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Zigbee vs Thread | Difference between Zigbee and Thread

This page compares Zigbee vs Thread and mentions similarities and difference between Zigbee and Thread.

Both zigbee and Thread are used as low data rate wireless applications. They are used for smart home automation in IoT (Internet of Things) based applications. Both are defined in IEEE 802.15.4 standards.

What is Zigbee ?

Zigbee operates in two frequency bands viz. 898/915 MHz and 2450 MHz. It offers 20/40 Kbps and 250 Kbps data rates in these frequency bands respectively. Zigbee devices use sleep mode to conserve energy.

zigbee network Architecture

As shown zigbee network consists of coordinator (C), router (R) and end devices (E). It uses AODV protocol for routing of packets. Refer Zigbee tutorial to understand working of zigbee network and functions of each elements. The tutorial covers links to physical layer, MAC layer and application layer profiles.

Zigbee 3.0 is based on IEEE 802.15.4 which is designed for IoT applications. This standard compliant devices consume low power, offer low data rate and long battery life. It supports mesh topology which avoid single point of failure. It is scalable and secure network. Refer Zigbee 3.0 tutorial >> for more information on zigbee wireless technology.

What is Thread ?

Thread technology operates in 2.4 GHz band like zigbee. It offers secured mesh network for embedded, low power and low cost devices. The Thread Group was formed in the year 2014 with membership comprises 300+ industry leaders across consumer and industrial segments.

Thread in Home Automation

Thread network devices can access wifi via router using 6LoWPAN protocol in order to communicate with each other. Initially thread has been designed for home automation. It is also used in several industrial settings such as street lighting, building automation and so on.

Following are the features of thread wireless technology used for home and building automation.
• Frequency Band : 2.4 GHz ISM
• Throughput : 250 Kbps
• Topology : Mesh
• Number of devices : 250 to 300
• One hop range : Up to few hundreds of meters; routers can extend range through multihop

Refer advantages or benefits of Thread >> for Home Automation.

Zigbee vs Thread Protocol Layers

The figure depicts protocol stack layers of zigbee and thread wireless technologies.

Tabular difference between Zigbee and Thread

Following table mentions similarities and difference between Zigbee and Thread technologies.

Features Zigbee Thread
Frequency band 2.4 GHz 2.4 GHz
Range 10 to 100 neters 10 to 100 meters
Data rate (max.) 250 Kbps 250 Kbps
Network Topology Type Mesh Mesh
Power usage Low Low
Application layer defined YES NO
IPv6 support NO YES
Battery life Few years Few years
Certification Program and Interoperability End product certification Stack certification
Security Network wide encryption and authentication through install code Password based authentication with DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security)
Cloud integration Zigbee gateway Thread border router
Latency performance for application packets Best Very good

LoRa and Zigbee Related Links

The LoRa Wireless tutorial covers following sub topics:
Main page LoRa tutorial   LoRa Frequency Bands   LoRa protocol stack   LoRa MAC layer   LoRaWAN classes   LoRa features   LoRa Transceiver module  

The Zigbee tutorial covers following sub topics:
Zigbee tutorial  what is zigbee   Zigbee Protocol  Zigbee PHY   Zigbee frame   Zigbee MAC  Zigbee bands  RF4CE   6LoWPAN   AODV protocol 

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