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Self-organising wireless module

29 August 2007

Alpha Micro Components, a design based international distributor of electronic components, has announced a distribution agreement for the UK & Ireland with MeshNetics, a technology provider of ZigBee OEM modules. The MeshNetics 2.4 GHz 802.15 ZigBit module eliminates the need for costly and time consuming RF development, and shortens the time to market for a wide range of wireless applications.

Two different versions of the ZibBit module are available. The ZDM-A1281-B0 module with balanced RF port for applications where the benefits of a PCB or external antenna can be utilised, and the ZDM-A-1281-A2 module with on-board chip antenna for size sensitive applications.

The ultra-compact modules (24 x 13.5 mm for ZDM-A-1281-A2 and 18.8 x 13.5 mm for the ZDM-A1281-B0) are designed for automated and reliable wireless mesh networking applications, and offer superior range and radio performance.

The 802.15.4/ZigBit module operates over a wide voltage range of 1.8 to 3.6V. It is based on Atmel ATmega 1281v MCU and an AT86RF230 RF transceiver. It comes bundled with the eZeeNet networking firmware enabling module-based OEM products to form self-healing and self-organising mesh networks. It also includes drivers for standard peripherals such as I2C, GPIO, ADC, USART/SPI.

The ZigBit can be used to operate as a sensor node whereby it functions as a single MCU. Alternatively, it can be paired to a host processor where the module serves as a modem, and the host processor can control the data transmission and manage module peripherals via a powerful set of AT commands.

The ZigBit wireless module is power-efficient, extending critical battery lifetime from a few months to many years thanks to power-saving modes and battery-optimised network parameters. To save battery power, the MeshNetics configuration allows the network to update the sensor parameters remotely and change its reporting interval. Current consumption in power save mode is less than 6uA.

Designing with the MeshNetics ZigBit module brings many benefits, including best-in-class RF link, easy prototyping with 2 layer PCB, more memory for user software applications, robust mesh networking capability and worldwide license-free operation.

The Evaluation and Development Kits for the new modules include sensor boards with multiple interfaces, data acquisition software suite, accessories and documentation.

The ZigBit module can be used in a wide range of applications, including building automation, automated meter reading, industrial monitoring, predictive maintenance and asset tracking.

Christos Papakyriacou, managing director of Alpha Micro Components, commented: “With increasing adoption of the affordable ZigBee technology, interoperability is becoming a strong market driver. The self-healing and self-organising feature of the module is a clear advantage, offering new functionality. We are pleased to have added ZigBit to our range of module offerings.”

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