Device types

The nodes within an IEEE 802.15.4 network can be divided into Full Function Devices (FFDs) and Reduced Function Devices (RFDs). 

Full Function Device (FFD)

FFDs can send and receive data packets and forward them to any desired node in the network. Because of their routing tasks they have to stay always activated. As a consequence they need a constant power supply. In every network there is a special FFD, the so called PAN coordinator which does the network management.


  • Gateways
  • PAN coordinators
  • Routers

Reduced Function Devices (RFD)

RFDs are simple sensor nodes that can send and receive data packets. They only communicate with one FFD (parent). They do not have a forwarding function.  Because they require minimal resources, they can be battery operated.  


  • Actuators
  • End devices
  • Sensors

    The right hardware from dresden elektronik

    While the deRFnode board can be used with both device types in combination with our wireless modules, the deRFgateway and USB radio sticks are especially suited as FFDs.