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What is the range of a ZigBee link
January 31, 2014 4:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to answer what should be a very simple question, but the internet is not being helpful. What I want is ballpark communication ranges between ZigBee nodes and what those ranges are using 2.4GHz, 868MHz and 915 MHz

I'm happy to (in fact would prefer to) have a little asterisk saying under parameters x,y,z.

I'm aware that antennae choice and line of sight and environmental conditions will make a difference, I just need something indicative.

The internet seems to be telling me that ranges are somewhere between 10m and 40km which is obviously unhelpful.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Technology (5 answers total)
 
Where did you get 40km? Afaik universally accepted range is max of 20m and that would pretty much be unobstructed LOS. The point of ZigBee is the mesh network so you can reach further by hopping transparently through intermediate nodes. I'd use 20m or less and more practically 10m or less...
posted by chasles at 5:27 AM on January 31


I asked a friend of mine who has been building ZigBee chips for the better part of a decade. His response was, "We have a customer that managed a little over a kilometer, line of site across a river. As far as I'm aware most customers play in the 100m range. That's 2.4GHz, we never did any sub-gig work."
posted by phil at 6:09 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


The ZigBee specification indicates that all three frequencies are designed for transmission ranges of 10m to 100m depending on the power output of the individual devices and the environment they are used in. The manufacturer of the device you plan on using should provide an indication of maximum range allowed by the power level and frequency used by that device in their specs.

As a general rule, lower frequencies have superior propagation to higher frequencies, so 868 and 915MHz devices may have slightly greater reach than 2.4GHz devices, but even that is subject to environmental factors such as interference and may not be consistent.

As a simple rule of thumb, I would consider ZigBee devices listing a maximum range of 100m as having range similar to a cordless (not cellular) phone.
posted by eschatfische at 7:10 AM on January 31


Thanks, that is all pretty much as I expected.

There are some odd numbers on the internet.

If anyone has any info on how the 868 / 915 MHz bands perform that would be useful.
(I expect they are broadly the same)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:31 AM on January 31


Is it possible you're thinking of/interested in XBee radios? Those are capable of ranges of over a mile (and more than that, if you work at it), and the naming isn't exactly clear.
posted by jjwiseman at 10:46 PM on January 31 [1 favorite]


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