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800/900MHz RF transceiver eyes low-power wireless apps

Posted: 13 Jun 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Zigbee? wireless application? RF transceiver?

Atmel Corp. has released the AT86RF212 800/900MHz IEEE 802.15.4 RF transceiver for low power wireless applications, including Zigbee.

The AT86RF212 has a link budget of up to120dB in the 800MHz and 900MHz ISM bands available in Europe and North America, respectively. The link budget is the result of the -110dBm sensitivity offered by the device and the maximum output power of +10dBm. The extremely high link budget combined with the reduced path loss in the 800/900 MHz enables long-range wireless communication without the use of costly external LNA or PA.

Designing products with the AT86RF212 chipset enables battery-operated devices to run for many years on a single battery because of the AT86RF212's low current consumption in both active and in sleep mode. The current consumption in receive mode is 9mA and the consumption in transmit is 17mA at a power output level of 5dBm. The sleep mode current consumption is down to 0.2?A.

"Selecting a 800/900MHz radio chip for your wireless applications gives you a range benefit of nearly 3 times compared to a 2.4GHz device due to the reduced path loss on the lower frequencies," said Magnus Pedersen, director of wireless MCU product marketing at Atmel. "Adding the benefit of the extremely high link budget of the AT86RF212, the device outperforms most solutions available in the industry today by as much as 10 times the range. This has been confirmed by initial range tests performed by our partner MeshNetics, showing an outdoor range of about 6km without the use of any external LNA's or PA's," he added.

To support the wide range of wireless applications requested by the market, AT86RF212 handles multiple data rates. The 20/40Kbit/s and 100/250Kbit/s supported by the device is compliant to IEEE 802.15.4-2006. High-speed data rates such as 200/400/1000Kbit/s are also supported enabling wireless applications demanding more bandwidth.

In addition, security is handled by an AES 128bit onboard hardware engine. The security engine improves the overall system power efficiency and timing. The stand-alone 128bit AES engine can be accessed in parallel to all PHY operational transactions and states using the SPI interface. Atmel wireless solution is made of radio devices and MCUs such as AVR offering a combination of performance and low power consumption required for such applications. A set of firmware and applications notes has also been prepared for AT86RF212 to shorten time to market for the Atmel customers. This includes low-level drivers for simple wireless applications, IEEE 802.15.4 MAC for standard compliant solutions as well as solutions for Zigbee. Updated firmware and documentation are available from the web pages of Atmel and partners.

Samples of the new AT86RF212 are available now in Pb-free QFN32 packages, measuring 5mm x 5mm. Pricing starts at $3.21 in 10,000-piece quantities.

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