Zigbee/Thread – the mesh alternative for homes

Zigbee/Thread – the mesh alternative for homes

Rohde & Schwarz offers best-in-class test solutions to measure key performance criteria of LR-WPAN devices

Zigbee and Thread use a radio standard defined in IEEE 802.15.4 that targets low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPAN). The standard specifies a radio network optimized for low-rate data transmission, low power consumption and meshed networking. With several hundred millions of devices on the market, they are the dominant meshed network technologies for smart homes and buildings, metering, smart cities, industrial automation and safety applications. Zigbee and Thread are expected to see tremendous growth in the smart home and smart building market. However, other protocols applying the same physical layer such as 6LoPWAN, WirelessHART and ISA100 offer advantages for specific IoT applications.

Zigbee/Thread - Optimized for reliable communication

Optimized for reliable communication

The most commonly used physical layer variant of IEEE 802.15.4 runs on the global ISM band at 2450 MHz and uses OQPSK modulation. In this variant, it offers a maximum data rate of 250 kbit/s and provides a maximum of 16 RF channels.The spectrum is spread over a 2 MHz wide channel for robust communication. OQPSK modulation is similar to QPSK except for a timing offset (half of the symbol time) between the I and Q transitions. The half-sine pulse shaping filter eliminates any amplitude variations and turns the OQPSK into a constant envelope modulation.

Your Zigbee/Thread test challenges

As with all other low-power wireless technologies, RF performance and power consumption measurements are the most important. Special certification programs that focus on interoperability topics exist for some protocols such as Zigbee and Thread. Operations in the unlicensed spectrum also require special attention. FCC and ETSI define specific regulatory requirements to ensure network-friendly operations for all technologies using the unlicensed ISM bands. Topics such as in-device interference in gateways, using several wireless technologies in parallel and secure communications are also of interest.

Benefits of Rohde & Schwarz Zigbee/Thread test solutions

  • Measurements can be easily performed with standard instruments from Rohde & Schwarz
  • Test solutions for every area – from R&D to production
  • Test solution for regulatory conformance

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Related resources

  • The power of testing IoT devices in all phases of the product lifecycle

    Webinar: The power of testing IoT devices in all phases of the product lifecycle

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  • Application note: Generation of IEEE 802.15.4 signals

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  • Application note: EVM measurements for Zigbee signals in the 2.4 GHz band

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