Modules for wireless applications  

A big market exists for wireless applications today. Companies are offering a wide range of radio modules for wireless applications, and it is difficult to choose between them. For a change, we look into some of the radio interface modules which are available in the market. The key factors that are considered are the power consumption, integration ease and range, features and finally the usability or functionality. Some are suitable for industrial applications also. A variety of antenna options are also available for the products. A list of companies which have products which are worth a look are listed in the following sections. Typical products of some companies are given below for a fast look up.

Aerocomm is one company to watch out for if you are looking for the fastest way to go wireless, since they seem to have a wide range of products. The company claims to offer compact transceivers, which are ready to integrate, and offers technology that ensures reliable communication even in frequency-polluted areas. The industrial and commercial range includes 2.4GHz/900MHz RF transceiver modules and the Zigbee transceiver module. The ZigBee transceiver (ZB2430) is an SoC compliant module. This is available in two versions to suit varying requirements. The ZB2430 and ZB2430-100 are two where the latter is offers an extended communication capability. The ZB2430 uses 2.4GHz ISM band, so OEMs looking for standardization can use it. The module comes as either full-function devices or reduced function devises.

Data Hunter offers an OEM WLAN serial server module, typically targeted at portable, low cost equipments. It supports the major network/protocol standards like TCP/IP, UDP/IP, HTTP, ARP, SNMP etc. It also uses the 2.4GHz band typically upto 2.48GHz. It has a very useful power-save mode, which is helpful in low-power applications. It is named 802.11b "Mini-b" module as given in their website.

Air-wave offers AWM630, a new range of wireless modules operating on again, the 2.4GHz ISM band. The company claims that the devices are FCC compliant, so a global market is the target. Typical applications for the AWM630 may be for professional or domestic sound/video transmissions, security systems, or public information systems. The video compatibility for both PAL and NTSC is present in the same module. A stereo audio is also supported. The AWM630 series is RoHS compliant, that is what the company claims. The prices are very competitive and the modules are available through saelig.

Conexant is another company which offers a single chip 802.11b WLAN compatible device for small, embedded portable applications. The company offers CX53113, a low power , small form factor module which is suitable for mobile applications. It also operates in the 2.4GHz ISM band, supporting data rates up and above 6Mbps.

All the above products are targeted at different end-markets but have a lot of things in common. It is just a pointer as to where to look for if you are intending to cut cables from your application and intend to do it fast!!!

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