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2009 Fifth Advanced International Conference on Telecommunications

Applications of Short-Range Wireless Technologies to Industrial Automation: A ZigBee Approach

Jin-Shyan Lee, Chun-Chieh Chuang, and Chung-Chou Shen
Information & Communications Research Labs Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) Chutung, Hsinchu 31040, Taiwan, ROC.
Abstract Bluetooth, ultra-wideband (UWB), ZigBee, and Wi-Fi are four popular wireless standards for short-range communications. Specifically, ZigBee network is an emerging technology designed for low cost, low power consumption and low-rate wireless personal area networks (LR-WPAN) with a focus on the device-level communication for enabling the wireless sensor networks. In this paper, after a brief overview of the four short-range wireless standards, the developed ZigBee platforms, ITRI ZBnode, have been presented for wireless sensor networking applications. Moreover, design issues for ZigBee industrial applications and the experimental implementation have been demonstrated via a multi-hop tree network. Index Terms ZigBee, wireless sensor networks, short-range wireless communication, industrial control systems.



For interconnection purposes, an industrial control system can be combined with various sensors, controllers, and heterogeneous machines using a common message specification. A typical control system with wired network is shown in Fig. 1 (a). Many different network types have been promoted for use on a shop floor, including the control area network (CAN), DeviceNet, Process fieldbus (Profibus), ControlNet, Modbus, and so on [1]. In the past decades, for accessing networks and services without cables, wireless communication is a fast-growing technology to provide the flexibility and mobility [2]. Fig. 1 (b) shows the industrial control system with wireless technology applied. Obviously, reducing the cable restriction is clearly one of the benefits of wireless with respect to cabled devices. Other benefits include the dynamic network formation, easy deployment, and low cost in some cases.
Wired network


Wireless communication

Sensor Actuator

s Sensor

a Actuator



Fig. 1. An industrial control system with (a) wired and (b) wireless communication.

Bluetooth (over IEEE 802.15.1), ultra-wideband (UWB, over IEEE 802.15.3), ZigBee (over IEEE 802.15.4), and Wi-Fi (over IEEE 802.11) are four protocol standards for short-range wireless communications with low power consumption. From an application point of view, Bluetooth is intended for a cordless mouse, keyboard, and hands-free headset, UWB is oriented to high-bandwidth multimedia links, ZigBee is designed for reliable wirelessly networked monitoring and control networks, while Wi-Fi is directed at computer-tocomputer connections as an extension or substitution of cabled networks. In general, the wireless networking has followed a trend of throughput increase due to the increasing exchange of data in services such as the Internet, e-mail, and data file transfer. The capabilities needed to deliver such services are characterized by an increasing need for data throughput. However, in applications to the industrial, vehicular, and residential fields, sensors [3] may have more relaxed throughput requirements. Moreover, applications to industrial control and home automation require lower power consumption and low complexity wireless links for a low cost (relative to the device cost). Based on our previous work [2], after a study of these popular wireless standards, the ZigBee wireless technology would be the one that suitable for industrial control and home automation on the device-level communication. Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, ZigBee is a global specification created by a multi-vendor consortium called the ZigBee Alliance. Whereas 802.15.4 defines the physical and MAC layers of an application, ZigBee defines the network and application layers, application framework, application profile, and the security mechanism. ZigBee provides users in specific applications with a simple, low-cost global network that supports a large number of nodes with an extremely low power drain on the battery. In this work, after an evaluation of the short-range wireless communication standards, the ZigBee-based platforms, named ITRI ZBnode, have been designed and implemented for practical WSN applications. Moreover, we will show the experimental implementation of a multi-hop tree network. Thus, our focus will be very much on the functional side of multi-hop topology formation of a ZigBee network and not so much on the algorithmic study. The rest of this paper is organized as follows. Section II briefly introduces the wireless protocols including Bluetooth,

978-0-7695-3611-8/09 $25.00 2009 IEEE DOI 10.1109/AICT.2009.9


UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi. Next the developed ITRI ZBnode platforms are illustrated in Section III. Then, design issues for ZigBee industrial applications and experiments on a multi-hop tree network are provided in Section IV. Finally, Section V gives the conclusion. II. SHORT-RANGE WIRELESS STANDARDS This section introduces the Bluetooth, UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi protocols, which corresponds to the IEEE 802.15.1, 802.15.3, 802.15.4, and 802.11a/b/g standards, respectively. The IEEE defines only the PHY and MAC layers in its standards. For each protocol, separate alliances of companies worked to develop specifications covering the network, security and application profile layers so that the commercial potential of the standards could be realized.

Table I summarizes the main differences among the four protocols. Each protocol is based on an IEEE standard. Obviously, UWB and Wi-Fi provide a higher data rate, while Bluetooth and ZigBee give a lower one. In general, the Bluetooth, UWB, and ZigBee are intended for WPAN communication (about 10m), while Wi-Fi is oriented to WLAN (about 100m). However, ZigBee can also reach 100m in some applications. This section provides an evaluation of the Bluetooth, UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi on different aspects. It is important to notice that several slight differences exist in the available sources. For example, in the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, the action range is about 10m, while it is 70-300m in the released documents from ZigBee Alliance. Thus, this paper intends to provide information only, since other factors, such as receiver sensitivity and interference, play a major role in affecting the performance in realistic implementations. Refer to [2] for a more comparative study in detail.


Standard IEEE spec. Frequency band Max signal rate Nominal range Nominal TX power Number of RF channels Channel bandwidth Modulation type Spreading Coexistence mechanism Basic cell Extension of the basic cell Max number of cell nodes Encryption Authentication Data protection

802.15.1 2.4 GHz 1 Mb/s 10 m 0 - 10 dBm 79 1 MHz GFSK FHSS Adaptive freq. hopping Piconet Scatternet 8 E0 stream cipher Shared secret 16-bit CRC

802.15.3a * 3.1-10.6 GHz 110 Mb/s 10 m -41.3 dBm/MHz (1-15) 500 MHz - 7.5 GHz BPSK, QPSK DS-UWB, MB-OFDM Adaptive freq. hopping Piconet Peer-to-peer 8 AES block cipher (CTR, counter mode) CBC-MAC (CCM) 32-bit CRC

802.15.4 868/915 MHz; 2.4 GHz 250 Kb/s 10 - 100 m (-25) - 0 dBm 1/10; 16 0.3/0.6 MHz; 2 MHz BPSK (+ ASK), O-QPSK DSSS Dynamic freq. selection Star Cluster tree, Mesh > 65000 AES block cipher (CTR, counter mode) CBC-MAC (ext. of CCM) 16-bit CRC

802.11a/b/g 2.4 GHz; 5 GHz 54 Mb/s 100 m 15 - 20 dBm 14 (2.4 GHz) 22 MHz BPSK, QPSK COFDM, CCK, M-QAM DSSS, CCK, OFDM Dynamic freq. selection, transmit power control (802.11h) BSS ESS 2007 RC4 stream cipher (WEP), AES block cipher WPA2 (802.11i) 32-bit CRC

* Unapproved draft. Acronyms: ASK (amplitude shift keying), GFSK (Gaussian frequency SK), BPSK/QPSK (binary/quardrature phase SK), O-QPSK (offset-QPSK), OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing), COFDM (coded OFDM), MB-OFDM (multiband OFDM), M-QAM (M-ary quadrature amplitude modulation), CCK (complementary code keying), FHSS/DSSS (frequency hopping/direct sequence spread spectrum), BSS/ESS (basic/extended service set), AES (advanced encryption standard), WEP (wired equivalent privacy), WPA (Wi-Fi protected access), CBC-MAC (cipher block chaining message authentication code), CCM (CTR with CBC-MAC), CRC (cyclic redundancy check).


III. DEVELOPED ZIGBEE PLATFORMS: ITRI ZBNODE In this session, we will first introduce the ZigBee stack architecture and profiles, and then show our developed ITRI ZBnode, which is an autonomous, lightweight wireless communication and computing platform based on an IEEE 802.15.4 radio module and a microprocessor, and released when ITRI performed a project for developing a small device with sensing, computing, and networking (SCAN) capabilities. The first version of ZBnode, SCAN-ZB32 [4-5], is based on a 32-bit ARM RISC microprocessor and a later version, SCANZB8, is developed based on an 8-bit 8051 computing core. A. ZigBee Protocol Stack The ZigBee stack architecture [6] is made up of a set of blocks called layers. Each layer performs a specific set of services for the layer above, including a data entity provides a data transmission service and a management entity provides all other services. Each service entity exposes an interface to the upper layer through a service access point (SAP), and each SAP supports a number of service primitives to achieve the required functionality. The ZigBee stack architecture, as shown in Fig. 2, is based on the standard open systems interconnection (OSI) seven-layer model but defines only those layers relevant to achieving functionality in the intended market space. The IEEE 802.15.4 defines specifications of the physical layer (PHY) and medium access control sublayer (MAC) for supporting simple devices that consume minimal power and typically operate in a personal operating space (POS). The ZigBee Alliance builds on this foundation by providing the network (NWK) layer and the framework for the application layer, which includes the application support (APS) sub-layer, the ZigBee device object (ZDO) and the manufacturer-defined application objects.
Application Framework Application Objects Device Profiles Security Service Provider Application Support Sub-layer (APS) Network Layer (NWK) Medium Access Control Layer (MAC) Physical Layer (PHY) ZDO Management Plane ZigBee Device Object (ZDO)

Application Layer

End manufacturer defined ZigBee Alliance defined IEEE 802.15.4 defined

also include transmitting beacon frames, synchronization and providing a reliable transmission mechanism. The responsibilities of the ZigBee NWK layer include mechanisms used to join and leave a network, to apply security to frames, and to route frames to their intended destinations. The discovery and maintenance of routes between devices are devolved on the NWK layer. Also, the discovery of one-hop neighbors and the storing of pertinent neighbor information are done at the NWK layer. In addition, the NWK layer of a ZigBee coordinator is responsible for starting a new network, when appropriate, and assigning addresses to newly associated devices. The ZigBee application layer consists of the APS sub-layer, the ZDO and the manufacturer-defined application objects. The APS sub-layer is responsible for maintaining tables for binding, which is the ability to match two devices together based on their services and their needs, and forwarding messages between bound devices. The responsibilities of the ZDO include defining the role of the device within the network (e.g., ZigBee coordinator or end device), initiating and responding to binding requests and establishing a secure relationship between network devices. Another responsibility of the ZDO is discovery, which is the ability to determine which other devices are operating in the POS and the devices associated. The manufacturer-defined application objects adhere to profiles defined within the ZigBee Alliance. They implement the actual applications according to the ZigBeedefined application descriptions. The device profile is a series of messages which permit ZigBee devices to perform the functions forming the core capabilities of discovery, binding, and network management for ZigBee devices. Security services provided for ZigBee include methods for key establishment, key transport, frame protection, and device management. These services form the building blocks for implementing security policies within a ZigBee device. The architecture includes security mechanisms at three layers of the protocol stack. The MAC, NWK, and APS layers are responsible for the secure transport of their respective frames. The security mechanisms provided by the APS and NWK layers is for the processing of secure MAC frames. Furthermore, the APS sub-layer provides services for the establishment, and maintenance of security relationships. The ZDO manages the security policies and the security configuration of a device. B. ZigBee Application Profiles Stack profiles are a convention on specific ZigBee protocol stack settable values which are established to provide interoperability in specified markets. As show in Table II, profiles for home automation [7] and smart energy [8] have been released in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Also, profiles for personal home/health care (PHHC), telecom applications, commercial building automation, wireless sensor applications, and industrial plant monitoring are in progress. Additionally, a category of stack profile called Network Specific is proposed which indicates that no specific profile is in use.

Fig. 2. The ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 stack architecture.

Wireless links under 802.15.4 can operate in three license free industrial scientific medical (ISM) frequency bands. These accommodate over air data rates of 250 kbps in the 2.4 GHz band, 40 kbps in the 915 MHz band, and 20 kbps in the 868 MHz. A total of 27 channels are allocated in 802.15.4, including 16 channels in the 2.4 GHz band, 10 channels in the 915 MHz band, and 1 channel in the 868 MHz band. The IEEE 802.15.4 MAC sub-layer controls access to the radio channel using a CSMA-CA mechanism. Its responsibilities


The ZigBee NWK specification provides for identification of the stack profile within the beacon payload.
Stacks (final) 1) ZigBee 2007 2) ZigBee 2006 Application Profiles (final) 2) Home Automation Application Profiles (draft) 3) Personal/Home Health Care 4) Telecom Applications 5) Commercial Building Automation 6) Wireless Sensor Applications 7) Industrial Plant Monitoring
2009/02/17 updated.

to 5.5 V. With the SCAN-ZB32 sensing module, several sensors are supplied for detecting environment conditions including temperature, humidity, and light. Also, a prototype area is provided for other extended sensing functions and a sounder could be used as the alarm notification. D. The SCAN 8-bit Platform The second version, named SCAN-ZB8, adopted an SOC TI/Chipcon CC2430. A developed ZigBee dongle (with USB interface) and a ZigBee router (or as a sensor) are shown in Fig. 4 (a) and (b), respectively. The CC2430 has integrated an 8051 computing core, an IEEE 802.15.4 RF communication module, and a temperature sensing component in a single chip. In the SCAN-ZB8 platform, a power saving system is employed to handle energy management for switching device among the idle, deep sleep, and light sleep modes.

053474r17, 2007/10. 053474r13, 2006/10.

HA_PTG: 053520r25 (V 1.0), 2007/10.

1) Smart Energy (Advanced Metering Initiative) AMI_PTG: 075356r14 (V 1.0), 2008/05.

PHHC_PTG: 075360r06 (V 0.6), 2008/12. TA_PTG: 075307r05 (V 0.5), 2008/05. CBA_PTG: 053516r10 (V 0.7), 2007/11. WSN_PTG: 064358r15 (V 0.25), 2007/10. IPM_PTG: 053733r05 (V 0.99), 2006/07.

C. The SCAN 32-bit Platform For general-purpose applications in the development stage, the first version adopted a powerful 32-bit microprocessor. Hence, it was also named SCAN-ZB32. The ZB32 device has no integrated sensors, since individual sensor configurations are required depending on the application. Instead, through predetermined sockets, ZB32 can be used with various serial devices, such as sensors, RFID readers, actuators, power chargers, and user interface components. As shown in Fig. 3, the ZBnode hardware is built around a 32-bit RISC microprocessor which features an ARM 720T CPU core running up to 70 MHz. There are several integrated peripherals: JTAG for debugging, timers, counters, 10-bit AD converter, four UARTs, USB, infrared communications, pulse-width modulation (PWM), LCD controllers, and controller area network (CAN) interfaces. The external memory consists of 16 MB of in-system programmable Flash ROM and 16 MB of SDRAM. Four buttons and five LEDs are provided to implement a visual user application interface.



Fig. 4. ITRI ZBnode: SCAN-ZB8 (a) dongle and (b) router or sensor.

IV. DESIGN ISSUES FOR ZIGBEE APPLICATIONS A. Features for Industrial Automation Industrial automation has very different needs than other ZigBee application areas. Industrial automation networks are already in place with existing applications. Products must function and survive in industrial settings: high RF noise floor, temperature extremes, and rough handling. ZigBee has a lot to offer industrial automation applications: the low cost deployment and redeployment, mesh networking to cover entire industrial plants and factories, open standard with multiple vendors, and low battery operation. Also, several products are available today to allow ZigBee networks to be added to existing industrial automation networks, such as modules, sensor modems, and gateways. ZigBee networks can consist of a few devices or of thousands to millions. Network structures range from traditional star, to cluster trees and ultimately, mesh networks. Each network has its place in the industrial or commercial environment. An industrial facility with acres under one roof can be managed with regularly spaced nodes, all communicating wirelessly with one another via ZigBee and providing seamless connectivity. The protocol takes care of assembling the network and managing the traffic; various network tools will be available to manipulate and optimize the network for the facility managers specific needs. Note that the ZigBee supports non-beacon networks only. In a nonbeacon-enabled network, when a device wishes to transfer data (such as the detected temperature), it simply

Fig. 3. ITRI ZBnode: SCAN-ZB32.

TI/Chipcon CC2420, an IEEE 802.15.4 compliant RF transceiver, is connected to one of the serial peripheral interface of the microprocessor, and to an on-board 2.4 GHz chip antenna. Also, for better performance, the RF module can be switched to an external antenna via a standard SMA (sub-miniature type A) connector. The ZBnode is typically powered from a Li-ion battery with a DC input range from 3.5


transmits its data frame to the coordinator with direct data transmission. The coordinator acknowledges the successful reception of the data by transmitting an acknowledgment frame, as shown in Fig. 5 (a). On the other hand, in a nonbeacon-enabled network, when a coordinator wishes to transfer data to a device, it stores the data for the appropriate device to make contact and request the data. A device may make contact by transmitting a MAC command requesting the data to its coordinator at an application-defined polling rate. This is the indirect data transmission, as shown in Fig. 5 (b).
Network Device Data Acknowledgment Coordinator Coordinator Network Device

Data Request (polling) Acknowledgment Data Acknowledgment



Fig. 5. (a) Direct and (b) indirect data transmission in nonbeacon-enabled networks.

When equipment is line-powered, long battery life is not important, but robustness and reliability are. When equipment depends on remote sensors or other control mechanisms, deploying ZigBee devices provides robustness and reliability. It can be used to stick an occupancy sensor, light-level sensor or control panel on a wall without having to drag wire and power, saving hundreds to thousands of dollars in installation costs while producing a unit that could last the shelf life of a primary battery. (The shelf life for a lithium battery ranges between 10 and 20 years). The savings rapidly add up when assembly or commercial areas undergo regular remodeling or reconfiguring to adapt to changing staff or factory needs. In industrial wireless applications, a star topology is often the best choice, as long as it delivers data where and when its needed: simple to deploy and maintain, with no routingrelated latency. However, if communications barriers are significant, latency is not an issue, and the network nodes are close enough to realize the benefits of dynamic routing, ZigBees mesh topology may prove to be the best solution. ZigBee technology provides interoperability between multiple sensors for automation, control, monitoring and maintenance. In addition to enabling factory monitor and control functions, ZigBee provides the ability to track and locate raw materials or finished products as they move in, through and out of the facility. Raw and finished material transporters are looking at ZigBee as a replacement for older RFID technology. Intelligent, two-way ZigBee transceivers acting as tags on material not only provide the basis for locating the material in the factory, but also monitor and report on such qualities of the material as temperature, humidity, vibration and the like. B. ZigBee Compliance and Certification Since the ratification of the ZigBee-2004 specification (then was obsolete and superseded by ZigBee-2006) in December 2004, the ZigBee Alliance has been finalizing a

formal compliance testing program for the ZigBee platform, which is a software and hardware design to enable OEMs to develop a wide range of ZigBee based products. ZigBeecompliant platforms (ZCP) include the IEEE 802.15.4 radio and the ZigBee stack up to the application layer. This is to ensure multi-vender interoperability of products based on the ZigBee platform. The ZigBee Alliance selected National Technical Systems, Inc. and TUV Rheinland to be the official test houses of the alliance and conduct the independent testing. These two test houses collaborated with the alliance to develop a test program that includes standard test cases and reporting metrics. Moreover, the Daintree Networks Sensor Network Analyzer is used as the primary platform-independent means of observing, recording, and verifying conformance of the platforms to the ZigBee specification. The alliance has also completed the certification and logo program for testing end products, such as thermostats, smoke detectors, and lighting control devices based on ZigBee compliant platforms and approved ZigBee application profiles. Based on ZigBee-2006 specification, the developed SCAN-ZB32 platform (ITRI ZB-2006) has been certified with the ZCP in 2007, as show in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6. ZCP certification of ITRI ZigBee platforms.

C. Experimental Implementation An experimental scheme of the ZigBee-based wireless networks using the ITRI SCAN-ZB8 platform has been conducted. A cluster tree topology with five network devices is displayed in Fig. 7. Furthermore, Fig. 8 shows the association procedure captured from the packet sniffer. In an industrial shop floor system, the multi-hop transmission would be often in use. Fig. 9 shows the delivery ratio between the coordinator and one sensor with varied number of hops. The experiment was taken in an indoor environment with the beacon order (BO) and superframe order (SO) both six. The data size of MSDU was set to the aMaxMACFrameSize (102 bytes), and 1000 data packets were


transmitted from the sensor to the coordinator (direct data transmission). The results show that with the increase of hops, the delivery ratio decreased. A more detailed experimental study of the IEEE 802.15.4 performance can be founded in [9].

implementation have been demonstrated via a multi-hop tree network. ZigBee networks have features of low cost, low power consumption, low packet throughput, high reliability, security control, complicated topology, low request on quality of service, and lots of network nodes. Hence, it has been becoming widely used in many applications, such as home automation, industrial control, location and position, telecommunication, and wireless sensor networks. Future work would apply the developed ITRI ZigBee platforms to large-scale networking applications, and move the platform to a commercial product. ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Fig. 7. A multi-hop tree topology.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan, under the Embedded System Software Laboratory in Wireless Sensor Networks Technology Program. The authors would like to thank all the long-term contributors in the program, with special thanks to the department manager Chin-Sung Chen, hardware team leader Ching-Chin Huang, and software team leader Dr. Yueh-Feng Lee. REFERENCES
[1] F. L. Lian, J .R. Moyne, and D. M. Tilbury, Performance evaluation of control networks: Ethernet, ControlNet, and DeviceNet, IEEE Contr. Syst. Mag. vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 66-83, Feb. 2001. [2] J. S. Lee, Y. W. Su, and C. C. Shen, A comparative study of wireless protocols: Bluetooth, UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi, in Proc. Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IECON), Taipei, Taiwan, Nov. 2007, pp. 46-51. [3] E. Callaway, P. Gorday, L. Hester, J. A. Gutierrez, M. Naeve, B. Heile, and V. Bahl, Home networking with IEEE 802.15.4: A developing standard for low-rate wireless personal area networks, IEEE Communication Mag., vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 70-77, August 2002. [4] J. S. Lee and Y. C. Huang, Design and implementation of ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 nodes for wireless sensor networks, Measurement & Control, vol. 39, no. 7, pp. 204-208, Sep. 2006. [5] J. S. Lee and Y. C. Huang, ITRI ZBnode: A ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 platform for wireless sensor networks, in Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Systems, Man & Cybernetics, Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 2006, pp. 1462-1467. [6] ZigBee Alliance, ZigBee Document 053474r17: ZigBee Specification, San Ramon, CA, USA, October 2007. [7] ZigBee Alliance, ZigBee Document 053520r25: Home Automation Profile Specification, San Ramon, CA, USA, October 2007. [8] ZigBee Alliance, ZigBee Document 075356r14ZB: Smart Energy Profile Specification, San Ramon, CA, USA, May 2008. [9] J. S. Lee, Performance evaluation of IEEE 802.15.4 for lowrate wireless personal area networks, IEEE Trans. Consumer Electron., vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 742-749, Aug. 2006.

Fig. 8. Association procedure observed via the packet sniffer.

Decrease Ratio (%)

100 80 60 40 20 0 1 2

Multi-hop & linear topology. All nodes are in one radio range.

Indoor, BO=SO=6 MAC payload (MSDU) = 102 bytes 1000 data packets transmitted.
3 4

Num. of Hops

Fig. 9. Delivery ratio with varied hops in a ZigBee network.

V. CONCLUSIONS After a brief overview of the four most popular short-range wireless standards, Bluetooth, UWB, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi, this paper has presented the developed ZigBee platforms: ITRI ZBnode for sensor network applications. Also, design issues for ZigBee industrial applications and the experimental