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ANT transceivers cut peak current up to 20%

Posted: 15 Jul 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:transceiver? wireless? sensor?

Nordic Semiconductor ASA and ANT Wireless have released the nRF24AP2 2.4GHz ANT single and eight-channel transceivers, the first two products in the next generation nRF24AP2 ANT single chip wireless solution family from the companies.

The nRF24AP2 platform delivers higher functionality, lower power and reduced cost. The low peak and average current that they allow enables the development of applications previously not possible because of battery power or cost constraints. The single-channel nRF24AP2-1CH is suitable for a wide range of simple wireless sensoring applications in the sports, medical, industrial and home networking sectors. Application examples include monitoring and reporting of: heart rate, speed and distance, bike power and cadence, blood pressure, blood glucose, temperature, pressure, and humidity. The 8-channel nRFAP2-8CH is specifically designed for ANT hubs with up to eight active wireless sensor channels. This will allow, for example, products such as sports watches or bike and gym machine computers to connect with up to eight different sensors, or users, simultaneously.

Thomas Embla Bonnerud, product manager for ultralow power wireless at Nordic said, "Compared to our previous generation nRF24AP1 solution, the nRF24AP2 provides major enhancements in terms of performance, power consumption and ANT features. On top of that, the new nRF24AP2 product variants will be competitively priced even lower than the current nRF24AP1."

Brian Macdonald, director of ANT Wireless, added, "The AP2 family represents a quantum leap forward in single chip, ultralow power wireless connectivity solutions. By combining Nordic's superior nRF24L01+ transceiver core and next generation ANT technology we offer industry-leading optimization, ANT+ interoperability and ground-breaking wireless capabilities. This will enable applications previously limited by cost and power restrictions to embrace wireless connectivity. The nRF24AP2 will single-handedly extend reliable wireless interoperability to thousands of existing and new products that must use small batteries and yet need a long battery life."

Improved power, performance
The nRF24AP2 family reduces peak current by more than 20 percent compared to the nRF24AP1 (down to 17mA for the nRF24AP2 from 22mA for the nRF24AP1), yielding an extremely valuable extra power margin when working with small coin cell batteries. Average operating currents are expected to be reduced by up to 75 percent enabling a similar extension in typical battery operating lifetimes. These performance figures position the nRF24AP2 ANT family as the new industry benchmark for ULP, single chip wireless sensor applications.

The nRF24AP2 takes also advantage of Nordic's latest nRF24L01+ transceiver core, which provides a range of benefits including substantial enhancements in wideband blocking and intermodulation as well as 5dB of extra sensitivity compared to the nRF24AP1. This makes the nRF24P2 family even more highly immune to disturbance from other 2.4GHz radios like Bluetooth wireless technology and Wi-Fi operating in the vicinity, resulting to fewer retransmits and lost packets in noisy RF operating environments.

At the core of all nRF24AP2 family chips is an improved ANT protocol stack implementation that includes several enhancements designed to increase performance and further reduce unnecessary power consumption compared to the previous nRF24AP1 range. It also features several new ANT features, including support for up to eight channels allowing more sensors to be connected to one hub at the same time. Proximity search allows master nodes to be acquired according to their proximity to the search device. This enables the implementation of pairing by proximity schemes, further enhancing and simplifying the end-user experience with ANT. Frequency agility channel feature that lets an ANT channel use several RF channels and will hop between them if significant degradation is detected. This will provide additional robustness in environments with heavy inference from, for example, Wi-Fi. Continuous Scanning Mode is a new mode enabling star networked topologies with very low latency.

In addition, all the nRF24AP2 solutions are fully interoperable (i.e. 100 percent backward compatible) with existing Nordic nRF24AP1 ANT chipset implementations that are either currently in production or already installed in the field. This will enable existing nRF24AP1 customers to both expand existing product ranges with the new nRF24AP2 chips, and/or phase out the use of the nRF24AP1, without having to worrying about interoperability issues.

The nRF24AP2 is based on a more cost efficient silicon platform that nRF24AP1 enabling both the single-channel and 8-channel nRF24AP2 to be priced lower than the nRF24AP1. The single-channel nRF24AP2-1CH is a cost optimized and flexible product specifically designed to be used for a wide range of sensors. Combined with different host microcontrollers it provides a low cost, ultralow-power solution for everything from simple sensors like bike cadence to more complex sensors like heart rate monitors and blood glucose monitors.

The eight-channel nRF24AP2-8CH is an advanced and flexible product specifically designed for ANT hubs. Supporting up to eight channels and without compromising power consumption, it enables devices like sports watches, bicycle computer and gym machines computers, for example, to connect to up to eight sensors simultaneously.

Samples and development tools are available now. Pricing is $1.8 and $2.1 for 50K shipments of nRF24AP2-1CH and nRF24AP2-8CH, respectively.

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