OSLO, Norway--Chipcon AS has rolled out what the chip maker claims is the world's first 2.4-GHz radio-frequency (RF) device that complies with the emerging ZigBee standard.
Several major companies--including Motorola, Philips, Invensys, and Mitsubishi Electric--are working on a connectivity standard for the creation of a wireless control web for such low-power devices through a group called the ZigBee Alliance. Engineers are collaborating on a low-data-rate wireless network standard known as IEEE 802.15.4, which is also aimed at those devices.
Norway's Chipcon has devised a 2.4-GHz IEEE 802.15.4 compliant RF transceiver. The CC2420 is targeted for use in home and building automation, industrial monitoring and control systems and wireless sensor networks.
The CC2420 is based on Chipcon's SmartRF03 technology, which is built around a 0.18-micron process. In accordance with the standard, the CC2420 supports the 250-kbps data rate. The device can also be used as a general 2.4-GHz direct sequence spread spectrum device for a number of proprietary solutions not using IEEE 802.15.4 or ZigBee.
"Chipcon believes IEEE 802.15.4 has the potential to significantly impact the marketplace, as there is now one global standard focusing on low data rate, low power and low cost applications," said John Helge Fjellheim, vice president of component sales for the company. "We also believe that the ZigBee technology will be well accepted as, finally, there is one technology enabling interoperability between cost-effective, low-power, low-data-rate, standard-based wireless networking solutions."
The CC2420 offers security by providing extensive hardware support for AES-128 based data encryption and data authentication. In addition, the CC2420 supports packet radio, data buffering, burst transmissions, clear channel assessment, link quality indication and timing information. Reducing the load on the host microcontroller, these functions allow CC2420 to interface with low-cost microcontrollers.
Chipcon has developed the CC2420 in cooperation with Ember Corp., a provider of embedded wireless networking solutions. Ember can sell the CC2420 RF Transceiver to customers that are using the product in a system bundled with Ember's Embedded Wireless Networking software. Chipcon will distribute the CC2420 RF Transceiver worldwide through its existing network of distributors and representatives.
The CC2420 is offered in a 7- x 7-mm 48-pin QFN package. Samples are available now and volume shipments will start in January 2004. Pricing of the CC2420 in volume quantities is in the range of US$3.
Development kits are available now. Chipcon will also provide its customers of CC2420 with IEEE 802.15.4 MAC layer software.