LED intelligent lighting potential, which wireless communication to choose?

In recent years, the concept of LED intelligent lighting has become more and more hot. In addition to controlling LEDs in terms of low power consumption, environmental protection, dimming, and color matching, manufacturers are continuing to pay attention to wireless control, another key to intelligent lighting. Therefore, how to build a low-power, high-efficiency wireless LED lighting system that meets the basic needs of smart homes is the top priority of manufacturers. Under the premise of mainstream wireless communication methods such as WIFI, ZigBee, and low-power Bluetooth, how do we choose?

WIFI, ZigBee and BLE

We know that WIFI technology has become a choice for many start-ups due to its low R&D threshold, low product cost, and relatively fast speed, coupled with the inherent advantages of no need for bridges to directly access the Internet and seamless communication with mobile phones. This is also the biggest advantage of WIFI.

However, the shortcomings of WIFI are obvious. In addition to the large size and high power consumption of WIFI chips, there is also the poor experience brought about by its instability. The most important point is that WIFI will bring security problems. I believe this is also the key consideration for users when purchasing. Therefore, when manufacturing products, the choice of WIFI products needs to weigh the pros and cons.

In addition, limited to the characteristics of the WIFI itself, the access limit of the access mode is mainly limited to the number of nodes of the WIFI router (typically tens of nodes), which is often ignored for users with many lighting devices. Class products.

Another major wireless connection method is ZigBee. This low-power wireless control protocol has been widely welcomed by users and manufacturers since its birth. ZigBee needs a self-organizing network, and each node of the network can borrow data to transmit data. A centralized node is needed in the network to manage the entire network. This means that there must be a router-like role in the ZigBee network to complete the conversion of the ZigBee protocol to the Internet protocol.

Regarding this "router", for the sake of visual explanation, we use Philips Hue as an example. This extra guy is what is called Bridge in Hue's Starter package. It has no extra use, but it can integrate other lights into A network and connected to the internet.

From the above description, the most obvious disadvantage of ZigBee is the increase in cost and the complexity of installation. In addition, it needs to be connected to the mobile phone through the transfer. But considering that Bridge can bring more remote access capabilities, coupled with natural low-power features, companies like Philips and other high-end companies should choose this option.

Therefore, for WIFI and ZigBee, both are long and the feet are short. The specific choice depends on the balance of the manufacturer and the choice of the user.

Then it is BLE. Since its launch in 2009, this technology has become a "seat" for major manufacturers. Mobile phones, wireless networks and other manufacturers are focusing on this new generation of wireless, focusing on low-power, fast-connect, long-distance communication. Communication specifications are integrated into their own products. Intelligent lighting manufacturers are also unconventional, quickly pay attention to and integrate this technology into their own products. Another advantage of BLE is that the new mobile phones on the market are equipped with this technology, which is convenient for users to control the connection of lighting devices.

In addition, semiconductor manufacturers' support for BLE is another starting point for developers to choose this technology. For example, TI's CC2540 and Dialog's DA14580 are excellent low-power solutions.

It is worth mentioning that in the Bluetooth 4.1 protocol, BLE products have the characteristics of ZigBee's self-organizing network, which are all in the impact of the traditional ZigBee product sphere of influence. Coupled with Apple's iBeacons standard, this non-connected communication method greatly increases the possibilities and imagination of BLE control products.

If there is still a flaw in the BLE, in addition to the program price, there is also the old mobile phone, because it is not a Bluetooth 4.0 chip, which will cause trouble for the control of intelligent lighting equipment. But considering the speed of modern people changing phones, do you think this is a limitation?

Direction of wireless lighting

By 2020, the use of wireless light bulbs and lamps connected to the Internet worldwide is expected to increase from 2.4 million this year to more than 100 million. The development trend of the Internet of Things is destined to be inseparable from wireless support. It will inevitably lead to disputes in communication technology. Is it true that traditional WIFI stands out, or is ZigBee more advantageous, or is it a counter-attack of the rising star BLE? Which one would you choose?

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