ZigBee is a specification for wireless personal area networks (WPANs) operating at 868 MHz, 902-928 MHz, and 2.4 GHz. A WPAN is a personal area network (a network for interconnecting an individual's devices) in which the device connections are wireless. Using ZigBee, devices in a WPAN can communicate at speeds of up to 250 Kbps while physically separated by distances of up to 50 meters in typical circumstances and greater distances in an ideal environment. ZigBee is based on the 802.15 specification approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA).
ZigBee provides for high data throughput in applications where the duty cycle is low. This makes ZigBee ideal for home, business, and industrial automation where control devices and sensors are commonly used. Such devices operate at low power levels, and this, in conjunction with their low duty cycle (typically 0.1 percent or less), translates into long battery life. Applications well suited to ZigBee include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting systems, intrusion detection, fire sensing, and the detection and notification of unusual occurrences. ZigBee is compatible with most topologies including peer-to-peer, star network, and mesh networks, and can handle up to 255 devices in a single WPAN.