Basic Xbee Terminology / Versions??

Pardon the Newbie question, but I've been looking at this stuff for 2 days and I'm still confused about terminology:

Xbee "Series 1" "Series 2" "series 2.5" (Discontinued at Sparkfun) "Pro"

Photos on different sites have (or do NOT have) "Version II", "Pro" etc. I don't think I can rely on those photos....

If I want decent range and simple mostly-point-to-point capability, which do I want?? I THINK maybe "Series 1" 60mw version??? Is this the "Pro"?

IF I wanted to do some more complex Mesh network stuff, which types of units??

Any pointers appreciated. The Digi site does not really explain this.... I'd like to map this stuff to the Digi part numbers...


The Series designation refers to the type of radio - either point-to-point (Series 1) or mesh-network (Series 2/2.5).

The photos on Sparkfun's site are useless - they are just generic pictures.

The Pro versions are higher range versions, and consume (a lot) more power.

The final distinguishing feature is the antenna type - chip, wire, or external (two different kinds).

All the details can be found on digi's site -

Indeed it is way confusing. Correct, you cannot rely on the photos, even the ones on Digi's site. This page and this page are slightly helpful.

If you don't need to go a mile or so, just get the low power modules. These are called "XBee ZB low power ZigBee modules". These are the current "S2" models and there are four part numbers depending on the antenna option. The "Pro" models have more range and a couple more features, but of course require more power. I have only used the current S2 low power modules, indeed I have only used a single part number, XB24-Z7WIT-004. These will do almost anything the Pro models will, including mesh networking. For all the confusion, they are very cool and easy to use. Hook them up and they just basically work and all the networking business is just done for you. Range is fine for around the house. I've walked around the yard with one just once and didn't run out of range. But that's one advantage of mesh networking, traffic can be relayed by intermediate nodes.

The S1 and S2.5 are prior models, not sure if you can find them still, I see posts that advocate their use, but quite frankly I don't see a reason not to go with the current crop. They work great and are easy to use. I've found the best price to be direct from Digi, $17 for the low power modules.

Digi makes another line called XBee DigiMesh 2.4 which use a proprietary protocol. These are not compatible with the XBee ZB line. Have not looked into them, as the ZBs work just fine for me and I'd just as soon use the open standard.

I started with Robert Faludi's book. This is a really fast read that got me up to speed in a hurry. Also be sure to download the datasheet from Digi. That link is from this page.

Finally, start by playing with AT mode (a.k.a. transparent operation) but to do anything halfway serious at all, learn to use API mode along with Andrew Rapp's library which works just super for me. Also you'll need Digi's X-CTU utility. Finally, adapters from Adafruit or Sparkfun might come in handy for configuring and breadboarding the modules.

Hope this helps. Believe me I feel your pain trying to suss this all out. Well worth the learning curve though, I'm still just amazed by these little guys. Feel free to ping me if I can be of further assistance.

Wow. Paul and J, thanks a lot for your time and help. It's becoming a lot clearer!

When I get this figured out I'll put up a page that has the Digi PART NUMBERS and descriptions.

Lotta smart, nice people around here!

You bet, glad to help. Nothing really all that difficult, it's more one of those situations where it seems they went out of their way to make the information hard to find! ;) A nice concise summary/overview would go a long way.

I have to second the recommendation for the Faludi book - it’s great.

Another good explanation of the different series is here:

jgalak: ... Another good explanation of the different series is here:

@jgalak thanks for that pointer! I missed it when I saw the "V2 has been retired, look in the description for any possible replacements" on Sparkfun.

This "XBee Introduction and Buying Guide" is very well done and covers most of the considerations...

OK, I'll get going on these and also try to find a good price on the China street.....

Lots of good advice in this thread. Thank you.