8 February 2011

Skyworks and Ember partner on next-gen ZigBee system solutions

Skyworks Solutions Inc of Woburn, MA, USA, which manufactures high-reliability analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, and Ember Corp of Boston, MA, USA, a provider of low-power, wireless mesh networking technology (chips, software and tools), have introduced solutions for ZigBee applications targeting the growing energy management, home-area network and industrial automation markets. ZigBee is a wireless network standard that solves the unique needs of remote monitoring and control, and sensor-network applications. Specific wireless applications range from lighting control, to door and window sensors, to appliance and temperature controllers.

“Continuing our partnering with Skyworks with our latest generation of ZigBee solutions was an obvious choice,” says Ember’s VP of sales Dennis Natale. “These industry-leading platforms are designed to power the next wave of energy management and home automation applications while delivering exceptional performance and long battery life,” he adds.

“Ember is the undisputed ZigBee market leader and we are delighted to be combining Skyworks’ front-end modules with their next-generation system-on-chips (SoCs),” says Liam K. Griffin, Skyworks’ senior VP of sales & marketing. “Given the momentum and demand for green technologies, enhanced security and energy conservation, we are thrilled to be leveraging our scale and analog integration capabilities with the industry leader to serve multiple end markets.”

ON World Inc, a market research firm that provides business intelligence for smart-technology markets, forecasts that more than 100 million 802.15.4 and ZigBee units will ship annually within the next few years. The largest markets are expected to be advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), home automation and consumer electronics. ON World also anticipates that many emerging vertical markets — including medical devices, health and wellness monitoring, building automation and municipal/transportation — will also leverage ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4 technologies.

Skyworks’ SKY65343-11 and SKY65344-21 are both small front-end modules (FEMs) for ZigBee and other 2.4GHz ISM-band solutions that contains a 2.4–2.5GHz high-efficiency transmit (Tx) path and a low-loss bi-directional path.

The SKY65343-11’s bi-directional path contains a high-isolation Tx/receive (Rx) switch and balun for low-noise differential output. The differential output receiver port is also bi-directional and can be used to operate the module in a low-power Tx mode.

The SKY65344-21’s bi-directional path can be used to directly connect the antenna port to a directional radio frequency (RF) port. The Rx path contains a high isolation T/R switch, low-noise amplifier (LNA), and balun for low-noise differential output.

The Tx path in both devices consists of a harmonic filter and high-efficiency power amplifier (PA) capable of providing >20dBm of power at the antenna port. Also included is an internal balun to allow use of differential input signals. Both parts are mounted in a 20-pin surface-mount technology (SMT) package, allowing a highly manufacturable and low-cost solution.

Skyworks claims that the FEMs can increase the usable range of a ZigBee solution by as much as 700% and, when combined with Ember’s EM350 series, results in the industry’s most highly integrated and lowest total power solution.

The EM300 Series ZigBee chips from Ember are the industry’s first ARM Cortex-M3 based family of system-on-chips (SoCs), delivering what is claimed to be unmatched performance, power consumption and code density in a compact package. The EM351 and EM357 combine a 2.4GHz IEEE 802.15.4 radio transceiver with a 32-bit microprocessor, Flash memory and RAM with powerful hardware supporting network-level debugging features. This, combined with the ecosystem of ARM tools, enables OEMs to simplify development and accelerate time-to-market, it is claimed.

The EM351 and EM357 SoCs are tightly integrated with EmberZNet PRO, Ember’s ZigBee-compliant mesh networking software, which is the most deployed ZigBee networking platform in the market.

The EM351 integrates a programmable ARM Cortex-M3 processor, IEEE 802.15.4 RF radio transceiver, 128KB flash & 12KB RAM and EmberZNet PRO network protocol stack supporting the ZigBee PRO feature set. In addition, the EM357, optimized for applications that require more memory, has 192KB flash and incorporates all the other characteristics and features of the EM351.

Tags: Skyworks Ember ZigBee

Visit: www.ember.com

Visit: www.skyworksinc.com

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