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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  • Lord 666 - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    Ok Super Sleuth. On your LinkedIn, does it say you work for the CIA, NSA, or Mossad? Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    None of those.

    I'm in high school.
    Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    Oh look a new person posting reviews at Anandtech. Let's be big meanie-heads right away instead of saying hi and welcoming someone who's just getting started. That won't make them jaded or plant the seeds that cause them to feel subversively belligerent toward the readers.

    I, for one, am happy to say, "Welcome Ashu! It's great to see someone new and we look forward to reading your work in the future," even if some people are having a case of the internet grumpy-wumpies.
    Reply
  • Egg - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    I didn't comment on this article - at two in the morning - to flame, troll, deface, or hate on Anandtech. I don't think you can accuse me of that, if you look at my language. If you're somehow offended by "a bit deceptive," "I'm not sure how I feel," and "I don't see Brian Klug posting his reviews on his blog," I apologize. Yet I see far, far, worse elsewhere on this site.

    So why did I write a comment, when I should have been studying for a test the day after?

    I've been a reader of many, many, tech websites: Tom's Hardware, HardOCP, The Verge, Engadget, Silent PC Review, techpowerup, AndroidCentral... the list goes on.

    However, there's only one tech website I've continued to read - AnandTech. I read AnandTech because they have some of the most talented people in the industry, Ashu Joshi included. I read AnandTech because it lacks sensationalism and triviality. I read AnandTech because I can be sure everything, short of typos, is correct. I do consider AnandTech to be the "New York Times" of tech journalism.

    That's why I believe what is a valid point can and should be raised. Rational people can disagree on many issues, but here's a different question: isn't at least *knowing* how this article came to fruition better than not knowing? As readers who I like to think are a cut above those of other tech sites, we shouldn't simply ignore these details.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Saturday, March 2, 2013 - link

    ''I didn't comment on this article - at two in the morning - to flame, troll, deface, or hate on Anandtech''

    No one said so.

    ''I don't see Brian Klugs posting his reviews on his forum''

    Well that's maybe becuase he's not new to anandtech...

    ''I do consider AnandTech to be the "New York Times" of tech journalism. ''

    That's your perception, doesn't mean everyone thinks this way, proof of that, someone commented on the fact that this isn't the New york times.

    ''Rational people can disagree on many issues, but here's a different question: isn't at least *knowing* how this article came to fruition better than not knowing?''

    Don't think it makes that much of a difference TO ME, anandtech just gave him more visibility and now that he's working here I guess you won't see much ''duplicates'' on Ashi's blog. The knowledge you tried to add here didn't cut it. Proof of it, most of the replies you had were negatives.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Saturday, March 2, 2013 - link

    Typo error: Ashu's blog :) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 2, 2013 - link

    Just to elaborate on Galidou's response, this is pretty much the way AnandTech functions if you're ever interested in writing for us. Find something you're passionate about and write about it and send it our way. If it's on your blog, that's fine. If the article happens to be about something we haven't covered, we might talk about turning it into an article for AnandTech. As an alternative, do this in the forums and we're looking at the potential for increasing forum post visibility as well.

    Going forward, once you start writing for AnandTech, we would expect the articles to not be posted/reposted elsewhere, so if Ashu writes about LIFX next it would be an AnandTech exclusive. I don't have a blog for example where I post my AnandTech articles, though I'll sometimes link them and I definitely link them on Facebook. But of course, most of this is up to your discussions with Anand when you sign a writer's agreement...what you're willing to do may be different than what others have agreed to.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • Egg - Saturday, March 2, 2013 - link

    "No one said so."
    "Haters gonna hate..."
    And the tone of the other responses suggested so.

    "Well that's maybe becuase he's not new to anandtech..."
    So we should treat different writers with different standards depending on how long they've been writing?
    If someone working for a company for 1 year makes the same mistake as someone working for the same company for 20 years, yes, the rookie probably gets off the hook more easily. But they both get their mistakes pointed out just the same.

    "That's your perception, doesn't mean everyone thinks this way, proof of that, someone commented on the fact that this isn't the New york times."
    Yes, I realize that, that's why I mentioned my opinion that AnandTech is the New York Times of tech journalism. By saying otherwise, you're essentially saying that AnandTech shouldn't have the highest standards possible. Something which AnandTech's About page doesn't seem to support:
    "You support us by simply reading the site and we owe it to you to do the best job possible. Our loyalty is ultimately to the readership and not treating you like idiots is the first necessary step to holding up our end of the deal."

    "Proof of it, most of the replies you had were negatives."
    Voluntary response always holds tremendous bias.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - link

    That's all online journalism usually is. Plagiarism. Most blokes online don't even have degrees. People with an education get real jobs! Reply
  • Bladen - Friday, March 1, 2013 - link

    Whom is coping whom?

    Phillips, or LIFX?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/limemouse/lifx...
    Reply

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