Configuring Zigbee in nRF Connect SDK

This page describes what is needed to start working with Zigbee in nRF Connect SDK.

Required libraries and drivers

Zigbee requires the following modules to properly operate in nRF Connect SDK:

  • ZBOSS Zigbee stack available in nrfxlib, with the OSIF subsystem acting as the linking layer between the ZBOSS stack and nRF Connect SDK. OSIF implements a series of functions used by ZBOSS and is included in the nRF Connect SDK’s Zigbee subsystem. The files that handle the OSIF integration are located in nrf/subsys/zigbee/osif.

  • IEEE 802.15.4 radio driver - This library is automatically enabled when working with Zigbee on Nordic Semiconductor’s Development Kits.

Mandatory configuration

To use the Zigbee protocol, set the CONFIG_ZIGBEE Kconfig option. Setting this option enables all the peripherals required for the correct operation of the Zigbee protocol and allows you to use them.

After that, you have to define the Zigbee device role for the Zigbee application or sample by setting one of the following Kconfig options:

Setting any of these options enables the respective ZBOSS role library. This is needed because End Devices use different libraries than Routers and Coordinators.

For instructions about how to set Kconfig options, see Configuring your application.

Sleepy End Device behavior

The Sleepy End Device (SED) behavior is a Zigbee stack feature that enables the sleepy behavior for the end device.

By default, the end device regularly polls its parent for data. When the SED behavior is enabled and no frames are available for reception after the last poll, the SED disables its radio until the next scheduled poll. The Zigbee stack’s own scheduler informs the application about periods of time when nothing is scheduled for any of the device roles. This allows the stack to enter the sleep state during these periods, which also powers off some peripherals for the SED.

When the Zigbee stack thread goes to sleep, the Zigbee thread can enter the suspend state for the same amount of time as the stack’s sleep. The thread will be automatically resumed after the sleep period is over or on an event.

In the Zigbee samples in nRF Connect SDK, the sleepy behavior can be triggered by pressing a predefined button when the device is booting. This action results in calling the ZBOSS API that activates this feature. See the light switch sample for a demonstration.


This feature does not require enabling any additional options in Kconfig.

Power saving during sleep

With the sleepy behavior enabled, the unused part of RAM memory is powered off, which allows to lower the power consumption even more. The sleep current of MCU can be lowered to about 1.8 uA by completing the following steps:

  1. Turn off UART by setting CONFIG_SERIAL to n.

  2. Enable Zephyr’s tickless kernel by setting CONFIG_TICKLESS_KERNEL to y.

  3. For current measurements for nRF52840 DK board (PCA10056) - see Working with nRF52 Series or nRF52833 DK board (PCA10100) - see Working with nRF52 Series, set SW6 to nRF ONLY position to get the desired results.

Optional configuration

After enabling the Zigbee protocol and defining the Zigbee device role, you can enable additional options in Kconfig and modify ZBOSS stack start options.

You can enable the following additional configuration options:

ZBOSS stack start options

Zigbee is initialized after Zephyr’s kernel start. The ZBOSS stack can be started using one of the following options:

The dedicated thread can be configured using the following options:

Custom logging per module

Logging is handled with the CONFIG_LOG option. This option enables logging for both the stack and Zephyr’s Logging API.

Stack logs

The stack logs are independent from Zephyr’s Logging API. To customize them, use the following options:

The stack logs are provided in a binary (hex dump) format.

Zephyr’s logger options

Zephyr’s Logging starts with the default ERR logging level (only errors reported). This level is used by default by the application.

You can configure custom logger options for each Zigbee and ZBOSS module. To do this, configure the related Kconfig option for one or more modules that you want to customize the logging for:

For each of the modules, you can set the following logging options:

  • LOG_LEVEL_OFF - Turns off logging for this module.

  • LOG_LEVEL_ERR - Enables logging only for errors.

  • LOG_LEVEL_WRN - Enables logging for errors and warnings.

  • LOG_LEVEL_INF - Enables logging for informational messages, errors, and warnings.

  • LOG_LEVEL_DBG - Enables logging for debug messages, informational messages, errors, and warnings.

For example, setting CONFIG_ZBOSS_TRACE_LOG_LEVEL_INF will enable logging of informational messages, errors, and warnings for the ZBOSS Trace module.