The ZigBee technology is designed to carry small amounts of data over a short distance while consuming very little power. There are a few common household products that use ZigBee chips, like the Nest thermostat
The ZigBee mesh network has interoperability problems, though. What that means is that ZigBee profiles can interfere with one another. So unlike WiFi, if you have two devices with ZigBee chips, it’s possible that they won’t be able to operate with each other.
ZigBee is the next generation of bluetooth and for each peer connection use the same protocol.
This technology also has a low-channel bandwidth of 1MHz. It’s restricted to wireless personal area networks (WPAN) and reaches an average 10 to 30 meters for usual applications. ZigBee’s data transfer speed is lower than WiFi’s, too. It’s maximum speed is just 250kbps, much lower than the lowest speed WiFi offers.
ZigBee Battery Life
ZigBee’s best quality is its low power-consumption rate and battery life. Its protocol was designed as “assemble and forget”, meaning once you set it up, it can last for months.
WiFi is a local area network (LAN) that provides internet access within a limited range. It’s what you use as your home network, and what most public places (like coffee shops and airports) offer as well. WiFi is a star network where there’s one central hub and all nodes or devices connect to it. This star topology makes it easy to add or remove devices without affecting the rest of the network.
Bandwidth is high—up to 2MHz—which is why it’s perfect for streaming music and checking email on your phone or tablet. Its average range is between 30 to 100 meters.
Although faster than ZigBee, WiFi shows a variation in speed when it comes to data transfer. Networks defined under 802.11b standard have a maximum transfer speed of 11mbps, while other versions (like a and g) have a max speed of 54mbps. This explains why some people have faster WiFi than others.
Zigbee and wifi are different technologies. Zigbee is WPAN based while WiFi is WLAN based. Following table mentions similarities and difference between zigbee and wifi
and zigbee alliance
|IEEE 802.11 series|
|Network type||WPAN(Wireless Personal Area Network)||WLAN(Wireless Local Area Network)|
|Frequency Band||868/915 and 2.4GHz||2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Channel Bandwidth||About 1 MHz||0.3 or 0.6 or 2 MHz|
|network topology||Star and mesh type||BSS, ESS configurations|
|Data rate||upto 250 Kbps low data rate||upto 54 Mbps using 802.11a/g OFDM technique, even more is achievable using 802.11n, 11ac, 11ad standard based products|
|Modulation technique||BPSK, OQPSK||OFDM, CCK, BPSK, QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM|
|Typical distance coverage||10 to 20 meters||30 to 100 meters and extensible more|
|Managed by||zigbee alliance and IEEE||wifi alliance and IEEE|
|Transmit power(nominal)||-25dBm to 0 dBm||15 to 20 dBm|
|Data protection using CRC||16 bit CRC is used||32 bit CRC is used|
|Popular zigbee and wifi chip manufacturers||Freescale, Ember, Texas Instruments (CC2530,CC2531), Marvell, ATMEL, Microchip||Texas Instuments(CC3000), microchip, redpine, broadcom|
|Number of RF channels||1 (868MHz band), 10(915MHz band), 16(2.4GHz)||14 (2.4GHz band)|
- Over 2.5 billion WiFi units deployed in the market today; 1 billion units/year projected starting in 2011.
- Easiest connection to the Internet Native to IP and TCP
- Full house/building coverage
- Using 2.4Ghz – unlicensed frequency, used globally
- Easiest way to use MQTT and IoT integration
- Better way to software integration like UPnP discovery
- It is a popular technology
- It’s available on all cellphone as a handy technology
Then it is strongly recommended to use WiFi for building automation. building WiFi networks are ubiquitous and can easily support the addition of more devices. Power is usually less of a concern because most appliances are wall powered