@RF/Memory Editor (Janine): I too would like to see more application oriented articles.
My personal opinion on home area network (HAN) devices: I have to agree with @EllySchietse above, appliances such as RF4CE set top boxes are over kill. The primary motivation is to save energy bills, the secondary ones come from networking other things within a home, like security, weather stations, leak detection, etc.
The consumer sentiment is quite clear, every one wants to save energy but they do not want to manage with all the gadgets and things. This is NOT the same thing as a smart phone. Consumers care about energy bills once a month when it is due! They do not want to
Does ZigBee RF4CE comply with OSHAN (Open Source Home Area Network, does any one know?
Reaction on Sansfil’s comment:
In about 95% of the Wi-Fi installations at home just one router/gateway is enough to cover the whole house (depending on the size). ZigBee RF4CE and Wi-Fi are very comparable in range/coverage – so in 95% of the cases ZigBee RF4CE covers the whole house as well. Mesh technology of ZigBee PRO can solve this last 5% problem, but everything comes at a price... a ZigBee PRO remote control is hard to justify in the market.
While I agree that RF4CE is an ideal technology for home entertainment control, it is not suited for general control of devices in your home. The reason is that it is a point-to-multipoint protocol and that its physical layer needs around 20 dBm output power to ensure whole house coverage. This is needed on both sides of the link and can that kind of power can not be delivered from a coin cell or any other consumer battery.
The Home Automation and Smart Energy protocols from the ZigBee Alliance are based on the ZigBee PRO stack which gives mesh networking capabilities. This means that mains powered devices around the house like lamps can be used to effectively route packets between low power nodes. Whole house coverage is then ensured thorugh multiple hops rather than high outptut power radios.
This is a different type of application-based article for the site. I'm thinking of a new series of articles under the umbrella: RF in Action. Would you like to see more application based articles (in addition to the regular complement of design features)? Janine Love, Microwave & RF Designline editor.