3 Top Zigbee modules : Reviews, Comparisons to develop your 802.15.4 based IOT application faster

Includes reviews & comparisons of Zigbee modules from Microchip and NXP. These are the best Zigbee modules for developing your IoT prototype


Why we are still comparing Zigbee modules ? That’s because Zigbee modules are still very important for IOT applications such as smart metering and home automation

Despite the recent interest in 6LoWPAN and the popularity of the Zigbee wireless protocol, the Zigbee Vs 6LoWPAN debate has no winners yet. Most of all,the key advantage for Zigbee are the mature Zigbee modules from major hardware suppliers. The Zigbee modules help to reduce development time for the IOT application.

Comparison of the top Zigbee modules for your wireless IOT projects

Zigbee Module Name Manufacturer Comparison why this Zigbee module is so cool
MRF24J40MD-I/RM Microchip This Zigbee module is just a transceiver, but works with any PIC microcontroller. Has great compliance to Zigbee standards and bands across the world.
ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module Formerly, Atmel, Now Microchip This Zigbee module is a combination of the ATmega256RFR2 SoC and the AVR 8-bit microcontroller. High data rates upto 2MBps
JN5168-001-M05 NXP Upto 6 km range (can you believe this?). Includes the NXP JN5168 wireless microcontroller

Read on for a more detailed comparison of these Zigbee modules

1MRF24J40MD-I/RM Zigbee Module from Microchip : Definitely more than just a transceiver

Firstly, it is probably not fair to compare this Zigbee module to the others. It is just a transceiver (ok..much more that) and does not have a microcontroller. It also includes an antenna.

Zigbee Certification

In addition, it has Zigbee certification from FCC, IC, R&TTE and also standards for Australia & New Zealand. This high level of modular compliance is offered by very few Zigbee modules

This Zigbee module is compatible with PIC microcontroller

Further, MRF24J40MD-I/RM is compatible to the Microchip PIC microcontroller. The PIC microcontroller is arguably the most popular microcontroller family in the world.

Why you should consider this Zigbee module

In conclusion, MRF24J40MD-I/RM is a great option if you are a fan of PIC microcontrollers.

2ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module from Atmel(now part of Microchip): High data rates

The ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module is a Zigbee module from Atmel(now part of Microchip). Before getting into the details, lets talk about what’s cool about this Zigbee module. The high data rates (from 1Mbps to 2 Mbps) sets a high bar for Zigbee modules from other manufacturers.

What this Zigbee module from Atmel (now part of Microchip) contains :
  • ATmega256RFR2 SOC: This Atmel (Now, Microchip) SOC contains a 8-bit AVR microcontroller and a transceiver for the 2.4 GHZ band
  • An antenna is included, so you dont need to purchase an external antenna. This antenna is tuned for this module from Atmel for easy integration.
  • Another unique feature for this Atmel (Now part of Microchip) Zigbee module is a MS-147 RF connector- this enables speedy RF design implementation

Both ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module and MRF24J40MD-I/RM are now part of Microchip. As seen above, the provision of a transceiver in the module sets the ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module (noapart from the MRF24J40MD-I/RM Zigbee module in terms of Zigbee module feature comparison

Summary : A great Zigbee module

In conclusion, the ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module is a great option is you are looking at fast RF development and a application with high data rates.

3JN5168-001-M05 from NXP : Tremendous RF range and enablement of quick RF designs

The JN5168-001-M05 module is a nifty Zigbee module supporting the IEEE 802.15.4 standard.

Fantastic Range

This Zigbee module from NXP has a fantastic range – from 2km to 6km. This is enabled by an external 2DBi antenna, that is provided with the module.

Fantastic 32-bit Risc microcontroller

Unlike the 8-bit microcontroller provided by the Atmel (now part of Microchip) ATmega256RFR2-ZigBit-Wireless-Module, the JN5168 is a 32-bit RISC microcontroller.

This Zigbee module has large memory

An EEPROM is included with 100k possible write operations

Conclusion: In comparison to other Zigbee modules in the market, the JN5168-001-M05 Zigbee module from NXP is one the best alternatives for your IEEE 802.15.4 application.

The superior MCU, the large memory and the RF readiness makes the JN5168-001-M05 a great Zigbee module from NXP.Incidentally, this module is the winner of the Editor’s award for the best Zigbee module


  1. hi,
    NXP JN5168-001-M05 zigbee module is awesome. How can we measure the battery range???
    Either By Command or By using Other external Circuits..Pls tell me guys..


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