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Daemon to control a network of XBee devices through TCP
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XBee/ZigBee daemon

xbee-controller is a daemon to control a network of XBee/ZigBee radio devices through TCP/IP. The binary protocol is decoded into JSON messages.

Synopsis [-d /dev/ttyUSBx] [-v] listen_addr ...

-d /dev/ttyUSBx      Connect to specified device
-v                   Verbose

listen_addr:         A set of one or more listening host:port pairs.
ipv6:                :::7862
ipv6:                [::]:7862

The daemon opens the specified device (/dev/ttyUSBx) which is expected to be an XBee radio modem such as these:

with a USB interface, configured as a Coordinator and using the binary (API) protocol as opposed to the text-based AT protocol.

The daemon will listen on one or more specified host/port pairs. Any packets received on the XBee network will be decoded and transmitted in JSON format to all connected clients.

A connected client can send a JSON message to the server, and the server will transmit that packet out over the local XBee network.

JSON message format

The JSON message for a packet received over the XBee network looks like this:

{"payload":{"data":"TMP1 T 28.00000269B9E9 01DE\r\n","options":1,"sender16":63874,"sender64_h":1286656,"sender64_l":1081049161,"type":144},"time_s":1416047469,"time_u":269406,"type":"receivePacket"}

Let's go through the data structure item by item.

"type": "receivePacket",         This message type. Others include: ATResponse, modemStatus, nodeIdentificationIndicator, ...
"time_s": 1416047469,            Time the message was received in seconds
"time_u": 269406,                Time the message was received, microseconds portion
"payload": {                     The received message's contents

    "data": "...",               The received data frame
    "options": 1,                XBee packet options
    "sender16": 63874,           16-bit sender address (in decimal)
    "sender64_h": 1286656,       High-order 32 bits of the 64-bit sender address (in decimal),
    "sender64_l": 1081049161,    Low-order 32 bits of the 64-bit sender address (in decimal),
    "type": 144                  Frame type 0x90, "ZigBee Receive Packet"

Sending a packet over the XBee network


Breaking down the data structure again:

"type": "transmitRequest",       Request to transmit a frame
"time_s": 1416049321,            Seconds, as above (supplied by daemon)
"time_u": 702500,                Microseconds, as above (supplied by daemon)
"payload": {                     The frame to be transmitted
    "data": "...",                   Data portion of the frame
    "dest16": 65534,                 0xfffe means we don't know the short 16-bit destination device address
    "dest64_h": 1286656,             0x0013a200 the high-order 32 bits of the destination address
    "dest64_l": 1080068162,          0x40608842 the low-order 32 bits of the destination address
    "frame_id: 253,                  Frame sequence number (increment per frame sent)
    "options": 0,                    Transmit frame options
    "radius:" 0                      How many hops are permitted

A client sending a "transmitRequest" packet can expect a "transmitStatus" response with the delivery_status and discovery_status of the request. If the recipient node could be found then remote_address is provided, to be used as the dest16 in future transmissions.


The ZigBee protocol is defined by Digi International Inc. There have been several variants of the XBee/ZigBee protocol implemented.

The documentation homepage is

Where specification differences exist, this library implements the protocol in document 90000976_G dated 11/15/2010.

The current specification looks like

Writing a client

See perldoc for module XBee::Client for this. The synopsis is:

  $xcl = XBee::Client->new($server_address);

  $packet = $xcl->receivePacket($timeout);

  if ($packet && $packet->isData()) {
    my $contents = $packet->data();


  $packet = $xcl->readPacket();

  if (! $packet) {
    $data_pending = $xcl->poll($timeout);

    if ($data_pending) {
      $packet = $xcl->readPacket();
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