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The Major Differences in the XBee Series 1 vs. the XBee Series 2

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The two most common RF radios that are available from Digi are the Series 1 and Series 2 XBee. The Series 1 and Series 2 modules are quite similar, but selection of a module should be based upon application specific needs.

All XBee radios have the same footprint and for the most part-are pin for pin compatible (with a few differences in the placement of ADC/IO lines), but are NOT interoperable. Series 1 and Series 2 use different application profiles, which are unique to each radio family. They can however, use the same RS232 or USB interface boards.

Product comparison specification Quick Facts for the non-pro variant of the two series:

  XBee Series 1 XBee Series 2
Indoor/Urban range up to 100 ft. (30m) up to 133 ft. (40m)
Outdoor RF line-of-sight range up to 300 ft. (100m) up to 400 ft. (120m)
Transmit Power Output 1 mW (0dbm) 2 mW (+3dbm)
RF Data Rate 250 Kbps 250 Kbps
Receiver Sensitivity -92dbm (1% PER) -98dbm (1% PER)
Supply Voltage 2.8 - 3.4 V 2.8 - 3.6 V
Transmit Current (typical) 45 mA (@ 3.3 V) 40 mA (@ 3.3 V)
Idle/Receive Current (typical) 50 mA (@ 3.3 V) 40 mA (@ 3.3 V)
Power-down Current 10 uA 1 uA
Frequency ISM 2.4 GHz ISM 2.4 GHz
Dimensions 0.0960" x 1.087" 0.0960" x 1.087"
Operating Temperature -40 to 85 C -40 to 85 C
Antenna Options PCB, Integrated Whip, U.FL, RPSMA PCB, Integrated Whip, U.FL, RPSMA
Network Topologies Point to point, Star, Mesh (with DigiMesh firmware) Point to point, Star, Mesh
Number of Channels 16 Direct Sequence Channels 16 Direct Sequence Channels
Filtration Options PAN ID, Channel & Source/Destination PAN ID, Channel & Source/Destination

Since hardware specifications are similar, the differences between XBee Series 1 and 2 are more evident in the firmware features. Listed below are some of the more defining differences in the firmware:

  • 802.15.4: XBee Series 1 comes standard with 802.15.4 firmware for point-point or star topology. This mature firmware offers ADC (analog-to-digital conversion) inputs, and digital and analog I/O line passing. The 802.15.4 XBee is significantly faster than ZigBee; RF latency can generally be calculated in 802.15.4. Throughput is also much higher, a practical maximum throughput is around 80kbps.
  • ZigBee: XBee Series 2 does not offer any 802.15.4-only firmware; it is always running the ZigBee mesh firmware. The ZigBee XBee excels in very low-power scenarios, when configured as an End Device, this module has the lowest current draw of any Digi RF product. However, the infrastructure of a ZigBee network is more complex and requires more configuration to fully impliment. The main benefit of a ZigBee XBee is third-party device support and deep integration with the Device Cloud by Etherios and Digi gateway products.
  • One unique benefit of the 802.15.4 Series 1 XBee is that it can have the DigiMesh firmware installed. DigiMesh is Digi proprietary mesh network protocol and is directly comparable to ZigBee. This allows a small network to be implemented as a Star topology, then later converted into a full mesh network without replacing hardware. A whitepaper comparing DigiMesh and ZigBee can be found here: http://www.digi.com/pdf/wp_zigbeevsdigimesh.pdf.

A study of the product manuals to compare the Series 1 and Series 2 radios more completely is left to the user. However, Digi Applications Engineers are available to discuss these differences in greater detail, and can be reached at 1-801-765-9885. 



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