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Introducing Zigbee Theory And Practice Into Information And Computer Technology Disciplines

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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

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.982.1 - 12.982.9



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Paper Authors


Crystal Bateman Brigham Young University

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Crystal Bateman is an Undergraduate Student at BYU studying Information Technology. Her academic interests include ubiquitous technologies and usability. She is currently finishing an honors thesis on using mobile ZigBee motes in a home environment, and enjoying life with her husband and two daughters

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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

Introducing ZigBee Theory and Practice into Information and Computer Technology Disciplines Abstract

As pervasive computing turns from the desktop model to the ubiquitous computing ideal, the development challenges become more complex than simply connecting a peripheral to a PC. A pervasive computing system has potentially hundreds of interconnected devices within a small area. This is not only a departure from the typical computer-peripheral model it is also a departure from the typical client-server model.

ZigBee, based on IEEE 802.15.4, is an emerging standard within networked embedded systems. It has already been adopted by several major developers and the availability of devices and support systems is growing rapidly. This standard will become a foundation of future commonplace technologies.

Topics in wireless mesh networking should be presented to Information Technology and Computer Engineering Technology students to ensure they are well-grounded in this emerging area. This paper describes an instructional module. It includes background information on the technology, the key concepts students must understand regarding ZigBee networking, the selection of a development environment, and the design of a hands-on lab experience. We briefly discuss the necessity of teaching this technology.


Pervasive computing, first expounded by Mark Weiser1, embraces technologies that are so commonplace and ubiquitous that they become wholly unremarkable to the typical user. A typical ubiquitous system involves potentially hundreds of small, embedded devices collecting and exchanging environment data with each other. This type of system is typified by the “smart dust” project of Pister and Kahn2, 3 which envisaged many millimeter-cubed-sized motes collecting data and communicating with each other. Ubiquitous system communications are more complex than the typical client-server model and this new computing model introduces new networking challenges such as devices power conservation, seamless network handling of device addition and removal, and conservative administration expectations.

Wireless sensor networking (WSN) is a key technology for ubiquitous systems. The future widespread availability of wireless sensor networking requires application designers and embedded engineers to be familiar with it and its emerging standards. One such emerging standard is the recent protocol based on IEEE 802.15.4, called ZigBee. This standard is important because it is specifically designed to address the issues of power, self-administration and minimal hardware requirements. It is also rapidly growing in popularity and may become the industry standard in the wireless sensor mesh networking field.

This paper suggests a method of integrating ZigBee into Information Technology and Computer Engineering Technology curricula. First, we briefly discuss key ZigBee networking concepts to introduce students to the protocol. Second, we discuss selection of ZigBee-compliant hardware.

Bateman, C., & Armstrong, J., & Helps, C. R. (2007, June), Introducing Zigbee Theory And Practice Into Information And Computer Technology Disciplines Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2077

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