GainSpan Low-Power Embedded Wi-Fi vs ZigBee

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Of course there are other wireless technologies addressing WAN and PAN. One of the most often mentioned is ZigBee. So why should you use GainSpan Wi-Fi over ZigBee?

Well, why use an immature and proprietary solution that requires new infrastructure. Wi-Fi is a mature technology with an established and strong worldwide certification network. It is the most widely deployed WLAN technology in the world--in home, enterprise, industry, education and government. It continues to grow by double-digits year over year.

What's more, no other wireless technology is as IP friendly as Wi-Fi - which makes it instantly connectable to Web enabled services. This is not true for ZigBeeIP which requires the use of a bridge today. And, since Wi-Fi works with existing access points, it provides a lower total cost of ownership. ZigBee may have lower node costs, but it requires new infrastructure and that means higher total costs.

Wi-Fi also provides the highest bandwidth of any wireless technologies. GainSpan Wi-Fi, for example, provides up to 11 Mbps, with a fallback to 1 Mbps. ZigBee offers less than 250 kbps, with no fallback.

And when it comes to data protection, Wi-Fi provides well-proven encryption, authentication and end-to-end network security. You just can't say that about ZigBee.

GainSpan Wi-Fi


  • IP to the Embedded System
  • Forklift upgrade to ZigBee IP –
    Immature, must use bridge today
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership –
    works with existing access points
  • Lower node cost, but higher infrastructure cost – new infrastructure
  • Up to 11 Mbps, with fallback to 1 Mbps
  • < 250 kbps, no fallback
  • Easy provisioning & IT friendly
  • Unfamiliar to IT
  • Longer Range, no need for meshing
  • Shorter range, meshing required
  • Highly tested link layer encryption/authentication (WPA2, EAP, TLS/SSL)
  • Limited testing, security holes identified

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