Sub-GHz mesh networks for coin cell powered and energy harvest applications

April 11, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Microsemi and Virtual Extension (Beit-Dagan), Israel have collaborated to produce what they claim to be the lowest-power mesh networking chipset available. The two-chip wireless mesh network chipset and reference design that brings a new level of performance and signal robustness to applications requiring networks with high performance and ultra-low power consumption.

The reference design features Microsemi’s ZL70250 chip scale package (CSP) radio frequency (RF) transceiver for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band applications and Virtual Extension’s VE209M wireless mesh controller. The combination provides system engineers with an ultra-low power, high-performance solution to build wireless sensing networks with no single point-of-failure and robust operation for energy-harvesting powered or battery-operated wireless mesh applications.

VEmesh networks provide reliable bi-directional communication and good range and coverage for distributed monitoring and data collection of smart metering, smart lighting and wireless sensor networks. The modern synchronised-flooding principle that is used allows for wireless mesh networks with space diversity and eliminates the need for self-forming, self-healing and human involvement. All VEmesh nodes act as end-nodes and as relays, to retransmit data in order to create a mesh modular solution, precluding also the need for dedicated routers. The VE209 family of high-performance mesh controllers serves as the main building blocks of a VEmesh node or gateway.

“Our jointly designed solutions allows network users to have access to the next-generation of wireless mesh networks with ultra-low-power consumption, without a need to trade off important features,” said Stephen Swift, senior vice president and business unit manager of the Ultra Low-Power Products Group at Microsemi. “Demand for low power and high performance wireless sensor networks is growing quickly and we will continue to collaborate with industry leaders such as Virtual Extension to deliver leading-edge solutions to meet changing industry needs.”

“This reference design provides our customers with a proven path towards high performance, low power consumption and low cost network solutions,” said Yariv Oren, CEO of Virtual Extension. “Microsemi brings the ultra-low-power transceivers that, when combined with our ‘diversity path mesh’ technology, results in networks that are easier to design and build, are much more robust, easier to install and maintain, and can easily use energy harvesting.”

The ZL70250 CSP is an ultra low power RF transceiver operating in the unlicensed frequency