You don't know til you try . . .

The promise of MESH networking, ZigBee

, posted: 19-Nov-2009 22:01

In my case M2M (machine to machine), rather than WiFi meshing.

ZigBee is one of the options.
Hyped up, a solution looking for a problem.
Learn about it here


I had some modules lying around from a stalled project, gulp, 1.5 years ago.
Has it been that long?

I dusted them of and did some quick tests.
Results were not good.

1 coordinator and two routers.

I moved the routers away until they were out of range.
Then moved one of the routers into the middle.


If the intermediate router is moved back into range quickly, interruption is minimal, 2-3s.

If it has been out of range for a while, 60s?
Then the time before it starts repeating can be up to 60s.
This might be well within spec for ZigBee I am not sure but a little too long for this application.
One alternative is to install more static nodes but this adds cost.

Looks like only Endpoints are meant to be mobile in a ZigBee network.

I also had some other modules that could be loaded with this stack.
While they use the network layer of the ZigBee protocol, IEEE 802.15.4
The rest is their own.

CEL ZIC2410, EVB3 (the evaluation kit)

Synapse boast quite a feature set.

The biggest advantage is allowing you to use the microprocessors on the RF modules themselves.
Normally the radio module is just that, a radio module.
You did the work with a micro, AVR/PIC, and then feed it into the radio.
Not so with SNAP.

Which is handy as most modules come with an array of GPIO's and ADCs.
They built a virtual machine in there so you can run programs.
The programming language is based on Python.
I was shakng my head, not another language.
But it wasn't so bad after I got started.

The other handy feature is OTA (over the air) program updates.
No more plugging in cables to flash the units.

So does it do what is says on the box?
Surprisingly YES.

Modules wired up for action

The all important first program, flashing light

Network view via their Portal

I also have some xBee Series 1 modules that I could load with Digi's own Mesh firmware, Digimesh.
I won't bother though, SNAP is the clear winner.

Now to order some more modules.

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