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Building Wireless Sensor Networks by Robert Faludi

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Buying an XBee Radio

Digi International manufactures a bewildering array of XBee-branded radios. All told there are at least 30 different combinations of component hardware, firmware protocols, transmission powers, and antenna options. We’ll first take a look at what’s out there, and then narrow that down to the devices we will be using in this book.

Hardware

There are two basic varieties of XBee radio physical hardware:

XBee Series 1 hardware

These radios use a microchip made by Freescale to provide simple, standards-based point-to-point communications, as well as a proprietary implementation of mesh networking. We won’t use the Series 1 hardware at all in this book.

Warning

The sidebar Series 1 Radios takes a quick look at the Series 1, but remember that the examples in this book won’t work with Series 1 hardware.

XBee Series 2 hardware

The Series 2 uses a microchip from Ember Networks that enables several different flavors of standards-based ZigBee mesh networking. Mesh networking is the heart of creating robust sensor networks, the systems that can generate immensely rich data sets or support intricate human-scale interactions. Everything we do in this book from here on out will use the Series 2 hardware exclusively.

Note

Digi has just released the newer Series 2B. Series 2B features include reduced power consumption, additional antenna options, and an optional programmable microprocessor. For the most part, Series 2 and 2B are interchangeable.

Both the Series 1 and ...

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