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Zigbee releases spec for IPv6-based wireless mesh networks

April 01, 2013

Bernard Cole-April 01, 2013

The ZigBee Alliance  has just released for public access its third wireless specification, the ZigBee IP for Direct Internet Connections.

Silicon Labs as well as Exegin and Texas Instruments provided Golden Units against which all future ZigBee Certified products using the ZigBee IP specification will be tested. This testing process ensures compliance with the specification so that developers using the new spec can be assured of consistent communications

According to Tobin Richardson, chairman and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance, ZigBee IP is the first open standard for an IPv6-based full wireless mesh networking solution and provides seamless Internet connections to control low-power, low-cost devices.

He said the ZigBee IP specification builds on the current IEEE 802.15.4 standard by adding network and security layers and an application framework. It incorporates a scalable architecture with end-to-end IPv6 networking, laying the foundation for an Internet of Things without the need for intermediate gateways.

In addition it offers cost-effective and energy-efficient wireless mesh network based on standard Internet protocols, such as 6LoWPAN, IPv6, PANA, RPL, TCP, TLS and UDP. Also incorporated are proven, end-to-end security mechanisms using TLS1.2 protocol, link layer frame security based on AES-128-CCM algorithm and support for public key infrastructure using standard X.509 v3 certificates and ECC-256 cipher suite.

The new spec allows global operation in the 2.4GHz frequency band according to IEEE 802.15.4 and regional operation in the 915Mhz (Americas), 868Mhz (Europe) and 920 MHz (Japan). It supports development of discovery mechanisms with full application confirmation as well as of pairing mechanisms with full application confirmation. It allow multiple star topology and inter-personal area network (PAN) communication configuration and has Unicast and multi-cast transmission options.

"Having low-power, low-cost wireless mesh devices that connect to a variety of Smart Grid IPv6-based protocols will further expand the Internet of Things," said Mark Grazier, marketing manager and ZigBee board member, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, Texas Instruments.

Richardson said the alliance expects to see a wave of ZigBee Certified products based on ZigBee IP when Smart Energy Profile 2 is completed later this year since ZigBee IP was designed specifically to meet SEP2 requirements for the Smart Grid.

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