Zigbee PRO 2023 introduces new security mechanisms, feature enhancements
The Connectivity Standards Alliance released Zigbee PRO 2023 of the Zigbee protocol stack. The revision brings several enhancements and new features to the technology, allowing mesh networks to have a universal language that enables smart objects to work together.
Zigbee PRO 2023 expands on secure-by-design architecture by adding a number of security enhancements to address changing market needs while simplifying the user experience and extending supported bands beyond 2.4 GHz. The revision also enables Zigbee Direct, simplifying device onboarding and control utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy, a technology found in many voice assistant products and mobile devices.
The Zigbee PRO 2023 version also progresses standardization of hub-centric operations with the first phase of ‘Works with All Hubs’, a feature that improves network resiliency on a Hub-centric network by helping devices to identify the most suitable parent for securely joining and rejoining the network. Finally, the added support for sub-gigahertz frequencies for Europe (800 Mhz) and North America (900 MHZ) delivers increased signal strength and range to support even more use cases.
“After two decades, Zigbee continues to empower consumer and industrial use cases, enabling richer and more reliable connectivity for utilities, homes, industry, and buildings. With PRO 2023’s new features and security enhancements, our hundreds of members continue to evolve and increase Zigbee’s relevance and value to manufacturers, their customers, and consumers,” said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the Connectivity Standards Alliance.
Zigbee PRO 2023 security features
One of the critical components of the Zigbee PRO 2023 release is a set of feature enhancements and new security mechanisms for protecting the network during the onboarding and operation of devices to address modern-day security threats.
The key new security features include Dynamic Link Key, Device Interview, and Trust Center Swap Out. Dynamic Link Key is a significant improvement based on Public/Private key pairing and advanced security curves, further protecting the network from attacks. Device Interview technology allows users to query and filter out the devices before allowing them onto a network based on ecosystem requirements. The Trust Center Swap-Out feature allows changing out the ‘Trust Center’ which can be a gateway, hub, smart speaker, and even commercial electric meters for a network without requiring all devices to be recommissioned.
“Security always needs to evolve as new exploits and attacks are introduced. With the PRO 2023 release, Zigbee now includes several critical security features to address modern-day threats,” said Asad Haque, Chair of the Security Advisory Group, Connectivity Standards Alliance. “These enhancements utilize industry-standard cryptographic algorithms and mutual authentication to protect network security during commissioning and subsequent operation. It is great to see well-established standards like Zigbee continue to adopt the latest security technology available to deliver peace of mind to consumers.”
In addition to the security improvements, Zigbee devices built to Zigbee PRO 2023 specifications with a sufficient level of security are now able to be on the same network as Smart Energy devices, providing the exchange of important information to further improve control and use of the energy and devices.
Zigbee Certified Products can connect and communicate using the same IoT language with each other, and hundreds of millions of Zigbee products are already deployed in smart homes and buildings worldwide. Over 3,900 Zigbee products have been certified, and over a billion chipsets have been sold globally.