Thursday, May 06, 2010

ALPS Aims Low Power Wireless Module at WiFi Smart Meters

WiFi automation networks set to take off

ALPS Electric has developed  an all-in-one WLAN module for wireless networks. The module’s built-in CPU and networking protocol combined with low energy consumption enables easy setup of sensor or other device networks, such as those used for smart meters.
Sensor network systems promote efficient energy usage by monitoring power consumption, temperature, humidity and lighting, and using collected data to control devices. Use of these networks is expanding into areas such as communication between appliances and smart meters in homes, energy-saving management for corporations, temperature control in server rooms, security, disaster prevention and plant factories. Zigbee applications have already been launched, yet with an environment increasingly ready for WiFi infrastructure, needs are developing for easily configurable, low-cost wireless network systems.
ALPS has created an all-in-one wireless LAN module to meet market needs, integrating the GainSpan-developed compact “GS1011” chip featuring an antenna, WiFi protocol and connection applications. In addition, the module provides a UART physical interface, ADC, I²C, PWM, and GPIO analogue/digital port which allow direct connection with devices such as humidity and lighting sensors. The product’s internal CPU chip eliminates the need for a host CPU or development of a network stack on the set device side. These features enable easier wireless network configuration while reducing development time and design resources for sensor devices.
Due to low energy consumption and power management functions, the module is able to operate for up to 10 years on a single AA type lithium thionyl chloride battery. Furthermore, the product’s serial interface connection allows wireless LAN capability to be integrated into devices and systems not originally equipped for networking. The module is suitable for medical instruments, healthcare devices such as weight scales, and real-time locating systems serving logistics and entry control management.

The module features:
  1. All-in-one type with built-in antenna, wireless LAN and application processor
  2. Single battery operation and low power consumption current (5μA or less on standby)
  3. Autonomous operation without a host CPU is possible
  4. Japan certification
Principal Applications
  • Smart meter and home appliance communication, factory air conditioning management, environmental management in plant factories, etc.
  • Security sensor communication, disaster prevention management, home condition management, etc.
  • Health care devices, medical instruments, real-time location information systems (logistics, and entry control systems), etc.
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