Microchip debuts radio chip

NewsSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 6/2006

Microchip Technology Inc. will bundle its new single-chip radio IC with a special lightweight MiWi protocol that uses only basic operations of the full ZigBee stack. The company also intends to be a full ZigBee player with the MRF24J40 radio IC for 802.15.4 networks.

“If you’re thinking of tens or hundreds of thousands of nodes, then the costs of joining the ZigBee alliance and achieving certification are not a big deal,” said Rodger Richey, applications manager for advanced microcontroller architectures at Microchip. “But if you’re working with simpler networks with dozens or hundreds of nodes, those costs could be significant. Designers are looking for more than just a simple physical-layer device, but they don’t want a full protocol stack.”

MiWi allows developers to create all topologies using 802.15.4, but without full ZigBee addressing. Microchip will provide the software free. MiWi allows eight coordinators on a network, with up to 127 “children” per coordinator, and a maximum number of four hops per message.