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News

Low power Wi-Fi sensor networking module

RF Monolithics : 31 March, 2009  (New Product)
RF module from RF Monolithics enables low power sensor networking on Wi-Fi networks with extended battery life
RF Monolithics announced at the ESC San Jose 2009 Conference the release of the company's new low-power Wi-Fi sensor networking module - the WSN802G. This new low-power, low-cost, 802.11 b/g module is the first RFM RF module to integrate the GainSpan GS1010 System on Chip (SoC), the lowest power Wi-Fi chip solution in the market today, and it enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to build low-power wireless local area networking (WLAN) and sensor monitoring solutions for the global market. The WSN802G delivers an exceptionally low power profile and long battery life capabilities in a fully functional, certified radio module that is easily interfaced to existing Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) infrastructure for a wide variety of sensor monitoring and WLAN applications.

"RFM's 30+ year history in the low-power RF market and their innovative RF module expertise complements GainSpan's focus in the low-power, wireless sensor networking market," said Bernard Aboussouan, Vice President of Marketing for GainSpan. "Their feature-rich approach to modules enables rapid product integration for developers and makes them unique among GainSpan's partners."

Said Tim Cutler, Director of Product Marketing for RFM RF module products, "GainSpan technology is enabling RFM to expand our already broad portfolio of low-power, wireless sensor networking products. We anticipate reaching deeper into the markets that we currently serve while expanding into untapped markets, both with entirely new low-power Wi-Fi sensing applications."

Citing the proliferation of Wi-Fi networks for home, commercial, and industrial applications, Cutler said, "OEMs are driven to provide wireless sensing products that leverage existing WLAN infrastructure. The data rates and power consumption of typical 802.11 b/g radios have made Wi-Fi impractical for sensing applications where long-battery life are required for market acceptance. The WSN802G is highly suitable for wireless sensor networking applications due to its ability to operate for years, rather than weeks or months, on battery power."

To achieve its low power consumption and long battery life, the WSN802G combines 1 Mb/s and 2 Mb/s data rates, which are appropriate for most sensing applications, with advanced sleep management feature that puts the module to sleep between active periods. Depending upon the frequency of active periods, a single AA Lithium cell can provide a battery life in excess of 5 years. When the module is active, its current consumption is less than 200 mA, allowing a battery to adequately power the device. Its sleep current consumption is less than 8 uA.

The WSN802G is feature rich and easy to integrate. It features a configurable automatic I/O reporting capability and the ability to collect sensor data directly from devices using its analog, digital and serial I/O. The WSN802G is also user programmable and therefore developers do not need to write an application to load into the module to implement I/O functionality, nor do they need a co-processor to send appropriate commands. The WSN802G is also compatible with standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi access points.

Operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band at 10mW RF power, the WSN802G also features outstanding receive sensitivity of -92dBm at 1 Mb/s and -90dBm at 2 Mb/s. Typical transmission ranges are 50 meters indoors and 250 meters outdoors. These operating parameters along with a very small 1.0 x 1.05 square inch footprint make the WSN802G suitable for a wide-variety of commercial and industrial sensing applications including: energy management, security management, asset management, food safety, environmental safety, cold chain management, and manufacturing.

With a $69 single unit price and $39 per 10,000 unit price, the WSN802G is easily the most feature rich, yet economical Wi-Fi sensor networking module in the market today.

RFM offers a developer kit - the WSN802GDK - to help design engineers fast track their designs. The WSN802GDK developer kit will be available by the end of April 2009 from RFM distributors Avnet, Digi-Key, Mouser Electronics, and Nu Horizons.

RFM offers one of the broadest ranges of wireless sensor networking platforms in the RF module and boxed radio product categories in the market. RFM has earned a reputation for outstanding support of the integration of their OEM RF modules by customers with little or no RF expertise. Design engineers looking for RF module solutions look to RFM first. The RFM OEM RF module portfolio includes ZigBee / 802.15.4, Proprietary Mesh, Proprietary FHSS, Bluetooth, and 802.11 b/g RF modules and boxed radios.

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