Chandler, Ariz. – Microchip Technology Inc. has released two additions to its IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee portfolio for short-range, low-data-rate embedded wireless networking. The MRF24J40MB is Microchip's second 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency (RF), surface-mountable transceiver module. On the software side, Microchip's ZigBee Pro protocol stack targets IEEE 802.15.4-based wireless networks using Microchip's PIC MCUs.
The combination of Microchip's ZigBee PRO stack, the MRF24J40 transceiver radio or transceiver modules, and any of its 16-bit PIC24 MCUs or dsPIC33 DSCs forms Microchip's ZigBee PRO Compliant Platform, as certified by the ZigBee Alliance.
The MRF24J40MB module adds +20 decibels per milliwatt (dBm) of transmit power via an integrated Power Amplifier (PA) and -102 dBm of receive sensitivity via the integrated Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) to the IEEE 802.15.4 compliant transceiver, PCB antenna and discrete matching circuitry. More transmit power allows designers to expand the range of their IEEE 802.15.4-based ZigBee or proprietary-protocol wireless networks.
The module approach eliminates RF design time, expertise and expense, while accelerating time to market and mitigating development risk. This module is pending agency certification, which is another time and cost savings measure that adds value for the adopter.
The ZigBee PRO Compliant Platform, consisting of the ZigBee PRO stack and the 16-bit family of PIC microcontrollers, is designed to allow customers to quickly and easily develop ZigBee wireless networks for the new Smart Energy and Home Automation markets.
Designers who don't require interoperability or large-node networks can save on certification and microcontroller memory costs by utilizing Microchip's free and proprietary MiWi and MiWi P2P IEEE 802.15.4-based protocol stacks. All of Microchip's ZigBee and proprietary stacks are available for download from its online Wireless Design Center at http://www.microchip.com/Wireless.
Wireless networking applications appropriate for Microchip's IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee solutions include AMR/AMI metering, industrial monitoring and control, home and building automation, remote control, low-power wireless sensor networks, and lighting control. The new MRF24J40MB module offers customers extended range for distant-node communication, while eliminating design and certification costs, reducing risk, and enabling quick time to market.
Development Tools Designers can integrate the MRF24J40MB transceiver module with the appropriate 16-bit PIC24 MCUs, dsPIC DSCs and 32-bit PIC32 MCUs by purchasing the new MRF24J40MB PICtail Plus Daughter Board. The MRF24J40MB is designed to plug into the Explorer 16 Modular Development Board, which has available processor plug-in modules for all of Microchip's 16- and 32-bit families.
The ZENA Wireless Network Analyzer is available to graphically display wireless network traffic, analyze the complete network traffic and graphically display decoded packets. All of these tools are available at http://www.microchipdirect.com.
Availability & Pricing Engineering samples of the MRF24J40MB transceiver module are available today, and volume production is expected to be available in July. Budgetary pricing starts at $13.09 each in 10,000-unit quantities. For additional information, visit http://www.microchip.com/Wireless.