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I'm working on project that lets industrial machines communicate to each other wirelessly. It seems that Zigbee at 868MHz is the best choice (if you have any other suggestion it would be great), considering range ad penetration capabilities.

Recently I've been asked if it could be easier to communicate over radio waves and create on top of it an ad hoc protocol, instead of buying Xbees modules which are expensive. That would allow me to buy cheaper radio modules.

I don't have much experience in radio communication and protocols, but it sounds complicated to me.

What do you think? Does it make any sense? Thanks!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're selling in Europe you probably need to comply to an ETSI.org standard, such as EN 300 220-1 which is freely available. It has timing requirements which dictate aspects of the protocol as well as power and bandwidth requirements. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Aug 4 '15 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Industrial solution are not cheap (robustness, ruggedness, reliability, redundance and safety need to be guaranteed). It might help other posters if you specify how many machines and how far they are from each other. I guess you already ruled out wirelessHART (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WirelessHART) based on price? \$\endgroup\$ – Sredni Vashtar Nov 5 '15 at 13:17
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One of the disadvantage associated with zigbee modules for communication is the high cost. Moreover Zigbee is intended for short range.

Radio links are the cheapest and long range solutions. NRF24L01 is one such radio link solution. NRF24L01 comprises 2Mbps RF transceiver IC for the 2.4GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) band. Extremely low power and reliable. I have once worked with these modules and result was good. I recommend you to search for the latest version.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Aren't these modules limited to only six on the same sensor net? \$\endgroup\$ – Sredni Vashtar Nov 5 '15 at 13:10
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If you want to create a proprietor RF protocol for 868MHz then you could look at this: http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/SimpleLink-EasyLink

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