Protocols ZigBee, 6LoWPAN & Co.

Which protocol?

The standard IEEE 802.15.4 defines the first two layers of the OSI model, the physical layer and the layer for media access control. Protocols like ZigBee or ISA100, based on this standard, define, among other things the network structure and the routing mechanism. 

802.15.4 MAC 

  • Simplest protocol layer on top of which all following protocols are built
  • Minimal memory requirements by providing pure basic functions such as data transfer
  • Especially suitable for simple point-to-point connections (“wire substitute”) or in ex-tremely resource-limited systems, e.g. at energy harvesting solutions or very long bat-tery change intervals.
  • Proprietary protocol layers can be easily implemented 


  • 6LoWPAN is an acronym for IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks
  • Option to apply IPv6 on 802.15.4 based nodes
  • Reduction of protocol overhead by fragmentation and header compression
  • Suitable for embedding radio or sensor networks in an existing IP infrastructure (e.g. linking individual sensor nodes or entire networks to the internet)
  • Application in machine-to-machine communication (6LoWPAN is used by SP100.11) and industrial automation

ZigBee PRO

  • ZigBee specifications are published by the ZigBee Alliance
  • Ensure interoperability between ZigBee devices from different manufacturers
  • Significantly reduced development time by already implemented functions such as over-the-air firmware updates, channel agility, low-power mode, the usage of safety certificates as well as different pre-assembled application profiles
  • Enables mesh networks
  • Suitable for complex networks with large spatial extension, multi-hop networks and proprietary metering and automation solutions


  • RF4CE = Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics
    For remote control of devices especially in the field of consumer electronics
  • Automated change between three different channels
  • Application of infrared remote control units
  • Wireless input devices for PCs and game consoles