Sub-GHz wireless range adds 802.15.4/4g connectivity

November 14, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs' latest EZRadio and EZRadioPRO RF ICs claim advances in power efficiency, wireless range and flexibility. Operating in the sub-GHz band, the Si4x55 EZRadio and Si4x6x EZRadioPRO families support a variety of proprietary, legacy and emerging protocols including IEEE 802.15.4/4g, Wireless M-Bus and Wi-SUN.

These devices provide a versatile, high-performance multiprotocol wireless connectivity platform for a wide array of IoT applications including wireless sensor networks, industrial M2M communication, remote controls, security systems and smart meters. The sub-GHz wireless ICs provide transmit output power up to +20 dBm (for EZRadioPRO), and sensitivity of -116 dBm for EZRadio and -133 dBm for EZRadioPRO, with link budget of 153 dB.

Suited for battery-powered wireless applications, the EZRadio and EZRadioPRO devices provide standby current of 40 nA with memory retention, consuming up to 75% less sleep mode current than competing solutions. Each device includes a signal arrival detector that reduces the average receiver current by detecting a signal faster than traditional sub-GHz receivers, effectively increasing the battery life for various applications. Featuring a high-efficiency integrated power amplifier (PA) consuming 18 mA at 10 dBm, these energy-friendly sub-GHz radios can operate on a single coin cell battery, and they are suited for smart meter designs that require long-range and up to 20-year battery lifetime. Autonomous duty cycling between active and low-power modes and features such as frequency hopping and antenna diversity minimise host MCU interaction and further reduce overall system power consumption.

The sub-GHz radios support a variety of proprietary protocols through flexible on-chip packet handler and modem technology. EZRadio devices handle most basic packet formats, while EZRadioPRO devices are designed for more complex packet formats. The flexible architecture offloads the host microcontroller (MCU) without sacrificing RF performance. EZRadio and EZRadioPRO devices can support a protocol stack such as an 802.15.4-based mesh network or a point-to-point or star network in conjunction with a Silicon Labs' 8-bit MCU or a 32-bit EFM32 Gecko MCU serving as the external host.

Si4x55 EZRadio transceivers, transmitters and receivers provide cost-effective, easy-to-use wireless connectivity solutions for basic 'push-button' applications such as remote controls for set-top boxes, bidirectional key fobs and garage door openers. Configurations include simple point-to-point or star networks with standard packet formats. Covering the 283-525 MHz and 850-960 MHz frequency bands, EZRadio devices provide communication range for indoor applications, power efficiency, superior blocking and phase noise performance. Available in the smallest package size in the sub-GHz market (3 x 3 mm), EZRadio devices are suitable for any space-constrained wireless design.