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Difference Between Zigbee and Bluetooth

bluetoothZigbee vs Bluetooth

There is a lot in common between Zigbee and Bluetooth, like both operating in the same frequency band of 2.4 GHz and belonging to the same wireless private area network (IEEE 802.15). But even if this is the case, they are not exactly competing technologies. Also, there is a multitude of differences between the two wireless technologies for ‘personal area networks’ both application and technical. As will be explained in the article, both technologies aim towards a different set of devices and applications and different means of designing for those applications.

Whereas Bluetooth is geared towards user mobility and eliminating cabling between short-distanced devices, zigbee is more oriented towards remote control and automation. Bluetooth aims at doing away with the cabling between devices that are in close proximity with each other for example between mobile phone and a laptop or desktop or a printer and a PC. Users with Bluetooth supported handsets are able to effortlessly exchange documents, calendar appointments and other files.

Zigbee supports protocols for defining a type of sensor network that controls applications used in residential and commercial settings such as air conditioning, heating and lighting. It harmonizes the application software layers specified by the zigbee alliance and the IEEE 802.15 that defines the physical and MAC protocol layers. Zigbee is anticipated to be able to eliminate electrical cabling in houses thereby allowing the freedom of wireless light switches.

Technical parameters

  • Typical joining a network  using Bluetooth takes three seconds while for ZigBee it is 30 milliseconds.
  • Depending on radio class, Bluetooth has a network range of 1 to 100 meters while Zigbee is up to 70 meters with a maximum network speed of 1M bit per second to 250 M bit per second respectively.
  • Bluetooth has a protocol stack size of 250 Kilo bytes and 28K bytes for Zigbee.
  • Batteries for blue tooth devices are rechargeable whereas for Zigbee they are not re chargeable but longer lasting.

Summary

1. Zigbee aims at automation whereas Bluetooth aims at connectivity of mobile devices in close proximity.
2. Zigbee uses low data rates, low power consumption on small packet devices while blue tooth uses higher data rates, higher power consumption on large packet devices.
3. Zigbee networks support longer range devices and more in number compared to Bluetooth networks whose range is small.
4. Given Zigbee’s almost instant network join times(30 milliseconds) its more suitable for critical applications while Bluetooth’s longer join time is detrimental (3 seconds).


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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the explanation of the different types of WPAN, I was at a bit of a loss thinking about the benefits of one over another and I think I have made my mind up now to go with the ZigBee set-up. It will be more than enough for my needs, thanks again.

  2. Great article, but doesn’t your “Bluetooth has a network range of 1 to 100 meters while Zigbee is up to 70 meters” statement conflicts with “Zigbee networks support longer range devices”?

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