A ZigBee PAN (personal area network) is a self-organizing series of modems that communicate using the same protocol (based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard). Individual modems are configured to play a specific role within the network. Coordinators establish and organize the network (there is only ever one coordinator in a network). End Devices are the leaf nodes of the network, their responsibility is to provide valuable data.
This data could be anything. It could be a power usage reading, a string relaying device status, or even a reading from a temperature sensor. The last type of configuration is the Router. Routers can act like End Devices and report data but the feature that makes routers special is that they act as network repeaters and extend the reach of the physical network. This paragraph is a very general overview of ZigBee, entire books have been written on the subject. If you wish to delve deeper into the intricacies of ZigBee I recommend that you pick one up to further your studies on the topic.
This blog post requires the following hardware:
2 x ZigBee Adapter Kits (some assembly required)
(+ Your existing Raspberry Pi 2 / Windows IoT Core setup)
Additionally, you will need a serial terminal application on your PC, in this blog post I’ll be using CoolTerm for Windows. You will also need software to configure your ZigBee modems, this blog post will use XCTU.
After you have assembled your ZigBee adapters, it is time to configure the modems. Using the FTDI Serial TTL-232 USB cable, plug the USB end into your PC, and the other end into your ZigBee adapter board. The board is screen printed white where the cable is to be fitted (simply ensure that you’ve lined up the ground pin!).
Please note that the adapter boards are used throughout this blog post, so if I refer to “modem”, it means the modem and the adapter board that it is mounted on.
ZigBee Adapter Pins
Open the XCTU software, and discover the devices connected to the PC. Click the “discover” button, accept all defaults, and when found, add your modem to the selection list.
ZigBee Discovery Button
For more detail: ZigBee communication with the Pi 2 and Windows IoT Core