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CSI-HO-024 – Enabling the IoT: IEEE 802.15.4 for Low-Rate Wireless Sensor Networks

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CellStream, Inc. – Telecom Consulting and Training!            

1-Day Instructor Led Hands On Lab Class
Available in either Web Based delivery as 2 x 4hr sessions or On-Site Delivery
Minimum 10 students – Maximum 20 students


What Students are saying about this class:

  • “Wireless sensor network is very important for fog/edge computing. As part of IoT development team where our customers are using fog computing with sensors etc it is important to be aware with the sensor networks.”
  • “Best parts: the Wireshark lab; the whiteboarding; and learning the characteristcs (pros/cons) of the different PHY technologies to the application.”

Course Description:

The IEEE 802.15 group focuses on wireless personal area networks (WPAN). In particular, the 802.15.4 standard specifies the MAC and physical layer that provides support for low data rate transmission with low power utilization. There are several higher level specifications that have built sensor network solutions based on 802.15.4, including ISA100.11a, MiWi, WirelessHart, Wi-SUN, and ZigBee. This means that the 802.15.4 standard underlies most of the sensor networks used in home automation, smart utility networks, and industrial control and monitoring applications.

This course details the frequency bands and channels defined in 802.15.4-2003 and 2006 and used in ZigBee sensor networks. It compares and contrasts the operational differences between a beacon-enabled network and a non-beacon enabled network. If shows how a WPAN is formed and data is sent over the data link. It also describes the MAC and physical layer enhancements defined in 802.15.4e and g that are used in industrial sensor networks ISA100.11a and WirelessHart, as well as the smart utility and metering network Wi-SUN.

The course includes lab exercises to reinforce key learnings. The lab looks at the details carried in 802.15.4 beacon and data frames. They also illustrate how 802.15.4 sensor networks are formed, and enable sensors to subsequently connect and send data. The lab exercises use the Wireshark™ packet analysis tool, but no prior knowledge of Wireshark is required. Students are expected to install the Wireshark tool prior to attending the class.

Course Objectives:

At the end of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe the evolution of the 802.15.4 specifications
  • List the different physical layers supported by 802.15.4 and .4g
  • Distinguish between the frequency bands and channels used by 802.15.4 based technologies
  • Discuss the pros and cons of using a beacon-enabled versus a non-beacon-enabled network
  • Define the addresses used by 802.15.4 to send and receive data frames
  • Understand how to establish and connect to an 802.15.4 network
  • Be familiar with the MAC and PPDU headers
  • Have insight into techniques and mechanisms used by 802.15.4 to reduce power consumption
  • Understand the enhancements added to the 802.15.4 specifications to support industrial and smart metering sensor applications


The target audience for this course is anyone in Engineering, Test, Customer Support, Technical Marketing, or even Sales and Marketing that requires an understanding of the Zigbee Protocol and seeks to comprehend the challenges of implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) as applied to their job function.

Ideal candidates are:

  • Individuals looking to understand the wireless sensor protocola enabling the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Operations individuals that will provide configuration and support services
  • Network Design Engineers that need to understand wireless low rate sensor networks
  • Network Management individuals that are providing element and network management tools
  • Technical sales individuals that must be able to correlate features with functionality
  • Technical marketing individuals that want more than just a basic understanding of sensor networks
  • Certification Track individuals that need to expand their knowledge and studies
  • Network Administrators

Course Prerequisites:

This course is designed to appeal to anyone needing the skills and knowledge of the 802.15.4 protocol or needing to understand the wireless technologies that are enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The course does not require any prior wireless knowledge. However, it is highly desirable that learners have rudimentary knowledge of networking fundamentals. Familiarity with the Wireshark packet analysis tool is also beneficial.

Course Materials:

Students will be provided with a Course Student Guide via the Online School of Network Sciences.  From here they will have access to:

  •  PDF of the course slide
  •  PDF of the course lab guide
  •  PDF of the course acronyms
  •  Online reference sites and other information sources
  •  Pre-course quiz

Related Content:

There are several related courses that explore the technical aspects of both today’s and tomorrow’s wireless networks.

Course Outline:

The course outline is detailed below. The actual outline may change slightly as the course material and labs are finalized.

Module 1 – Establishing the Groundwork
  • The 802.15.4 family of standards
  • Overview of the 802.15.4 Low Rate Wireless Personal Area Network (LR-WPAN) specifications
  • Sensor networks based on 802.15.4
Module 2 – 802.15.4 Physical layer (PHY)
  • 802.15.4-2011 frequency bands
  • 8092.15.4-2011 physical layers
  • Physical layer in the 868 and 915 MHz bands
  • Physical layer in the 2.4 GHz band
  • Demonstration: Compare and contrast 802.15.4 and 802.11 channels in the 2.4GHz band
Module 3 – 802.15.4g for Smart Utility Networks (SUN)
  • 802.15.4g requirements for smart metering
  • Frequency bands used by the utility industry
  • SUN PHY capabilities IE
  • Compare and contrast the new Multi-Rate physical layers
    • MR-FSK
    • MR-OFDM
    • MR-O-QPSK
Module 4 – 802.15.4 MAC Layer
  • PAN coordinators
  • Reduced and full functional devices
  • Non-beacon enabled networks
  • Beacon enabled networks
  • Superframe structure and guaranteed time slots
  • MAC frame format
  • Connecting to an 802.15.4 based sensor network
  • Sending data on an 802.15.4 based sensor network
  • Lab:
    • A look at the 802.15.4 beacon frame
    • A look at the 802.15.4 association process
Module 5 – 802.15.4e MAC layer enhancements to support industrial environments
  • General MAC enhancements
  • Enhanced beacons
  • Header and payload information elements
  • Multipurpose frames
  • Fast Association (FastA)
  • New MAC behavior modes
    • DSME
    • TSCH

Course Availability:

Contact us for schedule dates and times.

View the course calendar and browse for our schedule.


Course Description, Content, Outline, and Instructional Design are Copyright ©CellStream, Inc.


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