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Alliance approves upgraded Zigbee PRO stack

Posted: 18 Oct 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Zigbee  PRO stack  Zigbee Alliance 

The Zigbee Alliance has approved the Zigbee PRO profile stack that adds advanced features and greater flexibility to the original specification, particularly related to ease-of-use and support for larger networks.

Speaking exclusively to EE Times Europe, Bob Gohn, VP of marketing at Ember Corp.—a leading supplier of silicon and protocol stacks for the wireless mesh home networking technology—said :"Zigbee PRO has passed through the required balloting process and is now a standard."

Gohn cautioned the update has not yet passed through the "Golden Node" communications testing procedure and approval, which deals with nodes being tested for interoperability from different manufacturers.

"But we and the industry have been working on the PRO feature set for a long time, and this is a major milestone for the wireless networking sector. We can now broaden the application profiles."

Gohn was in Ember's Cambridge, England facility this week—where the company develops its chipsets for Zigbee applications—overseeing pre-certification testing with customers and potential customers.

The Cambridge group came through the acquisition in 2004 of Cambridge Consultants' 802.15.4 RF integrated circuits technology and, Gohn said, "the team is still growing, and would soon reach about 20 here."

An official announcement from the Zigbee Alliance on the results of the ballot process is expected soon, Gohn said, though a low-key release from the Alliance earlier this month hinted at the advance.

What is being referred to as "Zigbee 2007" will now incorporate the original feature set standardised and published in 2006 and the new Zigbee PRO, which "maximises all the capabilities of Zigbee and facilitates ease-of-use and advanced support for larger networks."

These features "expand product development options available to manufacturers," the note added.

They add network scalability, fragmentation—the ability to divide longer messages and enable interaction with other protocols and systems—frequency agility, and automated device address management to the original specification.

Gohn said with these additional capabilities, "Zigbee will really start taking off, after perhaps a slower start than we anticipated, and the focus will shift to deploying the technology for energy management and efficiency, in areas like public application profiles for advance metering infrastructure."

He added Ember is readying its next Zigbee platform and PRO stack and this should be launched sometime Q4 2007.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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