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Wireless sensor ICs promise longer battery life

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sensor wireless? ultralow power? IC low power?

Wireless chip specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA is readying a range of devices it suggests will set the benchmark for ultralow-power wireless sensors.

The nRF24AP2 family will initially comprise the single-channel nRF24AP2-1CH, and the more advanced 8-channel nRF24AP2-8CH chips that Nordic said will extend battery life by up to 25 percent in target small battery (coin cell up to AA) wireless sensor applications.

Nordic claimed that the devices will feature best-in-class co-existence (interference resistance), an enhanced ANT protocol stack, full ANT+ multivendor compatibility, a roadmap for AES security, and be fully backward-compatible with the company's current nRF24AP1 family of ultralow-power networking parts.

The 8-channel version is being designed for hubs with up to eight active wireless sensor channels. This will allow products like sports watches, bike computers and gym machines to connect to up eight different sensors or users simultaneously.

The proprietary ANT and ANT+ is fast establishing itself as the de-facto standard for ultralow-power sensor networks in a wide range of applications, said Thomas Embla Bonnerud, product manager for ultralow-power wireless at Nordic.

"ANT+ is currently the only true ultralow-power wireless technology that provides multivendor interoperability and already has an installed product base numbering millions of sensor nodes around the world," said Bonnerud.

Nordic said production samples and development tools for the initial parts should be available in June 2009.

The devices will incorporate Nordic's nRF24L01+ enhanced transceiver core, said to provide substantial enhancements in wideband blocking and intermodulation, plus a new frequency agility mode. This will make the nRF24P2 family highly immune to disturbance from other 2.4GHz radios like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

At the core of all nRF24AP2 range is an enhanced ANT stack implementation designed to increase performance, provide more product design feature options and further reduce unnecessary power consumption compared with the previous nRF24AP1 range.

Fully embedded AES encryption and decryption will be available as a new revision of the two parts by the end of 2009.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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