Wi-Fi vs Zigbee

Published on: November 5, 2014

Filled Under: Weighing In

Views: 3573

The technology of wireless sensor network has been attracting extensive research and development efforts to replace the traditional wired solutions for BAS for many years. Key challenges of BAS environment frequency and adhering to low energy consumption, has led to two main protocols establishing themselves in the forefront – Wi-Fi and Zigbee.

Zigbee was first introduced in 2004 as a proprietary and emerging technology with a much lower install base. Originally designed to meet the unique needs of low-cost and low-power wireless it became the go-to for large scale automation projects.

Established in 1997, Wi-Fi is increasingly becoming the preferred mode of internet connection all over the world. Increased range and faster data transfer speed has established Wi-Fi in the personal electronics market and pushed it to the forefront of BAS integration.






802.11 Standard

802.14.4 Standard

Certification Process

Caretaker Alliance

Caretaker Alliance





2.4GHz, 5GHz and 60GHz

900-928 MHz (868 MHz European Countries)


.3/.6 or 2 MHz


Network Size

2007 Nodes

65,000 Nodes

Network Security


AES Encryption

CCB-CCM Network Security


10-30 meters

30-100 meters

Data Transfer Speed

11 mbps and 54 mbps maximum dependent on version

250 kbps maximum

Bit Time

.00185 micro seconds

4 micro seconds

Power Consumption

1/4th  the power consumed by Wi-Fi Networks


Some would argue that the benefits of Wi-Fi outweigh the benefits of Zigbee pointing to four main factors: Established worldwide certification network, IP friendly, Data Protection and High Bandwidth.

However ZigBee’s advantage of being widely exchanged amongst product manufacturers and its low power requirements have made it a popular choice in wireless sensor applications in automation and industrial machinery coordination systems.

Both protocols offer support and high standards for certification as well as encryption and network security. Each offers advantages from the data transfer limitations to operation frequency.

Looking into the Future

Over the last few years, Zigbee has been at the prevailing wireless protocol of home automation.

Wi-Fi has rarely been view as a standard due to the high power requirements and limitations with multiple connections and lack of meshing that ZigBee offers.

But technology advances have started to even the playing field for shortcomings of both Wi-Fi and ZigBee as well as allowed for other protocols to make headway into the market.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) also known as Bluetooth Smart, combats the amount of energy required by sending bursts of data instead of continuous streams. This allows for battery operated devices and sensors to use this protocol and in turn can be controlled by apps without the need for gateways or networks.

In summary each protocol offers advantages based on the application, but as technology advances so does the functionality and the gap between both. When choosing the best solution for you look for the following:

  • Network size
  • Bandwidth
  • Power requirements
  • Devices being used
  • Range
  • Amount of data being transferred
  • Application Environment

To learn more about Veris Aerospond Wireless Sensors and why Wi-Fi is used in these sensors click here.

To learn more or to find out how to get started contact us at 800.354.8556 or at sales@veris.com, we are happy to provide context, information and solutions.


Comments are closed.