Home arrow Blog arrow Zigbee arrow 802.15.4 Chip Comparison Sheet Update
802.15.4 Chip Comparison Sheet Update | Print |
Written by Akiba   
Wednesday, 03 March 2010

Howdy everyone!

It's been awhile since my last post. Things are still hectic around here. The Michael Jackson Tribute concert unfortunately fell through. I think there were some management issues with the production company, but that was actually a good thing for me. I was probably the only one smiling when they announced that we were cancelled from the show. With the extra time, I've been scrambling to put the finishing touches on the product designs and get the shop up. I'm pretty excited about it, but its been much, much, much more work than I ever expected. I've also been busting some ass to finish off all of my tax returns since the Japan deadline is March 15th. Overall, the schedule has been really ugly lately. 

On the plus side, I should be getting more active on blog posts soon because I'm going to need to write a lot of tutorials on how to use the boards that I'm designing. The shop will mostly focus on WSN developers since from my experience, we're an often ignored group, yet vital to  bringing wireless sensors to the world. I won't get into it too much here since there will be a separate post about it when the shop is ready to go live.

In the meantime, I was able to squeeze a couple of hours in between my tax returns to update my good, old 802.15.4 chip comparison. I was thinking about it and the last time it was updated was around 2008. Since then, there have been many exciting developments in the WSN world and some very interesting product introductions for 802.15.4.

One of the trends I've noticed as I was updating it was that the Tx power output of most of the newer chips is much higher than before. Gone are the days when chips like the CC2420 boasted a 0 dBm transmit power. Most of the chips today have a minimum 3 dBm (2 mW) output and some are even as high as 10 mW. 

Amongst all the 802.15.4 chips, only one, the AT86RF212, addresses the 868/916 MHz bands of 802.15.4 with a very nice 10 mW output to boot. There has been a lot of curiosity about the chip and quite a few people have started trying it out. I haven't heard a single bad review about it yet and the range is really excellent. I'm expecting to see many more chipmakers moving down to sub-1 GHz soon, especially with TI introducting their CC1190 900 MHz RF front end. With a 500 mW PA and 6 dB Rx gain from the LNA, people should be getting some really serious range.

Regarding the chip comparison, there are a few things that aren't included in it yet. One of them is the RF front end ICs. I think these are important and will try to get them in the comparison in the future. Also, there are many very interesting non-802.15.4 chips available that would be good for WSN applications. I'd like to include them, but there are just so many that it'd be a huge effort. It may show up in the future as a generalized WSN chip comparison but I don't think its going to happen any time soon. 

You may also notice that the comparison is renamed the "802.15.4 Chip Comparison" rather than the original "Zigbee Chip Comparison". Aside from the incorrectness of my original name (there are no such things as Zigbee chips), there are also other protocols that are getting popular and are using 802.15.4. 6LoWPAN is one of them and its something I'd like to get more involved in this year.  

Well, without further ado, here's the updated 802.15.4 chip comparison. Please let me know if you find any errors or know of any chips that I may have left off. 

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!

802.15.4 Chip Comparison Link

Hits: 12220
Trackback(0)
Comments (13)Add Comment
MC13xx1/2/3 differencies
written by Dmitry Eremin-Solenikov, March 03, 2010
BTW: Do you understand _real_ differencies between MC13201/2/3 chips (and MC13191/2/3)? I couldn't find any info over 'SMAC only/802.15.4-ready/ZigBee-ready'.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, March 04, 2010
Truthfully, they're probably all the same chip (within each family). It's just some marketing guys idea to give them each different numbers to make it look like there's more products than they're really are. It's quite common.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Chip choice
written by noblomov, March 04, 2010
Hi,

Nice work you've done here. I like the Jennic way of doing things, where the stack can be either 6LowPAN or Zigbee since everything is in ROM.
What are your advices on the best(s) chip(s) to base a development of a sensor product using 802.15.4/Zigbee on 2.4GHz ?

Thanks,

N.

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, March 04, 2010
It really depends on the application. If you are creating a device that will be a Zigbee or 6LoWPAN router than I'd recommend a larger device for development. The Ember EM35x is nice because its based on ARM Cortex M3 which has good open source tool support. I also think the ATMega128RFA1 is quite interesting because I'm personally a fan of AVRs. On the flip side, if you're going to do something like an end device and need it small, you can look into one of the TI chips like the CC253x w/32k RAM. Personally I prefer to use a standalone 802.15.4 transceiver and just swap around the MCUs controlling it to fit the application. In large vols, 802.15.4 radios are either close to or below $1.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
Chip comparison as a wiki?
written by aevin, March 05, 2010
Hi Akiba,

I see you mention you would like to add more RF chips to the comparison charts, i.e. also non-802.15.4 chips. I agree that it would be interesting.

How about setting it all up in wiki, where you would also get help from your readers?

I believe there is a somewhat comparison list on Wikipedia, but last time I checked it was not kept up to date: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...io_modules
Whether it's best to consolidate into Wikipedia or put it somewhere else I don't know. As most of your readers are motivated engineers we probably would want to add a bunch of specs up there, probably more than what Wikipedia admins will accept in their articles (I've seen them sometimes complain on articles becoming too technical).

Anyway, 'twas just an idea :-)
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, March 05, 2010
Thanks for the suggestion. Actually wiki may be a better format since the list seems to be growing. The unfortunate side effect is that wikis are often gamed by manufacturers, but I do like the idea of having a list thats maintained by the community. Especially if you start including non-802.15.4 chips, of which there seem to be quite a few. One of the issues I run into is how to limit the number of fields to compare so the chart is still readable. Wish I had better DB skills.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
ZigBit AMP MeshNetics....
written by Ramy, March 17, 2010
Hey Akiba,

Thanks for all the tutorials. i am actually working on the ZigBit AMP by meshnetics. I have to realise a Mesh Network using these modules of ZigBee. is it possible to do that just with the AT-Commands of SerialNet ?? Second Can you plz provides with some indications or hte differents phases to create a Mesh network with ZigBee??

Thanks,
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, March 17, 2010
I'm not sure how meshing works with Zigbit but as a rule, meshing is pretty complex. It depends on how their software is written. The difficult thing is knowing the node address of the node you're targeting. If you have access to the address of the node, then theoretically, you should just be able to generate a frame to that node and the network layer should take care of the transport. In reality, I'm not sure you can do it simply with AT commands. I believe XBee requires using their API mode to implement a mesh network rather than the transparent (aka serial) mode. I suspect the same is true of Zigbit. But when in doubt, RTFM...
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Prashanth udumula, November 27, 2012
hi akiba

u have missed out the atmel rf 233 and rfr2
rfr2 has multi pan support
links provided below

http://www.atmel.com/products/microcontrollers/wireless/transceivers.aspx
http://www.atmel.com/products/microcontrollers/wireless/single-chip_solutions.aspx
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
SNGIS
written by Karl Schmidt, February 26, 2013
Are there any open products out ( like a wall switch that can do 15A ) ?

Wonder if there is any open-source work that supports 802.15.4 as a mesh network?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, February 26, 2013
There are a couple of mesh alternatives, and I'd probably start off by checking Contiki. They support 6LoWPAN and RPL routing which is a multi-hop routing protocol. It also has support for AODV which is a mesh protocol.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Open mesh layer
written by Karl Schmidt, February 26, 2013
So is there any hope that an open mesh layer to support 802.15.4 will arrive and displace the proprietary ones?

My take is that everyone is trying to own the standard to the point that the whole industry is DOA. This seems a place where an open standard could really open up a market.

What I don't know is how badly this area is papered with patents?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Akiba, February 26, 2013
Not sure. I normally don't use mesh since it's failure prone. That may be because there's no open source mesh where people can fix the issues. I haven't seen too many open source meshes in 802.15.4. Contiki and TinyOS probably are the main ones that would have them.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0

Write comment

busy
  No Comments.

Discuss...
Next >