You do not need much power to operate a ZigBee platform, but now you will need even less -- to be precise, 10 times less. Boston-based Ember next month will begin shipping what it claims to be the industry's lowest power ZigBee networking platform, which it had developed jointly with Texas Instruments. ZigBee is used for remote monitoring, control, and sensor network applications at home and in business. A growing market for ZigBee is the homeland security sector. The new platform is now going through final quality assurance testing. The company has already began hosting training sessions for customers interested in developing wireless applications based on the new platform.
The new ZigBee platform integrates Ember's and ZigBee-compliant EM2420 radio transceiver, and EmberZNet software platform with TI's 16-bit MSP430F1612 microcontroller (MCU) into a dual-chip ZigBee/802.15.4 solution. It is designed for OEMs building ZigBee applications which require the lowest possible power requirements, as well as for companies who have already standardized on the TI MCU and wish to make their products ZigBee-enabled without much of a hassle.
The MSP430F1612 MCU offers consumption of only 1.1 micro-amps standby mode with real-time clock operation, and a 300 micro-amps (1 MHz) active mode. Fast instruction execution is enabled by a 16-bit RISC CPU, so start-up time is less than six microseconds from standby. The chip's total power consumption is 10 times lower than competing devices.