SimpliciTI for simple, low power, small RF networks

     Texas Instruments, has released the first version of a new proprietary low power radio frequency protocol aimed at small (<256) RF networks. The protocol was designed to reduce the load on the MCU resources as well as being easy to implement and deploy. The simplicity of the protocol reduces power consumption, memory usage, lowers system cost and is quick and easy to design with. SimpliciTI supports peer-to-peer communication, the option to use an access point to store and forward messages and range extenders to extend the range of the network to four hops. A new release with power management embedded in the stack is due in Q4 2007 and future releases will add more sophisticated features such as frequency agility. The protocol works “out-of-the-box” on several TI RF platforms, including the MSP430 MCU with a CC1XXX/CC25XX transceiver. This set up is perfect for small networks that contain battery operated devices which require long battery life and have low data rate and duty cycles. SimpliciTI network protocol is provided as source code under a free license, without royalties. Developers are encouraged to adapt the protocol to their own specific application needs.
     If you want a cheap and flexible development platform for this technology, I suggest what’s claimed to be the worlds smallest low power wireless development tool. The eZ430-RF2500 costs $49 and comes with all the hardware and software required to develop and deploy a wireless network. The tool includes a USB-powered emulator, two 2.4-GHz wireless target boards featuring the highly integrated MSP430F2274, battery expansion board, AAA batteries and all necessary software. Also, if you have the MSP430FG4618 experimenter board which I recently wrote about in the blog, you can mount the wireless extension and be set up for SimpliciTI. I’m excited to see how far this protocol will go, and hope that it will prove to be the perfect solution for applications were using a protocol like Zigbee is overkill.


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