Create a chain network with Digi XBee modules

XBee is a fantastic tool to send and receive messages over the air to different devices compatible with the XBee protocol. Unfortunately, only the most basic things are covered in the official guide, excluding key aspects of working with this devices.

A “Chain” Network

Digimesh XBee picture
DigiMesh XBee

This article covers the definition and basic setup of a “chain” network. That’ll be perfect to get you started in these situations where you might have to work out a kind of communications solution but you haven’t decided yet for a particular method. The idea of a “chain network” is a bunch of devices able to pass information from one to another until that piece of information reaches the end of the chain (its final destination).

That basically means that as long as two contiguous devices can communicate with each other, they can pass the information to the following chain link. However, some conditions apply, as, among other things, buffers are not infinite, and neither are the available processing resources.

XBee types and firmware

There are various kinds of XBee modules but only two of them are appropriate to the occasion: the Xbee S1, and the XBee Digimesh. (Xbee S2 is not a valid device for this particular case of network).

Regarding the firmware, if you are using the Digimesh model, you should update it and you are ready-to-go! But if you, as me, are using the XBee S1 you need to slightly change the software flashed on the chip to take full advantage of the Digimesh network capabilities.











Aerospace Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer. My dream is to work for a leading company in the aerospace field to develop projects that can make the world a better place; improving people's life, safety, and comfort. I am interested in Aerospace Engineering, big data, CFD, photography, automatic control, maths and electronics.

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