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Bluetooth Wi-Fi Zigbee Z-Wave comparison in smart home

Release date:2022-3-22 20:05:50

Smart home solutions need to comprehensively consider multiple factors such as technology, cost, construction convenience, and aesthetics. The traditional smart home network wiring method is wired network, which is inconvenient to construct and affects the appearance. Various manufacturers are mainly promoting smart home solutions based on wireless technology. The wireless network does not need wiring and will not affect the indoor appearance, saves manpower and material resources in the field of integrated wiring, and has the characteristics of convenience and speed, which is very suitable for use in smart homes.

At present, there are many wireless solutions for smart homes on the market, which can provide users with more choices, but at the same time, it also brings confusion to users, not knowing which wireless technology to build a smart home system. Although there are many smart home wireless solutions, the mainstream smart home wireless technologies can be summarized as: Bluetooth, WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, etc. Below, we will briefly introduce the characteristics of each of these technologies.


1. Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a short-range communication technology based on the 2.4GHz ISM frequency band, which belongs to the spread spectrum, frequency hopping full-duplex signal, and the working range is generally within a radius of 10m. Bluetooth has low power consumption and simple networking, and has been widely used in various electronic devices today.

The upper limit of the transmission speed of our commonly used Bluetooth 5.0 is 2Mbps, and the theoretical effective transmission distance can reach 300m. Bluetooth 5.0 also supports indoor positioning and navigation functions, which can be used as indoor navigation beacons or similar positioning devices.

Advantages: Low cost, convenient networking, it can transmit large data, low power consumption, and high security.

Disadvantages: Bluetooth has few network nodes and slow transmission speed, suitable for point-to-point data connection, not suitable for complex network control.

Application: Bluetooth is widely used in smart home appliances such as smart locks, smart phones, smart bracelets, wireless speakers, and smart air conditioners.

HYXKIOT’s BLE modules are suitable for smart home solutions,such as HY-BT401 is a best seller,it ‘s Bluetooth 5.1 module,support GATT, ATT, HID, GAP Bluetooth profile,based on Chinese brand chip,the cost is low.

2.  Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a standard wireless local area network (WLAN) technology that typically uses the 2.4GUHF (Ultra High Frequency) or 5GSHF (Ultra High Frequency) ISM radio frequency band.

Wi-Fi has now developed to the sixth generation. Compared with the previous technology, Wi-Fi 6 is mainly reflected in functions, speed, coverage and other aspects. Its overall function and efficiency are more than 4 times of the original. Also, Wi-Fi 6 alleviates network congestion primarily by using Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) modulation, which allows up to 30 clients to share a channel at the same time, improving efficiency by increasing overall capacity while reducing latency.

Advantages: Wi-Fi is suitable for wireless transmission of big data, with high transmission speed, long effective distance, and compatibility with various existing 802.11DSSS devices; low cost of communication modules, convenient construction, convenient connection to various devices, and good practicability. In addition, Wi-Fi network distribution is simple, user familiarity is high, no additional gateway is required, and it can communicate directly with existing routers.

Disadvantages: Wi-Fi is also not suitable for complex networks. As far as the current home router is concerned, if there are dozens of electronic devices that need to be connected to the router, it is easy to cause network congestion. Wi-Fi consumes a lot of power, and its security is not high. Moreover, the network is not stable, and it is easy to cause network paralysis. And it is easily interfered and shielded by the surrounding wireless equipment environment, especially the same frequency.

Application: Electronic doorbells, cameras and other smart devices that need to transmit big data.

3. ZigBee

ZigBee is a wireless proprietary protocol developed by the HomeRF Alliance and is one of the commonly used protocols for smart home products.

Similar to Bluetooth, it is a low-power, low-cost, low-data-rate, short-range self-organizing wireless network.

ZigBee uses the IEEE802.15WPAN specification, supports mesh network topology, provides data rates of 250kbps, 40kbps and 20kbps, and the effective distance is generally 10-100m. Zigbee mesh networks can contain up to 65,000 devices.

Advantages: ZigBee's cost is also lower than Bluetooth, and the network capacity is large, each ZigBee network can support up to 255 devices. The working frequency band is flexible, and the frequency bands used are 2.4GHz, 868MHz

(Europe) and 915MHz (US), which are all license-free frequency bands.

Disadvantages: low data transmission rate; weak ability to penetrate walls and diffraction.

Application: ZigBee is mainly used in devices that use batteries, focusing on low-transmission applications, such as home appliance control switches, human sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, and smart gateways.


4.  Z-Wave

Z-Wave is a radio frequency-based, low-cost, low-power, highly reliable, short-range wireless communication technology suitable for networks.

The working frequency band of Z-Wave is 908.42MHz (USA)~868.42MHz (Europe), using FSK (BFSK/GFSK) modulation method, the data transmission rate is 9.6kbps, the indoor coverage is generally 30m, outdoor can exceed 100m, suitable

for for narrowband applications.

Since the 900MHz used by Z-Wave does not conflict with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Z-Wave is generally considered a more stable choice.

Z-Wave uses a small data format for transmission, and the transmission rate of 40kb/s is sufficient for some daily use. Compared with other wireless technologies of the same kind, it has a relatively low transmission frequency, a relatively

long transmission distance and a certain price advantage. Pros: Low power consumption, and its single-chip solution can provide advanced power-saving modes for battery-operated devices such as thermostats and sensors. The device

module has a simple structure, low cost, and high acceptance sensitivity; the protocol is simple and the development is fast; it can realize 233 nodes and communication routes between nodes in a family, and meet the family control requirements. Disadvantages: The transmission rate is low, Z-Wave is not suitable for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as audio/video transmission; and, Z-Wave does not use any encryption design, poor security; uses a single channel to transmit data, self-healing ability, and anti-interference ability is slightly lower than ZigBee protocol.

In addition, the cost of Z-Wave modules is higher than that of ZigBee, and the frequency band and standard restrictions are strict, so in China, Z-Wave is hardly used in smart home products of mainstream brands.

Applications: Z-Wave technology is used in lighting control and status reading applications such as meter reading, lighting and appliance control, HVAC, access control, burglar and fire detection, etc.

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