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Coin cell transceiver targets short-distance wireless

Posted: 12 Jun 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:millennial net? coin cell transceiver? i-bean 5000?

Millennial Net Inc. is betting its latest coin cell transceiver will accelerate the proliferation of short-distance, low-data rate wireless networks.

The dime-sized i-Bean 5000 transceiver will operate 10 years on a coin cell battery with an update of once per second. "It is self-organizing, self-configuring in a wireless net," said Tod Riedel, Millennial Net's president and CEO.

The IEEE802.15.4 standard defines the physical layer for short-distance wireless networks - in this case 115Kbps over 30m - Millennial defines the protocol, said Riedel. Repeaters will extend the network beyond 30m.

Network topologies that are configurable on the fly include a "star structure" linked to a central basestation, a "total mesh" structure and a hybrid "star-mesh" structure. The star structure is widely used in hospitals for patient monitoring, Riedel said, while the total mesh structure has been implemented in home meter reading systems, where the meter reader moves from house-to-house reading outside meters.

By targeting building information systems, meter reading, security and remote health monitoring, Millennial Net may achieve a toehold in an industry automation infrastructure whose upgrade will be worth as much as $115B, according to the ARC Advisory Group. Co-founded by Riedel, MIT professor Sokwoo Rhee and Raytheon engineer Sheng Liu, the start-up was self-funded for the first two years beginning in 2000. Its first round funding, $6M from investors like General Catalyst Partners, Kodiak Venture Partners and Globespan Capital Partners, came in 2002, Riedel said.

Millennial Net utilizes a variety of ISM band radio technologies, including 315MHz and 2.4GHz. Hardware suppliers include ChipCon.

Millennial Net applies protocols that allow the micro-power narrowband sensors to form self-organizing wireless networks. The i-Bean sensors communicate with each other and other control devices without human intervention. The new i-Bean 5000 is effectively a remote data acquisition system. It includes an 8-channel ADC, 2 DACs, 8 digital I/O channels and 2 pulse-width modulated channels.

- Stephan Ohr

EE Times

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