord.

    X10 wireline protocol has its shortcoming when one uses in a dual-phase household (two sets of 112-120VAC in alternate AC phases). It mandates installing a capacitor to act as a bridge.

    Otherwise, one would have to have dual controller segment throughout the house.

  • I've got a number of zigbee products in my lab for sensor net research. You can get them...

    http://www.xbow.com/Products/productsdetails.aspx? sid=101 [xbow.com]
    http://www.moteiv.com/ [moteiv.com]

    • By zigbee products, my parent ment low-power embeded networking, non-closed sourced, non-vaporware products.

      Before you get angry at me for being anal-retentive, there is a difference, and a signifcant one at that (at least to people who are working with the products, myself being one of them). I'm not saying those products listed above are vaporware, I'm saying they're not ZigBee.
      • My company is already shipping with Millennial Net's embedded solution (though not the "Zibee" model http://www.millennialnet.com/content.cfm?section=2 .04).

        They claim the new model is "zigbee ready" (firmware upgrade whenever the stack is finalized).
        http://www.millennialnet.com/content. cfm?section=2 .03
    • US$150 for a low-power wireless module + micro isn't bad, but it isn't inexpensive either.

      These days, you can get Bluetooth _GPS_ units, with a replacable Li-Polymer battery, for the equivalent of US$120 these days. The things they are short on (as compared to this Zigbee board) is battery life (20 hours full tilt... as compared to years for Zigbee?), an accessible OS, and expansion boards for connecting sensors.

      It would be _so_ nice if someone convinced Leadtek or Arkon [mobileplanet.com] etc to add TinyOS and sensor expa
  • Whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by horza (87255) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:49PM (#11475881) Homepage
    Another wireless attempt. I want to set up a Home Automation system, yet things don't seem to have moved on since 20 years ago. You have a few wireless options, which I'm not interested both for security and as I have a lot of appliances that generate a lot of RF. X10 is slow and unreliable. The Clipsal CBUS is a nice idea but a patented monopoly and stupidly expensive. There are some nice USB capture devices such as labjack, minilab, etc but Linux support is poor. There are embedded computers but those with Ethernet are too expensive. There are a few RS485 options though. I was hoping some XaP devices would appear, PIC based, but Xap has turned into some crap WinXP desktop app. DMX isn't appropriate really. I'm going to have to come up with some homebrew solution, currently thinking of using Micromint PicStic which appears better for home control than the Gumstix, but it's going to reduce the resale price of my flat if I don't use a supported off-the-shelf solution :-(.

    The state of HA today is a sad mess. I really am disappointed.

    Phillip.
    • While I agree with most of your comments, it seems that some of the major problems with DIY home automation could be a non-issue pretty soon. ZigBee looks to be but on solution and while I haven't read much about it being used as such UltraWideband could also conceivably be used for HA. That being said Wired currently has a nice article about a company that is using ZigBee devices in an attempt to bring HA to the masses, and, I must say, I am pretty impressed. It appears to be one of the first systems that,
      • I don't like wireless for that, the controllers will have to be too complicated, I'll want all that to be encrypted or I won't use it. I don't want people switching things remotely.
  • by mekkab (133181) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:00PM (#11475969) Homepage Journal
    For great justice!
    Move all zig! err, zigbee.
  • by dj245 (732906) on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @02:23AM (#11477875) Homepage
    ...That the newly power-mad ZigBee Alliance wishes to expand even more by combining with the Consortium of Tral.
  • Sorry, just knee-jerking from one of my pet peeves here. The name of the company is very likely PHILIPS [philips.com]. Please go ahead and count the number of Ls in there. Yes, there can be only one! Now we continue with our scheduled comments.

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