Tag Archives: license-free ISM frequency bands

Going CryptoRF with Atmel

Earlier this week, Bits & Pieces dove into Atmel’s industry-leading performance portfolio for RF devices operating in license-free ISM frequency bands, including 5.8 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 868 to 928 MHz, 433 MHz and 315 MHz.

Today, we’re going to discuss Atmel’s CryptoRF lineup, a 13.56MHz RFID (radio-frequency identification) device family equipped with a 64-bit embedded hardware encryption engine, mutual authentication capability and up to 64Kbits of user memory.

“These low-cost chips are virtually impossible to copy and offer hardware security that is superior to software security solutions,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “As such, CryptoRF ICs are ideal for applications that are prone to counterfeiting, require a permanent chain of ownership, or use contactless smart cards for cash transactions. They are also appropriate for use in adverse environmental conditions where dust, dampness, or temperature extremes can cause problems for digital devices.”

As noted above, CryptoRF devices are safer than standard passwords, simply because mutual authentication between host and client is accomplished with a unique cryptogram randomly generated for each transaction. Meanwhile, a key diversification scheme limits any attack to only one unit, with user memory divided into as many as 16 separate sections – allowing several different levels of read and write access.

Additional key specs include:

  • Diverse packages – The chips are available in many multiple shapes and sizes; tags in a variety of shapes can be developed for high-volume application.
  • Host-side simplicity – The Atmel CryptoCompanion chip provides simple, plug-and-play authentication on a host (interrogator) device.
  • Development tools – Comprehensive reference designs, demonstration kits and application software facilitate implementation into existing products.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s CryptoRF portfolio? A full breakdown is available here.

Smart RF with Atmel tech

Atmel offers industry-leading performance for RF devices operating in the license-free ISM frequency bands, including 5.8 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 868 to 928 MHz, 433 MHz and 315 MHz.

“Our devices support both unidirectional or bidirectional data communication to meet a broad range of proprietary wireless industrial and consumer applications such as automatic metering, alarm systems, home control, toys and gaming,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“In short, our Smart RF products include unidirectional devices with a single transmitter, bi-directional devices with dual transceivers and high-performance receivers.”

In addition, all Atmel RF components are designed to seamlessly work together, offering devs the reassurance of error free design, integration and testing.

“Simply put, we integrate all the building blocks you need for both base and the mobile stations in typical remote control and access control systems,” the engineering rep continued.

Key features of Atmel Smart RF tech include:

  • Integrated design – Atmel offers a portfolio of RF devices that deliver the largest link budget in the industry. System level functions such as automatic transmission, frame acknowledgement and hardware security accelerators offload the microcontroller (MCU) to reduce power and computation burden.
  • Broad data rate and transmission support – Atmel devices support data rates from 1Kb/s to 20Kb/s (FSK) and 1Kb/s to 10Kb/s (ASK) in Manchester mode and bi-phase mode, plus other codes in transparent mode with programmable bit ranges.
  • High sensitivity – Low-IF receivers provide high selectivity, blocking and low intermodulation, eliminating the need for bulky blocking surface acoustic wave (SAW filters in remote control units.
  • Low current consumption – In operation, idle, and sleep mode for long battery lifetime.
  • Adjustable output power – Transceiver devices support a power output range from 0 to 10dBm; the output can be adjusted and stabilized with external resistors.

Want to learn more about Atmel’s Smart RF tech? Be sure to check out our product breakdown here.