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Comparative Evaluation Of Zigbee And Bluetooth: Embedded Wireless Network Technologies For Students And Designers

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Information Technologies

Tagged Division

Information Systems

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.380.1 - 12.380.12



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Paper Authors


Janell Armstrong Brigham Young University

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Janell Armstrong is a Graduate Student in Information Technology at BYU. Her interests are in ZigBee and public key infrastructure. She has three years experience as a Teacher's Assistant. Student memberships include IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM, SWE, ASEE.

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C. Richard Helps Brigham Young University

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Richard Helps is the Program Chair of the Information Technology program at BYU and has been a faculty member in the School of Technology since 1986. His primary scholarly interests are in embedded and real-time computing and in technology education. He also has interests in human-computer interfacing. He has been involved in ABET accreditation for about 8 years and is a Commissioner of CAC-ABET and a CAC accreditation team chair. He spent ten years in industry designing industrial automation systems and in telecommunications. Professional memberships include IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM, SIGITE, ASEE.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Comparative Evaluation of ZigBee and Bluetooth: Embedded Wireless Network Technologies for Students and Designers


Networked embedded system applications are becoming commonplace. Communication between common devices such as cell-phones, PDAs, cameras, printers are already available. These communication options can be expanded to include embedded systems in cars, homes, workplaces and other venues to provide users new ways to interact and be notified of important events.

New wireless solutions and standards have been developed to answer the user’s networking demands, including Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1) and ZigBee (based on IEEE 802.15.4). Selecting between these and other systems is a problem for students, instructional designers, and system developers. The capabilities and application domains of the various technical solutions must be clearly understood both in theory and practice. The specific requirements of application domains as diverse as cell phones, printers, smart homes or network system monitoring must also be clearly delineated to ensure successful project completion.

While system designers need to understand and incorporate these technologies in projects, instructional designers need to incorporate them in computer-oriented curricula to ensure the rising generation of computer students is well prepared.

This paper evaluates the wireless networking standards, Bluetooth and ZigBee. We discuss the intent of the standard developers, the pros and cons of each network type, appropriate applications, and the future of these standards. Recommendations are made for presentation in technological educational environments.


Consumers are increasingly finding that networked embedded systems provide them with more powerful and flexible control over their working and personal environments. This leads to increased demand for these systems. Commonplace communication applications currently include devices such as cell-phones, PDAs, cameras, and printers. Soon consumers will expect their personal devices to communicate with other common objects such as home appliances, cars, and environment controllers.

Bluetooth1 and ZigBee2 each addresses the problem of allowing multiple, low-powered, embedded devices to communicate wirelessly within a short range. Each IEEE standard defines a physical layer and protocol stack, operates within the ISM band, and allows for omnidirectional, ad-hoc networking without a fixed infrastructure.

Despite these similarities, Bluetooth and ZigBee are generally not interchangeable as technology solutions. When selecting a wireless standard, developers must understand the intent, the

Armstrong, J., & Helps, C. R. (2007, June), Comparative Evaluation Of Zigbee And Bluetooth: Embedded Wireless Network Technologies For Students And Designers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2181

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