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December 2012

New ZigBee PRO Feature: Green Power

Connecting Battery-Free Devices

2012 ZigBee Alliance. All rights reserved. 1 www.zigbee.org

ZigBee Green Power December 2012


Since its inception, the ZigBee Alliance has worked with a singular focus: create a much
needed global wireless language capable of giving voices to the myriad of everyday
devices that surround us as we go about our daily lives. This focus has been aimed at the
little devices often overlooked in an IT-centric world, such as light switches, thermostats,
electricity meters and remote controls, as well as more complex sensor devices found
abundantly in the health care, commercial building and industrial automation sectors. By
connecting these devices, a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) network or Internet of Things is
created that offers exceptional efficiency, convenience, security and control and a whole
new way for people to interact with their environment. As a result, ZigBee Alliance
members have created a smart set of wireless standards that enable this new class of
networks and offer extraordinary control, expandability, energy efficiency, security, ease-
of-use and the ability to use ZigBee technology in any country around the world.

Today, organizations use ZigBee standards-based wireless sensor networks to deliver

innovative solutions for a variety of areas including consumer electronic device control,
energy management and efficiency, health care, telecom services, consumer electronic
devices, home and commercial building automation, as well as industrial plant
management. By choosing ZigBee, they also benefit from the Alliances competitive and
stable supply chain. With a comprehensive set of attributes, the non-profit, open
membership and volunteer-driven Alliance has become a thriving ecosystem with several
hundred members. As an ecosystem, the Alliance offers everything prospective product
and service companies need to develop the most dynamic ZigBee products and services.

2012 ZigBee Alliance. All rights reserved. 2 www.zigbee.org

ZigBee Green Power December 2012

Table of Contents
1. Sensor and Control Networks Today - and Tomorrow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

2. Battery-Free Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

3. Using Energy Efficiently . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

4. Understanding Energy Harvesting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

5. Proxy and Sink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

6. Pairing and Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

7. The Basics of ZigBee Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

8. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

List of Figures
Figure 1: Network Power Consumption Comparisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Figure 2: Basic ZigBee PRO with Green Power feature network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Figure 3: Typical ZigBee PRO with Green Power feature network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

1. Sensor and Control Networks Today - times when even batteries are not an acceptable
and Tomorrow option or where there is a need for truly
maintenance-free devices. For those cases, one
Creating an environment rich in sensors and wants the ability to use harvested energy.
controllers, enabling a whole new set of capabilities
and new ways for us to interact with our To make using harvested energy power sources as
surroundings, is becoming the next big thing. easy as using a battery, the ZigBee Alliance has
Sensors are used to measure environmental focused on creating a new optional networking
conditions like temperature, light and humidity, feature to support devices without batteries or an
monitor production processes like location of goods, electric connection. The new Green Power feature,
pressure and temperature, determine chemical included in the ZigBee PRO 2012 specification, offers
components, and provide security by checking the greatest versatility because devices using Green
room occupancy and the state of doors and Power can easily and cost effectively operate in
windows to name but a few. ZigBee PRO 2012 networks utilizing a variety of
harvested energy power sources instead of
Up until now, many of these sensor networks were batteries. This innovation facilitates the deployment
connected with wires, severely limiting their size of wireless sensors in large areas such as tertiary
and scope of coverage. Wires and the required buildings like shopping malls, hospitals and parking
conduits are expensive to install and become fixed garages where it is likely there will be many
installations that are difficult to change. As a result, thousands of devices that would otherwise need to
many installations found it necessary to limit the be powered by batteries, which not only
number of sensors installed simply to control costs, substantially reduces building maintenance tasks
and their permanency restricted the flexibility to over time, but is also considerably more
adjust these networks to meet new uses. If not environmentally friendly. It allows even the most
required for critical infrastructure, wired solutions sensitive industrial areas, where batteries are
are often summarily dismissed as a luxury. forbidden for safety concerns, to communicate
within a sensor and control network. Plus, to ensure
An advantage of wireless solutions is, of course, the interoperability, the ZigBee Certified Program
elimination of wires and the ability to create requires stringent tests conducted by independent
extensive flexible networks. To meet this need, the test service providers to verify compliance with
ZigBee Alliance has developed a family of standards every ZigBee standard and ensure interoperability of
that provides an efficient and robust wireless products, even products from different
networking technology for sensor networks. ZigBee manufacturers.
provides the maximum flexibility for most general
purpose installations as well as for installations in 2. Battery-Free Communication
the most sensitive or historic environments.
Green Power, a new optional feature in the ZigBee PRO
Even though the ZigBee family of standards delivers 2012 specification, is the latest addition to the ZigBee
the low cost, scalability, and ease of installation and portfolio. Green Power gives devices powered with
reconfiguration that makes it easy and affordable to harvested energy the ability to participate in ZigBee
create vast networks of things, the devices in those PRO 2012 networks. ZigBee networks utilize a very
networks still need power. The most common ways robust protocol to ensure high reliability even in high
of delivering that power are a direct electric interference environments. Implementing that protocol
connection or, where that is inconvenient or is a challenge for devices that are utilizing harvested
impractical, battery power. That covers a large energy since those devices typically only have enough
number of applications very effectively but there are power to communicate a brief command because they

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

generate just enough power to issue their command A typical Wi-Fi card in a laptop uses, on average (200
and typically have no other source of power or stored mA, 3V, continuous transceiver), about 2 kJ (kilo Joule; 1
energy. For example, a light switch without a battery joule = 1 Watt during 1 second) in an hour. By
harvests energy from flipping the switch on or off. This comparison, a 30 W lamp burning for an hour consumes
energy is captured to send an on/off command to the 100 kJ, 50 times as much. The ZigBee set-top box
network and turn on or off the appropriate light. The remote control that is used an average of 500 times per
light switch is active on the network for an extremely day, uses 20 mJ (milli joule) per hour, a factor 100,000
brief amount of time to issue its command and as soon times less than a Wi-Fi card.
as the energy generated by the harvester is consumed,
the light switch disappears from the network. Green In other words, the total power consumption of a Wi-Fi
Power makes it possible for the device to do its job laptop card would power a 30W light bulb at its
reliably and allow the network to continue to operate maximum brightness for over one minute, while the
flawlessly once the device has disappeared. power consumption of a ZigBee device would only
power the 30W light bulb to maximum brightness for
Green Power enables autonomous sensors with an 0.6 milliseconds, a flash of light barely observable to the
install-it-and-forget-it promise. Since these devices can human eye.
operate without the need for battery replacement,
they can be installed anywhere, even in hard to reach Now compare a light switch using Green Power. The
or inaccessible locations. Green Power allows you light switch that is flipped on or off on average 10 times
to take your network into new places and enjoy even per day, uses on average 200 J (micro joule) per hour.
more benefits from ZigBee networks. Thats 100 times less than the ZigBee remote control
and about 10 million times less than the Wi-Fi card.
3. Using Energy Efficiently When you consider that the light switch generated its
own power to operate and never used any electricity or
Estimates show buildings of all types are responsible batteries to operate, the energy savings are even better.
for 40 percent of all energy consumption. Buildings
can dramatically decrease energy consumption and
costs by using wireless, battery-free sensors to monitor
temperature, light and air quality and to improve
safety, security and comfort. Wireless solutions also
help gain sustainability credits from energy efficiency
and sustainable buildings programs or groups like the
U. S. Green Building Councils LEED program.

While wireless sensor networks are key to achieving

efficient buildings, they themselves are also
consumers of energy and need to be as efficient as
possible. In that regard,not all wireless networks are TM

created alike. When energy consumption from all Wi-Fi

2 kilo joule
devices is examined closely, it becomes quite
apparent that if the goal is to reduce energy ZigBee PRO
consumption everywhere, you must use a technology Green Power
200 micro joule
that simply uses the least amount of power.
Comparing energy consumption of ZigBee and Wi- ZigBee
20 milli joule
Fi, for example, it becomes evident that ZigBee is
considerably more efficient. Figure 1: Network Power Consumption Comparisons
Wi-Fi is a registered trademark

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

It is important to put this dynamic range of energy energy harvesters or circumventing the drawback
consumption into consideration and to understand why that there may not always be motion or light
Green Power is such a unique feature of ZigBee PRO available. Another advantage of using Green Power
networking. with batteries is the ability to use smaller batteries
and still achieve battery life equivalent to the
4. Understanding Energy Harvesting product lifetime. So although Green Power was
developed by the ZigBee Alliance with energy
With Green Power it is now possible to network harvesters in mind, there is nothing that prohibits
devices easily and reliably without mains power, the use of more traditional energy sources.
batteries or other sources of energy. These devices
can use energy-harvesting methods to absorb 5. Proxy and Sink
energy available from the environment: light,
motion or vibration, temperature differences and An ingenious and simple design allows Green
other means. Although the term is relatively new, Power devices to complete communication with
the concept is prehistoric. The first forms of fire just on average 100-500 J (micro Joule). The
required energy harvesting: changing motion into design sets up proxies so each Green Power device
heat and then into fire, changing light into heat is represented as always present on the ZigBee
with an amplifying glass and then into fire. In a network even when it is not on or present. These
more technological sense, we recognize energy proxies also handle forwarding and resending
harvesting in windmills and bicycle dynamos packets to ensure reliable communication,
(energy from motion) and in pocket calculators especially to destination devices that are not in the
with solar cells (energy from light). direct radio range of the Green Power device. Proxy
functionality is also part of the ZigBee 2012
Energy harvesters, also known as scavengers, while specification, implemented in the software on an
eco-friendly and low maintenance, also have some existing device on the network.
clear disadvantages compared to batteries or
mains power. In general, the amount of energy A ZigBee network with Green Power can be as
produced by an energy harvester can vary greatly. simple as a light switch and a lamp. However,
Energy harvesters can be divided into two ZigBee networks typically consist of thousands of
categories: bursting and trickling. Bursting energy devices that look like this example:
harvesters can generate too much energy very
quickly. Trickling energy harvesters create just Green Power Device
Energy harvested
Green Power Sink
Always ON
enough energy continuously over a long period of or battery operation
Only ON when active
Green Power devices
time. Bursting energy harvester examples include
piezo-electric elements, dynamo/electro-mechanic Figure 2: Basic ZigBee PRO with Green Power feature network
converters or vibrators. Trickling energy harvesters
include solar cells and peltier elements that ZigBee PRO Router with Proxy
leverage temperature differences. They also cost Always ON

more. Green Power makes it possible to take Green Power Device

advantage of these unique power sources despite Energy harvested
or battery operation
Green Power Sink
their disadvantages. Only ON when active
Always ON
Manages Green
Power devices
ZigBee PRO Router
It is important to note that Green Power also works Always ON
ZigBee PRO End Node
with any energy source including batteries and ON or OFF (allows standby)
Allows lower-power end devices
even AC mains. The advantages of using batteries
with Green Power may include: lower cost than Figure 3: Typical ZigBee PRO with Green Power feature network

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

A ZigBee PRO 2012 network is Green Power-ready if Thanks to ZigBees meshing capability, the switch does
some of its devices implement the Green Power not need to be in the vicinity of the lamp. Any ZigBee
Proxy (hereafter referred to as proxy) functionality device implementing the proxy can simply forward the
and others implement the Green Power Sink command to the targeted lamp. The lamp can be in
(hereafter referred to as sink) functionality. The proxy another room or another distant location in the
functionality handles the interfacing with the Green network. This action is actually handled just like any
Power device and is typically part of an always-on other ZigBee command.
device, like a ZigBee PRO router. The sink function
handles the interpretation of the Green Power device 6. Pairing and Security
commands and is typically implemented in a target
device, such as a lamp. Both proxy and sink Adding a Green Power device and its sink to an
functionalities need to be present and they can be existing network is a simple process. Continuing to
implemented in the same device. use the light switch and lamp example, ZigBee
defines an innovative pairing process that starts
A good example is a lamp and a light switch. The when a user triggers the target to begin the pairing
lamp is the device we want to control using the process with the switch. Triggering the pairing
Green Power light switch and needs to implement process can be as simple as pushing a button on the
the sink feature. In this way it becomes a Green lamp that is considered a sink by the ZigBee
Power sink. network. The target, or lamp, is already connected to
the ZigBee network and is already equipped with the
The lamp is usually connected to the mains power Green Power sink functionality that was loaded by
and always present on the ZigBee network. It has a the device manufacturer. This user action triggers all
defined network function and a dedicated power proxies in the network, allowing them to accept new
supply, making it also an ideal host for a proxy. This Green Power Devices. This creates a pairing window
is not a requirement though, as any other always- for the Green Power device, the light switch, to
on device can host the proxy functionality. connect with the lamp.

The Green Power light switch, however, can be The next step in the pairing process occurs when the
offline with no power, but the ZigBee network still user triggers the controller, for instance by flipping
recognizes it because of the proxy present in the the switch and initiating a quick information
network. exchange that pairs the switch to the lamp during
the pairing window. Once this is completed, the
Continuing the switch and lamp example, when pairing process ends and the lamp can now be
the Green Power switch becomes active and controlled by the switch.
transmits a command, the command is received by
the device implementing the proxy (could be the Connecting more than one switch to the lamp is
lamp, or, in general, a proxy) and routed to the possible. All that is required to connect multiple
destination which can be the lamp itself (Figure 2) controllers to a single target device is to repeat the
or another lamp (Figure 3) not in the direct radio pairing procedure above for each device. There is no
range of the switch. This lamp will then interpret pre-set maximum to the number of switches that can
the Green Power command and act upon it. The control the lamp; however, the amount of memory
proxy has the steady power source and can process available in the lamp may limit the maximum
all the required networking interactions required number for that device.
by the ZigBee network. As you might expect, the
Green Power device used all of its energy sending Adding a Green Power device to an existing network
the command. does not come at the price of lower security. The

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

Green Power feature provides all the levels of The ZigBee specifications extend upon the IEEE
security found in the ZigBee PRO 2012 specification. 802.15.4 standard by adding network and security
There are three levels of security: layers and an application framework. From this
1. Basic: filters any undesired device trying to foundation, ZigBee Alliance standards, technically
communicate on the network, using a 32 referred to as public application profiles, can be used
bits unique device identifier and a rolling to create multi-vendor interoperable solutions. For
frame counter. custom applications where interoperability is not
required, manufacturers can create their own
2. Intermediate: adds authentication manufacturer specific profiles.
mechanism based on AES 128 technology
and a shared key. It provides the assurance ZigBee standards use three different device types:
that the device that is communicating is not coordinators, routers, and end devices. The
falsified and is authorized on the network. coordinator is a router with additional functionality
3. High: adds encryption also based on AES for network setup and the connection of all network
128 for protection against eavesdropping. devices. Routers are regular network nodes that
The data exchanged between the device route information throughout the network. End
and the network remains confidential. devices are nodes without such routing capabilities
that send or receive information only when needed.
Green Power devices can get the security key using
an out-of-band mechanism, or over-the-air from the ZigBee never wastes energy by polling nodes in the
ZigBee network. network unlike other wireless technologies. With
the unique ability to be in sleep mode for extended
7. The Basics of ZigBee Technology periods of time, ZigBee achieves battery life
measured in years, not hours. For example, the
ZigBee provides the most efficient and easiest to use battery life in a gas meter built to the ZigBee Smart
mesh networks. That means that messages from Energy standard is more than 15 years.
devices or nodes in the network can be transmitted
through any routing-capable device in the network. ZigBee network routers are always powered on to
ZigBee mesh networks are secure, self-organizing, ensure that transmissions from any node in a ZigBee
self-healing, two-way communication systems network are received and forwarded to the target
designed for maintenance-free use. The foundation node. The router also receives an acknowledgement
of every solution is the powerful IEEE 802.15.4 message back from the target to verify the
physical radio standard operating in unlicensed communication was received.
bands worldwide at 2.4 GHz (global), 915 MHz
(Americas) and 868MHz (Europe). It delivers raw data Today, there are a variety of reliable low-power and
throughput rates of 250Kb/s at 2.4GHz (16 channels), low-cost application standards that deliver
40Kb/s at 915 MHz (10 channels) and 20Kb/s at 868 comprehensive services and device interoperability
MHz (1 channel). Transmission distances are in the Smart Grid, home and building automation,
remarkable for a low-power solution, ranging from health care, consumer electronics, retail
10 to 1,600 meters, depending on power output and environments and telecommunications.
environmental conditions, such as other buildings,
interior wall types and geographic topology. A single 8. Conclusion
ZigBee network can support more than 65,000
devices, delivering significant capability and cost Green Power complements ZigBees proven
advantages for the Internet of Things or machine-to- solutions and delivers all of the ecosystem benefits
machine communications. offered by open standards. ZigBee PRO 2012

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ZigBee Green Power December 2012

compliant platforms will be available from a variety

of sources, eliminating dependency on a single
technology provider or proprietary solutions that
limit choices and increase costs for device
manufacturers. The ZigBee ecosystem has proven
itself to be a thriving, competitive and innovative
vehicle that dramatically reduces risk and lowers
cost for device manufacturers wanting to
differentiate their products by adding wireless
networking capabilities.

ZigBee is already a worldwide standard operating in

the 2.4 GHz industrial, scientific, medical frequency
band. This allows device manufacturers to use one
radio technology and design for devices that can be
sold worldwide. The ZigBee Certified program
evaluates and certifies all ZigBee chips before they
enter the market, and then tests products for
interoperability allowing product manufacturers
and consumers peace of mind that products will
network as promised.

Green Power will be integrated with ZigBee

Building Automation and ZigBee Home
Automation. Other ZigBee standards will also
provide integration to ensure users receive all of the
benefits of this innovation.

Choosing ZigBee and the new Green Power feature

enables device manufacturers to develop the most
innovative solutions that perfectly match market
expectations for solutions that are low-cost, flexible,
easy to install and use while offering maintenance-
free and green network solutions. ZigBee is a future-
proof choice because it benefits from continuous
enhancements at every level of the solution: power
management, ultra-low power micro-controllers,
radio transceivers, and network software.

2012 ZigBee Alliance. All rights reserved. 9 www.zigbee.org