As building automation systems become more common, so are wireless implementations. Wired and wireless systems have the same reliability requirements; however, wireless technology is more flexible, making it more appealing for retrofit work, according to an article in Consulting-Specifying Engineer.
While WiFi is the most well-known and most frequently specified wireless technology, it is comparatively more expensive to deploy and consumes more energy than other available technologies.
ZigBee, for example, is an IEEE 802.15.4-based wireless standard that can conveniently and affordably control a wide range of devices to improve comfort, security and convenience for consumers. Because ZigBee uses low data rates — 250 kB/sec maximum — it consumes less energy than WiFi. Unlike WiFi, which typically uses wired power, ZigBee uses battery power.
EnOcean devices, on the other hand, use energy-harvesting wireless sensor technology. With data transmission rates of 120 kB/sec, these devices use very little energy. The elimination of battery cost makes them potentially more cost effective than battery-operated systems.
Construction materials can have a significant impact on wireless performance, and since buildings materials cannot easily be changed in a renovation project, reduced battery life can be a concern.
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