Maximizing sub-1GHz spectrum for the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a future world where all types of electronic devices link to each other via the Internet. Today, it’s estimated that there are nearly 10 billion devices in the world connected to the Internet, a figure expected to triple to nearly 30 billion by 2020.

As Magnus Pedersen, Atmel’s Product Marketing Director MCU Wireless points out, engineers need to review anticipated use cases and select an appropriate wireless transceiver before embarking on a new IoT design.

“While there are many technical considerations, developers also need to be mindful of any tools that might be available to aid a faster development cycle,” he explained in a recent article published by EE Times Asia. “Any tools that analyze power consumption and error testing together with library code for the host MCU will greatly assist this aspect of the design.”

Availability of low-level IEEE802.15.4 MAC drivers, and for smart metering and other mesh-based applications, a mesh networking stack is essential. A well-supported wireless transceiver will have a readily available development or evaluation board on which prototype designs can be quickly tested and debugged prior to the design’s completion.

“Leading the development of sub-GHz applications are the new wireless transceiver ICs such as Atmel’s AT86RF212B, a low power, low voltage 769 – 935MHz transceiver specifically designed for ZigBee / 802.15.4, 6LoWPAN and high-speed ISM applications,” Pedersen continued. “The only external components required are a crystal, bypass capacitors and an antenna. All analogue radio, digital modulation/demodulation and data buffering takes place on the chip.”

The transceiver also incorporates an on-board 128bit AES encryption engine. In addition to supporting current IEEE 802.15.4 modulation schemes, the  AT86RF212B supports proprietary data rates up to 1,000 kb/s, enabling high-speed ISM applications.

“Many Internet of Things (IoT) designs will be battery powered, and in most cases from a single cell. Smart energy and building controls will rely on wall-mounted sensors, so having an ultra-low-power consumption profile will be essential if the product is to gain wide consumer and industry acceptance,” Pedersen added.

“Developers need to profile the overall power budget and take full advantage of sleep modes of the host microcontroller and wireless transceiver. And that is why Atmel’s AT86RF212B device has a sleep consumption of 0.2 uA, receiver on of 9.2 mA and when transmitting at 5 dBm power a consumption of 18 mA.”

The full text of “Maximizing sub-1GHz spectrum for IoT” is available here on EE Times Asia.

1 thought on “Maximizing sub-1GHz spectrum for the IoT

  1. Pingback: 1:1 Interview with Magnus Pedersen, Product Marketing Director for MCU Wireless Solutions | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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