Atmel brings phase-differencing to wireless sensors - Embedded.com

Atmel brings phase-differencing to wireless sensors

Atmel Corp . has implemented a new phase differencing technique for use in MCU based IEEE 802.15.4 wireless sensor networks to accurately measure the distance between two radios.

As implemented in its new AT86RF233 2.4GHz radio transceiver, the “ranging” technique uses the measurement of phase differences between radio signals and enables items to be tracked within a wireless network for industrial and consumer applications.

According to Oyvind Strom, Sr. Director of Wireless Solutions, Atmel Corp., phase measurement is a less complex technology than current distance measurement technologies available on the market today, with similar measurement accuracy and lower overall system cost.

“Many of today’s applications for wireless networks come with the inherent need to determine the location of the individual nodes within a network to keep installation and maintenance costs low,” he said.

“The capability to determine the distance between any two nodes within a wireless sensor network is the reason for implementing positioning and localization solutions.” While GPS is very successful outdoor, it cannot support indoor applications efficiently.”

Other approaches, such as RSSI, Chirp and UWB methods for radio-based distance are suitable for niche applications, either compromising performance or significantly complex which ultimately drive the cost-per-node much higher.

“In this era of the Internet of Things, we are seeing an increase of smart, connected devices within the wireless networks,” said Strom. “This new phase-difference technology can be used to determine the position of nodes within a network to help address these demanding requirements.”

Atmel AT86RF233 transceivers are available now  as are software evaluation kits.

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