zigbee vs wifi - difference between zigbee and wifi

This page zigbee vs wifi covers difference between zigbee and wifi technologies. This zigbee over wifi comparison is useful.The difference between zigbee and other IoT technologies are also covered.

Both the technologies are used for home based applications. Both the technologies support security based protocols.


This technology is based on IEEE 802.15.4 standard. There are two different versions of physical layers defined for two different frequency bands. Zigbee is ideal for low data rate home automation applications mainly for monitoring and control applications. The typical applications are light switches, smoke detectors, smart meters, sensors and so on. Refer Zigbee tutorial for zigbee network, protocol stack, PHY layer, MAC layer and more.


This technology is based on IEEE 802.11 series of standards. The standards include 802.11a, 11b, 11g, 11n, 11ac, 11ad, 11ah and so on. Though the technology is developed to provide wireless connectivity to LAN based devices. It was used to extend the coverage of LAN in one part of building with the other part of the same building or nearby buildings. With continuous resaerch and development in WLAN standards and Cellular standards have made connectivity between wifi and cellular a reality. Mifi devices are available which fulfills the bridge between wifi and cellular technologies. Refer wifi vs mifi for comparison between wifi and mifi.

The standard IEEE 802.11ah based devices are under development. This Wifi version is considered to be compatible to zigbee. It is considred as low power zigbee. For more information refer 802.11ah for more detailed information with features.

Zigbee and wifi are different technologies. Zigbee is WPAN based while WiFi is WLAN based. Following table mentions similarities and difference between zigbee and wifi. This guide to zigbee over wifi is very useful when some one would like to compare both of these wireless standards.

Specifications Zigbee wifi
Standard IEEE 802.15.4
and zigbee alliance
IEEE 802.11 series
Network type WPAN(Wireless Personal Area Network) WLAN(Wireless Local Area Network)
Frequency Band 868/915 and 2.4GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Channel Bandwidth About 1 MHz 0.3 or 0.6 or 2 MHz
network topology Star and mesh type BSS, ESS configurations
Data rate upto 250 Kbps low data rate upto 54 Mbps using 802.11a/g OFDM technique, even more is achievable using 802.11n, 11ac, 11ad standard based products
Modulation technique BPSK, OQPSK OFDM, CCK, BPSK, QPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256QAM
Typical distance coverage 10 to 30 meters 30 to 100 meters
Managed by zigbee alliance and IEEE wifi alliance and IEEE
Chip Cost Zigbee chip costs $2 less per device than wifi device at high volume
Power consumption As per one report by GE, zigBee chip or module have power consumption of 0.39 watts over wifi chip of 0.87 watts (during 24 hour test period)
Transmit power(nominal) -25dBm to 0 dBm 15 to 20 dBm
Data protection using CRC 16 bit CRC is used 32 bit CRC is used
Applications Home automation Extension of cellular connection within home
Popular zigbee and wifi chip manufacturers Freescale, Ember, Texas Instruments (CC2530,CC2531), Marvell, ATMEL, Microchip Texas Instuments(CC3000), microchip, redpine, broadcom
Number of RF channels 1 (868MHz band), 10(915MHz band), 16(2.4GHz) 14 (2.4GHz band)

Zigbee and wifi related resources

what is zigbee   Zigbee basic tutorial   Zigbee Protocol Stack
what is WLAN   what is wifi and mifi   WLAN tutorial  

What is Difference between

difference between FDM and OFDM
Difference between SC-FDMA and OFDM
Difference between SISO and MIMO
Difference between TDD and FDD
Difference between 802.11 standards viz.11-a,11-b,11-g and 11-n
Bluetooth vs zigbee
Fixed wimax vs mobile
wibro vs mobile wimax
Microcontroller vs microprocessor

IoT Wireless Technologies

WLAN    ➤THREAD    ➤EnOcean    ➤LoRa    ➤SIGFOX    ➤WHDI   
Zigbee   ➤6LoWPAN   ➤Zigbee RF4CE   ➤Z-Wave   ➤NFC   ➤RFID   ➤INSTEON  

RF and Wireless Terminologies