ZigBee Stack Recommendation


I want to add a small ZigBee module in our board for home automation applications. I start looking in the Z-Stack for HA of Texas Instruments, but I think that I have to use IAR to develop my applications, as you know the license of IAR is expensive. So, could anyone has an experience with ZigBee and HA, could guide me what should be the best choice for our ZigBee HA application, I mean by this

-What might be the easy to implement ZigBee Stack API in the market?
-Having a free IDE to develop my HA applications.
-Working with ZigBee HA Stack which contains some applications as basic examples

  • Using a certified ZigBee module to integrate it in our board (we prefer a small size)

P.S: We have to respect the term of interoperability with other ZigBee devices in our choice.

Thanks in advance,

I have a couple of thoughts. If you want a truly free solution take a look at the ZigBee API object I wrote for the Parallax Propeller. It requires a Digi xBee ZB SMT chip and works great with SmartThings. Here is a link to a forum post where I walk you through how to set it up and use it. Parallax makes a great multi core processor that is a fantastic companion the xBee ZB chip. This is the platform I built the CoopBoss.com on.

If your looking for a SOC solution I would take a serious look at the EM35x networking development kit form Silicon Labs. It can be loaded with ZigBee or Thread. The Dev kit is not free but if your just starting out you may want to save up and go this route.

SmartThings has a ZigBee shield but from what I can tell it doesn’t use public ZigBee clusters. It instead passes data to the SmartThings hub as strings. So any solution you build with it will only work with SmartThings. I know there are a lot of guys using it so if I’m wrong here please correct me.

I would like to see what others have to suggest as well. This is a great question!! Lots of good platforms out there!

I use TI Z-Stack with IAR, it works well. There is a time limited trial of IAR. TI might offer Z-Stack using CCS in the future, but not right now.

But I have seen the NXP JN5168, it looks like it uses a free toolchain that even works on Linux. It has a ZigBee HA stack. Here is a dev board:

I don’t know what kind of emulator pod it needs. There are other modules with FCC certification. If you try it, let us know how it works for you!

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Thank you “JohnR” and “rpress” for your answers. I still waiting for the suggestions of others in order to make a decision.

Does anyone have any experience with ZBOSS? http://zboss.dsr-wireless.com

You got me all excited when I click on the link seeing the FREE and open source. But that is only for version 1 which does not seems to have HA 1.2 :frowning: Need to buy version 2.0 for that.

I’ve been looking at MMB network zigbee board. Dev kit is $1000 :frowning:

Implementing Zigbee HA profile on top of Zigbee stack is not such a big deal, imho.


I’ve worked as a ZigBee consultant for years and for a first project, I always recommend Si Labs. You’ll get going faster and get better support with them. I can’t really comment on the free tools, I haven’t really used them

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What about NXP modules, does anyone work with them. Right now, I am confused between the ZigBee modules based on Texas Instruments chips and ZigBee modules based on NXP chips. What you believe that it might be the easy to use for HA applications

NXP, and TI for that matter, both make good stacks but their documentation, tools, and support arent as good as Si Labs so you will spend more time in the learning phase. With those two you’ll save money on the stack/tools but pay in development time.

For a company that is new to ZigBee, I always give the options in this order (Fastest and most expensive to cheapest and slowest):

  1. Pay a consulting company (shameless self promotion)
  2. Si Labs dev kit + the three day training they offer
  3. Si Labs dev kit
  4. Ti or NXP development

Right now, the list is heavily biased towards the top because there aren’t a lot of resources for learning this stuff out there. In addition to option 1, I get steady work getting companies back on track after they chose options 3 or 4 and realize they won’t be able to deliver on the dates they promised in their contracts.


Thank you Savij and the other members for your help. Well, I guess that all the managers want the cheapset and slowest solution : )

Hi Sajiv, Wondering if you can share your contact information?

Hello, is there any ZigBee stack that provides source code for the stack. I am interested in NWK layer stack source code (message relaying and route discovery). I need it for a research project am working on.

Hi @emetos05, have you looked at material available at zigbee.org?

Yes I have. Read through the zigbee specifications doc.

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