Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA and ANT Wireless announce the release of the single-channel and 8-channel nRF24AP2 2.4GHz ANT transceivers the first two products in the next generation nRF24AP2 ANT single chip wireless solution family.
The advanced nRF24AP2 platform now delivers higher functionality allied with lower power and reduced cost. The significant decreases in peak and average current allow designers to employ the nRF24AP2 in new applications and market segments that were previously inaccessible to wireless solutions because of severe (small battery) power or cost constraints.
The single-channel nRF24AP2 (nRF24AP2-1CH) is a cost-optimized product suitable for a wide range of simple wireless sensoring applications in the sports, medical, industrial and home networking sectors. Applications examples include the monitoring and reporting of: heart rate, speed & distance, bike power, bike cadence, blood pressure, blood glucose, temperature, pressure, and humidity. The more advanced 8-channel nRF24AP2 (nRFAP2-8CH) is specifically designed for ANT hubs with up to eight active wireless sensor channels. This will allow, for example, products such as sports watches or bike and gym machine computers to connect with up to eight different sensors, or users, simultaneously.
“We are very pleased to announce that we are ready to ship the first products in our next generation single chip ANT wireless solution family,” says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Product Manager for Ultra Low Power Wireless at Nordic Semiconductor. “Compared to our previous generation nRF24AP1 solution, the nRF24AP2 provides major enhancements in terms of performance, power consumption and ANT features. On top of that, the new nRF24AP2 product variants will be competitively priced even lower than the current nRF24AP1.”
“The AP2 family represents a quantum leap forward in single chip, ultra low power wireless connectivity solutions,” says Brian Macdonald, Director, ANT Wireless. “By combining Nordic’s superior nRF24L01+ transceiver core and next generation ANT technology we offer industry-leading optimization, ANT+ interoperability and ground-breaking wireless capabilities. This will enable applications previously limited by cost and power restrictions to embrace wireless connectivity. The nRF24AP2 will single-handedly extend reliable wireless interoperability to thousands of existing and new products that must use small batteries and yet need a long battery life.”
Key features of the new nRF24AP2 products include:
Significantly lower power consumption
The nRF24AP2 family reduces peak current by more than 20% compared to the nRF24AP1 (down to 17mA for the nRF24AP2 from 22mA for the nRF24AP1), yielding an extremely valuable extra power margin when working with small coin cell batteries. Average operating currents are expected to be reduced by up to 75% enabling a similar extension in typical battery operating lifetimes. These performance figures position the nRF24AP2 ANT family as the new industry benchmark for ULP, single chip wireless sensor applications.
Improved RF performance
The nRF24AP2 takes advantage of Nordic’s latest nRF24L01+ transceiver core, which provides a range of benefits including substantial enhancements in wideband blocking and intermodulation as well as 5dB of extra sensitivity compared to the nRF24AP1. This will make the nRF24P2 family even more highly immune to disturbance from other 2.4GHz radios like Bluetooth® wireless technology and Wi-Fi operating in the vicinity. The net result will be fewer retransmits and lost packets (and hence even more power savings) in noisy RF operating environments.
Optimized ANT protocol stack implementation with new ANT features
At the core of all nRF24AP2 family chips is an improved ANT protocol stack implementation that includes several enhancements designed to increase performance and further reduce unnecessary power consumption compared to the previous nRF24AP1 range. It also features several new ANT features, including:
• Support for up to 8-channels (nRF24AP2-8CH) - allowing more sensors to be connected to one hub at the same time;
• Proximity Search allows master nodes to be acquired according to their proximity to the search device. This enables the implementation of pairing by proximity schemes, further enhancing and simplifying the end-user experience with ANT;
• Frequency Agility Channel instead of operating on a single RF channel, with this feature an ANT channel uses several RF channels and will hop between them if significant degradation is detected. This will provide additional robustness in environments with heavy inference from, for example, Wi-Fi;
• Continuous Scanning Mode a new mode enabling star networked topologies with very low latency.
Fully interoperable with nRF24AP1 ANT-based systems
All the nRF24AP2 solutions are fully interoperable (i.e. 100% backward compatible) with existing Nordic Semiconductor nRF24AP1 ANT chipset implementations that are either currently in production or already installed in the field. This will enable existing nRF24AP1 customers to both expand existing product ranges with the new nRF24AP2 chips, and/or phase out the use of the nRF24AP1, without having to worrying about interoperability issues.
Fully ANT+ compatible
All nRF24AP2 chips will support the ANT+ managed network alliance platform that makes ANT+ products interoperable with the ever growing list of subscribing vendors. ANT+ has gained significant industry momentum through the ANT+ Alliance, including a large base of deployed ANT+ equipment in the sports and fitness segment.
Roadmap for AES security
Fully embedded AES encryption and decryption will be available as a new revision of the two parts by the end of 2009.
The nRF24AP2 is based on a more cost efficient silicon platform that nRF24AP1 enabling both the single-channel and 8-channel nRF24AP2 to be priced lower than the nRF24AP1.
About the 1-channel nRF24AP2 (nRF24AP2-1CH)
The single-channel nRFAP2-1CH is a cost optimized and flexible product specifically designed to be used for a wide range of sensors. Combined with different host microcontrollers it provides a low cost, ultra low power solution for everything from simple sensors like bike cadence to more complex sensors like heart rate monitors and blood glucose monitors.
About the 8-channel nRF24AP2 (nRF24AP2-8CH)
The 8-channel nRF24AP2-8CH is an advanced and flexible product specifically designed for ANT hubs. Supporting up to 8-channels and without compromising power consumption, it enables devices like sports watches, bicycle computer and gym machines computers, for example, to connect to up to eight sensors simultaneously.
Availability and pricing
Samples and development tools are available now. Pricing is USD $1.8 and USD $2.1 for 50k shipments of nRF24AP2-1CH and nRF24AP2-8CH respectively.
About ANT / ANT+ (www.thisisant.com)
ANT is a proven protocol and silicon solution for ultra-low power (ULP) practical wireless networking applications. Designed for 2.4GHz operation, ANT is perfectly suited for any kind of low data rate sensor network topologies in personal area networks (PANs) and practical wireless sensor networks (WSN). ANT has been intentionally engineered to simplify wireless network development and maximize network efficiency. ANT is the wireless division of Dynastream Innovations Inc.
ANT+ facilitates interoperability between manufacturer’s devices and the collection, automatic transfer and tracking of sensor data for monitoring information anywhere, anytime. The key advantage of this unique managed network is device specific interoperability which enables wireless communication with other ANT+ products. Applicable in sport, wellness management and home health monitoring, ANT+ (built on the base ANT protocol) defines device profiles that specify data formats, channel parameters and network key. The ANT+ Alliance is an open special interest group of companies who have adopted the ANT+ promise of interoperability. The Alliance ensures standardized communications through optimized brand value and partnerships with other top tier products. As of July 1, 2009 there are 146 members in the ANT+ Alliance.
Nordic Semiconductor is a member of the ANT+ Alliance.
About Nordic Semiconductor ASA
Nordic Semiconductor is a fabless semiconductor company specializing in ultra-low power (ULP) short-range wireless communication. Nordic is a public company listed on the Norwegian stock exchange.
Nordic provides RF silicon solutions including:
• Highly integrated RF silicon
• Sophisticated and flexible development tools
• Application specific communication software
• Complete reference designs
Nordic Semiconductor ASA
Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.