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IoT Technologies – Sensors, 6LoWPAN, ZigBee, RFID, NFC

The IoT is more than Internet-connected consumer devices. Sooner or later, your IT organization will need you to create an infrastructure to support it. Energy companies already use networked sensors to measure vibrations in turbines. They feed that data through the network to computing systems that analyze it to predict when machines will need maintenance and when they will fail. IoT architecture consists of networked things, typically wireless sensors and actuators which are connected to sensor data aggregation systems and analog-to-digital data conversion units. Edge IT systems perform pre-processing of the data before it moves on to the data center or cloud. Finally, the data is analyzed, managed, and stored on traditional back-end data center systems.


A device which detects or measures a physical property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to it. Eg. Temperature sensor, Pressure sensor, Motion sensor, Heat sensor, Smoke and Gas Sensors, Moisture sensor, Weight sensor, Water level sensor, and many more.


Microcontroller to Processor (M2P) – 6LoWPAN (IPv6 enabled Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network)

6LoWPAN allows for the smallest devices with limited processing ability to transmit information wirelessly using an internet protocol.


Zigbee (IPv6 enabled Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network)

It is an open global standard for wireless technology designed to use low-power, low data rate digital radio signals for personal area networks with close proximity.

The standards created by the Zigbee alliance can be used to create multivendor interoperable offerings.

There are three Zigbee specifications:

  • Zigbee PRO
  • Zigbee RF4CE
  • Zigbee IP



Zigbee PRO

It aims to provide the foundation for IoT with features to support low-cost, highly reliable networks for device-to-device communication. Zigbee PRO also offers Green Power, a new feature that supports energy harvesting or self-powered devices that don’t require batteries or AC power supply. Zigbee’s addressing scheme is capable of supporting more than 64,000 nodes per network and multiple network coordinators can be linked together to support extremely large networks.


Zigbee RF4CE (Radio frequency for consumer electronics)

It is designed for simple, two-way device-to-device control applications that don’t need the full-featured mesh networking functionalities. It offers an immediate, low-cost, easy-to-implement networking solution for control products based on Zigbee Remote Control and  Zigbee Input Device. Eg: Home entertainment devices, Garage door openers, Keyless entry systems and many more.

  • No line of sight limitation
  • Two-way communication
  • Signal goes through walls and floors
  • Lifetime battery


Zigbee IP

It optimizes the standard for IPv6-based full wireless mesh networks, offering internet connections to control low-power, low-cost devices.

  • Each node on a network can be individually addressed using IPv6 routing and addressing protocol.
  • Zigbee IP provides multicast capability. It enables service discovery using multicast DNS (mDNS) and DNS-Service Discovery (DNS SD) protocols.


The Zigbee protocol defines three types of nodes:

  • Coordinator – Stores information of the network, security keys.
  • Routers – Intermediate nodes, relaying data from other devices.
  • End devices – Low-power or battery-powered devices, which can talk to the coordinator or a router, but can’t relay data from other devices.



Zigbee 3.0 (dotdot)

Recently, the Zigbee Alliance rolled out “dotdot,” a program to extend its interoperability technology beyond Zigbee. Dotdot, a universal language for the internet of things, lets smart objects work together on any network, unlocking new markets for members and unifying the fragmented IoT.



Radio-frequency identification (RFID) –  Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC)

It uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Today RFID market is worth US$9 billion, market value is expected to rise to US$18.68 billion by 2026.


RFID Components

Passive tags collect energy from nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source (battery) and may operate at hundreds of meters from RFID reader. Two way radio transmitter-receiver called Interrogators or readers send a signal to the tag and read its response.




Near Field Communication (NFC) – NFC CTLS – NFC Contactless

It is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm (1.6 in) of each other.

Each full NFC device can work in three modes:

1.NFC card emulation—enables NFC-enabled devices such as smartphones to act like smart cards, allowing users to perform transactions such as payment or ticketing.

2.NFC reader/writer—enables NFC-enabled devices to read information stored on inexpensive NFC tags embedded in labels or smart posters.

3.NFC peer-to-peer—enables two NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other to exchange information in an adhoc fashion.


Resource : https://www.internetsociety.org/iot


-Prof. Yatin Jog

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One comment

  1. Wow a very detailed note.thank you

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