Highly-integrated, sub-GHz wireless microcontrollers shut down to 30 nA

December 12, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs has expanded its family of 8-bit Si10xx wireless microcontrollers (MCUs) with two new options optimised for both cost-sensitive and performance-intensive designs.

By combining its ultra-low-power MCU technology with its sub-GHz EZRadio and EZRadioPRO transceivers in a single-chip solution, Silicon Labs has created energy-friendly wireless MCUs that achieve RF performance with lowest overall power consumption. Supporting worldwide frequency bands from 142 to 1050 MHz with low-power sleep and active modes for extended battery life, the Si106x and Si108x wireless MCUs address the low energy and RF connectivity requirements of home automation, security and access control, sensor networks, asset tracking and long-range control applications for the Internet of Things.

Claimed to be the highest performance and smallest wireless MCU solutions on the market, the Si106x and Si108x devices integrate an energy-efficient 8051 MCU and a sub-GHz RF transceiver into a 5 x 6 mm QFN package. This compact footprint makes the Si106x/8x wireless MCUs a fit for space-constrained applications that require wireless connectivity as well as ultra-low power for long battery life. The devices also feature a priority crossbar decoder that gives designers complete control over a variety of functions including a 10-bit analogue-to-digital converter, dual comparators, four 16-bit timers as well as UART, SPI and 1 2C serial interfaces. This flexible crossbar configurability eliminates the tradeoffs that often must be made with small packages.

Si106x/8x wireless MCUs based on the EZRadio transceiver provide a cost-effective, high-value solution for the majority of embedded wireless designs. Other more demanding connected device applications can benefit from the higher wireless performance offered by the Si106x/8x devices containing the EZRadioPRO transceiver, which offers greater sensitivity (-126 dBm) and higher output power (+20 dBm) for longer-range applications. The EZRadioPRO transceiver’s resulting 146 dB link budget maximises wireless range, and its 60 dB adjacent channel selectivity with 12.5 kHz channel spacing ensures robust operation in harsh RF conditions. The EZRadioPRO transceiver is designed to comply with the industry’s most stringent wireless standards including FCC, ETSI and ARIB, while offering frequency coverage in all major bands up to 1050