Low Power RF transceiver for Zigbee and ISM

Atmel has released a new RF transceiver for low power wireless applications. The AT86RF212 800/900MHz IEEE 802.15.4 radio has a receive mode current consumption of 9mA and 17mA in transmit mode with a power output level of 5dBm. The sleep mode current consumption is down to 0.2µA. The AT86RF212 performs extremely well, initial field test showed about a 6km link without the use of any external LNA’s or PA’s. A wide range of data rates are supported. In addition, security is handled by an AES 128bit onboard hardware engine. Atmel has created some common firmware solutions making it easier and faster to develop new applications. Take a look at the datasheets for full specs:


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5 Comments on “Low Power RF transceiver for Zigbee and ISM”

  1. thierry37_2 Says:

    Hi John,

    I am currently performing a survey of existing low power transceivers for the ISM band, and I found your blog very interesting.

    I have found a transceiver from Zarlink which seems to be far better than everything else I have found, and I would be happy to have your opinion on it, since i don’t understand why there is a single company offering such a product. Most likely, I have “missed” something in the specification. Here is a link to the datasheet: http://www.zarlink.com/zarlink/zl70250-datasheet-jan2008.pdf

    From what I have seen, the 2mA power consumption in both RX and TX is much beyond what other transceivers are capable of doing, and the low voltage power supply also seems to be a key advantage.

    Did I miss something ? Do you know any other transceivers with the same performances ?


    • John Artiuch Says:

      Hi Thierry

      Your right 2mA in both TX and RX is good for the -10dBm output power. And since you can run it of 1.8V means that you may be able to integrate the transceiver with a low power uC without having to use additional regulators making a very efficient design. I did not see a lower power transceiver, in fact I want to make a post about this one. However, depending on your application, this may not be the right radio for you, the low power consumption usually has some impact on other device specifications. So check if things like the output power, bit rate, and receive sensitivity meet your specs.

      Thanks for the comment


  2. chandrasekhar k Says:

    hi john,
    iam an asst.prof in dept of electronics in a university in india,i am very much interested to carry out my research in the design of low power rf tranceiver for wireless sensor networks in biomedical applications.can u please help me out in finalising the specifications and how to proceed my research and the usefull sites from where i can get information in this regard

    • John Artiuch Says:

      Hello, thank you for you’re interest in this blog. I’m assuming that you want to research the hardware aspect of the rf transceiver? Or are you also looking at different low power communication protocols? Can you give me better idea of what you are looking to do the research on? I would be glad to share with you all the resources that I have come across and help you answer any specific questions you may have.

  3. chandrasekhar Says:

    thanku john for ur reply,yes am looking for the research in the hardware aspect of rf tranceiver design.inthis regard i request u to please guide me in pursuing out my research,i also request u to forward the details of the low power communication protocols so that i can go through them.
    thank you
    with regards

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