We're designing a street light control & monitoring system, which has: solar + induction lamp. Each street light has a wireless communication modules to send/receive data to a central module, which has a GPRS module to send/receive all the data back to the server..

We're not pro at wireless so we decided to use a wireless module, which is ready made.
There are a lot of wireless modules on the market: Z-wave, Zigbee,... that make it hard for me to choose. I don't know the pros & cons of Z-wave, Zigbbe... although I've tried to read a lot, but google seems not to give me any clarification.

Can you give us some suggestions on the wireless communication solution to choose which one should I go with Z-wave or Zigbee or any others.
This is a cost sensitive project. Distance between street lights ~50m

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    \$\begingroup\$ When I was working on remote energy meters we just used a MSP430 with a 433Mhz radio for range. We looked at Zigbee but ended up just using our own mesh protocol. We needed better battery life. The TI stuff is cheap though and they have a some good software for getting started. Here's a link to their CC430 class, msp430 with built in radio ti.com/paramsearch/docs/… \$\endgroup\$ Oct 11, 2012 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your suggest, We're right now short of times & people so we cannot go with designing from scratch.. we have to find a ready to use solution.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jacksmtv
    Oct 11, 2012 at 3:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ check out this answer also \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt
    Dec 7, 2012 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


I'm designing a wireless device now and have looked through different options. Now i'm deciding what to use between two choices:

  • Sub 1GHz radio chips or modules such as RFM12B or Silabs Si4455. They are very cheap and can give a good range of about kilometer. But if your base station is, say, 2km away from one of wireless devices — it will be no link because this modules don't give you a mesh. You have to code it by yourself.
  • ZigBee modules or SoC like Atmega128RFA1 can have a higher price but give you ready to use MAC addressing and Mesh network. Mesh netwok allows you to connect two devices, which have no direct link, via third device in between of them. This allows you to build large-area wireless netwoks. Also ZigBee is known for very small power consumption.
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    \$\begingroup\$ RFM12B @ 1km ... I think that's maybe more like 150m \$\endgroup\$
    – vicatcu
    Dec 7, 2012 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ With big antenna, of course. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2012 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you go down the RFM12B route I would highly recommend taking a look over the JeeLabs JeeNode project as I have lost many many hours of my life trying to get these things up and running, they fussy sods but great when they are up and running \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2013 at 13:00

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