Digi International’s popular XBee wireless modules were first available for the ZigBee wireless standard. With these modules and the accompanying software, designers could implement ZigBee point-to-point and mesh wireless networks with minimum fuss. Now that same ease of implementation is available for the new XBee Wi-Fi modules.
The XBee Wi-Fi modules fit a wide range of applications, including process control, factory automation, energy management, wireless sensor networks, asset management, and machine-to-machine (M2M) uses (see the figure). They also provide Internet protocol (IP) connectivity for almost any remote device.
The modules use popular IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards. The transceivers operate in 14 channels in the 2.4-GHz industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) band. Security is Wi-Fi Protected Access-Pre-Shared Key (WPA-PSK) or Wi-Fi Protected Access 2-Pre-Shared Key (WPA2-PSK). Data rates to 65 Mbits/s are possible with the 11n standard and based on range and noise conditions.
The power output level is in the 14- to 16-dBm range. Receiver sensitivity is in the –72- to –97-dBm range depending on the 802.11b/g/n mode and data rate. Input interfaces include UART, serial peripheral interface (SPI), and four 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) inputs.
The modules use the popular XBee form factor and operate from a dc source in the 3.1- to 3.6-V range. They also support a variety of antennas, including the built-in printed-circuit board (PCB) antenna, a reverse-polarity sub-miniature version A (RP-SMA) connector, and a U.FL connector for an external antenna or a wire whip.
The modules cover the complete physical layer (PHY) and baseband media access controller (MAC) and have a TCP/IP stack. The modules are programmed using the Digi software with its XBee-familiar application programming interface (API). Common AT commands may also be used.
The modules are fully certified in the U.S. and Canada, with approval in Europe, Australia, and Japan in the works. So, designers can drop the modules right into their OEM product without the time-consuming and costly regulatory certification process. The XBee Wi-Fi modules are available now, and a development kit can be had for $149.