Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How To Select The Right Wi-Fi And RF Modules

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ZigBee. Zigbee/Xbee modules are advanced RF transceivers operating in the licence-free 2.4GHz frequency band. Zigbee transceivers are used where robust RF communication with high noise immunity and guaranteed packet delivery is required. The most common application of Zigbee modules is in sensor networks.

Digi ZigBee modules are long-range high-speed serial wireless communication modules that can give a range of 30 metres indoors or 100 metres outdoors. This module is ideal for robot-to-robot or robot-to-PC communications.

Microchip’s MRF24J40MA ZigBee module comes with an SPI interface with 120 metres range.

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TARANG ZigBee modules manufactured by Melange systems can be interfaced using UART interface and can provide RF range of 100 metres to 50 kilometres with a directional antenna.

Thread. Thread is a new open global wireless standard developed to balance and improve on the increasingly important requirements of reliability, security, power efficiency and cost effectiveness. It runs on IEEE 802.15.4 physical radio specification and operates in the unlicensed ISM bands including 2.4GHz (v1.0).

Silicon Labs EM358x and EM359x families are optimised for both ZigBee and Thread networking stacks.

Proprietary. For applications that require longer range or support for proprietary protocols such as home automation, security and smart metering, sub-GHz and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless implementations offer substantive benefits over standards based, feature-rich protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee.

Flex Gecko is a family of 2.4GHz wireless SoCs targeted at proprietary wireless market.
Anurag Ambedkar, vice president – international business, Maven Systems Pvt Ltd, says, “The most important aspect of buying a wireless communication module has to be the end solution. It is necessary to consider various factors like range, cost and deployment geography. While protocols like ZigBee are successful in North America and Europe, the same does not stand true for Asia. As a result, the preferred modules should be by a company that is experienced in the local market and one that can customise to suit local needs.”

table 272He adds, “Maven has developed a wide variety of Wi-Fi modules using chipsets of Atheros, Broadcom, Roving Networks, AzureWave and Microchip. These modules communicate on either 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency, along with AES, TKIP or WEP encryption for security. Maven has also developed a Wi-Fi-to-USB dongle that is being used by the US defence services.”

Ambedkar further adds, “For RF modules, Maven’s WiART series is used in a wide variety of domains like smart metering, smart lighting and medical wearables. We support a wide variety of frequencies including 865MHz-868MHz, 915MHz and 2.4GHz. These modules are protocol-agnostic and work with minimum change to the exiting device protocol. Protocols supported by WiART include ZigBee protocol, BLE and Maven’s proprietary Sub1 GHz protocol (SmarttMesh).”

Akash Agrawal, chief executive officer, InkOcean, informs, “At Inkocean, I have sold a large variety of modules, some of which include Microchip’s IoT module RN2483, which is a low-powered Wi-Fi. Multiteh MTDOT-868-X1-SMA is another LoRa Wi-Fi. USR is a Chinese company with plenty of solutions and viral among its solution is USR-WIFI232-T. ESP8266 by Expressive has a large variety of modules from ESP01 to ESP14 that dominate the market. Some of the latest modules are ESP8066 12E, 14 and Wrooom and Esp32 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, XBee Wi-Fi, node MCU and Adafruit cc3000.”

T.Anand, managing director, Knewron Technologies, says “For RF-driven modules, nRF24L01+ and RFM-96 are well-known modules. Both have closely-matching criteria.”
RajGuru Electronics offers XBee 2mW wire antenna – series 2, Xbee 1mW wire antenna – series 1, XBee Pro 63mW wire antenna – series 2B (ZigBee Mesh), XBee Explorer USB, XBee Explorer – Serial. Their Bluetooth modules (HC-05, HC05-TTL, ELM327, HM Bluetooth module and Bluetooth 4.0) offer an option of slave-and-master mode to the user and are available in a variety of specifications at reasonable prices.



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