Building automation systems covers a wide range of sensors and actuators, and many different communication technologies are used. The benefit of wireless is obviously to avoid the cost of cabling and simplify the installation and reconfigurations of the network.
Temperature and humidity sensors are the most common, often combined into one device. Such sensors tend to be battery operated, and this must be considered when choosing the radio technology. Wireless M-Bus, KNX RF Multi, and ZigBee (end device) are all standard protocols that are very efficient in terms of battery power consumption. Proprietary protocols such as RC232 and Tinymesh (end device) can also be used to transfer different application protocols or simply UART data from a sensor.
Wireless M-Bus is used for energy meters and water meters, and is often a vital part of a Building automation system that will do energy management. Using Wireless M-Bus also for other building sensors may then share the same gateways and ease the integration.
The KNX standard is using different communication media, such as twisted pair (TP) and power line carrier (PLC), in addition to wireless. The new wireless standard is called KNX RF Multi, and uses multiple channels, frequency agility and listen before talk (LBT), to improve the reliability of the radio link.
One of the core applications for ZigBee, a communication standard based on mesh networking, is building automation, light control and HVAC.
Last Update: August 8, 2017