2.4-GHz low-power RF transceiver claims lowest power consumption for industrial applications

April 17, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Atmel Corporation has introduced a RF transceiver for battery-operated wireless applications that is optimized for industrial and consumer products complying with ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4, IPv6 over low-power wireless personal area networks and high data rate 2.4 GHz ISM band applications.

Since target applications in these segments call for years of battery life without maintenance, a low-power, high-performance transceiver such as the AT86RF233 fits the bill. The AT86RF233 provides transceiver current consumption of 14 mA, receiver current consumption of 6 mA and sleep current consumption of 0.02 µA. For a complete solution, design engineers can use a low-power, high-performance Atmel AVR or an Atmel ARM processor-based microcontroller (MCU)—two of the world’s most popular MCU architectures—as a companion chip. Together, the AT86RF233 transceiver and an AVR XMEGA MCU can deliver a low-power, cost-optimized solution to meet the operational requirements of applications that spend most of their time in low-power sleep mode and need fast wake-up times and short, active cycles.

As a highly integrated solution, the AT86RF233 requires minimal external components. Design engineers can, therefore, lower their bill of material (BOM) costs and also reduce system board space. With support for antenna diversity, the AT86RF233 enhances RF performance and link reliability. Onboard Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) ensures secure wireless end-to-end communication.

Wireless applications continue to integrate more functions while demanding longer battery life and better scalability. By using Atmel’s picoPower low-power technology, the latest AVR XMEGA devices have 20x lower sleep current than existing solutions in the market with similar memory and integration levels. AVR XMEGA devices and the AT86RF233 transceiver are ideal companions for low-power wireless applications.

Supported by kits, tools and communication stacks, the AT86RF233 transceiver can be integrated into any design with efficiency. Designers who pair the transceiver with an AVR XMEGA MCU can further optimize their design environment with Atmel Studio 6, the newest integrated development environment. Supporting both AVR MCUs as well as Atmel ARM Cortex-M processor-based devices, Atmel Studio 6 comes with 1,000 project examples with source code that eliminate most of the low-level coding in a design.

The AT86RF233 transceiver is available with the REB233SMAD-EK evaluation kit, which includes two AT86RF233 radio evaluation boards paired