Design Con 2015

Making Zigbee wireless modules smaller, cheaper, better

June 14, 2006

Bernard Cole-June 14, 2006

Moscow, Russia - MeshNetics is working with Atmel on an half inch square IEEE802.15.4/ZigBee OEM module that it claims is half the size of comparable products, opening up the way to lower cost, more portable and easier to use implementations of the wireless control network technology.

According to Vasiliy Suvorov, Managing Director and CTO of Meshnetics, as the IEEE802.15.4/ZigBee market grows, OEMs fuel demand for IEEE802.15.4/ZigBee modules and single chips. "Developers are faced with a choice in wireless connectivity implementation: either add a module to the system, or integrate a single chip to the board circuitry," he said.

"The module approach offers numerous advantages. The module already contains the complex RF design with the necessary passive components included, freeing the OEM from the time-consuming development. The manufacturer can instead focus on its core business without the need of having an RF expertise."

Measuring 1.88cm x 1.35cm (0.74" x 0.53"), the Zigbit  module is based on an 802.15.4 hardware platform being developed by Atmel. It is supported by MeshNetics software containing the company's eZeeNet networking stack software, based on IEEE802.15.4 MAC layer and is ZigBee network capable.

Suvorov said the eZeeNet stack allows the module-based wireless sensor devices to form self-healing, self-organizing mesh networks that are widely used in industrial monitoring, HVAC control, automatic meter reading, and more. A power-management feature, included in eZeeNet stack, is crucial, he said, in extending the battery life of wireless devices.

 The ZigBit module will have three antenna options, i.e. integrated chip antenna, antenna connector, and balanced RF output for use with the PCB antenna. An evaluation kit, to be available next month, will contain interface boards, accessories, and software package, including network configuration tools and a sample data acquisition application.

The ZigBit module will have three antenna options, i.e. integrated chip antenna, antenna connector, and balanced RF output for use with the PCB antenna. The Evaluation Kit will contain interface boards, accessories, and software package, including network configuration tools and a sample data acquisition application.

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