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Sub-GHz ICs wider wireless range in IoT apps

Posted: 13 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IoT? EZRadio? EZRadioPRO?

Silicon Labs launched a series of wireless ICs that operates in the sub-GHz band, with support for different protocols including IEEE 802.15.4/4g, Wireless M-Bus and Wi-SUN. The devices claim to provide an industry-leading power efficiency, wireless range and flexibility for a range of IoT applications such as wireless sensor networks, industrial M2M communication, remote controls, security systems and smart meters.

The EZRadio and EZRadioPRO families boast the highest levels of RF performance, with transmit output power of up to 20dBm for EZRadioPRO, sensitivity of -116dBm and -133dBm, and link budget of 153dB. The provide standby current of 40nA with memory retention, and said to only consume up to 75 per cent less in sleep mode current than competing solutions. Each device includes a patent-pending signal arrival detector that reduces the average receiver current by detecting a signal faster than traditional sub-GHz receivers, effectively increasing the battery life for various applications.

Featuring a high-efficiency integrated power amplifier (PA) consuming only 18mA at 10dBm, the sub-GHz radios can operate on a single coin cell battery, considered to be well-suited for smart meter designs that require long-range and up to 20-year battery lifetime.

Si4x55 EZRadio transceivers, transmitters and receivers provide wireless connectivity solutions for basic "push-button" applications such as remote controls for set-top boxes, bidirectional key fobs and garage door openers. Configurations include simple point-to-point or star networks with standard packet formats. Covering the 283MHz to 525MHz and 850MHz to 960MHz frequency bands, the devices promise to provide excellent communication range for indoor applications. They are housed in a 3mm x 3mm package, a size suitable for any space-constrained wireless design.

Meanwhile, Si4x6x EZRadioPRO family is equipped with advanced features, higher RF performance and a wider range of protocol options. It is designed for ultra-long-range, narrowband applications using complex, advanced packet formats and network protocols. According to Silicon Labs, the PRO version meets stringent regulatory and standards compliance requirements including FCC part 90 Mask D, ETSI Category-I, ARIB T108, Wireless M-Bus and IEEE 802.15.4/4g options.

While many high-performance RF ICs can be difficult to configure, Silicon Labs said it has simplified sub-GHz wireless design with its GUI-based wireless development Suite, where developers can simply select from predefined, optimised example code, or they can easily set up their own customised configurations. The software is available for free and can be downloaded from the company's website.

Samples and production quantities of the wireless ICs are available, with prices for the Si4x55 EZRadio family starting at $1.02 in 10,000-unit quantities, and Si4x6x EZRadioPRO at $1.10.

EZRadio and EZRadioPRO

Silicon Labs' multi-protocol sub-GHz wireless ICs.

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