Sub-GHz module for ultra-low-power WPAN designs

05-09-2019 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

The SAM R30 sub-GHz module from Microchip Technology is claimed to be the smallest IEEE 802.15.4-compliant module, the module consolidates an ultra-low-power microcontroller with a sub-GHz radio in a 12.7mm x 11mm package, allowing long-lasting battery life in space-constrained designs like wireless-networked sensors and controls in home automation, smart city, and industrial applications.

The module is based on the company's SAMR30E18A SiP with 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ core and up to 256Kbytes of flash and 40Kbytes of RAM. Created for use in unlicensed sub-1GHz frequency bands worldwide — such as 780MHz (China), 868MHz (Europe), and 915MHz (North America) — the module provides RX sensitivity up to -105dBm and TX output power up to +8.7dBm.

The module provides twice the connectivity range and more reliable communication through walls and floors than similarly powered devices using the 2.4GHz frequency band. Providing an ultra-low-power sleep mode of under 800nA, the module is excellent for IoT sensor applications that need long battery life. Further, developers can implement propriety point-to-point, star, or self-healing mesh networks with the company's MiWi protocol stack.

The company also offers the SAM R30M Xplained Pro Evaluation Kit, which incorporates an onboard embedded debugger, QTouch button, two Xplained Pro extension headers, and embedded current measurement circuitry. The board offers both a chip antenna and an SMA connector for an external antenna, a digital temperature sensor, and USB-UART/I2C converter. The board is supported by the Atmel Studio integrated development platform, which gives predefined application examples.

The module and the evaluation kit are both certified with the FCC, IC, and RED, enabling designers to concentrate on time-to-market instead of RF testing certification costs.

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