XBee series 1 or 2?

I'm looking to buy some components to my master thesis: I have to create a sort of lab where I'll create a Zigbee network and some tasks on it.

I'm wondering if I should buy XBee series 1 or 2 and why aren't they compatible. My lab will also have WeMo belkin lamps, xiaomi door sensor, 5 arduino with Xbee module and a Raspberry Pi. I just have one chance to buy materials because I've got limited time.

What should I buy to make all compatible and create a proper and functional ZigBee network? Thanks a lot for your time


  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    The various series aren't compatible with each other for various reasons...different protocols and/or frequencies. Series 2 is designed for mesh-networking. That's not to say you can't create a small network with another series, but the series 2 have networking features that can't be realized in the others, however they are inherently more difficult to understand and setup if you're new to XBee.

    No matter which you choose, be sure to obtain at least one USB Adapter for configuration and PC-side testing.
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  • If you want Zigbee, you have to go with series 2. Zigbee is a protocol layer build on top of an IEEE low-power communications schema known as 802.15.4. Series 1 support only the basics of 802.15.4, although Digi, the XBee manufacturer, does offer some proprietary mesh enhancements. Series 2 on the other hand is a full Zigbee implementation that is in theory at least interoperable with Zigbee implementations from other manufacturers. I say in theory, because the network has to be set up with specific nodes as coordinators with parameters and security settings that have to agree. That is easiest if you have only one brand to deal with and you are setting up all parts of the network yourself on the Arduinos and the rPi. I think WeMo is a wifi implementation, (802.11), so it cannot talk to Zigbee without a "bridge". I don't know about xiaomi. If you don't really need Zigbee per se, you do have other options.
  • The book Building Wireless Sensor Networks uses Zigbee (aka series 2) XBee devices.


    As Tracy points out, the XBee devices may not communicate directly with the other devices. You many need some sort of device to act as a bridge.

    If you end up needing a bridge anyway, I'm not sure if XBees are you best choice. There are lots of inexpensive transceivers like Nodic's nRF2401+ radios. The nRF2401+ modules would be less expensive (just a couple dollars each) but the XBee modules would likely be easier to use. XBee also offers tech support for their products. You can call them on the phone and talk with someone if you have a question (I've done this myself).
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