Atmel launches ultra-low power transceiver to support phase-difference technology complementing IEEE 802.15.4 standards

February 26, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
Atmel Corporation has launched AT86RF233 which is an ultra-power 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.15.4 radio transceiver that supports distance measurement between two radios, also known as ranging.

The novel technology uses the measurement of phase differences between radio signals and enables items to be tracked within a wireless network for industrial and consumer applications. Phase measurement is a less complex technology than current distance measurement technologies available on the market today, with similar measurement accuracy and lower overall system cost.

Many of today's applications for wireless networks come with the inherent need to determine the location of the individual nodes within a network to keep installation and maintenance costs low. The capability to determine the distance between any two nodes within a wireless sensor network is the reason for implementing positioning and localization solutions. While GPS is successful outdoor, it cannot support indoor applications efficiently.

"We have been evaluating several different technologies including RSSI, Chirp and UWB methods for radio-based distance measurements over the last years," said Andreas Werner, Managing Director of Agilion GmbH. "We've seen all these technologies only suitable for niche applications, either compromising performance or significantly complex which ultimately drive the cost-per-node much higher. The new Atmel technology establishes a unique value proposition by combining wireless sensor networks with real-time location (RTLS) capabilities even for mass market applications."

"Precise animal tracking is important in our business," said Eyal Brayer, Founder of SCR. "We selected the Atmel AT86RF233 transceiver for our SCR systems because of the new phase-difference technology. This technology allows us to precisely track hundreds of cattle in our large dairy farms within a single wireless network, enabling our customers to bring products faster to market."

"In this era of the Internet of Things, we are seeing an increase of smart, connected devices within the wireless networks," said Oyvind Strom, Sr. Director of Wireless Solutions, Atmel Corporation. "With this increase, many of our customers are demanding solutions that efficiently support the installation and maintenance of their systems. This new phase-difference technology can be used to determine the position of nodes within a network