IEEE 802.15.4 and Zigbee

Multimedia & Interface Technologies

Market Pulse: IEEE 802.15.4 and Zigbee


Market growth expected to increase 200 percent

In December 2004, the ZigBee Alliance signed off on the 1.0 ZigBee specification. In April 2005, four companies, Chipcon, CompXs, Ember, and Freescale Semiconductor, received the first ZigBee-compliant platform certificates. As technology and the alliance have continued to move forward, industry analysts from In-Stat have indicated that the benefits of 802.15.4 and ZigBee standardization will soon come to fruition, enabling manufacturers to rein in many more advantages. Some of these advantages will result in partnerships between companies, offering complete solutions for lighting, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Automatic Meter Reading (AMR), and industrial control applications, for example.


A major advantage is that 802.15.4 Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) technology and ZigBee offer OEMs a menu of multiple silicon sources and ZigBee networking layer suppliers. According to Joyce Putscher, In-Stat Research Director and Principal Analyst, “Additional advantages include pricing competition and system vendor partnering opportunities.”


On an aggressive basis, In-Stat analysts forecast that 802.15.4 nodes/chipsets could grow by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 200 percent from 2004 to 2009, with annual shipments surpassing 150 million units in 2009 (see Figure 1).


Figure 1


In-Stat researchers also found the following:


n   This low-cost, low-power, low-data-rate networking technology is receiving attention from many companies       that are involved in industrial control, home automation,      and commercial building control, spanning everything from nuclear power plants to hotels. The first residential   products are just barely emerging on the scene.

n   Industry experts expect that commercial building control    will capture the lion’s share of the 802.15.4 market, in terms of node/chipset volumes, but not in terms of design wins. Residential automation and industrial applications will follow respectively.

n   Together, System-in-Package (SiP) and System on Chip      (SoC) solutions will drive easier system/product   development and lower the costs of adding this wireless       capability to sensor networks.


Regarding sales prices, industry experts expect them to rapidly decline. However, the average pricing for all shipments will depend on the ratio of Reduced Function Devices (RFD), used as endpoints, to Full Function Devices (FFD), used as coordinators. In-Stat indicates it is too early to estimate what that ratio will be yet, as it depends on what type of topology will be in demand the most – Star, Cluster Tree, or Mesh (a full mesh requiring FFDs).


In-Stat predicts 2005 to be an emerging year for 802.15.4 silicon, with a few end products just barely beginning to appear. Silicon developments for SoC solutions that embed a microcontroller have been moving at a quicker pace, with several vendors expecting to begin sampling such solutions this year. Based upon discussions with system providers, the closer silicon vendors can get to a “ZigBee-in-a-box” solution, the greater the opportunities will be. SoC and SiP play nicely into a box option. In-Stat also predicts that 2006 will become a significant springboard year, turning pilots and prototypes into deployments that will move this market into volume significance.


In-Stat has published a complete report on this market study. The report, 802.15.4 SoC & SiP Surge as ZigBee Faces Residential Competition (#IN0501836MI), covers the worldwide 802.15.4 market. It presents conservative and aggressive forecast scenarios for unit shipments, bill of materials average sales price, and revenue for chipsets. It also includes profiles of leading vendors.


To purchase this report, or for more information, contact:



Attn: Courtney McEuen

6909 East Greenway Parkway, Suite 250

Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Tel:                 480-483-4454





Joyce Putscher, Director Converging Markets and Technologies

Tel:                 480-483-4475




[Chad: Will send sidebar from Jon Adams as soon as I receive it.]