Strong adoption for 802.15.4, Zigbee chips

26 Mar 2008

Adoption of 802.15.4 and ZigBee wireless chipsets is accelerating in several industries, according to ON World.

Last year, ON World estimates more than seven million 802.15.4 and ZigBee chips were sold worldwide, an increase of 1,400% from 2004.

The ZigBee mesh network protocol is driving adoption in large volume wireless sensor network markets such as advanced metering infrastructure, building automation, and home automation and controls, according to Mareca Hatler, ON World's research director.

'ZigBee is showing up in innovations such as real-time location systems, vending machine management, and point-of-sale systems,' said Hatler.

Based on a recent ON World survey, ZigBee is the most popular low data rate wireless technology.

Based on interviews with more than 800 respondents, ZigBee makes up 44 percent current and planned wireless sensor networking or WSN products.

In addition to ZigBee, the low-power 802.15.4 is used in industrial protocols such as WirelessHart and ISA100.

The largest markets for 15.4 today, according to On World, feature simple low data rate wireless networking, often without the need for complex mesh networking.

Many of these are one-of-a kind solutions such as audience response systems and scoreboards at sporting events. Potentially high volume 15.4 markets include toys, games, and remote controls for multimedia equipment, according to ON World.

Other trends cited by ON World include:

  • Over one hundred 15.4 and ZigBee based products are shipping today
  • New entrants are providing development tools using programming languages such as Python and Java
  • Companies are targeting specific markets versus the generalized approach of the last few years
  • Chipset bill of materials will drop to $3 in 2011, down from $12 in 2007

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