High throughput Gateway between ZigBee and TCP/IP

Project Description

The Problem
A leading vendor of energy measurement products is developing the next generation product suite. One of the solutions required a product that would allow data collection on TCP/IP from a large ZigBee network. A dual redundant ZigBee node was the data concentrator and high availability machines on the TCP/IP network collected, stored and analyzed the real time data measured by the large number of ZigBee based sensor nodes.

The Solution
The gateway had to handle the real time sensor data from the ZigBee network and forward it to the TCP/IP nodes. Queries and commands from the TCP/IP nodes would need to be sent to ZigBee nodes. The gateway has to adapt an existing custom complex messaging protocol on TCP/IP to be able to collect the required data from the ZigBee network. A 32-bit processor architecture was chosen for this gateway that would run a stripped down embedded Linux operating system. IEEE 802.15.4 modem along with the ZigBee stack from a leading semiconductor vendor was selected. The application code managed the both the ZigBee and the TCP/IP stack along with the required application data conversions. Initial proof of concept tests revealed that the network management functions was required to be added for the gateway to operate efficiently. The electronics was designed to be robust to be able to operate continuously under heavy traffic conditions. Design provisions for future enhancements were incorporated allowing the product road map to be followed with minimal architectural changes. The application firmware was developed after successfully porting Linux, the ZigBee stack and the TCP/IP stack on the processor.

With a deep understanding of the ZigBee protocol, Tismo was able to bring this product’s design to fruition in a short time, enabling its client to accelerate its product suite release to the market.

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