Electronic Design

Wireless Module Enables Wi-Fi Embedded I/O And Internet Access

How would you like to use Wi-Fi as the I/O port on your next 8-bit embedded design— and automatically access the Internet? The ZeroG Wire-less ZG2100 single-chip Wi-Fi transceiver chip lets designers add Wi-Fi to almost any electronic device. If you don’t want to develop the RF design, you can get the ZG2100M, a completely tested and pre-certified module you can add to almost any embedded control ler design (see the figure).

The ZG2100 devices are IEEE 802.11b compatible and support data rates to 2 Mbits/s. The chip is optimized for lowduty- cycle, low-power applications. It features four different low-power sleep modes and a fast wakeup feature. The media access controller (MAC), baseband, power amplifier, and hardware acceleration for WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security are all on-chip.

The IC and module interface to virtually any embedded controller using the serial peripheral interface (SPI). Most applications use less than a few tens of kilobytes of RAM. The controller can operate with or without an operating system. The ZeroG Easy-Fi software suite provides all the necessary programs for operation.

ZeroG’s plan is to address the huge potential for connecting almost anything to the Internet. Tim Colleran, the company’s interim CEO and vice president of marketing, said ZeroG calls its quest the “4th Age of Wireless” or the “Internet of Things.” The company envisions the ZG2100 connecting almost any electrical or electronic product to the Internet for configuration and control, access to content, monitoring and alert, and Web access.

This includes many appliances, sprinkler systems, video cameras, thermostats, and other devices in the home. Almost al l person-to-machine or machine-to-machine (M2M) communications are possible, encouraging the development of many new commercial and personal products.

The ZeroG ZG2100M module is now sampling. It will cost $16 in 10,000-unit quantities when full production ramps up later in the first quarter. The first modules are compatible with almost any of the popular PIC controllers made by Miro- Chip Technology. Model processors will be available in the near future.

ZeroG Wireless

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