zigbee vs xbee vs pro vs mesh ??

I'm confused.

What is the real difference between Xbee and Zigbee? Is Xbee a Zigbee implementation?

What is Zigbee Pro?

Which versions have mesh capabilities? Can someone clear the air?

Also, what alternatives are there to Xbee? Does anyone else make inexpensive models/chipsets that are interesting?

ZigBee and XBee are the same thing.

The ZigBee radios come in several styles. The are Series 1 and Series 2 radios. There are regular and Pro versions of each series. There are 3 different antenna choices for each of the 4 styles.

The Series 1 radios are generally used for point-to-point networking. That is, each radio is configured to talk to one or more other radios (generally one), and to listen to one or more other radios (generally one). They do not form multi-path networks well.

The Series 2 radios are for mesh networking. They may be usable as point-to-point radios, but I couldn’t get three to talk to each other. One could listen to a bunch of others, and the others could talk to that one, but I could not get two-way communication to work. You might have better luck.

ZigBees are not the only choice for radios, but they are the only ones I know of that allow direct connection of input and output devices (sensors, motors, LEDs, etc.) and they are the only ones that try to assure that all messages get through un-garbled). They implement a protocol, similar to TCP/IP that enables them to communicate the success or failure to receive a packet, with checksum processing, and re-transmission in the event of a failure.

With other radios, you will need to implement these features yourself, if you need them. And, you probably do, or you wouldn’t be sending data back and forth.

Thanks. That helps a lot. I think my confusion was between Series 1 and Series 2. Pro appears to be an Xbee thing with more transmission power.

I’ll go get some Series 2 boards and get crackin.