EZ embedded wireless solutions

10 March 2009

Can be used for meter reading, home security, keyless entry

Combined MCU and RF transceiver, receiver and transmitter.

Most embedded wireless applications require a high performance RF transceiver, receiver or transmitter for data communication with an embedded MCU for system control and data processing. These applications demand the best possible reach, robust performance and the longest possible battery life. Often, these types of applications are implemented in noisy environments that can degrade the wireless performance.

By maximising the wireless link budget, including advanced radio features like antenna diversity and implementing key radio features digitally using an embedded DSP, the highest performance can be achieved under the most difficult operating environments. Silicon laboratories claims to have achieved this through the development of the EZRadioPRO family and C8051F9xx series low-power MCU. The EZRadioPRO embedded wireless radio family claims to deliver the highest single-chip output power (up to +20 dBm) and sensitivity (-118 dBm), providing a link budget that increases communication range while minimising power consumption.

The devices come with built-in system features, such as packet handling and antenna diversity, which allow them to achieve low overall system cost for frequencies from 240 to 960 MHz. When paired with Silicon Labs' low-power, low-voltage C8051F9xx MCU family, customers can develop embedded wireless solutions that operate from a single cell battery, reducing cost and size in consumer and industrial applications such as remote meter reading, home security, remote keyless entry and building automation.

The EZRadioPRO high-performance transceiver, receiver and transmitter, integrates embedded antenna diversity capabilities on chip to automatically choose the most effective antenna, improving performance. In addition the devices support built-in packet handling, wake-up timers, temperature sensing and low-battery detection. Competing solutions depend on an external controller to offer similar functionally, increasing cost and software complexity while negatively impacting battery life.

The C8051F9xx family of low-voltage, low-power MCUs are capable of operating down to 0.9 V, and integrate a dc-dc controller able to supply up to 65 mW of power to the MCU and EZRadioPRO device, enabling a complete single-cell battery powered radio/MCU solution.

The EZRadioPRO family's built-in, high-performance low-noise amplifier (LNA) and power amplifier (PA) eliminate the need for expensive external components used in many demanding applications, resulting in a BOM savings of approximately $0.50 to $1.00 USD. EZRadioPRO allows users to change radio parameters via register settings, enabling a tradeoff between performance and battery life customised for their application and environment.

"By combining high performance and low power, EZRadioPRO and the C8051F9xx meet all the demands of customers employing embedded wireless into their applications," said Rafi Fried, general manager of wireless products for Silicon Laboratories. "Our embedded wireless approach vastly increases performance and simplifies the customer's design, while improving reliability and extending battery life."

The EZRadioPRO and the C8051F9xx product families are supported by Silicon Labs' tools to help speed design and accelerate time to market. A wireless development suite (WDS) is provided that includes reference code, schematics and Gerbers as well as a GUI to help designers configure the radio for quick lab evaluations. The WDS GUI also outputs a radio configuration file including all required radio register settings for use with the MCU IDE.

The EZRadioPRO family is available in 20-pin QFN packages and the C8051F9xx family is available in 24-pin, 4- x 4-mm QFN, 5- x 5-mm, 32-pin QFN and 7- x 7-mm, 32-pin LQFP packages


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