What’s the difference between Bluetooth and ZigBee?

bluetooth-logo-2.jpgThis post is by Joe Lomako, Telecoms & Radio Business Development Manager, TRaC

Here’s a very quick run-down of the present differences and similarities of these two remarkable technologies

Let’s firstly take a look at the similarities:

•    They are both short range devices
•    They operate on an unlicensed band at 2.4GHz
•    They use spread spectrum modulation techniques

…and the differences:

•    Although they use spread spectrum modulation they have different types: Bluetooth uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) and ZigBee uses Discrete Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS)
•    ZigBee tends to have a longer battery life than Bluetooth because of low power applications – potentially years compared to days
•    The applications tend to be different; ZigBee is aimed at control, automation and low data rate transmissions, whereas Bluetooth is generally aimed at high data rate applications (eg. music and film streaming)
•    ZigBee network joining time is typically 30 msec where as Bluetooth is of the order of 3 secs


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