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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wireless mesh networking for smart lighting

Chipset pairs ISM transceiver with mesh controller for 10 years operation from a single battery

By Nick Flaherty

Mesh sensor provider Virtual Technology in Israel has teamed up with chip maker Semtech in the US for a two-chip wireless mesh network chipset that brings a new level of performance and signal robustness to smart lighting applications.
The chipset pairs Semtech’s SX1211 transceiver for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band applications with Virtual Extension’s VE209S wireless mesh controller. Smart lighting designers now have a low-power, high-performance solution for building a wireless sensing network with no single point of failure and very robust signal processing. This low-power chipset is also perfectly adapted to battery-operated applications with a 10-year operating lifetime.
The SX1211 is part of Semtech’s platform of ISM-band transceivers and is optimized for asynchronous sensor network designs in unlicensed ISM frequency bands (868-870 MHz and 902-928 MHz). The device features the industry’s lowest receiver current consumption (<3mA) for increased battery life. All of the transceiver’s major RF communication parameters are programmable and can be configured dynamically, with RF output power programmable up to +12.5 dBm.
The VE209 family of high-performance mesh controllers serves as the main building blocks of a VEmesh unit, either a gateway or a node. These mesh controllers have the necessary internal elements for performing all the interfaces and network management.
VEmesh units provide highly reliable bi-directional communication and best-in-class range and coverage for distributed monitoring and data collection of sensor and metering systems. All VEmesh nodes also act as relays to retransmit data from other units in order to create a modular solution with no practical limitation to the number of nodes or size of coverage area.
“This new chipset is great news to smart lighting designers, who now have now a highly reliable network that also has great potential for additional applications, such as smart metering or home and building automation,” said Sameer Vuyyuru, Semtech Vice President Marketing for Semtech’s Advanced Communications and Sensing Group. “The relationship with Virtual Extension means we can offer good integration between two of the industry’s highest performing ICs, and comes at the right time for Semtech to expand its leadership in these times of growing focus on energy efficiency.”
“Until now, the market has not had a mesh option that offers the winning combination of high performance, low power consumption and low cost,” said Yariv Oren, CEO of Virtual Extension. “Semtech brings the high-performance transceivers that, when combined with our ‘diversity path mesh’ technology, results in networks that are easier to design and build, are much more robust, easier to install and maintain, and have higher scalability. This chipset offers a simple, low-power, robust routing solution for wireless mesh networks.”

Key Features:
  • Fully bi-directional
  • Built-in unicast and broadcast capabilities
  • Farthest range in class
  • Fastest response in class – lowest and most predictable latency
  • Secure (frequency diversity) and resistant (space diversity) to multipath fading and propagation changes
  • No-knowledge, no-training installation and maintenance
  • No need for managing software
  • Instant addition and removal of nodes, with no network downtime
  • Practically unlimited number of hops, thousands of nodes per network
  • Highly scalable: robustness and network range increase when the network expands

Availability Evaluation kits (SX1211MESH-868 and SX1211MESH-915) are available immediately from Semtech.

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