As an editor, more than a few corporate newsletters find their way into my email inbox.
Typically the information is pretty much what you'd expect, reports on new products, personnel changes and corporate milestones of some sort or another. But Nordic Semiconductors' most recent newsletter had an item of more than passing interest.
It reported on a test of two versions of a simple wireless security system. One system was implemented in the ZigBee protocol using a well-known manufacturer's hardware and development kits. The other was implemented using a proprietary network from DynaStream Technologies called ANT.
Nordic's ICs are used in the ANT module, which explains why they were so interested in promoting the test results.
Standard-based versus proprietary can be a tough choice for design engineers depending on the application. In a simple security network, the choice seems to go to the proprietary network.
The company that conducted the test, Au-Zone Technologies), concluded that the ZigBee protocol's complexity made it more difficult to configure.
The results (which I do not endorse or certify) were impressive. It took about twice as long to set up the ZigBee network (160.5 hours versus 83 hours). And, in a more subjective judgment, Au-Zone Technologies said setting up the AN PC application was "a much more pleasant experience."
In larger networks, this may not be the case, of course, and I would like to see more testing of this sort. Not just who's fastest or biggest but who gets the job done for the engineers that struggle with this stuff. A usability lab would be great.
The entire Nordic newsletter is online and can be found at www.nordicsemi.com/files/NS_WQ407_eR.pdf.