Redpine Offers Embedded Systems 802.11n Connectivity

December 16, 2009

The Connect-io-n series of single-stream 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi I/O modules delivers lower power consumption, smaller size, higher throughput, and lower cost than many legacy 802.11b and 802.11b/g products.

SAN JOSE, CA /PRNewswire/ -- Redpine Signals Inc., a leading developer of ultra-low-power, multi-standard wireless chipsets and systems, announced the launch of its Connect-io-n series of modules, the "industry's first suite of highly integrated single-stream 802.11n Wi-Fi IO modules" to provide future-proof wireless connectivity for embedded systems, particularly those involved in connecting the Internet of Things. Redpine's Connect-io-n technology offers self-contained, single-stream 802.11n modules at a "smaller size, lower cost, and lower power than legacy 802.11b and 802.11g modules." Priced below many 802.11b/g modules, the Connect-io-n series removes the last barrier to widespread adoption of the 802.11n standard.

The products include the RS9110-N-11-23, a self-contained 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi client device, with a standard serial or SPI interface to the microcontroller host; the RS9110-N-11-24, a fully contained 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi client device, with networking stack included; the RS9110-N-11-27, a dual-band 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi client device, with a standard serial or SPI interface to the microcontroller host; and the RS9110-N-11-28, a dual band 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi client device, with networking stack included.

Wireless connectivity for embedded devices is typically characterized by low throughput, low power consumption, and relaxed latency requirements. However, Wi-Fi embedded devices are seen in ever-greater numbers in a variety of environments, many of which are 802.11n-based. Legacy 802.11b/g devices and 802.11b devices in particular, cause considerable disruption to an 11n network. First, they occupy the airways far longer to transmit a given amount of information than other nodes in the network. Second, they force the access point—and all nodes on the network—to adopt bandwidth-consuming protection mechanisms to accommodate the legacy device. The explosive growth in adoption of Wi-Fi in embedded devices has prompted major industry groups, such as the Wi-Fi Alliance, to start disallowing 802.11b devices in upcoming certification programs, such as Wi-Fi Direct. (Wi-Fi Direct is the groundbreaking specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance to support direct Wi-Fi connections between devices).

Redpine's modules are the "first in the industry to bring single-stream 802.11n connectivity to standard 8-bit microcontrollers." Aimed at plug-and-play integration of Wi-Fi into such platforms through an SPI or UART interface, these modules are available in software variants that can either provide a built-in TCP/IP stack or enable the use of the microcontroller's networking stack.

The Connect-io-n series is based on Redpine's mature Lite-Fi chipset, the industry's "first Wi-Fi-certified 802.11n single-stream device," which has been successfully integrated into a significant number of embedded systems over the past two years. Connect-io-n modules have "best-in-class transmit power of 18 dBm and receiver sensitivity down to -98dBm," enabling excellent range. With shutdown power of less than 0.01 mW, associated-mode power of less than 3 mW, and active operational power of less than 30 mW (UART 115K baud), the Connect-io-n series enables ultra-low-power wireless battery-operated applications, such as wireless sensors, with battery life of greater than 10 years and update rates faster than once in 15 min.

The module is small at 11 mm by 13 mm, and it is FCC/IC/CE-certified. This means that the system integrator's task is simplified when integrating it into an embedded system. The Connect-io-n family is also the first in the industry to offer variants that support dual-band 2.4/5 GHz band operation for serial-to-WiFi applications that demand better reliability and QoS in crowded wireless environments.

"Our experience has shown that single-stream 802.11n always results in lower energy consumption, independent of the data rate at which a device communicates. The reason is that the 802.11n device is on air for a shorter time and hence uses up less network bandwidth and less energy per bit," said Venkat Mattela, CEO of Redpine Signals. "Redpine's 802.11n Connect-io-n technology provides lower-cost, lower-power wireless connectivity to any device, with or without a TCP/IP stack. At the same time, it future-proofs the customer's investment into the wireless solution," he added.

Price and Availability
The technology maturity of the Lite-Fi chipset and high levels of integration of the Connect-io-n modules enable Redpine to offer the modules at lower cost than competing legacy 11b or 11g modules. The Connect-io-n single-band (2.4 GHz) modules are available now and are priced at less than $19 in volumes of more than 1000 units. Evaluation kits are available for $195.

About Redpine Signals
Headquartered in San Jose, CA, Redpine Signals Inc. is a fabless semiconductor and wireless system solutions company, focusing on ultra-low-power and high-performance products for next-generation wireless applications. Redpine was founded in 2001 and was the "first in the industry to launch an ultra-low-power and low-cost single-stream 802.11n chipset in late 2007." Redpine offers chipsets, modules, and solutions, covering multiple market segments, including industrial, consumer electronics, medical, mobile, PC, and smart energy. Its technology portfolio includes multi-stream 802.11n, along with mobile WiMax (802.16e) and 3GPP LTE technologies. The company has more than 130 employees worldwide. For more information on Redpine products, contact Redpine at info@redpinesignals.com.

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