Electronic Design
Wireless Mesh Network Module Delivers Advanced Network Security

Wireless Mesh Network Module Delivers Advanced Network Security

The ZWIR4512 is a secure low-power wireless data-communication module targeted at sensors and other small devices used in industry and building automation, health monitoring, smart metering, and keyless entry systems.

The module, developed by ZMD AG, provides secure communication for scalable networks by integrating a 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 processor with a complete communications software solution and an integrated radio. The radio operates in the 868/915MHz frequency band, which is compatible with European and North American standards. These frequencies offer wide coverage range, optimised battery life, and minimal signal interference.

Networks built with the ZWIR4512 can connect directly to existing networks—custom programmed gateways aren’t required. Designers can run their application software directly on the modules. This saves design time and cost, since there’s no need for an external MCU and other circuitry. Different low-power modes help save energy in battery-operated devices.

The complete ZWIR4512 module measures 28 by 16.5 by 3.5 mm, including the antenna connector. It consumes 3.5µA in sleep mode, and only 18.5mA when transmitting data at 0dBm output power.

Communication is based on IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol. IPv6 packets for embedded low-power device networks are optimised through the use of 6LoWPAN. The Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) protocol suite provides data encryption and authentication. IPSec keys can be exchanged and renewed automatically based on the Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) protocol.

IPSec and IKEv2 enable secure end-to-end communication, thus providing the same security level as virtual private networks. IPv6, 6LoWPAN, IPSec, and IKEv2 are all open standards developed by the IETF.

ZWIR4512 firmware features a command interface and a C-language Applications Programming Interface (API). Pre-programmed units are available, too.


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