July 12, 2020

Comparative Analysis of Five Wireless Technologies for Smart Homes in Weak Electrical Engineering

Smart home solutions need to take into account multiple factors such as technology, cost, ease of construction, and aesthetics. The traditional smart home network cabling method is a wired network. The construction is inconvenient and the effect is beautiful. Each manufacturer is pushing a smart home solution based on wireless technology. The wireless network does not need wiring to affect the interior beauty, saves the manpower and material resources of the integrated wiring, and has the characteristics of convenience and speed, and is very suitable for use in smart homes.
 
I. Overview
Smart home solutions need to take into account multiple factors such as technology, cost, ease of construction, and aesthetics. The traditional smart home network cabling method is a wired network. The construction is inconvenient and the effect is beautiful. Each manufacturer is pushing a smart home solution based on wireless technology. The wireless network does not need wiring to affect the interior beauty, saves the manpower and material resources of the integrated wiring, and has the characteristics of convenience and speed, and is very suitable for use in smart homes.
There are many wireless solutions for smart homes on the market today. This aspect can provide users with more choices, but at the same time it also brings confusion to users. I don't know which wireless technology to build the smart home system. Although there are many smart home wireless solutions, the mainstream smart home wireless technologies can be summarized as: Zigbee, Z-Wave, KNX RF, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.
Second, several mainstream smart home wireless technology comparison
The above-mentioned mainstream smart home wireless technologies are compared from the aspects of wireless transmission technology, power consumption, number of nodes, security, openness, standardization and interoperability, industry applicability, and available hardware and software resources.
1, wireless transmission technology
Zigbee: Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, the operating frequency is 868MHz, 915MHz or 2.4GHz. It mainly uses 2.4GHz and 250kbps (2.4GHz) in China. The modulation method is BPSK/OQPSK, which supports star, tree and mesh (mesh). The network topology supports 16 communication channels (2.4 GHz).
Z-Wave: Wireless transmission technology has no standard, working frequency is 908.42MHz (USA), 868.42MHz (Europe), modulation mode: FSK (BFSK/GFSK), data transmission rate is 40kbps, support mesh network topology, Support single channel.
KNX RF: based on EN 50090-5-3, operating frequency is 868MHz, modulation mode: FSK, data transmission rate is 16kbps, support peer-to-peer network topology, does not support mesh topology, supports 3 fast channels and 2 slow channels .
WiFi: Based on IEEE 802.11 standard, the main working frequency is 2.4GHz, modulation mode: MIMO-OFDM/DSSS/CCK, data transmission rate is above 11Mbps, support ad hoc network and infrastructure topology, support 14 communication channels .
Bluetooth: Based on the IEEE 802.15 standard, the main operating frequency is 2.4GHz, modulation mode GFSK, data transmission rate is more than 1Mbps, support point-to-point, and peer-to-peer (Ad hoc) topology, supporting 79 channels.
2, power consumption
Zigbee/Z-Wave/KNXRF are designed for low power consumption, typically 1mW (0dBm). KNX RF even supports electromechanical energy acquisition (similar to EnOcean); WiFi power consumption is large, and external power supply is required, typically 36mW (16dBm); Bluetooth power consumption is between low power and WiFi power consumption, typically 2.5 mW (4 dBm).
3, the number of nodes
Zigbee: In theory, it can support more than 60,000 nodes.
Z-Wave: Up to 232 nodes.
KNX RF: Up to approximately 4000 nodes.
WiFi: Theoretically 254 nodes, but the actual support is much lower than the theoretical value, generally no more than 20.
Bluetooth: Generally 8 nodes.
4, security
Zigbee: Security mechanisms such as AES–128.
Z-Wave: Has a security layer and provides a key mechanism.
KNX RF: Provides security mechanisms such as authentication and encryption on the application layer.
WiFi: WPA/WPA2 security mechanism.
Bluetooth: Provides security mechanisms such as authentication, encryption, and key management.
5, openness
Zigbee: Zigbee Alliance, members open.
Z-Wave: Zensys leads the Z-Wave Alliance and its members are open.
KNX RF: KNX Association, members are completely open.
WiFi: Fully open.
Bluetooth: Bluetooth technology alliance, completely open.
6. Standardization and interoperability
Zigbee: There is no international standard established. The internal agreement specifications of the association and the regulations of different fields have been established. At present, there are interoperability problems between different manufacturers' products.
Z-Wave: No international standards have been established and the internal agreement specifications of the association have been established.
KNX RF: It has become an ISO/IEC standard, an EN standard, and a GB/T standard. Different vendors' products can be interoperated and configured using unified software.
WiFi: There are international standards, but there is no statute for the smart home field, and different vendors' products cannot achieve interoperability.
Bluetooth: There are international standards, but there is no statute for the smart home field, and different vendors' products cannot achieve interoperability.
7. Industry applicability
Zigbee: Can be used in a variety of applications for smart home applications, but primarily for sensing and control functions.
Z-Wave: Specifically for smart home applications, but primarily for sensing and control functions.
KNX RF: Designed for smart home applications, it can be used with KNX TP (twisted pair), but is primarily used for sensing and control functions.
WiFi: For multi-applications, smart home applications can be used not only for sensing and control, but also for audio and video.
Bluetooth: For multi-applications, smart home applications can be used not only for sensing and control, but also for voice and other functions.
8, available hardware and software resources
Zigbee: There are several chip manufacturers offering solutions such as TI, FREESCALE, ATMEL, Nordic, etc., as well as communication protocol stacks based on different hardware platforms.
Z-Wave: Zensys provides dedicated chips.
KNX RF: There are currently 2 hardware vendors and 2 software companies offering chip and protocol solutions.
WiFi: Many vendors offer chip and protocol solutions, and protocols outside the application layer are open protocols.
Bluetooth: More vendors offer chip and protocol solutions.
Third, the characteristics of analysis
1, Zigbee
Advanced wireless communication technology, anti-interference and penetration (mainly working at 2.4GHz), rich in hardware and software development resources, standardization and interoperability to be improved, more suitable for smart home industry applications.
2, Z-Wave
The wireless communication technology is more advanced, the anti-interference and penetration are better, the software and hardware development resources are single, the third-party solutions are few, the standardization is to be perfected, and the interoperability is good. Suitable for smart home industry applications.
3. KNX RF
The wireless communication technology is simple but practical, with less resources for development of software and hardware, better anti-interference and penetration, and excellent standardization and interoperability. Wireless and wired form a complete solution for smart home industry applications.
4, WiFi
The wireless communication technology is advanced, the software and hardware development resources are very rich, and the immunity and penetration are general (mainly working at 2.4 GHz). The standardization and interoperability of the smart home industry is poor. Due to high power consumption and node limit, it is limited in the smart home industry, but it has the strongest ability to integrate smart home applications into IT networks.
5, Bluetooth
The wireless communication technology is advanced, and the software and hardware development resources are abundant, and the immunity and penetration are general (mainly working at 2.4 GHz). The standardization and interoperability of the smart home industry is poor. Due to the number of nodes and the topology, it is limited in the smart home industry, but it is easy to integrate into smart terminals, such as mobile phones and tablets.
Fourth, the point of view
The above is an objective comparison of several mainstream technologies for smart home wireless technology, but for which technology the company chooses and which products the customer chooses, in addition to the advancement of technological advancement, it is also necessary to consider the maturity, reliability, and engineering of the technology. Implementation and many other factors.
Two other questions:
1) Is it necessary to support the wireless technology of the Mesh network? The wireless technology supports the Mesh topology to indicate that its wireless technology is more complex, can support more nodes, and cover a wider area. However, due to the complexity of the Mesh topology, the development difficulty is increased, and the network management is complicated, and the meaning of more routes in practical applications is not significant.
2) Should the pure wireless solution be used in the current stage? Wireless technology does bring a lot of convenience to smart homes, but at present, wireless technology alone cannot solve all application problems, and the reliability and stability of wireless technology are still Need to improve, especially for public construction applications. Wired + wireless solutions are still the right choice at this stage.

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