Technology

Philips Hue uses ZigBee (more specifically ZigBee Light Link) to control the Connected Bulbs. Of course, smartphones and tablets don’t have ZigBee built into them, nor for that matter do PCs and Macs (yes, you could get a ZigBee USB dongle if you wanted), and hence the need for the Hue Bridge. It basically acts as a link between the devices running Apps that use the home network/WiFi and the ZigBee link to the bulbs. The App sends the command to the Bridge, the Bridge converts it to the ZigBee protocol, and vice versa. ZigBee operates in the 900-928MHz band in North America and Australia, 868MHz in Europe, and 900-924MHz plus 2.4GHz worldwide.

You might think that the bridge is simply an additional device; why not make the bulbs WiFi? It’s a valid question and it could be done, but imagine trying to get each bulb connected to the network. Technically savvy users could likely figure it out, but for everyone else it would be a nightmare. I’ve tried helping friends and family with basic WiFi configuration issues over the phone, using PCs where all they need to do is enter the network password, and it can still be a pain. Trying to deal with IP addresses and potential conflicts on a per-bulb basis isn’t something most people would be interested in doing.

There are additional factors as well, such as cost, power consumption of WiFi vs. ZigBee, and range requirements. ZigBee range is typically lower than 2.4GHz WiFi range; however, ZigBee is a mesh network so each device added can function as a repeater to extend the coverage area. That means as long as there are some devices closer to the Bridge coverage should be sufficient. ZigBee also consumes less power than WiFi and usually costs less as well, which is important when you’re looking at integrating the functionality into devices like bulbs.

Ultimately, though, I think managing the setup and being able to control the bulbs effectively are the primary reasons why ZigBee is the right choice. Having the Bridge also makes it far easier to use multiple devices to communicate with the network, and it makes the creation and use of an app a lot simpler as well.

Teardown and Design The Philips Hue Experience
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  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure how I feel about Anandtech and Ashu Joshi taking what is essentially a 5 week old blog post http://allthingscc.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/philip... adding inline pictures from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashuj/sets/7215763258... doing some edition/revision/expansion work and posting it as an article.

    I don't see Brian Klug posting his reviews on his blog.

    (Note: I am not alleging AnandTech took this without permission. But rather that they're repacking content the author already released.)

    On one hand, both AnandTech and Ashu Joshi are perfectly within their rights to do so. On the other, it's a bit deceptive, and certainly unlike the rest of Anandtech's journalism.

    (Typo: "experience of this lighting system *if* is quite the change from your everyday lights")

    Regarding the content itself, this is incredible niche. I would never use colored lights in my home. I can see them having some business applications, but $60/light is a bit steep.

    Also, for anyone whose interest was piqued by the disclaimer, according to http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashujoshi, Ashu works for Cisco. Tangentially related to this article. Nothing to be concerned about, in my opinion.
    Reply
  • Doken44 - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I see your point, but I for one, would never have seen the blog, and am interested to see home automation making bigger steps into the mainstream. Reply
  • ilihijan - Sunday, March 03, 2013 - link

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you won't forgive yourself if you don't check it out! Weekly payments! Here is what I've been doing Epic2.c(om) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I'm not quite sure who contacted whom, but his initial blog post was far less detailed than what we've posted here. Yes, he had the photos, but there's additional information and the text has been heavily edited (mostly by me). It's definitely a niche product, at least from my perspective, but it's also not something we would have normally covered. Since Ashu had the hardware and the knowledge to write about it, and I'm sure most of our readers haven't ever seen his personal blog, I don't really see it as a problem. Reply
  • JPForums - Monday, March 04, 2013 - link

    Agreed.
    I doubt his blog had anywhere near the readership as Anandtech.
    So he detailed the paint job and polished it to bring it in line with Anandtech's standards, then posted the rewrite here where it would reach a much broader audience.

    No legal issue.
    No conflict of interest.
    Plenty of reason to rewrite.
    A subject one wouldn't be surprised to see on a site like Anandtech.
    I find nothing objectionable about this particular situation.
    Reply
  • 2kfire - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Haters gonna hate... Reply
  • Samus - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    people act as if Anandtech is the New York fucking Times... Reply
  • This Guy - Saturday, March 02, 2013 - link

    Na bro, if they were given a Tesla they would actually test it. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    I didn't see his blog before this email. I found it on his LinkedIn profile. Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 01, 2013 - link

    Oops, article, not email. Reply

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